Last night I “scoped” and talked about my experience getting on Wheel of Fortune and winning more than $38,000 in cash and prizes, then shared my tips on how to get yourself on the show and win big money too! So if you’re not on Periscope yet, go get on. So fun and so many amazing people on there to follow.
So just a little background on myself. I grew up watching the Wheel. My earliest childhood memory of the show was watching it at my Great Grandma Nilar’s home when my parents would drop my little sister and I off for sleepovers. I remember she would make us some Chef Boyardee from the can and we’d all sit down with our tv trays and watch Wheel of Fortune!
Over the years I would continue to watch Wheel of Fortune with my family in my own home and watch my mother dominate the puzzles…like a boss. Mom, if you’re reading this, I’m not giving up on you, you need to try out for the show! I guess you could say Wheel of Fortune is in my blood!
So here is my FIRST tip:
1.WATCH THE SHOW – The more you watch the more you’ll learn and understand the way the game works. So if you’re not religiously watching, repent and start now.
When I finally got married my husband quickly realized that I was obsessed with Wheel of Fortune. Like set-the-dvr-or-die obsessed. And over time, he’d sit and watch with me, just to be amused as I solved the puzzle before the other contestants time and time again. Every time he’d say “We need to get you on this show! You need to win us some money, honey!” And there’s where my story begins.
One night my husband was sneaky and got on the computer and turned in an online application for me to try-out to be on the show. After not hearing back from them for a couple of months we forgot all about the application until one day we got an email that said “We’re celebrating our 30th Anniversary on the air and are looking for anyone with a special connection to the number 30 to try out at auditions in Culver City on such-and-such date.” I was SO excited! At the time I got the email I was 30 years old and thought “perfect! I’m in!”
This brings me to my SECOND tip:
2. SEND IN AN APPLICATION – There’s a funny saying lottery players use that goes something like “if you don’t buy a ticket, you’ll never win.” If you never apply, you’ll never get on Wheel of Fortune and win the big bucks! So apply!
Well, the day of my auditions came and I was SUPER nervous. The advise you to wear business casual so I had on my favorite black high-waisted pants and a floral blouse with heels. As I walked into the hotel’s designated conference room I was surprised to see so many people MY AGE! It’s not just a show for the geriatric you guys! It was so fun (and nerve-wracking) and I just tried to be enthusiastic and make friends with everyone around me.
The first thing I remember them doing was randomly calling a few people to stand up and introduce themselves. You’d think that this was no big deal, but you guys, this was the first part of their “test.” They are looking for people who are energetic, enthusiastic, and have no problem talking in front of an audience of people. So don’t blow it by being all quiet and timid. Speak UP! Be confident!
Which brings me to my THIRD tip:
3. SPEAK LOUDLY & CLEARLY – If you can solve a puzzle in 3 seconds flat, but you have a quiet voice and don’t have enthusiasm, forget it. This show’s probably not for you. I would venture to say that the MOST important, even more than being a good puzzle solver, is having a good LOUD and CLEAR speaking voice.
Have you ever watched Wheel of Fortune and been like “Why are they calling letters so loudly?” I used to laugh at those people, but now I applaud them, because that loud, obnoxious voice is most likely what got them on the show! So speak up! And speak clearly!
After the introductions, they had us come to the front of the room in small groups and play a “pretend” version of the game. We pretended to spin a big wheel and solve puzzles that were on an overhead projector. I was glad they didn’t call me up first because it gave me a chance to see what they were looking for and what mistakes not to make. And not to make you nervous, but there are some deadly sins that you can commit in front of those producers that will likely kill all chances of getting on the show. Remember, you are one in billions of people and they only need a select few, so read these tips and don’t blow it. But no pressure, LOL!
So here is my next, extremely, extremely important FOURTH tip:
4. CALL SMART LETTERS – Gosh dang it! I have watched Wheel of Fortune sooo many times and had those palm-to-face moments where you’re like “What? Were you not just listening to the guy before you who ALREADY CALLED THAT LETTER?” There is nothing more embarrassing to me than calling a letter that has already been called. In fact, on the real show, I’ll give you a little behind the scenes info.
From where the contestants are standing, you can see a “Used Letter Board” up in the rafters, sort of, that has all the letters of the alphabet. These letters are all illuminated and when a contestant calls a letter and it either appears on the board or is not in the puzzle, that letter will then go dark, or disappear. So PLEASE, use the used letter board in the audition. Don’t be a dope and call a letter that’s already been called. I can guarantee it’ll get you back in your seat faster than you can say “Whoops, I mean…” Sorry guys, too late.
You should also make it a point to MEMORIZE the most common letters to appear in the English language. Do you know what the most common letter in the English language is? It’s “E.” So while you won’t likely be guessing an “e” first, because remember you have to buy those (we’ll touch on this in a minute) you’ll want to know the first few common letters that are likely to appear in the puzzles. Avid WoF watchers already know that the show talks all about the letters R-S-T-L-N-E, so one would assume that these are the most common letters and that you would begin by guessing R, then S, and so one. But those people would be WRONG! So listen up, write these down, and memorize them!
The most common letters to occur in the English language are, in this order:
Before you go to your audition, it will really help if you know these letters. The producers are looking for SMART players who understand the game and know how to play it. If you get up there and it’s your turn to call your first letter (and the board is blank) and you guess a “P,” well then BYE BYE my friend. What letter should you probably try calling first, of course given that you’re paying attention to the category (hang on, we’re getting to that!)?. Yes, you should guess a T or an N or even an S would be a great start. The producers will applaud you and say “This girl/guy knows the game. I want them on my show!”
Right along the same lines of calling smart letters, understanding the category is equally as important. Let me share my FIFTH tip and explain:
5. KNOW THE CATEGORIES – If you know the category, you’ll know the letters to start calling.
If the category is “What Are You Doing?” you should immediately know that this puzzle is going to be an action puzzle, so think present tense verbs (you didn’t know I’d be giving you an English lesson today, did you?) What I mean is, the words in the puzzle will most likely (90% chance) be words like “Playing” or “Jumping” or “Eating.” Do you notice anything in common with these words? Yes! They all end in “ing.” So what letters will you call first? If you don’t say “N” or “G” well then, go sit down. You’re not ready to try out for this show. Watch a few more episodes, do a little more studying, and then come back and read this post again when you’re ready. Haha, I kid, sort of.
Another few categories to be careful of are PROPER NAME – so this could be JOHNNY DEPP or JENNIFER ANNISTON but could also be DOCTOR DOLITTLE or BOSTON RED SOX.
Be leary of those BEFORE & AFTER and SAME NAME puzzles. They are tricky! I had a BEFORE & AFTER puzzle on my show and solved it, but not after some serious nerves kicked in and almost got the best of me. So my puzzle was “THE PEN IS MIGHTER THAN THE SWORD SWALLOWER” Notice that they have combined two phrases with a common word, “sword.” So “the pen is mightier than the sword” and “sword swallower.” Get it? Good.
The SAME NAME category is slightly different. This one shares the same name at the end of the puzzle. So for example “BERMUDA AND OBTUSE TRIANGLE.” Both share the name Triangle. Bermuda Triangle and Obtuse Triangle. Make sense? Ok, moving on.
There are plenty of other categories to be aware of and if you watch the show, you’ll become more familiar with how each category works.
But sometimes you get a little stuck, even when you know and understand the category, which brings me to my SIXTH tip:
6. BUY THE VOWELS – When you don’t know where to go next, and you’ve got some money banked up, buy the vowels!!! If you’re totally clueless, start with E. Then, when the “e” comes up, reassess from there. Here’s a little tip. If you see a 3 letter word like _ _ E, the word is likely THE so guess the T, then the H. Also, “e” is usually found with “ie” or “ea” so remember that when buying your next vowel. And it should be a no-brainer that if the puzzle has a “Q,” there will be a “U.” So impress those producers with your knowledge of the game and I promise they’ll put you on the show!
One more thing to be aware of that you don’t learn until you go on the show is that on the used letter board they have A-E-I-O-U listed below the consonants and when you get to the last vowel left, so if you’ve already called A-E-O-U and the I is still up there, that means IT’S IN THE PUZZLE! SO BUY THAT VOWEL!! Producers will LOVE this. And it will most likely be an advantageous buy that can solve you the puzzle. So please, please, please, BUY VOWELS!
The only time in the show where I would advise against spinning the wheel of buying vowels is in the case of the Prize Puzzle round. Let’s talk about our SEVENTH and final tip:
7. JUST SOLVE THE PRIZE PUZZLE – The person that solves the Prize Puzzle is usually the person to make it to the Bonus Round, and we ALL want to end up at that Bonus Round. The Prize Puzzle is usually worth anywhere between $6,000-9,000 so if you know what it is, SOLVE it! Don’t spin. Don’t risk a Bankruptcy or Lose A Turn. If you know it, just solve it. That wheel is far too risky.
I think I’ll use this as an opportunity to talk about one last thing. While the other players are busy racking up dollars in their bank, you should be busy trying to solve the puzzle. You never know when the player to your right is going to misstep by calling a wrong letter or guessing the puzzle wrong, or of course landing on Bankrupt or Lose A Turn.
Classic example, on my show the two players landed on Lose A Turn and then guessed a wrong letter, and it came to my turn and I had no money in my bank, but I remembered that it was a PRIZE PUZZLE so what did I do? I spun…just kidding…don’t you dare spin. I SOLVED IT! And I won myself a $9,000 trip to St. John’s, Antigua. Basically a week in paradise because I called out the answer to a puzzle. Thank you Wheel of Fortune!
Are you guys still here? Did you enjoy my tips? There are literally hundreds more and if you’re really truly serious about trying out for the show, which everyone should be, then there are tons of greats articles and tips online with many, many more good bits of advice. But this should get you started.
I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am to my mother for helping grow my love of Wheel of Fortune and my husband for sending in my application. It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity that has been such a blessing. While I didn’t win the Bonus Round, I don’t even care because I did my absolute best and that’s enough, I won some amazing trips and fell in love with Nashville, Tennessee and had the most romantic getaway with my husband to Antigua and now we’re planning to use the cash I won to remodel our tiny 1970’s bathroom. What a dream you guys! What a dream!
If you have questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section and I’ll be sure to answer them the best I can. Good luck you guys! Go start your application right now and MAKE IT HAPPEN!