Casting Director Shares Tips for Landing a Spot on Your Favorite Game Show

May 1, 2019

By Carl Jaeger

James Holzhauer's record-setting success on Jeopardy! may have earned the professional gambler more than $1 million, but landing a spot on the long-running game show was a feat in itself.

Contestants on shows like Jeopardy!, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and $100,000 Pyramid meet with casting directors who are not just looking for people who are intelligent, but also have entertaining personalities.

“The worst thing that we can hear as a casting director is someone being like, ‘I don’t really have a lot of interesting hobbies, I’m sort of an introvert,’” said Liz Harris, who is the founder of Happy Bandit Casting, an agency that finds contestants for game shows.

And while Holzhauer may be more collected than the average game show contestant, Harris says he clearly knows the game and came in with a strategy.

“He’s so calm and collected, and he’s a risk taker,” said Harris. “He’s really taking these big risks that have really been paying off for him.”

Harris added attending a casting call can be daunting at first, but if things go right, there can be a significant reward.

“It’s actually surprising to me why not more people try out for game shows because it’s not very hard to win a ton of money in a short amount of time,” she said.

Here are her three tips for landing a spot on your favorite game show:

  1. Stand out. “As a casting director we see so many people and you want that one thing, that schtick, that’s going to make you different. That’s going to make the executives remember when they’re watching hundreds and hundreds of tapes.”
  2. Know the show. “(Holzhauser) knew the show. He had his strategy going in there, being a gambler, I’m sure when he was with the casting director he’s saying, ‘that is my plan for going on the show,’ and they’re like, ‘This is going to make an interesting episode, lets see what happens.'”
  3. Money motives. “Everyone has debt to pay off; everyone has student loans, that’s not a fun thing to hear about. And a lot of people travel. So saying ‘I want to take a trip to Europe,’ that’s not really different … You want rootable people who America wants them to be successful so they can do these fun things.”

For full interview click here.

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