A few months ago, we went to a wedding in Las Vegas (no, not at a little white chapel… but the lovely Springs Preserve).
Besides the sensory overload of bright neon lights, flashing and ringing slot machines, and the faraway cheers of a full table of Blackjack after the dealer busts… there's a ton of people who just “want to ask you a question.”
99.9% of the time, it's for a timeshare pitch. (unless you have 6 hours to burn… avoid those!)
That 0.1% of the time, it's to pay you money.
That's right! It's a 100% guaranteed win — all you have to do is watch a TV pilot, share your thoughts, and walk away with a brand new crisp twenty-five dollar bill. If you are so bold, you can even turn around and put it on black. 🙂
Two of my friends had an hour to kill in Las Vegas so they gave it a go!
Here's his story…
I had just landed in Las Vegas a few hours ago and we had some time to kill. I unpacked, freshened up, and headed downstairs with Ben to hang out while we waited for Jim's flight to land.
We were just walking around near the Habitat area of the Flamingo, when a nice young man in a red t-shirt and clipboard asked us, “Do you guys want to make some money watching TV?” Intrigued, we stepped to the side to talk to him.
He explained to us that they were tasked with getting a variety of viewers' opinions from different ethnicities, age brackets, and geographic locations.
We would be paid some cash if we watched these pilots for the coming fall lineup and complete a survey afterwards. They wanted feedback on what different people liked/disliked about each show, so the studios could make educated decisions on which characters stay, which topics are favorable, even which shows will make it to broadcast.
They happened to have a few slots for us, so we had our drivers licences checked and filled out a brief paper questionnaire with our information. We were seated in comfortable office chairs in front of computer terminals with a monitor, keyboard, and hand-held like/dislike buttons. Each had earmuff-style headphones to focus our attention on the show.
The experience started with a tutorial on how to use the like/dislike buttons. Basically, we were to hold the like button if we liked something about the show (scene, actor/actress, action sequence, music, etc.) and hold the dislike button if we really didn't like what was going on.
The show we watched was about 40 minutes (a standard 1 hour show minus the commercial breaks). It was not a finished product, as many of the visual effects were not completed (and noted as such on screen).
It was an entertaining show and it was enjoyable that I got to watch the same show as Ben next to me, so we could make brief comments to each other while we were watching and discuss afterwards. We spent another 20 minutes completing a survey with the touchscreen and keyboard.
It covered whether we liked the characters/actors, their relationships with other characters, the general story-line, and how likely we were to watch the show if it made it to broadcast. It finished with questions about our viewing habits and the shows we watched.
Afterwards, we got up and went to the cashier to get paid $25. Not bad for an hour's worth of TV watching. I saw the attendees immediately wipe off all our gear with wipes, which made me feel better that they keep it clean between users.
Overall, it was a good experience.
The show was interesting, the interface was not hard to use, we got free bottles of water, and earned a few bucks. I think this would be a perfect thing to do if you had an hour or so to kill and you wanted to sit down and watch some TV. Only catch is that you can only do this once per year and cannot participate if you have family working in the TV industry.
Not a bad way to kill an hour, get paid $25, and potentially get an early sneak peek at some fall shows.