I finished anchoring at KLIV at 11am, then finished filling out the paperwork and printed out directions to NBC11's new studios. I arrived around 11:30 and got an amazingly good parking place. The instructions said they would be handing out wristbands from 9am till noon, and that you needed a wristband to get interviewed.
Finding the end of the line was tricky because it wrapped around within itself in the parking lot. Folks were wearing everything from sweats and jeans to pin-striped suits to everything in between. A few had on more outlandish outfits. One guy was in clown makeup and was wearing a clown suit and a wig with a yarmulke. Another was wearing a t-shirt with a less-than-savory comment about Mark Burnett, the co-producer of "The Apprentice."
One of the gals in my part of the line was wearing a black dress tied at the bottom (to show more leg) with hot pink trim, a silver beaded mesh cap, fishnet stockings, and hot pink and black suede ankle boots with spiked heels. She came with her flute and music book because she had a gig right after the interview. Another guy saw her with the flute, got out his guitar, and the two started jamming. The running joke was the two had landed their first gig by the time they were done. Other folks had their kids with them. There were also kids selling food and drinks ("Junior Apprentices" said their table). Lots of folks brought portable chairs. It was hard to tell whether I was in line or at a party.
About ten minutes after I was in line a guy from the show's production staff came out and stuck a purple wristband on my right wrist -- very tightly. It was so tight you could see my circulation being cut off a bit. Apparently quite a few of us had painfully tight wristbands.
People in line were overall pretty friendly. We were taking turns holding places in line so folks could go get something to eat and come back. There was a McDonald's 2.5 blocks in one direction and a strip mall with a Jamba Juice Subway about 3 or 4 blocks the other way. I was interviewing folks in line, and after a while just started hanging out. One of the gals, a freelance camera operator named Phyllis and I clicked pretty fast. There was some other guy who was trying to crash the line who wanted me to take his resume in to both my radio jobs, but when I saw he wasn't willing to play by the rules, I looked for the nearest trash can to deposit it. Another gal, Sarah, was a single mother and a full-time business student. There was Michele, who ran her own high-tech firm, and Farah, who sold media time. There were a few others, and I'm blanking on their names, as I don't have my notes with me.
Anyhow, while I ran to McDonald's they split the line into a "Donald" audition line and a "Martha" audition line. When I got back and saw the "Martha" line was shorter I decided that was the way to go -- well, that and, quite bluntly, if I want exposure, more folks will be watching the first Martha "Apprentice" than the fourth Donald one.
Around 4:30 the staff was fading and decided to lump the last two groups together since they had one full-sized group and a half-sized group. That was us. Actually, the first "regular sized" group got called into the staging area in the lobby while the rest of us hung out outside. Then the casting staffer decided to have the last bunch of us come in and join the rest of the group. When it became clear we weren't going to all get seats I made sure to be one of the first to enter the room so I'd get one.
From what I'd heard while waiting in line and read in the San Jose Mercury, the "Martha" auditions were much tamer than the "Donald" ones. In the "Donald" auditions the candidates were asked to talk about themselves, asked to discuss a "hot topic," then asked to vote one person as "hired" and another as "fired." Then they were told only one of the nine of them would continue to the next step -- but they weren't told who. We had seen folks coming out from the "Donald" auditions looking mostly grumpy, whereas the "Martha" people looked happier.
Sure enough, the casting director, Kara, asked us to each tell her about ourselves -- name, occupation, age (I purposely didn't give mine because they have yet to have an over-40 candidate), where you're from (I kind of skirted this one because I don't really have a "home town"), what you do for a living, and "something interesting about yourself." My "something interesting" was my filking and filk con running activity (how else do I mention that I'm President of a 501c3 and have experience in event planning, not to mention I've got a song named "Martha Stewart Dream"). We then had to say why we'd be a good candidate, and that's where it was chaos-format. My filking experience proved helpful, as I was one of the ten or so folks who really got a word in edgewise.
Around 5pm Kara cut the discussion off, thanked us, and folks departed. I then interviewed her for a couple of minutes (I had promised I'd be brief; I was tired, and she had to go to the bathroom). As a joke I asked her whether "a certain, uh, news reporter from a San Jose radio station would have a chance?" I was sort of hoping and expecting to get her on tape saying "Don't call us; we'll call you."
Instead, she enthusiastically chimed, "Absolutely!" and went on to tell me what I did right in the interview. That was freaky. I then wound up coaching her into saying "Don't call us; we'll call you" so I could have it on tape for one version of my piece. I figure my real chances of getting on the show are next to nil, but it was an interesting experience.
I finally got back to KLIV around 6pm, took off my "souvenir" wristband, and finished my pieces and voicer around 8pm. That was a long day -- but worth it. I also suddenly didn't feel bad about not having the KGO gig because I wouldn't have been able to do this if I had to worry about being in San Francisco that night.
Speaking of which...I now have to leave to be in San Francisco at 10pm. Today is my trial run doing the overnight writer shift with Mel the writer watching.