New Travel Channel Star?
Last weekend, I visited the Travel Channel booth at the LA Travel & Adventure Show. I am still putting together my recap, but one of the highlights was a flyer touting auditions for the next Travel Channel star! Move over Samantha Brown and Andrew Zimmern. Say hello to Buck Inspire!
Throughout the day, I played tug o war with my lizard brain. “Don’t be stupid. Pick up your son, go home, have dinner, and put your son to bed! Do you really think you have what it takes to be the next Travel Channel star? Are you funny like Samantha Brown? Are you as knowledgeable as Rick Steves? Are you passionate like Andrew Zimmern? Who do you think you are? Are you kidding me?”
I am now acting against the lizard brain and tearing down my comfort zone. Although I would be dealing with rush hour traffic and possibly thousands of super enthusiastic travel lovers, I did what I had to do.
Luckily for me, going south on the 405 was going away from traffic. I got to the auditions in no time. I didn’t see thousands of people like American Idol so I was encouraged to follow through. After a basic registration process, I was herded into the studio’s creative office which doubled as our waiting room. The cattle call was under way.
Right off the bat, my competition sized me up. Since I had my son with me, I overheard, “There’s another one going for the family angle.” Her associate added, “Kind of makes you want to have kids.” I eyed my competition and a majority of them were younger, free spirited travel types. I felt a little out of my element, but I convinced myself that this might actually make me stand out. Who would expect a traditional 9 to 5 company man with a young toddler to gut out the audition process?
I had two minutes of air time to free flow. Each person would stand in front of a green screen with their favorite travel backdrop. I chose a European city scene as I was going to talk about some of my favorite Paris destinations. I had an angle that I am not your typical travel host, but it got totally lost by nerves. Although there were only 30 people in front of me, I waited for about 3 hours. I half went over my lines and angles and half entertained my son. It was challenging, but in a way it kept my mind busy from psyching myself out.
I observed some of my fellow competitors and they were all very serious. Buried in notes and reciting their lines. I took a more light hearted approach which kept me calm. I convinced myself this was more of an opportunity to challenge and improve myself than a life changing audition.
When they called my number I was relieved as my son was getting very cranky. The director, assistant, and cameraman were very welcoming. But once I was in front of the camera, anxiety did creep up. Thankfully my son was as good as can be sitting on a stool beside the camera.
I have a terrible habit of shifting my eyes and flapping my hands uncontrollably when I get nervous while speaking. I focused almost all my energy on correcting these ticks. For the most part, my eye contact was dead on the camera. I was confident, had good posture, and kept my hands centered. I did use them sparingly to stress some points. But for the most part, I said bye bye to Buck the birdie.
Things To Improve
Right as I started, I flubbed my line. I shook it off and did a take two. My nerves made me flub two other descriptions. I was very serious as I was somehow going for the professional expert approach. I need to have more fun and cut loose. I had an additional angle about wanting to inspire young parents to continue to travel. But I totally ran out of time.
Strong Personal Finish
I did loosen up as I shared my travel inspiration. He was my European trip tour guide. He was British, reminded me of George Hamilton and just had a zest for life. He made my trip that much more fun and memorable. Finally, I shared my travel specialty. I racked my head a bit as I am not much of a foodie, history buff, or art lover. I do have a thing for languages. I shared my favorite story from Paris. A cafe owner refused to sell us a chocolate croissant unless we ordered in French. Every person who hears this story reacts the same way. You met and confirmed the fact that French people are really rude. I empathized and actually defended him. Taking a step back, how would you like it if you owned a cafe and the tourist did not attempt to order in your native tongue? How would you feel? I ended with a flurry as I said language is the key to connecting with another person, another life, and another world. That is why everyone should learn another language. Thank you.
The staff was very encouraging and said “Nice job“. I’m sure they say that to everyone, but it was nice to get the pats on the back. If you are going to an audition, here’s some simple advice. Be yourself. You can try and act like someone else, but it won’t come off natural and will be difficult to sustain. At the end of the day, they want you and not a facade. Have fun. You will have to deal with your nerves while waiting a long time. Why not be positive and have fun with it? My music teacher once said, “Ride the rush!” I couldn’t agree more. Focus on improving yourself rather than the grand prize. This is a terrific way to calm your anxieties. If you are strategically focusing on improving your weak points, you won’t have any time to worry about missing out on your big break. I’m not holding my breath, but I am glad that I did what I had to do. If Travel Channel comes a calling, I’ll tear down my comfort zone again. Who knows where it will take me, but isn’t that what makes life worth living?
For more information on the Travel Channel Star auditions, visit Travel Channel Star Auditions in Santa Monica.