Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Inside The Boiler Room: Being A Lifeline

I wasn't able to really discuss what happened until it aired but now I can give an inside look at what it is like being a phone-a-friend. This was actually my second time. You see... you are allowed only 5 phone-a-friends to be listed when you are a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. You can only be a phone-a-friend two times in a season. To be eligible, you must be at the phone number (land line preferred) for the entire taping of the show. The production team call early in the morning in a conference call with all that contestant's PAFs (we'll abbreviate that from here on) to give instructions on how to answer the phone, when to expect a call, etc. And then you wait.

My good friend Daniel was on the Oct. 19th and 22nd episodes of the show (which was recorded some months ago.) The plan was to have a call center (with several of us in on one call) and a few other PAFs. Daniel and I set up a system for my house with a speaker-phone (with microphone taped) to be left in my bedroom near the computer while the person answering the phone would remain in the kitchen area nearby. This would allow all 3 to hear the question and respond right away if they knew the answer with the fall-back option of having one person on the computer that can search for an answer -- and relay it to the extra person over to the phone-man. Make sense? Ok, our plan had myself on the computer (because I type really fast and search for things constantly), David on the phone, Kevin and Dan's girlfriend Robin inbetween.

What they tend to say about best laid plans is entirely accurate. David was driving into town from Utah when the production team called. I told them that the person to be on the phone isn't here yet. Because of the rules and instructions given at the time, the 'phone-man' needs to be there for this call. So, Martin became the 'phone-man'. I told my cohorts this when they arrived. We sat back and watched the Game Show Network with pizza to munch on. We had to change my ergonomic keyboard at the computer station to help David in his searching but after a few tests of the phone system (which we had to turn both on at the same moment) we were ready. That was when Robin (who has a very important job needed to go out to her car for a conference call.)



As you can see from the photo, that is when we got the call that Dan was in the 'hot seat.' We sent someone to let Robin know and patiently awaited the call while everyone got to their battle stations. The call came sooner than we expected and Robin hadn't come back yet. Everything went well up until we heard the question. None of us knew it off the top of our heads. That left David to searching, Kevin to run the answer to me and I needed to stall for time. So I asked him to repeat the question. Suddenly, I heard Kevin coming around the corner and I relayed it into the phone. I then heard a click. We regrouped at the computer and told them that it sounded like it got through. David wasn't too sure of the answer that he relayed, though. So I hopped online and searched for a bit. (You see, they told Daniel that they purposely write the questions so they will be hard to search for as they know it will happen.) We found we gave him the wrong answer.

Moments later, Robin returned and we told her what happened. In my head, I'm thinking... "Did I sound too sure that that was the right answer? I hope not." Well, if any of you caught the show, the phone cut off right after he repeated the question. You see, Daniel had a plan that he didn't tell us about. He didn't expect the search to work in time and if we didn't know it right away, he'd move on. We spent several hours thinking we cost him $25,000 and a chance at more but later (as seen on TV) switched questions. Quite an experience. Congrats, Dan!

8 comments:

Davydgrey said...

So how much did he end up winning?

An80sNut said...

He wound up winning $50,000 on the show. Of course, that's pre-tax but it's still a nice chunk of change.

New White Keds said...

How exciting that must have been. All in a day's work, though, huh?

Maybe next time YOU will be the one in the hot seat and Lloyd will be your phone call. Hmmm...

Teri said...

That is so cool! Yeah, I do like the idea that you go on one of these tv shows.. besides Survivor :)

Jenn said...

Sounds like fun! That's too funny that you guys had it all worked out that way.

I haven't seen that game show in forever. Am I missing out?

An80sNut said...

Keds - I would definitely have Lloyd written down as my Computer Technology/History/Literature expert, if they wound up taking me. I tried out for the show once, might have to do it again.

Teri - Survivor would have been great. I mean, it's only second to the Biggest Loser as a way to make money and lose weight at the same time. I promise to make another attempt for a show.

Jenn - We tried but it would be better if one of us knew Latin. What does stink is that people come up to me and ask "Why didn't you say..." It happened months ago. I beat myself up for it already and it's better that I didn't say what we were going to. Oh well. The show is almost the same (minus Regis add Meredith as well as an extra lifeline at $25,000.) Good to see you're still around, hon.

LoraLoo said...

Wow you guys really had that system down to a science. You would make a great contestant, yourself! :)

BeckEye said...

I hope he's taking you all out for steaks. On a yacht. With supermodels. :)