An Average Inventor's Experiences at American Inventor Auditions for Season 2 (2007)

Are your curious about what the auditions for American Inventor reality television show are really like?

An Average Inventor posted the following in the forums discussing the auditions for American Inventor. The discussion thread for our forums on the auditions are at

I thought is was a particularly good post and wanted to share it witth those interested in reading about the inner workings of a reality television show in general and the American Inventor television show in particular.

Here's An Average Inventor's posting from this forum discussion:

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My girlfriend and I arrived at 5:10am where we taxied over from our hotel about a mile away. We were let off near the entrance to the parking but were told to wait across the street until 6 when they would open things up. At about 5:45 they decided to start letting people into the front doors and needless to say people starting running and it was a bit chaotic. My girlfriend and I where one of the first 30 there but after people jockying for position and running (we were just walking fast) we ended up with about 50 in front of us and then as we arrived at the end of navy pier they told us there weren't ready for us. So they told us to try to stay in line and go back out the door we came. Well once they led us through another door to the parking garage there were already 100 to 150 odd people lined up in front of us so we just got in line behind them. There were a lot of people whining and bickering because of the unfairness of the situation but I figured "at least we are inside"

At about 7:30ish the producers though it was a good idea to transport us outside so they could get a good picture of the thousands that were lining up along navy pier. The forecast was for rain and possibly thunderstorms so I wasn't too excited we were being moved. Anyway they moved us out and made us stand in a gigantic line and now instead of about 150 there were about 200 in front of us. It was cold and windy and one of the assistant producers came up and was nonchelantly asking us where we were from. I said "Cleveland, Oh" and others said Chicago, NY, IN ect. and she moved on down the line. People around me though nothing of this but I realized that she was looking for someone to say Australia or some other far away trek. I joked with a nice lady near us about saying she was from Alaska (even though she was from Chicago) since she hadn't been asked by the lady when she passed. Well about 3 minutes later the lady came back our way and asked the nice lady I had joked with about where she came from and she blurted out "Alaska". One flick of the wrist and 10 seconds later there was an entire camera crew awaiting her story. The lady was shocked and quickly said she was just joking and needless to say the assistant producer wasn't pleased, and left as quickly as she had come.

It rained and got much colder and they only were taking in 10 at a time. All the while they where trying to get good video from the crowd while we were freezing and trying to keep our inventions for getting soaked and ruined. They didn't provide any shelter or help for anyone and they stopped from time to time to go inside and warm up while we were forced to freeze in the rain outside and jump through hoops at their cue. Several time camera's came but I faced the other way since I wasn't there to be a joke.

Finally at about 1:30pm we made it inside. We then had someone check over our paperwork and we proceeded through the security checkpoint. after going through there I was assigned a letter "A" and told to go to the first holding room where I would be called when it was time to see my first judge. Shortly after I was taken to another room where other "A's" awaited their chance to see their first round judge.

My first round judge was a blond haired lady in her late 20's or early 30's and she was smiling when I came in. There wasn't much in the space other than a chair and a camera. She asked me about myself some and they a little about my invention but I think it was just about me she was interested in finding out for consideration. She gave me a yes and was surprised I showed no emotion. She said "aren't you excited?" I said yes but it's just the first round. She was dissapointed I could see that I wasn't jumping up and down. They attached a blue card on to my sheet and let me to another line to get my picture taken with my number and then with my invention. After that they led me to another holding room.

The 2nd round holding room had a better view and had a few fresh bottled water tanks and cups to drink from. There were only about 12 people in this room and I could see no one that was anywhere near me in line that made it past the first round. It was about 2:30pm when I reached this point and I was informed that the 2nd round judge had just taken his 30 min lunch break. So my gilfriend and I went looking for food and had walked more than a mile and couldn't find anywhere to buy it so we settled for the pop tarts we had left in my backpack.

After the lunch break we looked outside and could see the line had not diminished as it was clearly still all along the outside of navy pier. I was then taken to a series of chairs where one at a time the next inventor in line would be cued by a flashing white light when it was ok for them to enter the 2nd round judges booth to get interviewed.

I was told by the staff several times that the second judge is looking for TV personalities. They said act extremely animated and energetic as he is looking for people he wanted to show on TV and someone that people will want to watch. Anyway I'm not usually super animated and I was dead tired after only having 2 hours of sleep. Never the less I tried my best and put on a big smile and gave it a shot. The executive producer seemed only interested in what I do for a living and where I'm from and what my story was. I had no sob story or pathetic job to speak of so I was honest and answered truthfully and pretty much that was it. He said they were going to have to say NO at this time and he wished me the best of luck and told me to continue pursuing my invention and not give up.

It was about 4pm and I was in shock. I though for sure I would at least make it to the 3rd round (which I would have needed to wait 2 days more in Chicago) But alas my American Inventor dreams were crushed and I was free to follow other avenues.

Sorry for the lengthy post but I have been lurking on here for weeks approaching the audition hoping to find some good details and most posts were short and uninformative. So I hope I shed some light on the whole first day of American Inventor 2 auditions.

Your Average Inventor

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The discussions in the forums about the auditions for American Inventor are here

Anyone else have a story to share? Here or in the forums?

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Apr 5, 2007
by Boom Man (not verified)

Nearly Real Product

I've heard some members post experiences relating that AI is not looking for products that are "Ready to go on to the shelf."  But in the videos it shows the advancing finalists such as the guy with the redneck clothing line and the guy who invented the portable inflatable play pen and looks like their product is already working properly and finished.

My product is technically still a prototype I think, but I'd say at least about 95% real product.    However, it could use some additional accessories  anyways.

My question to anyone who is kind enough to respond is: 

1. If they really, really like your product, even if they would prefer an invention that needs work, if your product is really good and will sell....  ((Which is what the number 1 requirement in the rules was... (It must be something that can be mass produced and sold in stores.)  well then, would they really not want you to advance...?


2.  If so, would they just advance you to use you, but then not give America a chance to vote for your product..?   (In other words, perhaps advance you to the top 12, but drop you before you get to the top 6...?)

Apr 5, 2007
by Michelle
Michelle's picture

Hi Boom Man: I think you may

Hi Boom Man:

I think you may want to post this in the forums as the active discussions are ongoing there.