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USF students audition to be "MADE"

Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 01:01

For some, the childhood message of “You can become anything you want when you grow up,” resonated more strongly than with others, and now those few have the opportunity to act on it.

The popular MTV self-improvement reality show “MADE” held auditions in the Communications and Information Sciences (CIS) building Tuesday in hopes of finding interesting subjects for their 14th season. Students came from across campus and from all majors in the hopes of
being made into the brightest, fastest, most famous and best.

Kayla Whitten, a junior majoring in advertising and studio arts, was sitting in one of the old, wooden waiting room chairs outside of the
conference room where an interview was in progress, anxiously holding her casting call questionnaire. Her neat handwriting under the
bold-faced, typed questions gave hints to what her audition tape would consist of.

“I’m just trying to become more professional,” she said. “I’m not really sure what to do when it comes to trying to achieve my goals on my own.”

Whitten said she was being held back from her dreams by her own perception of herself — an issue many college students face daily.

“I’m thankful that I have this opportunity, and even though I’m self-conscious, I’m willing to be watched because it would benefit me,” said Whitten.

By 4 p.m., 23 students had interviewed with “MADE’s” casting producer, Nathan Johnson, who videotaped candidates speaking about their lives, goals and past.

“I’ve heard everything from becoming a singer, to an actor, to losing weight and becoming a football coach,” Johnson said. “If you want to be made into a librarian, I’m already bored. But regular goals that everyone can relate to are what will draw people in.”

The interview process seemed intimidating to students such as anthropology sophomore Joseph Snell, who said he wanted to become a better public speaker.

Speaking in front of a camera and exposing his past and treasured dreams to a complete stranger — though mildly frightening — was the first step. “I have to kind of brace myself to open up,” he said.“But I’m willing to give it a shot.”

This wasn’t the first visit the three-time Emmy award winning series made its way to USF. Last March, Johnson made his first visit in the hopes of finding some big dreamers. This year, he was eager to return.

“I specifically requested that we come to USF,” said Johnson.

“I had one of the best experiences with the students here last year.”

Ultimately the student most likely to be “made,” is the one with the most interesting background story, he said. That is what draws audiences to any type of reality TV, and makes the viewer want the show’s subject to improve and change for the better.

Though Johnson has several more visits for casting calls, he said some of the stories at USF are already among his favorites and final casting decisions will be made in the near future.

While the first phase of living their dreams may be done, the auditioning students still have to live their regular lives. For the 23 USF students ready to be anything they want, the waiting game for their life goals just begun.


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