Students flock to MTV cast auditions

Erin Madsen

A five-hour drive from Vermillion, S. D., brought Jesse Zilge to his friend’s University dorm room floor.
There he tried to forget the tests and papers he had abandoned, he said, for his one lucky chance to “be lazy and drink beer,” courtesy of MTV in New York City.
The University of South Dakota-Vermillion sophomore was one of more than 600 taking part in the casting on Tuesday for the 2001 series of MTV’s “The Real World” and “Road Rules” that was held at Grandma’s Saloon & Grill on the West Bank.
Bunim/Murray Productions, Inc. based in Van Nuys, Calif., welcomed people ages 18 to 24 to audition for the 10th series of both shows.
Preference of the shows was not an option for the MTV hopefuls, but many had their choice in hand.
College of Liberal Arts senior Dan Kudanovych said he wants to be chosen for “The Real World” in New York City, where he will get the chance to live and work with six strangers for five months.
“There is not a person on this planet I cannot get along with,” he said, while conversely describing himself as having an “explosive personality … prone to conflict.”
The less publicized “Road Rules,” which challenges six strangers to complete missions around the world for a generous reward, drew interest from others.
Steve Borchard, a Mesaba airline employee, favors the show with the international adventure.
“My gig is traveling, and that’s what they do, and it’s a good way to see the country and have it documented,” said Borchard.
Radio station Zone 105 provided music at Grandma’s for the line of prospective cast members waiting outside for their interviews.
The Grandma’s location and Zone 105 support were sought after by Bunim/Murray, said Grandma’s general manager Tony Boen. “It just fell into our lap,” he said.
After learning that the first casting call in Detroit attracted more than 1,700 people, Boen took no chances in protection. He called police Monday evening asking for surveillance of the bar to make sure no one was sleeping outside the doors.
Apparently that call did not keep away 18-year-old Dan Quaile. The 2000 graduate of Spring Valley High School perched himself at Grandma’s doors at 10 p.m. Monday. Quaile said he “thought there would be a big crowd.”
Doors opened for the crowd at 10 a.m. on Tuesday.
Inside Grandma’s, applicants filled out two forms. One called for various personal information including the person’s biggest fear, their most embarrassing moment and acting experience. The other was a media and legal release form.
Along with their completed forms, applicants were ushered to the third floor of the bar where they waited for their interviews.
Two casting directors from Bunim/Murray split the crowd into groups of ten and interviewed each group collectively. All applicants were encouraged to express their views on topics that ranged from virginity to interracial dating.
Marlon Sanders, casting director for Bunim/Murray, said that during these sessions he looks for a person with “an outgoing, strong personality, who just can’t help being themselves.”
Sanders said television producers do not want shy people because they blend into the background.
He also encouraged MTV hopefuls to send a ten-minute tape of themselves talking about whatever they choose. “Here (at the casting call), time is limited. The video allows their full personality to come out and I am focusing on them,” he said.
For those who appealed to the casting directors on Tuesday, call-backs will be given by Sunday, Oct. 8.
Ellisa Pearson, a Carlson School of Management senior, is not going to worry about being one of the chosen 13 people in MTV’s documentaries.
Pearson went to Grandma’s for “pure enjoyment” she said. “You don’t come expecting to get chosen.”
Erin Madsen welcomes comments at [email protected]