Columns

2002.09.18 Look out, Hollywood (or downtown Morenci)

on . Posted in Nowhere Road

BY Rich Foley

I suppose I’m not the only one who gets tired of the same old spam showing up on my email. After all, how many credit cards can one person get? How many international drivers licenses does one person need? How many different naked pictures of Britney Spears could possibly exist?

That’s why I was curious when I recently got a message with the subject line of “Casting Call for Reality TV’s Fastest New Show!” At least curious enough to open the email, which I seldom do with spam.

It turns out some big Hollywood studio I never heard of is casting “the Hot new Reality TV show RALLY RACER with a diverse cast of characters. We are looking for you to possibly fill the role of a RACECAR DRIVER!”

OK, I wouldn’t really be a race car driver, I’d just play one on TV. But, I’d be playing one in “…thirteen action-packed episodes featuring sixteen everyday people as they are catapulted into the adrenaline-filled world of professional RallyGP racing where camaraderie, conflict and competition create the most dramatic experience of today’s reality television viewing.”

Wait a minute, I have to be catapulted?

I’m also told that while on location, I will experience “six weeks of pure adrenaline and excitement.” There’s the word “adrenaline” again. I’m starting to get excited just thinking about it.

Then there’s the three-week contestant “Boot Camp,” three weeks in which “every minute of your day is structured and designed to turn you into a well-oiled driving and racing machine.” Well-oiled? With what?

Of course, the best part is that I will “experience the life of a professional race car driver even down to the catered meals, massages, personal trainers and superstar treatment.” Yeah, I think I might be able to get used to that.

There are a few details here that concern me, however. For example, they’re not very clear on when the show will actually air, or on what network, if any.

They don’t want to tell where the series will be shot either, only that the location will be “hot and dusty.” That makes me think that downtown Morenci is a possibility for the location.

Then, there’s the task of filling out the online “casting application.” They want to know, among other information, my hair length, skin tone and favorite musician, book, food and drink.

I’m also supposed to describe my lifestyle, capability of running and jogging, hand/eye coordination and smoking and drinking habits.

A warning states that “anyone found to have misinformed the casting officials will be removed from the show.” Of course, if they are really looking for a “diverse cast of characters,” then telling the truth might give a person a better chance of being selected than everyone submitting answers they think the casting people are looking for.

Then there’s the matter of the casting application fee. That’s where this starts to look like all the other spam I receive. To “process” my e-casting application, I must pay a fee of $11.95, payable by credit card, or an online check for $14.95. The fee can only be paid online and is nonrefundable.

It’s explained that the fee “helps with the cost of creating, managing and processing the vast number of applicants.” Of course, the more applicants, the more fees they collect, but they word it so it sounds like a bad thing.

Only a cynic would think the show is just an excuse to collect a few million application fees from wannabe television stars. OK, so call me a cynic.

I decided for sure to forego this opportunity when I stumbled across a paragraph that, despite their secrecy, identified the show as taking place in the Sahara.

After all, if I were going to drive overseas, I’d need one of those international drivers licenses and that’s just one spam scam too many.

    – Sept. 18, 2002 

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