Hello, and welcome back!
When we left off last week, Mark had just begun his first audition for Pointless, and was generally feeling pretty philosophical about the whole thing…
MH: I thought ‘this will be a great story to tell one day; that I auditioned to be a quiz show host’. I had nothing to lose, so I was just extremely loose and I think that helped. They tested me with a couple of different people. They had said that the audition was supposed to go for about an hour… but they kept me back there for three or four hours.
MH: Yeah, so I thought “that’s a good sign.”
SH: That’s a very good sign!
MH: But even though they did that, in my head I was just still helping them out with logistics, or helping them solve a few other problems. At the end of it, I was just shaking people’s hands and saying “Thank you, I’m never going to see you again, but it’s been lovely!” I do remember that they had various members of the production staff being contestants for the purposes of the audition. One of them was named Paul, and at one stage, he answered a question about the musical Les Miserables. And I could tell – being a fan of musical theatre myself – that there was a lot of knowledge behind the answer that he gave… and as I was leaving, I said to him “Hey Paul, can we be friends?” (LAUGHING)… and we did! We subsequently became Facebook friends, and since then, have gone to a number of musicals together! And that was my first audition!
SH: And do you know how many other people they were seeing for the role of the host and for the role of the co-host?
MH: I was only conscious of two other people. When I auditioned, they didn’t tell me who else was going for it.
SH: Fair enough.
MH: I knew (newsreader) Chris Bath was in the mix but that was only by reading about it on TV Tonight. But I think there was some issue with the ABC that meant she couldn’t do it. But at the time, I had no special knowledge about who was being approached. Subsequently, there have been about five people who have said to me “I was approached about that!”
SH: Now Mark, I wanted to ask you about ‘Chemistry Tests’…. they’re something that a lot of our visitors here might not know about. I wonder, could you explain what a Chemistry Test is? And did you do many Chemistry Tests with other potential co-hosts, before they decided on the combination of you and Andrew?
MH: A Chemistry Test is essentially a screen test where they see if you and the other presenter are able to hit it off; to see what sort of dynamic you have together and what your banter is like between each other. So they’re putting two people together to find out… Are they too similar? Are they too different? Are they affectionate or combative? Do they cancel each other out? Are they able to build on what the other person says and create a little bit of magic?
And yes; when I did these Chemistry Tests, one of them was with a comedian, so that was two comedy people thrown together…
SH: I see.
MH: … And I thought we had a really good rapport, and that there was a nice, light fun energy to that. I also auditioned with someone who’d been a quiz show champion, so he was extremely knowledgeable. But with the dynamic there, a lot of the time it was me laughing at what he was saying because he was very, very entertaining. He was very verbose, though, so it was quite difficult to get a back-and-forth going, because he would tend to go on quite a long run. But I still found working with him very entertaining, very amusing. So they were the two at my first audition, but then I got a callback… and Channel 10 said “We would like to see you on the show’s actual set”. And in that second audition, I did two more Chemistry Tests, and one of them with was with the comedian who I’d previously auditioned with.
MH: But I was on a deadline; at that time, I was doing a weekly segment on the ABC and I had to be there at 8:00. And as potentially as rewarding as this audition could be, it was still an unpaid audition! And so at the time, when it came down to what was more important, the paid gig at the ABC took priority ….
WILL Mark have to cut the audition short?
WILL the producers judge him harshly for this?
IS Mark about to compromise his chances of scoring one of THE BIGGEST GIGS OF HIS CAREER?
But if you’re interested in learning all the finer details, be sure to check back here next Tuesday.
Until then, then!