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8 Insider Tips for your Four Rooms Audition

Clean out your basements, your crawlspaces, your attics and wherever else you've been hording old treasures, then take the best of what you've found to the CBC.

Because Four Rooms, coming to CBC this winter, is beginning its hunt for one-of-a-kind items, and the one-of-a-kind Canadians who own them this weekend.

If you've seen its British counterpart, you know the premise: Four Rooms gives collectors a chance to sell their prized memorabilia to some of the world's top antiques buyers - the "Dragons" of the auction world, so to speak.

But before you and your antique booty make it on TV, you'll have to pass through another set of rooms - where the show's producers will be waiting to hear your pitch.

The Four Rooms audition tour launches Saturday, June 8 at the CBC Broadcast Centre in Toronto, and just like every stop from Victoria to Halifax, producers will be on location interviewing hopefuls.

Charlie Smith is one of the Four Rooms producers who'll be meeting "Roomies" to-be, and he says every person who tries out will be considered for the program.

The same goes for those who apply online, and here's a pro-tip from Smith: get in touch with Four Rooms both online and at a live try-out so they're sure to remember you.

(The online application form can be found on the show's website.)

And we've got more insider info from where that came from.

Want to be on Four Rooms? Here are some tips that'll give you an edge.


Art, antiques, oddities, rarities: it doesn't matter what you bring to the audition, so long as you're playing high-stakes show-and-tell with something extraordinary.

In the words of producer Charlie Smith, Four Rooms is looking for items "that four top-notch buyers would want to go to war for."

"We're not looking for grandma's teapot," Jennifer Dettman, CBC's Head of Factual Entertainment, told CBC Live recently. "We're really looking for something that tells us a little bit about who we are, maybe something that's a little bit unique and different."

"We want those OMG moments for Canada! So we're looking for things that in some way stand out," Smith says. "I can't stress enough the idea of uniqueness."


As Smith tells CBC Live, Four Rooms is going to be "a fun new way to shine a light on Canadians and their stories," so producers are hoping to discover treasures that are classically Canuck on the audition tour: maybe paintings by the Group of Seven, First Nations art, historical artifacts - including historical hockey artifacts, especially. "You know, just things that really celebrate this country," says Smith.


If the answer is yes, bring it.

(If only 'cause Smith thinks it'd be "amazing.")


This isn't Antiques Roadshow. Nobody's going to tell you what your heirloom Gordie Howe jockstrap is worth. That's up to you.

Know everything you can about your wares before you get to the try-outs - including their history, their significance and how much similar items have sold for in the past. Smith suggests bringing proof of authenticity if possible.

For the average garage saler, that might seem like advanced homework, but the producers just want to save you from PTSD.

"The four buyers are out for blood," Smith says. "They are out for the best deals, the best items, and they're going to put every seller to the test. And the sellers need to know their stuff."


Four Rooms
is as much about testing your negotiation skills as anything else, so producers want sellers who are true salesmen.

"There's a pitch aspect to it, right?" he says. "You have to keep everybody's attention and very quickly access the small points of information that are selling points."


This might be the most important tip. "We're not just casting the objects, we're casting the folks as well, so we want to make sure that they can tell that great story," Smith says.

Knowing the extraordinary history behind your extraordinary object is the first step.

Then you need to figure out how to articulate that information in a compelling way. Focus on the two things Smith says producers will want to hear about:

1. "The story of the object itself."

2.  "The story of the person who owns it and why they are passionate about it."


Some good news: no need for stage fright. If you come out to try-outs, your audition won't be on camera, and Smith stresses that the interview is "just a really friendly conversation."


So you need to tell a killer story. "The easiest way to do that," Smith says, "is just be yourself and come have a really fun time."

"We can't thank everyone enough for turning out," he says, "so we want to make sure everyone has an amazing experience."

Visit the Four Rooms website for more information on the program and how to try out.

The Four Rooms audition itinerary:

Toronto, June 8, CBC Toronto Atrium
Montreal, June 16, Hotel Place D'Armes
Winnipeg, June 22, CBC Manitoba
Vancouver, June 24, Century-Plaza Hotel & Spa
Victoria, June 26, Inn at Laurel Point
Calgary, June 29 Sheraton Suites Calgary Eau Claire
Halifax, July 3, Cambridge Suites Hotel
North Hatley, QC, July 6, North Hatley Antique Show
Toronto, July 6, CBC Toronto Atrium

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