An edge for the ambitious

`Apprentice' tryout comes to Towson

July 14, 2005|By Erica Kritt | Erica Kritt,SUN STAFF

Wanted: Successful, savvy, ambitious, manipulative, photogenic people who are interested in grabbing their 15 minutes - or more - of fame.

Preferred candidates may include Towson University alumni and personnel.

Indeed, the producers of NBC's The Apprentice will hold an open casting call on Saturday for Baltimore-area residents who want to go head-to-head with Donald Trump during his show's fifth season. Towson folk, however, are invited to audition this afternoon.

Open casting calls for The Apprentice have been held throughout the nation, drawing thousands of people. But the show's producers typically also have held smaller auditions on college campuses.

The aim is to attract an elite group of TV hopefuls, says Scott Salyers, the show's cast producer. "You get the more exclusive, busy people," he says. "Forty-hour workweeks are like vacations to them."

Salyers and his colleagues are willing to be flexible if that's what it takes to attract the best possible group of auditioners.

"Alumni Days are for very busy people," Salyers says. Auditioners on these days face less competition and get more exposure and "face time" with the producers. "This is like the VIP treatment."

Towson administrators were delighted when asked if they wanted their university to participate. "I invited them to Towson's campus," says Lori Armstrong, associate vice president for alumni relations. Towson staff set up the auditions and informed the alumni via e-mail.

Auditioners are asked to read and sign a seven-page application (which can be downloaded from nbc.com) that consists mostly of rules. Applicants must be willing to undergo psychological and physical tests, must not run for a public office until six months after the broadcast of any episode in which they appear and must be willing to travel and reside at undisclosed locations for up to eight weeks.

There are also a few questions to answer, including: "Why are you successful in business?" and "Tell us something embarrassing about yourself."

At the tryouts, wannabe apprentices are interviewed in groups. "At the last auditions, we asked, `Bush vs. Kerry'? or how they felt about the war in Iraq," Salyers says.

Those who make the first cut are called back for more auditions in Baltimore. A third round of auditions will be held in Los Angeles before the final 18 participants are chosen. "We don't have to look for personalities," Salyers says.

"With these kinds of people, business is their life and they will do anything. They drive, motivate and manipulate each other."

Casting call

What: Private audition for The Apprentice

Where: Burkshire Marriott Conference Hotel, 10 W. Burke Ave., Towson

When: Today 3 p.m.-5 p.m.

Information: 410-704-2234 or www.tow son.edu

What: Open audition for The Apprentice

Where: M&T Bank Pavilion at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, 12 N. Eutaw St.

When: Saturday. Wristbands distributed at 9 a.m., interviews begin at 10 a.m.

Information: www.nbc.com/nbc/The_Apprentice_3/apply_now.shtml

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