Apologies for the delay in posting this, the third part of my interview with Who Wants To Be A Millionaire millionaire Martin Flood. In this instalment, Martin takes us through the audition / interview process for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. The process for getting on the show may be slightly different in your country or region, but I’m including Martin’s experience here because there may some useful tips or hints in it for you that you can use in your game show journey…
SH: Do you remember the audition process, and can you talk us through it?
MF: Yeah. For quite a while there you could ring up as often as you want, every week. But for the five years that I studied – from 2001 to 2005 – in the first years, I studied all the time but I thought I wasn’t ready, so I didn’t call up. The third year I started calling and they made the rules that you can only make one phone call a week. I didn’t get called back until the beginning of 2004. They ring you back and say “we’re going to ask you 7 questions”. They give you ten seconds per question. Ten seconds is fine because you either know or you don’t, and if you’re tossing up between a couple of answers, then you have enough time to think about it. We got 6 questions and then a 7th question, which is a tie breaker question.
They used to ring 110 people – a certain number from each state – and they will take the best ten out of those, and any ties would go to the 7th tie breaker question. I managed to get through that. You only have to get 5 or 6 questions right. It’s usually about a Wednesday or Thursday that they ring those 110 people. And then, on the Friday, I was going across the (Sydney) Harbour Bridge on my way to work, and I got the phone call saying that I have made the Top Ten! I just thought “oh my god, I’m actually going to go on this show!”, which to me was the mecca of quiz shows on this planet. I was going to be one of those ten people.
SH: When you get onto the show, if you miss out on getting in the Hot Seat, what happens next? When do you get your next chance? Or is that your only chance?
MF: Once you’re in the studio, you can play “Fastest Finger First” as many times as you want. When I finally won, one of the guys there had been there eight times before. I looked at him and thought I’m going to be faster than him, he’s obviously slow. William Laing – when he got on, he actually had a couple of episodes up his sleeve so when he was playing “Fastest Finger First”, he knew that even if he didn’t get on then, he was coming back for another episode or two soon. Once you get to the hot seat, that’s your only chance.
SH: When you heard you were going on the show, how long did you have between getting that call and –
MF: That was probably Friday and then the recording is on the Monday. So you don’t have much time. When you’re calling, you know that you can be called that week and then fly down there for the Monday. You’re sort of on call, on alert, ready to go. You constantly have to shove something in your brain, you have to constantly be learning. Often my approach was just to “learn it for the week”, because I kept thinking “I need to learn this, in case I get called this week”.
There you have it. Please note: this was the audition process for the Australian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire back in 2005. It’s changed here since then, since we now don’t have the traditional version of the show, just the half hour Millionaire Hot Seat version. And the process may well be different for Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in your territory.
Nevertheless, when someone who’s won a million dollars talks about how he got there, I always think it’s worth listening!