The ‘millionaire’ man

USF students who watched the 10th Anniversary episode of Who Wants to be a Millionaire on Sunday night saw one of their own in the fastest-finger circle. William Capp, a USF biomedical sciences graduate student and longtime fan of the show, was one of two men from Tampa who got to travel to New York, meet Regis Philbin and have a chance at winning $1 million.

Though he never got his moment in the hot seat, Capp returned home with new friends and plenty of new experiences. He took some time to talk with the Oracle about being on the show.

The Oracle: What was the audition process like?
William Capp: It’s a whole day event if you make it through all the stages. Aside from the long line, they have it very well-organized … they call you in groups and have you take a written test.

After the written test is finished up and collected, they have fun games and stuff like that where they call on people to tell jokes … and then once the results are given out they call your number. If they call your number you stay seated, everyone else has to leave … I was pretty ecstatic when they called my number.

You go up and you have maybe a 10 to 30 second interview … If the producer or VP decide they like you enough for a taped interview, they give you this little sheet and tell you to sit in another part of the room. And we had all these forms we had to fill out … on the questionnaire, the question was “what would you do if you won the million dollars?” and I said I would buy back my kidney – you know, just to be kind of funny.

The taped interview lasted five minutes or something – I don’t know. I was really caught up in the moment. And they said, “Well you know at this point, you go into the contestant pool. If we decide to use you, you’ll hear from us.”

Somewhere around the middle of July, I got a little postcard (saying), “Congratulations, you’ve been selected to go into our contestant pool. If selected then you have your chance to come [to New York]” … I got a phone call at the end of July saying, “Oh, we’ve selected you, can you be available these dates?”

O: What was it like sitting in the fastest-finger circle?
WC: What’s interesting about it is that you have to show up at 8 a.m. … There’s so much going on and you know I was on this real big high of just being there and having the opportunity. When it came down to it in the taping that day, I was really nervous, just because there’s 10 of us, all shooting for the fastest-who’s going to be the first to figure this thing out.

O: Who were your lifelines?
WC: I picked my best friend, my mom and then I picked my other really good friend’s wife, because she was a stay-at-home mom.

O: How was it to meet Regis Philbin?
WC: He is an awesome guy. He has the same persona both off and on the camera. He’s continuously funny, making jokes and wise cracks, and we each got to meet him directly. When he came over to introduce himself to me he shook my hand and said, “Will Capp! I LOVE that name!”

O: What went on during commercial breaks?
WC: There are a lot of other things that go on that aren’t even filmed. As an example, they line us up … Well they introduce us. There’s a comedian that actually gets out there and they play all this crazy music and the comedian goes around getting the audience pumped up and this sort of thing – this is all before the taping begins – and so then they go and they introduce us and we’re supposed to run out there and do something crazy to get the crowd excited and behind us.

O: Did you have a strategy?
WC: I definitely had a strategy about what I was going to do at certain points of the money tree. I was going do anything and everything I could, as far as either guessing or using all my lifelines, just to get to that ($25,000) milestone and that was my ultimate goal.

O: What have you taken from this experience?
WC: I’m hooked. I was thinking about doing other things now like Wipeout, or if I could find someone to do the Amazing Race. It’s just so fun and there’s so much excitement to it … those 10 people that were in our group – we actually became really good friends during the time. We’re all on Facebook together and actually one of the producers said this is the first time that they’ve ever seen a group come together as tight as we have throughout all the productions.

O: How does it feel to be invited back?
WC: Since I was there doing the taping, I already knew that only the nine of us left at the Fastest Finger consoles were being invited back to be in the “hot seat” for the syndicated show … They held us over for two more days to do the taping for the syndicated show. Of course, I can’t tell you anything about the outcome of the show!

Watch for Capp on September 7th, when the new season of Who Wants to be a Millionaire begins.