The ATC Report

"In Control" - Vol. IX, No. 1

We know that TAR8 racers were as disappointed with their route as was everyone else who watched it, so BOY, is it good to have the "real" Amazing Race back. We see the race begin in a U.S. city and then immediately head overseas, and suddenly everything is right with the world once again. So while everyone spends the first few episodes sorting out "who's who", we thought we'd talk to you about the other topic that's being discussed amongst all the TARheads right now - the application process.

Anytime we meet with fans of the race, they all want to know exactly what we did to "get" selected. Honestly - we have no idea. It could have been almost anything, from the huge bribe we offered (it was in the tens of dollars), to Steve's threat to go ‘au natural' into the interview with Bert Van Munster if they didn't pick us, to Dave's incessantly singing "Why Don't We Do It In The Road" every time he saw Jon or Al during the week of finalist interviews. Even though we're not 100% certain why we got picked, we do have some advice for the rest of you on how you can improve your chances of being selected to appear on The Amazing Race. (But forget about TAR10. The calls went out weeks ago. You didn't make the cut. Get over it.)

First, you need to have a ‘hook'.


Of course, we're actually talking about the type of ‘hook' that makes your team unique. You know - something that hasn't been done before. Most of the truly great hooks have already been used - best friend lawyers, reconciling couple, shrew and guy named ‘Lenny', married gay couple, air traffic controllers, Pizza Hut manager and dork, etc. As you can see, the list of really good hooks is dwindling quickly, but there are a few left. For instance, you could try:

  • Rattlesnake milker and Somolian warlord
  • Lesbian trapped in a man's body and Gay male trapped in a woman's body
  • Baby seal hunter and Greenpeace activist
  • Zach and ANYONE else
  • Dating 15! years, virgins
  • Hooker and Vice-cop
  • Former member of 1960's SDS and Woodstock attendee (aka "Republicans")
  • Canadians...scratch that, not eligible
  • Escaped convict and Warden's wife

Unfortunately that's about it, so unless you fit one of these profiles you must rely on your written application and videotape to catch the casting agent's eye. If you find yourself in the latter position, forget it - you won't be making the cut. Perhaps you should go back and review the list again. Are you sure you don't fit one of the new ‘hooks'? Why not look at the blonde in the picture again. Do you look a lot like her? Then get in touch with Steve & Dave right away! We want to help you prepare your...uhhh..."video".

So, you've come up with your **NEW & NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE** hook, and you've begun to fill out your applications. The biggest hint we can give you in this area is to ignore everything but the spot where you fill in your phone number. Even e-mail addresses are a waste of time as most networks still have dial-up service and the casting agents have no patience. If you feel it's necessary to fill in the rest of the blanks, do so with cleverness. Ink and pencil are boring and crayon has been done, but there are plenty of liquids that make for good writing. Use your imagination.
Now you're about to shoot your video, and you have the absolute perfect idea that the casting folks have never seen before, right? Wrong.
Now you're about to shoot your video, and you have the absolute perfect idea that the casting folks have never seen before, right? Wrong. They've seen it all. Really. Nudity? Been done thousands of times. Funny clothing/hats/other props? Seen it on every third video. Shots of you doing something sick or disgusting? Been done. Fake scenes from the race? Not original, guaranteed loser. Actual snuff film? They've got cartons of them.

Just be yourselves. Show them who you really are. Of course that might be a double-edged sword, because if you're really boring you probably won't make it on until CBS decides to do another TAR: Family Edition. By all means, you really should hire a mainstream director. And for God's sake, NOT from television! Those guys are hacks. It is of utmost importance that you have topnotch quality production values in your video. Can't afford several million dollars for this? Don't fret; there are still several options...(see above under what to do if you resemble the blonde in the photo).

At last everything is done, you've mailed your application off, and now you're waiting for the telephone to ring. Hey, wait a minute...did you follow all of the silly directions? (Directions such as printing the city number on the envelope, or writing your ‘relationship' on the video.) No? Too bad, no call for you. Did you read all the rules and discover where to get the "secret" form that you have to fill out and include in your package? No? Well, there's always next season.

Assuming you have filled out everything properly and got it all submitted by the deadline, you're now sitting by the telephone and waiting. When will that call come?

For 99% of the teams that apply the answer is easy: never. (Hey, we hate to be harsh, but even we were on the receiving end of one of those non-calls once.) For that miniscule portion of the applicants who will get called, relax. You need to wait until the application deadline passes before you should expect a call. If today is the first of the month and the deadline isn't until the 30th of NEXT month, odds are pretty good that you shouldn't be expecting a call until sometime after next month.


Finally the deadline passes, gets extended, and eventually passes again. One day the telephone answer on the first ring and it's...

...your mother, wanting to know when you will be coming over as she hasn't seen you in ages and besides which you promised to take her to Sears for the big white sale and...

You beg off with a few feeble excuses and another promise to get her to Sears soon. As you hang up the telephone you realize that you've been talking for over 2 minutes!!! What if the race called while you were on the phone and decided to skip you since you didn't answer??? After all, it's possible that your call waiting failed at the crucial instant they tried to connect...

Firstly, you're way too obsessive to be on the race. Secondly, if they want you, they'll call back - unless maybe you were "on the bubble" and they were going down the list, calling all the "bubble-ites" until five of them answered, which means you just got passed by. (If you believe that's possible, refer again to the first sentence of this paragraph.)

The only way to really determine when the calls have been made is to read every message board you can find. Then, exactly one week after everyone says the show has been cast you will receive a phone call from a casting grunt (assuming you are amongst the phenomenally lucky 1%). You MUST hang up on this person as soon as they identify themselves! This will make a great first impression on them, as they will think you are wacky, impetuous, and just the kind of person they are looking for! If they call back...

You can find out what to do in our next installment of this series, which we honestly haven't even begun to start writing yet. Or you could just wait until we publish the whole series as our guaranteed bestseller, "Shiiit, Honey, I Could Do That A Whole Lot Better Than Them Jerkwads (Steve and Dave's Guide To Finishing 8th On National TV)". Because you are a registered member of Tarflies we will give you 20% off the cover price, or autograph the book - your choice! (You are registered, aren't you? The weekly on-line coupons alone are worth the time it takes to register, and you kinda get used to the additional Spam.)