19 March 2007

The 1 Day Friends

First of all, the spellchecker isn't loading up today, so this blog may be a little harder to read than most of mine. As a general rule, engineers can't spell. I think that law was discovered by Isaac Newton.

Did any of you see American Inventor last year? Well, they are doing another season this year. Auditions were in L.A. yesterday, and I'm crazy, so I decided to go to it. Hey, what better way to miss Ward Conference than to go audition for something!? It was a very interesting experience. This blog is only going to talk about the audition, so if you're looking for more SSA posts, you can skip this one. Although I do make brief mention of one of the cute judges I presented to. :)

...cue dramatic storytelling music...

It started early. VERY early. Actually, it started before that. I finally hit my pillow at 12:30am after putting the finishing touches on all of the junk I needed to take with me to the audition. I needed to get up at 4:30, so of course I had very restless sleep. You know how you'll spend those nights in the fear of sleeping through your alarm, so your body wakes up every hour? Yeah. That's how it went down.

So, 4:30 rolls around, and I roll out of bed. Roll to the bathroom. Roll into the shower. Roll into clothes. Roll into my car. And then roll to downtown Los Angeles. For some weird reason I had cinnamon rolls on my mind too. Hmmm. Anyway, I made it up to the LA Convention Center right at 6:00, got a good parking spot and went to stand in line. There were already a lot of people there. Yikes. This is going to be a looooooong day.

An older gentleman in a cheap double-breasted suit from Men's Wearhouse stood in line behind me. He was from Phoenix. We began chatting about stuff, and sure enough he was a talker. There was a girl from Salt Lake City, a guy from Long Beach, and a couple from San Diego around us, so we all became 1 Day Friends.

Phoenix, being the talker he was, soon related all of his life experiences to us. Including the time he got hit by a car 6 years ago and how he hasn't been the same since. He's a business owner and a semi-pro motivational speaker. I could see him being a good speaker. He had a lot of stories and was very animated, so he was fun to listen to.

SLC, well, she was a little bit off. Of course, I was at an inventor's audtion so should I have expected anything other than the mad scientist type? She was very nice, but when I told her I was from Utah originally she changed the subject. Hmmm, doesn't want to talk about Utah. Oh well. Her invention ideas were pretty weird too. I wouldn't have had the confidence in those ideas to drive 12 hours to pitch them.

Long Beach was one cool cat. He was a professional bum, er, musician. I can totally relate, because I am a wannabe rock star. I would so love to quit my job and just play music. His invention was really cool, I'm sure that you will see it on TV if you watch the show. He took a MIDI 2-octive keyboard and built an upright instrument with it. It looks kind of like a flame-shaped upright bass, but with a keyboard instead of strings on it. He told me he just sold one to the keyboardist from Maroon 5, so we should expect to see it on stage or in a video or something this year. I hope so. The guy was passionate and deserves some success.

The San Diegoins, er, San Diegouns, er, San Diegans were a fun couple. He was salt, she was pepper, and they were very friendly. They only stayed in line for a few hours though, because she also wanted to get into some thing for Oprah that day.

The morning wore on. The TV cameras came out. They took lots of crowd shots, but the cameras never seemed to be pointed in my direction.

The morning wore on some more.

The morning wore out and became afternoon.

This whole time we were making conversation and becoming great friends. We heard Phoenix's story of being hit by the car at least half a dozen more times to various other people outside our circle of 1 Day Friends. I think that I could tell a pretty accurate version of it now.

Standing in line outside of the Convention Center started at 6:00am. Standing in a new line inside of the Convention Center started at 1:00pm. And this is where the Fellowship of the Ring began to break up. San Diego left right before we entered the building. SLC had taken off an hour before to "use the restroom", and then we found out she snuck into line inside the building. That whore. Inside the building it was down to Sam, Merry and Pippin. Wait, that was a book I read. It was down to Phoenix, Long Beach and Me.

The three of us got sent to separate audition rooms. In my new spot I sat next to a lady who saw and recognized the CTR ring on my right hand. Yes, I'm 34 and wear a CTR ring. How gay is that?! Well, it turns out she's been inactive for years and is married to a non-member. She made comments about how she knew she was going to Hell, and it was too late for her. I said, "Hey, it's never to late to change." And that was all, we mostly talked about her invention and her 4 year old Down Syndrome son.

I got into the first round presentation. It was a 2 minute pitch to a panel of the show's producers. There were 2 people there. An attractive girl, probably in her early 30's with a British accent, and this really cute guy in his 20's. (Thank heaven for this blog, because this is the only place I can comment on what a hottie he was.) There were 2 other people in the room filming and taking notes. Well, I figured beforehand that this first round would be more about selling myself to be likable on TV more than it was about the invention I was pitching. So, I presented my invention in a flirty way. Both judges dug me, I could tell. They were too easy. They were practically begging me to go on to the next round.

That, perhaps, made me too confident in my predictions about what to present. The second round was in front of the Executive Producers of the show. I assumed that this pitch would be more about the product, with a small amount of Me thrown in. I think I was wrong. They were looking for more of the TV personality factor, and my whole presentation was based on presenting to a bunch of investors. Halfway through my presentation I had already gone through all of the interesting-for-TV part of my invention, then I got down into the business aspect of it. As I talked more about the business side, I saw them losing interest. I didn't know what to do. The fun part of my presentation had already passed, I couldn't go back to that. I had already said everything. Crap. Tail spin! Aaaaarrrggghhh! So, of course, they ended up passing on me for the show.

I analyzed the whole situation while I was driving home and made some good observations of what I could have done to sweeten the situation when it started to sour. And, I never truly closed the sale. A salesman always ignores the first No they hear. I didn't ask them to reconsider. I didn't ask what I could do to change their minds. I never addressed the first No, I just said thank you, packed up and left. Stupid, stupid! Now I know how to progress to the next round. I'll try again next year.

Anyway, after the first presentation I never saw Phoenix again. Apparently he didn't make it through the first round. I hope he had a safe drive back home.

Long Beach made it through, of course. His invention was cool (at least to us musicians). We chatted a little before I went into round 2. I didn't see him after that, but had given him a business card so he could email me some photos that he took during the day. He called me and left me a message this morning to tell me he had made it to the next round. I hope he does well. By the way, here's his website if you're curious to see the instrument: http://www.zenriffer.com/

Oh, yeah, remember how my day started with me waking up at 4:30am? Well, I finally got home at around 10:00 pm. It sucks being a celebrity wannabe. :)


drex said...

Despite how long that seemed to have lasted, it looks like you at least had fun. I'm still contemplating trying American Idol one of these years, but I don't think I have the personality to make it anywhere. Alas, being an aspiring aspiring celebrity. ;)

John said...

Yay for 1 day friends... I have gone to the Price is Right on several occasions and it's pretty much the same thing--driving to LA before the crack of dawn, waiting in lines all day, selling yourself to the producers, making friends with the people around you, etc. Better luck next time... what was your invention btw?