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A first-person experience of winning on ‘Family Feud’

The Avila family were on "Family Feud" Tuesday - and lost, after winning Monday. CREDIT: Family Feud

The Archila family were on "Family Feud" Tuesday - and lost, after winning Monday. (from L-R) Juan's father Jose, his youngest brother Felipe, his mother Pilar, Juan and his younger brother Santiago CREDIT: Family Feud

Juan Camilo Archila’s family from Dublin was on “Family Feud” this week hosted by Atlanta’s own Steve Harvey. They won at least once, which aired Monday. Today, the Archila’s lost four out of five rounds, including the tie-breaker: “What is something with a hump?”

I asked Juan to give me his first-person experience of being on the game show, which was shot over the summer at the Atlanta Civic Center:

Thanksgiving is a time for families to come together around the dinner table and celebrate the many blessings of life. We, the Archila family from Dublin, are no different. However, this year, we will celebrate Thanksgiving gathered not around food, but around the television. You see, earlier this year, we were blessed with the opportunity to compete on one of the most popular game shows in history “Family Feud” and two of the episodes aired this week.

The process began this past spring as I was on lunch break with a coworker. “Family Feud” was on TV at the restaurant. It was so entertaining, and I remember telling my coworker that it had been a dream since childhood to be able to get on that show. Later that day, I went online and found out that not only was the next season going to be filmed in Atlanta, but auditions were to be held soon. In order to get a spot on the audition, we had to send in a description of us with pictures and videos showing what makes us unique. I interviewed my family and put together an email with our biography and links to videos of us. I also sent a photoshopped an image of our family on the Family Feud video game set. I figured if they could visualize us on the set that we’d have a great shot at being on the real thing! After a few days, we received an e-mail confirming our spot in the audition. We cleared one hurdle!

The audition consisted of playing a mock game against another family. We brought tons of enthusiasm and knowledge of the game, won both rounds and got great feedback from the producers. All along,  I knew that we were going to be selected. We are a closely-knit family who shares a great bond together and it really shows.

Within a few days, we got the call that we were selected to play in mid-July. It felt so surreal because growing up we loved watching the show together as a family. I remember being 10 years old telling everyone that we would be on that stage some day.

On our day of filming, we spent the whole time waiting, watching other episodes from the audience. The restlessness we experienced was slowly giving way to great concern – concern that we wouldn’t get to play that day – and knowing that we got so far and might have nothing to show for it. However, after hours of agony, and with one episode left to film that day, our family was finally picked to play! Satisfaction did not sink in, though, until we put on those oversized oval nametags. Only then did I realize this was for real!

Gameplay was a lot of fun but surprisingly not as fast as one sees it on television. Each episode took at least an hour and a half to film. There is a lot more conversation that goes on with the host and debate may occur between the judges about whether a given answer is correct or not. It is not surprising for 10 seconds or more to elapse between the time an answer is given and the sound effect occurs. Also, a lot goes into getting the crowd pumped up for the show. The crowd is treated almost like another character, who has specific lines and sounds they must make on cue.

Many people ask me how it felt to play “Fast Money” at the end and I always tell them the following: I was very nervous leading up to it, but in the moment I was completely calm. Athletes talk about being in the zone, and in my case that is really how it felt. It’s just you, the clock, and those questions, and everything else fades away. It has to. There is really no time to think about the enormity of the moment. I may not have given the best answers, but they were well thought-out and uncluttered by nervousness or worrying thoughts.

Waiting for our episodes to air became increasingly more unbearable, as our family could not bottle this experience up for much longer. There was so much we wanted to share, but knew that we were contractually bound by a confidentiality agreement. One of the first things people ask is how much money we won, and that is precisely what the show does not want you to divulge. For us the money, what little we won, was secondary. We can all honestly say that the experience of the five of us on that stage, collaborating and having a fun time, sharing experiences that we’ll treasure for a lifetime, was what this was really all about.

For those who love watching the Feud and have wondered what it would be like to be on that stage, I say go for it! You have nothing to lose by responding to the call for auditions, and putting yourself and your family out there. Let your best version of you shine, and show everyone how well you interact with your family and what great players you are! Producers want to see energy, enthusiasm, and knowledge of the game. You never know – you may just have something to talk about for next Thanksgiving dinner!

ON TV
“Family Feud,” noon and 12:30 p.m. weekdays, Peachtree TV

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By Rodney Ho, Radio & TV Talk

7 comments Add your comment

Marnique

November 22nd, 2011
7:09 pm

The Archilas rock! Congrats.

Virginian

November 22nd, 2011
8:35 pm

Who is the Avila family? Edit?

Juan Camilo Archila

November 22nd, 2011
9:29 pm

Haha, Virginian, I was wondering the same thing! I’m sure Rodney will correct that soon :)

South Ga Lawyer

November 22nd, 2011
10:07 pm

Hey I know that family…..they really are GREAT folks!!! Congrats to them! Cool story!

Lar

November 22nd, 2011
10:17 pm

I was one of the family that was in the audience all day and did not get picked to go on stage. We are suppose to be called back in May. We will see.

Doris M

November 23rd, 2011
8:16 am

I really love watching “Family Fued”. Richard Dawson was a great host back in the day. But Steve Harvey is the bomb! He brings so much fun and comedy to the show.

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