The Price is Right: senior interns, learns TV trade on game show
Senior business/communication and international studies major Taylor Wallace traded Augustana’s snowy campus for the star-lined sidewalks of Hollywood in January, working as an intern for “The Price is Right.” New to Los Angeles and to the world of television, Wallace found the internship through 2005 Augustana alumna Lauren Siefer who works full-time for the production. After being privy to the behind-the-scenes bustle of one of America’s most popular game shows, Wallace now shares her experience.
Q: Had you thought of working for a game show before?
A: No, never. When I was younger, I wanted to be an anchor on the “Today Show,” so I’ve always had that desire to kind of be in the film or TV industry, but I never thought this would happen. I never watched “The Price is Right” before. I’d seen a few episodes, but I wasn’t a religious watcher.
Q: What did you do as an intern?
A: I worked in the fulfillment department. Basically, that’s the department that gives everybody their prizes, so we took everybody to this room after they had won and we said, “Okay, here are the hard facts: you actually have to pay taxes on these things.” So we were kind of the bad guys. Then I got to walk the line with Stan Blits, and he’s super famous in the industry. He’s the one who interviews every single contestant before every single show. I also got to be in the audience for one of the shows, so I got to be on TV like 15 times. And then I got to sit in the production booth and see how it all goes down. It was crazy.
Q: What does “walk the line” mean?
A: Basically you walk with Stan and he asks each person in the audience a few questions. Then somebody is there to jot down these code words he has and that’s how they choose these contestants. So everybody thinks that it’s random, but it’s not.
Q: What were the contestants like?
A: Well if they’re smart, they are all upbeat because, typically, that shows initiative. You don’t want to choose the contestant that’s like “Oh, hi…” So all the contestants were really high energy, some were a little bit much where it was like, “Okay, buddy, just chill.” But it was a lot of fun. They all were just super happy to be there. I don’t think I met a single person that was like, “Yeah, I got dragged here by so and so.” Everyone had these fun costumes and outfits with stuff related to the show, too. So that was fun.
Q: Favorite aspect of working on the show?
A: The behind-the-scenes stuff. I really liked walking the line with Stan. I think his character was so charismatic and infectious. I really enjoyed it. And working in the production booth and seeing how it all comes together was just so fascinating.
Q: Where in California did you live, and what was it like navigating L.A. by yourself?
A: I lived in Burbank. My living situation was crazy. I lived with one of my aunt’s friends, and I ended up having to uber every single day. But it wasn’t too challenging, honestly, because I studied abroad in Rome all by myself and knew nobody going into that either, so it wasn’t too intimidating. It was kind of fun getting to explore the city all by myself and doing whatever I wanted.
Q: How has this experience shaped you?
A: Well, first of all, it looks phenomenal on a resume. In addition to that, I met such great people during my internship and made friends with so many people, and now I have those contacts for the future, so I think that networking is a really important aspect of everything, having those people in California if I ever want to go back. It’s really nice. And then, it just shows how I can persevere through anything, really. Going somewhere where I’ve never been before, all by myself and having to navigate all by myself. It’s something that I think everybody should do. It gets you out of your comfort zone and forces you to grow up.
Q: If you were a contestant on “The Price is Right” and won the final showcase, what would you want to win?
A: Oh gosh, a trip for sure, somewhere outside of the United States Maybe Bora Bora or Fiji. Somewhere tropical, where it doesn’t snow. A car, too, but I’d want to choose my own car, because it depends what the show has on the lot at that time. Some of the cars are manual transmission, but I would want an automatic.