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My Casting Call

Everyday Edisons


Sheila ShawSeveral years ago, I attended the Everyday Edisons casting call. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this show, it is a television show for inventors. For those who truly know me, you know that inventions are my ultimate passion. Traveling to a few states the show offer would - be inventors the opportunity to present their inventions in hope it will then be chosen to appear on the show.

Their selection process is as follows:

  1. You have 2 minutes - that's TWO MINUTES, LOL-to pitch your invention to a panel of 4 very stoic judges.
  2. If selected, you then need to pass a basic patent search. If they do not think they can get a patent, you will not go to the next level.
  3. At the final level, you are allowed 5 minutes to pitch your idea, this time in front of 3 judges, comprised of Louis Foreman, a patent attorney, and a marketing expert. Did I mention that, once you get to this level, you are now being filmed?. Lights! Camera! Action! It cost $10,000 for them to film each person who makes it to this level. If you get to this level, your idea is SMOKIN'!!


What are they looking for? Inventions that can fit in today's general market with MONEY- did I say MONEY making capabilities. PERIOD-That is IT!!!



  1. I arrived at McEnery Convention Center FRIDAY MORNING to assure myself a partipating number for SATURDAY.  Rule:  If you do not register before 1:00 p.m., you will not be seen!!
  2. I scoped out where the line would form and was prepared to CAMP OUT.I met some other early birds, who came in from Florida, South Carolina, Michigan, etc... At this point, it seemed as if I would be the only local. LOL
  3. There are lots of funny fun details I will leave out to keep this report fairly short.
  4. At 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning, my friend Elisabeth came to support me. Yippee!!
  5. I got through the registration process and I received NUMBER ONE. Did I mention I got NUMERO UNO?!! LOL :o)
  6. I presented my first invention to a panel of three men and one woman. They were very impressed and continued to ask me questions well beyond the two minute time limit. Once I was dismissed, I was directed to go to a room and watch tscreaming facehe TV monitor to see if my number appeared on the " selected" or "not selected" side (very stressful). After approximately 30 minutes, my number appeared, NOT SELECTED. Reason: "Not appropriate for this show." Although I did not make it to the next level with this invention, I felt unusually uplifted and inspired. It was clear they liked it, but did not feel it could be developed within the time frame of the show.




  1. My friend, Peggi had insisted I take along a second invention since they were allowing more than one submission, if you were willing to get back in line and register before 1:00 p.m. I did not feel quite as prepared to show my second invention, so I asked Elisabeth what she thought and she said, “I am not suggesting that you show or not show, but since we are here, why not?" So back into the line we went.
  2. After approximately three hours of waiting I was called to present my second invention. I requested the same panel of judges, which I was granted. I requested the same panel because I wanted them to see I have very innovative ideas and I am a true inventor.
  3. The judges were happy to see me again and this time had relaxed expressions on their faces.
  4. Once again, I presented well and, when my two minutes were up, they continued for another few minutes asking me questions.




  1. two faces Back in the waiting room, Elisabeth and I were both so nervous we could hardly speak to each other. Staring long and hard at the monitor, it was Elisabeth who saw it first. Selected! SHEILA SHAW, YIPPEEE!!!! You cannot imagine how awesome we both felt. At this point in the day, there were only 45 people out of over 1500 who got to this level, and I was one of them. I was floating!!!


We were sent to the Green Room. Now, if you are like me and have never been in a Green Room, your first thought would be to go to a room that is painted green! NOT! LOL This room had ceilings that were 20 feet high and the walls were gray! I remember thinking to myself, "If they locked us in, we couldn't even climb up the walls to get out." I'm not even sure if Lara Croft could've gotten out of there. LOL

Before you can go to the final level, your product/idea has to pass through the patent process. Remember, if their attorneys do not think they can get a patent on your invention, you will not proceed to the final step. For what seemed like an eternity, we waited to see if I made it. The excitement from getting accepted soon turned into fear of not passing the patent screening. I quickly went from elation to deflation.    


two faces

  1. Finally my paperwork came back. I MADE IT! I MADE IT TO THE FINAL STEP!. It felt incredibly awesome! There were only a few of us standing at this point. There were thousands of products and ideas presented throughout the day, and at 6:00 p.m. it felt sooo good to have made it to the final step.


Before going into the camera room, I was fitted with a microphone and prepped on what to expect. I was encouraged to relax and to be myself. Heck, at this point, I was so proud to be there, the outcome did not matter. Now I know what is meant by the statement, "It is the journey that counts and not the outcome".

Once in front of the cameras, lights and judges, I was truly in spirit. I went through my presentation as if I had rehearsed it a thousand times. FLAWLESS is a good word to use! The judges were so impressed, they used words like Brilliant, Fantastic! Amazing! The lights and cameras did not bother me one bit. With the videos I have been making lately, I felt right at home.



I needed two yes votes

Judge 1 (patent specialist) started out by saying he felt it might be a bit of a struggle to get my invention fully patented. At this point, I felt that he was going to vote no. To my surprise, he gave me a huge YES, and now I was very confident that I would be chosen. When I was making my presentation, the judges were commenting and gesturing the entire time about how awesome this was. I could even see the people off camera (crew and other production personnel) smiling with approval. So, with a yes right out of the gate, I knew I had bagged this. 

Judge 2 (marketing specialist). His opening was quite the opposite of Judge 1. Right away, he said, "I really

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like this, this is brilliant!" At this point, I wanted to raise my hands in victory like Rocky Balboa. I mean, I am just screaming inside. And, then, he goes on to say, " BUUUUTTT, you know, we had an invention like this in Season One that we went on to produce and market. And while yours is clearly different, the sales from the other have not reached that mark we anticipated". He then said, "With your design, those using it would need instructions and that is not a problem. However, in the marketing world, we use a 3 second rule. If the consumer is not sold in 3 seconds, then we pass." He then went on to say, "So my vote is NO." For those of you who have seen the Rocky movies, after Rocky beat Apollo, he was feeling pretty confident. When Rocky IV came out, and he had to fight Drago, Rocky was clearly scared. This is exactly how I was feeling. I now needed a definite yes to move forward.

Judge 3 (the Big Kahuna Louis Foreman). He leaned back in his chair and said, "I would have never expected that bag to do what it just did." While he is saying this, he was smiling, and it was clear that he liked it and me. He said, "That is the most ingenious thing I have seen in that product type." He said, "Sheila, what this show is all about is introducing new products to the market and being able to sell them in THREE SECONDS." At this point, I am screaming inside because I felt like I knew where he was going with this. He then said, "I want you to know that there were 3,000 applicants today and that you are one of 100 who got to this point and you should feel very proud," (which I did). Then he said rather quickly, "I am going to have to agree with Judge 2 and say NO".

Once the cameras were off, the questions continued. The second judge asked me what I did for work. Before I could get on my soap box, another production person hustled me off as there was another participant waiting to come in. And that was it!

At the end of the day, I can honestly say I felt two
feet taller than I did when I arrived.

About two weeks before I was aware of this casting
call I received this fortune cookie:

Fortune Cookie

And what an adventure it was!

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