My Shark Tank Audition

April 15, 2016

On March 3, 2016, I took The SnarfScarf® to the Miami Convention Center to attend the open call by ABC's hit show, The Shark Tank. If you've never seen the show, it's where entrepreneurs pitch their idea or product or service to a panel of millionaire and billionaire investors. Some make deals and some get eaten alive by the "sharks." Some entrepreneurs try to get on the show just for the exposure - it's called the "Shark Tank effect." That is, the exposure to millions of viewers alone is enough to propel the business to the next level. I'd never take this approach because the experience and connections these sharks have is priceless.

Even though ABC's website advises you not to line up until 9am, everyone knows better and starts lining up hours beforehand. So here's how they do it: the show's crew comes outside and addresses the long line and hands out wristbands in groups of 50 or so.

Group one is taken inside immediately, group two at 10am, etc. I was instructed to line up again at 11am so I took that time to chill out at Starbucks and rehearse my pitch for the 300th time. My group was an interesting bunch - everything from food to pest control. We were ushered inside the convention center and instructed to sit in a tightly-packed bunch of chairs facing 4 booths, a casting member waiting to be impressed in each booth. Then came the best part of the experience - Scott, the casting director. He came out and addressed my group with the "I'm-from-LA-and-don't-give-a-hoot" attitude that one might expect. What I wasn't expecting was his sense of humor. He calmed my nerves by busting deadpan jokes that were made at our expense (but it was funny, not offensive). It was at this point that he made clear that his team "really doesn't care" (exact words) about our products and services. If we weren't there to WOW them with our personalities, then what were we doing there? This is tv after all, people. 

From this point, I waited about another hour for my turn. Four people pitched to four individual crew members at once. We were positioned in the corner of a very busy small business convention so there was a ton of background noise behind us. I watched the faces of the crew very intently. At times some looked like they'd rather be getting a root canal, and at some points, they looked genuinely interested, like when my new friend from Thistle and Poppy was doing her pitch. Judging by the crew member's face, she killed it!  

When it was my turn, I took a deep breath and did my best. She asked one question, took a SnarfScarf® sample for her daughter, and I turned around and left. Scott told us that IF we get a call back, it would happen about two weeks later. I never got a call, but I really wasn't expecting one, to be honest. About 45,000 entrepreneurs audition each season and the show films only 180!!! It is very competitive, but the experience was worth it. As soon as I walked away, I already knew what I'd do differently next time. If you're afraid of doing a hard thing, don't just sit around paralyzed by that fear, go do that hard thing, it's the ONLY way to conquer the fear.




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