Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Gators Swim to the Shark Tank

We took an opportunity to go to a Shark Tank open casting call to try our luck with thousands of other hopefuls. So, we decided to go for it  as our customers had urged us to pursue this lofty endeavor. Very few make the "made for TV auditions" to pitch on camera to potential investors.
However, we actually made it past their first level of elimination and on to the "video round" for judging, but at the end of the day, we didn't get "the call".
Gator Power Gates shares their Shark Tank casting call audition experience in this blog post.
Gator Power Gates at Shark Tank
Yep, that's me at the Chicago Shark Tank casting call front door. 

The Gator Power Gate display isn't so easy to pack on an airplane so I decided to drive from our headquarters in Corpus Christi, TX to Chicago IL where the producers are having an open casting call. 
When you're from Texas and your road trip will take you out of state, you have to plan your last gas stop at Buc-ees. We enjoy their food, clean restrooms and gas prices. 
Crossing the Mississippi river marks my half way point of the drive. 
Got into Chicago Sunday late afternoon and things were very much alive. Downtown Chicago was intimidating with all the extra traffic and tight roads. My plan was to check into my hotel and then go check-out the studio to see how far is was to drive. But I learned quickly to just be glad I got a parking space and stay put.
I decide to look for a place to eat within walking distance and came across Shake Shack. I have to tell ya, that was a GREAT cheese burger. Probably the best I'd had in a long long time. 

Monday morning came very quickly as I planned to go get in line about 6:00 in the morning. When I arrived, there was a huge line that wrapped around the building and then down the street. This reminded me of the old days (early 80's) when waiting in line for Billy Joel concert tickets. When the studio opened up at 9:00am their staff walked around handing out numbered bracelets and in groups of 25 told to come back at a certain time. I was number 109 and asked to come back to the studio at 12:00 noon. 

I was able to pitch the Gator Power Gate in about 4 minutes and then I packed up and drove out of town towards Corpus Christi. How about that for an ROI? Four days of driving, wait in line for 3 hours for a possible appointment. All that for a 1 minute pitch that turned into 4 minutes. Priceless, LOL. I think Kevin O'leary would have told me I was killing money. I simply look at it as the of cost of doing business. 

I was told before my 1 minute pitch that if I made it to the video round I would hear from them within 14 days. Then about 10 days later I got an email and phone call with instructions on preparing our video package for Shark Tank with a time frame of don't call us, we'll call you if you make it. 

We obviously didn't meet the criteria for the show producers but learned that a lot of people are inventing cool things and still pursue the american dream.

One observation that might help future open casting call attendees is that you really don't need to camp out over night at the studio to pitch your product. I got there about 6:00am and there were several people that had camped out all night. I met a lady who was the #1 person in line and she had camped out for 2 days. Her enthusiasm was great though. Anyway, you could still get a bracelet to pitch your product at 11:00, the day of auditions.