Having never heard anything from my first audition, I decided to audition again in July 2011.
In November 2011, I received the call to attend the show.
If you live outside of Melbourne, SBS pays for your flight there to take part in the show. While you have to make your own way to the airport in your own city, they do cover your transport from Melbourne airport to the hotel you stay in the night before the show, then to ABC studios, and back to the airport after recording.
You are told to bring a number of changes of clothing. You must assume the possibility of becoming carry-over champion an being on for more than one show.
As I work in Sydney in a suburb not too far from the airport, I caught a train straight from work to Sydney airport. It was a Wednesday night late in November. With all four Letters & Numbers books on hand – yes – Alicia and I play the boos as well as the show – I used most of my time during the train trip, the wait at the airport and the one hour flight practicing Letters & Numbers.
My flight down – originally scheduled for 7pm was delayed well over an hour. It left Sydney around 8.30pm. By the time I landed in Melbourne, it was after 10pm, then not until 11pm when I arrived in the hotel. With nothing open to eat in the area (lucky I pigged out on snacks at the airport) I turned on the TV, flicked around, before realising there was nothing to watch anyway at that time, so the TV ended up on ABC News 24.
A few more practice rounds from the books, then to sleep soon after midnight. The hotel was brand new, having only been open for a few weeks.