Patrick Alog, a substitute teacher from Lakewood, CA, recalls his personal experience on The Pyramid and what it was like to be a contestant on the new GSN series. Patrick’s Pyramid episode aired last week on September 12 on GSN. If you haven’t seen it yet, you will more than likely get an opportunity to see the encore presentation during the upcoming weekend. Additionally, Patrick gives some helpful hints and tips on how you can successfully become a contestant on the show. So, if you’re interested in becoming a Pyramid contestant, should GSN renew the series, you might want to check out this interview. Enjoy!
Dexter Johnson: Tell me about yourself.
Patrick Alog: I’m in my late 20’s, I’m a substitute teacher/college sportscaster, and I’m hoping to land in the journalism field somewhere in general. In my spare time, I do a lot of reading, I watch a lot of sports, and I am a Pyramid fan. I’m one of the administrators of “The $100,000 Pyramid” Facebook fan page.
DJ: That’s terrific. And you said that you were a substitute teacher?
DJ: Did you incorporate elements from The Pyramid game into your lesson plans with your students?
PA: Not really, because as a sub, I just follow the lesson plans. However, I do like to play games with them in terms of I have this book of questions and I just ask them questions. If I was a “real teacher”, I may.
DJ: Now you have already answered this question earlier, but were you a fan of the show when Dick Clark was hosting it?
PA: With Dick Clark, oh yeah.
DJ: Was this your first time attending a game show taping, whether you were a contestant or a member of the studio audience?
PA: No, I’ve seen a couple of game shows before. I know (What was that shopping show?) Shop ‘Til You Drop in Universal Studios and Family Challenge in Universal Studios.
DJ: What was that [experience] like?
PA: At that time I wasn’t that big game show fan, but I knew what was happening. So, it was pretty fun.
DJ: That’s pretty cool! That sounds like a lot of fun. Now, upon applying to be a contestant on The Pyramid, did you think that you were going to be one of the lucky selected applicants?
PA: To be honest, I thought maybe, like 50:50.
DJ: What did you do to train and prepare for the show?
PA: Pretty much, I would get a couple of my friends and we would watch the show and use that as a basis to try to practice guessing and giving clues. I pretty much watch old clips on YouTube.
DJ: Take me through a day as a contestant on The Pyramid from the moment you first arrived on the set.
PA: Oh, I’m pretty worried about how much I can say. We get there very early. We bring about three different sets of clothing and the costume people are telling us which one we should wear. We are sequestered; pretty much no cell phone at all. We are [briefed] the rules and [briefed about] the legal stuff and pretty much, there was a lot of practicing going on, and depending on what taping you are at on the show, we are also audience people. But, they do give you ample time to practice.
DJ: How long was each taping for each episode?
PA: It depends on how well the show went. One show, there was a discrepancy and what happened was during a category, the screen went out. So, they re-fixed the screen and there was like a one-hour delay in between games. However, if games went smoothly, tapings would last 30-40 minutes. So,not too long.
DJ: While you were on the show, were you nervous at all?
PA: To be honest, no. I was actually wasn’t nervous when the lights came on and it was played, I actually didn’t feel nervous. Now looking back on it, maybe I should have felt a little more nervous.
DJ: While I was watching your episode, you didn’t seem like you were shaken at all that you were about to present yourself in front of an audience of hundreds of thousands of viewers.
PA: Well, I think you’re correct on that. I think I just got some “bad words” to use, and to be honest, I have not seen the show. I don’t know when I’m going to see the show. So, I don’t even know exactly the specifics. Thinking of how bad I did, I sort of don’t want to watch the show yet. I think once I passed the one, it’s like the train started to fall off.
DJ: But I did see you use some good strategy, in terms of passing on some of the clues that you didn’t know instantly because you do only have 30 seconds at get all of those [words] in time.
PA: Yeah, I mean those 30 seconds go by quick! But, I actually didn’t feel nervous. Maybe next time I gain some experience, I should feel a little more nervous.
DJ: Is the game more difficult to play in the studio rather than playing at home?
PA: Oh, most definitely. I think playing at home, you can’t really create the pressure you feel. It’s like playing basketball or, you know, whatever; it’s not the same. You can make the free throw; the free throw looks the same, but when you’re in action on the court (or in the studio with the game), it’s totally different. You don’t even get to play with screen [at home]. The first time I used the screen was [during] gameplay.
DJ: What did you use previously? Did you just use note cards when you were practicing with your friends?
PA: Yeah, pretty much. But it’s still not the same.
DJ: What was it like to meet the celebrities and host Mike Richards?
PA: To be honest, the only times you really got to interact with them was during the game. However, I did have a nice little talk with Chandra [Wilson] and Jai [Rodriguez] after each round. When I felt bad because I didn’t make it and I didn’t win any money, Chandra was like “Oh, you played well”, and same thing with Jai: “You did all right; you played well; you did as well as you could”. Mike said the same thing: “You played all right”. With Mike, the only interaction I had was at the beginning of the episode when we made that joke about he looking like Brad Pitt and me looking like Tom Cruise, or something. I forgot who said what, but that’s pretty much the only interaction we’ve had.
DJ: If you could pair up with any expert Pyramid celebrity player from the past versions, who would you choose as your dream teammate?
PA: Probably Henry Polic II and I like Charlie Siebert. Those are the ones who I would have felt comfortable with.
DJ: Do you think the producers and directors did a good job reviving Pyramid?
PA: I think it’s as good of a revival as I’ve seen in a game show, probably since maybe (I’m trying to think of other game show revivals of recent past) Price Is Right when it was revived under Bob Barker a long time ago. In terms of the last 15 years of game shows that have been revived, this might be the best revival.
DJ: Now that I think about it, I do agree with you on that. They did a very good job on putting this show together.
PA: It’s as good of a format, as you can see. I think they improved on it a lot in terms of they made each round so important. Even if you know you’re not going win the round, you can still win $500. And, they made the gameplay even more important in terms of increasing your pot.
DJ: Right, and I do like the touch that GSN put on [The Pyramid].
PA: Me too. I think that it is an incredible format.
DJ: Although you didn’t win any money (which is unfortunate and I was heartbroken as much as you were) did you have fun on the show?
PA: I had a good time. I was a little disheartened at first though, but I had a good time. I haven’t seen the episode, but it does seem like I wasn’t generally happy for the person that won $10,000. At least I got to experience seeing someone win $10,000 on my show.
DJ: If you could do it all again, would you?
PA: Oh, yes! (laughs) I’m hoping there’s going to be some day where they bring back the bad contestants (but I don’t think so). I think once you’re on the show, you pretty much can’t be on the show again. I’m just hoping for the chance to be on another game show to redeem myself.
DJ: What other game shows would you want to be on?
PA: Price Is Right; that’s one of them. I tried out for Jeopardy!, but I wasn’t smart enough. Probably not Wheel of Fortune because I actually don’t do well on word games. Price Is Right is definitely one. I’d love [to be on] a sports game show. I actually was on one. Here in the West Coast, we have this show called The Challenge, which is after Sunday Night Football, and about four or five years ago, we used to have in-studio contestants and I won like a couple of nice prizes there. But, I would probably like to be on a sports-themed game show, Price Is Right; I would have loved to have been on Jeopardy!; those shows, pretty much.
DJ: Now that you have played on the show, what advice would you give to future Pyramid contestants?
PA: I know I didn’t do well on the show enough, but I would pretty much say is just practice. Practice, practice, practice! In terms of getting the rhythm of the clues and the timing and such, practice, practice, practice. That’s pretty much my advice. My advice to getting on the show: You have to have a ton of personality. You can’t be boring! To be honest, the way I think I went on the show — why I got selected because there was this one game played with another potential contestant during the tryout round when I was like ‘super-active’. So, you have to have a lot of personality. But if you’re gameplay is really good and you’re really active during gameplay during your audition rounds, you should be able to make it even if your personality is not up to par as others.
DJ: So basically, just have enough energy, but not too much to where it gets annoying and not [too little] to where you’re monotone.
PA: Yeah. Actually, to be honest, I don’t think they found mine to be annoying. But that’s just me. Then again, I’ve only been one legit game show, which is Pyramid. I’m hearing some of these other contestants and they’ve been on multiple game shows in past.
DJ: Well, I hope your next game show appearance will go much better and smoother.
PA: I hope so too! (laughs) I definitely hope so too.