My EXCLUSIVE interview with the voice of ‘The Saaale’ – Pete Smith! Part V

Mr Pete Smith, OAM

This week sees the conclusion of my interview with the legendary Pete Smith, and I should point out that this week’s post carries a language warning (of sorts). So if you’re offended by the transcription of a crow call that sounds a little bit like a certain rude word, I’d recommend only reading the first half of the post.

And now that that’s out of the way… Enjoy!

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SH: One final question, if I may…

PS: I think you’ve short changed me a bit, Stephen.

SH: What do you mean?

PS: Well, I’ve been 54 years on Channel Nine and you’ve only devoted this much time…

SH: No, no please – I could talk to you all day!

PS: Maybe we can come back again.

SH: I would love to. Can we do another session? That would be fantastic.

PS: Here I am begging for more interview. I’m really jesting with you but thank you.

SH: I could listen to you for hours, but…

PS: I think what you’re doing is terrific, because in this business we love, this terrible business called television, history can get lost so easily. I admire what you’re doing, because it means that it’s going to be somewhere, someone’s going to pick it up.

SH: Oh, good. Thank you very much, Pete.

PS: So the more of that, the merrier. And to be able to pass on to young people like you, some of the things about the way it was – it’s a joy, it really is. Because you can’t be expected to know. You can’t be expected to know that it was 24 ½ minutes for a ‘Pal’ dog food commercial (on In Melbourne Tonight)I mean it’s trivial, but you can’t be expected to know that was the environment.

SH: But if you’re interested in all this stuff – as I am – then it’s wonderful to be able to go to the source; you were there!

PS: Well it is. Take Graham Kennedy’s infamous ‘crow call  – that didn’t just happen in a minute, Kennedy had a death wish ; he wanted to get out. I don’t know why he didn’t go to management and say “look I want to finish up”. So he’d become very difficult, but the ‘crow call’ didn’t happen overnight. For over two years – maybe three, maybe more – Kennedy used to delight in sending us up to the audience while we were doing our commercials, which we had to memorise. One of my main ones was for Colvan Chips. The advertiser paid good money for the thing and one night you can see him out of the corner of your eye other side of the studio right in front of the audience, monkeying around. The bird calls, the crow calls started with Rosemary Margan, while she was doing live reads for Cedel baby powder or whatever, and he used to delight in doing it to her. He’d  be going “Tweet, tweet, tweet….” Well, the audience of course are laughing and he’s

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My EXCLUSIVE interview with the voice of ‘The Saaale’ – Pete Smith! Part IV

Mr Pete Smith

Welcome back to my interview with the living legend of Australian television that IS Pete Smith.

After all his decades in the industry, and his 21-year gig on $ale of the Century, I wanted to ask Pete what he saw as the future of game shows.

So I did.

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SH: Pete, what do you see as the future of game shows?

PS: Well I see the future of game shows wrapped up in the future of free to air television. The game show – along with sport and news – is the sort of thing that television, I think, does best. And so I hope that the future of game shows will be saved by the facts that these sorts of things don’t really sit well in a box set. They need to almost be live. Even though they are all recorded in advance, you do have the advantage – if you don’t pre-record too far ahead – of reflecting what’s going on outside. I think perhaps games shows are going to have to maybe address that.

SH: Right, right.

PS: A lot of the shows are recorded sometimes many weeks or months in advance, but I think it’s going to have to come back to reflecting a little more on what’s going on immediately.

SH: Of course, it’s the immediacy, isn’t it? And even if it’s recorded, say, a month in advance you can still talk about things that are relatively current.

PS: Things have to be edited I understand that, of course, and we have come a long way. A lot of the things that I was involved in those so-called golden years when we were on live… People say “why isn’t it live? It would be terrific if it was live”. But the fact it was live is because frankly technically, once you put it on to a kinescope on 16 millimetre film – just prior to videotape revolutionising things – it was quite obvious, once it had been recorded and played back, that it wasn’t live. It was grainy, it didn’t look good at all, and you couldn’t pass it off as live. So that’s mainly why things went out live.

SH: It was a technical necessity.

PS: Yes, and the only aspect of that era that I would think would be lovely to retain would be the non-editing. Because one of the joys of going out live is that you see it ‘warts and all’. People are sitting at home in their dressing gowns and they are seeing us making mistakes too. You don’t want the mistakes – of course you don’t – but at the same time you don’t want to plasticise it either.

SH: We are all human.

PS: Unfortunately, television has become a bit like that; a bit plastic.

SH: I agree with you, it’s like an element of live theatre where things can go wrong.

PS: And there’s the difference! There’s the attraction of live theatre – you know it’s there, live.

SH: It’s happening right now!

PS: Back on $ale of the Century, one of the prizes was a whole lot of money; the “Cash Jackpot”. I’d announce it, they would cut to Tony and the contestant, and this acrylic see-through box would be lowered down onto the set, and all the money was there inside it.

SH: Yes! That was real money, wasn’t it?

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My EXCLUSIVE interview with the voice of ‘The Saaale’ – Pete Smith! Part III

Mr Pete Smith, OAM

Hello and welcome to the third instalment of my interview with Pete Smith. In addition to an incredible career spanning SEVEN DECADES (from the 1950s until now), Pete has many other strings to his bow. In 2004, he was made a member of the Order of Australia, for service to the community, and back in the late seventies, he worked closely with the man who would later become world famous as Mick “Crocodile” Dundee…

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SH: Just off on a tangent, for a moment, from game shows; I believe you worked with Paul Hogan?

PS: Yes. Paul came down. Well Paul originally was a contestant on New Faces. I think in the Frank Wilson period before Bert took over the New Faces show, and I don’t think Paul won. But whether he won or not, it was seen by The Powers That Be, and I think Mike Willesee saw the thing and saw a spark in the guy, and offered him a fun segment on a Friday night on A Current Affair to lighten up the end of the week – to end the week on a lighter note… and the rest, of course, is history.

SH: He came to Melbourne and was given his own show, because he’s originally from Sydney, isn’t he?

PS: Yes, but he did used to do the shows in Melbourne. It’s amazing how they went through all those years with the limited studio space that they had. So in the Paul Hogan specials, a lot of it was pre-recorded, and most of those comedy sketches that still exist today, you see the outside ones were shot on film by John Bowring who’s no longer with us, a wonderful cinematographer who started in the 9 newsroom. Then finally The Paul Hogan Show was all on videotape, so I had a few bits and pieces (acting in some of the sketches). I’ve been a ‘bits and pieces’ man all along – probably that’s what saved my bacon.

SH: Fantastic – you’ve been versatile.

PS: That’s why I’m still around. People say “Well, what are you doing now?” Well I do ‘Community Affairs’. And if you’ve ever had an affair in the community, you know how it can be exhausting.

SH: Boom boom! Thank you very much! I’m conscious of the limited time we have today, so can I ask you about any general game show highlights or game show memories that stick out?

PS: Some of the great times in the show were when they had the Celebrity $ale of the Century specials. Of course television is wonderful of cannibalising itself, and the celebrity shows that I recall at $ale of the Century really did have celebrities. I mean, Gough Whitlam was on the show for God’s sake, and that’s just one stand-out name I mention. They really did manage to get big names. And unfortunately after a long period of time with other shows that tried to get celebrities too, it became a bit like I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. And I don’t mean to put that down…

SH: No, but… who are those people?

PS: and eventually, the bigger celebrities didn’t want to do that sort of thing, unfortunately.

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More’s the pity. Next week, as our discussion continues, I ask Pete for his thoughts on the future of game shows, and we discuss the importance – and increasing rarity – of live television, and what that may mean to the future of the industry in general. 

See you next Tuesday!

My EXCLUSIVE interview with the voice of ‘The Saaale’ – Pete Smith! Part II

Mr Pete Smith

Hello, and welcome to HowToWinGameShows.comOr, as Pete Smith would say, “HooooooooowToWinGameShows.com

Don’t believe me? Just click on the ‘WARM WELCOME FROM PETE SMITH’ window on the top right of the page, to hear for yourself.

As my interview with Pete continues this week, I wanted to keep things on a game show footing, so I asked him……

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SH: You also worked on Bert’s Family Feud. How was that different from $ale of the Century, in terms of contestants?

PS: Well, it was a totally different situation, really. It was very loose. The Family Feud format again is a terrific format, but it’s a format that’s based on fun, and humour. But Bert was his usual self, when normally these formats are very, very strict. The owner of the format is usually very clear about how you present the thing; I remember on $ale, the phrase “$5 with which to begin”… some of those things are followed to the letter. But then of course Tony Barber made the show his own. He knew it so well that he took it to really new heights.

SH: He was a hit!

PS: He was. And another thing… back then, because the set was so expensive (with all its electronic components), when the format was sold to someone else say in France, Japan, Hong Kong, or Germany, every now and then we’d have an entourage coming in from overseas to take over the studio and the set for the day, and record a pilot.

SH: Oh, really? From another country?

PS: From another country. And you would see the little French guy speaking in French, bounce out exactly the same way Tony used to bounce out. They wanted everything to be exactly the way the successful format in Australia was, so they didn’t want to diverge from anything on the show. Even the announcer who did the announcement. I remember particularly the one for Hong Kong; the show was called Dai Soubut. They couldn’t get the translation the $ale of the Century; it was called The Big Spender which was Dai Soubut. And I remember the announcer doing it just like I did the $ale one; Daaaai Soooou But! Of course the reason I did the $ale of the Century read like that was to do with Garry Meadows,  who was the original Price is Right compere in Australia.

SH: I remember him.

PS: But at this particular time he was working for Grundy’s, as the first producer of $ale of the Century. By that time everything was pre-recorded, not much was live. And Garry was auditioning freelance announcers for the show, and being the only announcer left at Channel 9 I was going from my office where I wrote the scripts to the booth on the other side of the building in Richmond. Backwards and forwards all day, that was my mode of operation. And as I’d go past the foyer, I’d notice these freelance guys sitting there; there’d be a different one every time I walked past. I thought “Oh, hello – they’re going to replace me!”. You’re always the last to know in this business.

SH: The writing’s on the wall…

PS: And on one tour down the corridor, I bumped into Garry Meadows, and he said “We’re auditioning – we’ve got a new quiz show starting”. He then said “the next guy hasn’t turned up yet. Come into the control room, and I’ll show you what we’re doing”. So we went up to the control room and showed me a little bit of videotape – no music on it, or anything – of a caption card with $ale of the Century written on it, and it was on a turntable. Pretty basic – of course there were no computer graphics back then. Just this card, slowly rotating into view, so that you could read what was written on it. So they ran this bit of tape and they gave me a script that said “welcome to the world’s richest quiz – $ale of the Century“. So Garry said “when the red light comes on, I’ll run the tape”, so I go into the booth and I do it. But it didn’t work; the read was too short…I thought I can’t just say “Sale of the Century” because the thing hadn’t completely turned around to reveal, those words. So I said “Just one more time, Garry? And he ran the tape again and I said “welcome to the world’s richest quiz”, and the thing still hadn’t turned completely around, so I went “Saaaaaaale of the Century!” Well, within 10 seconds Gary had burst in the door of the booth, saying “That’s what we wanted! Will you do it?”

SH: All just because of a slow moving turntable.

PS: And a chance meeting in the corridor.

SH: And then you went on to say it another 4610 times!

PS: Is that right? Gee whiz!

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It is indeed, Pete. It is indeed. And that’s where we leave it for this week. Next week, on a slight tangent, Pete reminisces about working with Paul Hogan!

We’ll see you back here, then.

This is Stephen Hall speaking.

My EXCLUSIVE interview with the voice of ‘The Saaale’ – Pete Smith! Part I

Mr Pete Smith

Hello!

Today I’m very pleased to bring you an interview that I’ve been wanting to do for years. The gentleman I’m speaking to today has had a career in Australian television that has actually lasted as long as Australian television itself!

Ladies and gentlemen, today on HowToWinGameShows.com, I’m speaking to the one and only Pete Smith.

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SH: Pete Smith, thank you so much for joining me today officially for How to Win Game Shows.com.

PS: That’s a pleasure! I’ve got my announcer’s voice on Stephen, if you noticed.

SH: It’s beautiful, I love it. You are one of the longest-serving members of the entertainment community in Australian television. How many years has it been now?

PS: I started at the ABC as a kid in ’57, just after the (Melbourne) Olympics and that was a good time to start, because radio was still king then for that short little time before TV took over. So radio is my grounding, at the ABC but then in ’64, I came across to the Fun Factory.

SH: The Fun Factory in Richmond?

PS: In Richmond.

SH: Bendigo Street (Channel 9), yes.

PS: And back then, there were 9 full time booth announcers.

SH: That’s amazing.

PS: And I was just one of them. Because everything was done live. It was like radio with pictures, you had to be in the announcing booth because every commercial break consisted of live reads. There wasn’t the sophistication of video tape, most of the commercials were on film or just glass slides with a live read by the announcer, so you couldn’t move out of the booth during your shift. And sometimes if Graham Kennedy (host of the live show In Melbourne Tonight) was in a mad mood, it was an open ended show. For a 60 second live commercial, I think the record was 24½ minutes. That was for a Pal dog food commercial, when Rover The Wonder Dog wouldn’t eat the food.

SH: The advertisers got their money’s worth.

PS: They certainly did in those days. The live reads were rehearsed the first thing during the day. The first production piece was at 3:30 when the live commercials were rehearsed, but when they went on air particularly with Graham and Bert (on In Melbourne Tonight), they bore no resemblance to what the rehearsal was… but that was expected.

SH: Pete, can we move to your tenure at the $ale of the Century? You were there for 22 seasons, and 4610 episodes!

PS: Gee I didn’t realise it was that many. It was 21 years, wasn’t it? I do remember that.

SH: It was. I grew up watching it and playing along at home, I went on the show twice, and you were there doing not just the announcing, including this famous show ID….

… but you also did the audience warm up for the show.  

PS: Yes, and really the warm up  – of course, unseen by the television audience – was very important, because a lot of those people came in and stayed all day through 5 episodes and a lunch break, and we didn’t regard them as fodder; we regarded them as an important part of the program.

SH: And some of them were nervous, too, because some of them were about to go on the show!

PS: Yeah, for sure.

SH: In all of that time, do any spectacularly bad contestants stick in your mind?

PS: No I don’t think so. They had to pass some sort of criteria; it wasn’t just Joe Blow off the street. So it was people with a real intent – they weren’t going to make a fool of themselves, it wasn’t a comedy show.

SH: When I think of Sale of the Century, I think of some of the freakishly good contestants like Carey Young.

PS: Oh, absolutely! And Carey of course lived and breathed quiz, he stands out in my mind as the most prominent contestant on the show, and then he went on to make it his business and he wrote questions for the show.

SH: Yeah that’s right, and he wrote quizzes for newspapers too, I think. Being in the front line for so many episodes, did you learn any strategies that some of the successful contestants might have used?

PS: Yes I think so. The $ale format (which was The Great Temptation before that) was one of the ultimate quiz show formats where you have somebody get out in front then you tempt them with something, which is brilliant really, when you think about it. And you don’t tempt them with a carton of cigarettes; you tempt them with something really worthwhile, which brings a competitive edge back in. On that first week that we recorded, Mel Gibson’s father Hutton was on the show. He was pretty spectacular really, Hutton Gibson. I think Mel might have done a couple of local bits and pieces but he hadn’t risen to prominence back then.

SH: Oh that’s an interesting bit of trivia…

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And that’s where we’ll leave it for this week. As our chat continues next week, we discuss Family Feud, and how Pete got the $ale of the Century gig in the first place…

An addition to being so generous with his time, Pete also very kindly agreed to record a little greeting, exclusively for HowToWinGameShows.com.

And you can see (and hear) it by clicking on the play icon in the little window at the top of this page!

Thanks Pete! Our chat continues here next Tuesday.

Until then, then!

Ryan’s adventures conclude… for now.

Guest blogger Ryan Vickers

Hello!

This week, I’m very pleased to bring you the final instalment in the adventures of my very first guest blogger Ryan Vickers. Ryan’s series of posts ‘My Life In Game Shows’ began here back in August last year, and he’s related all of his experiences appearing as a contestant on shows such as Countdown, Let’s Make A Deal and The Price Is Right.

Along the way, he’s offered lots of Pro Tips, which I hope you’ve found helpful. Ryan’s a real game show enthusiast, he takes his ‘job’ as a contestant seriously. He truly has been there and done that….. on many, many occasions.

Ryan’s also a keen quiz master, currently hosting Canada’s premier student game show Reach For The Top.

Today’s post is Ryan’s final one (in this series, anyway), so I’ll get out of the way now and throw it over to him.

Enjoy!

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My Life In Game Shows

Episode 15 – The Future – for now, so long! (But just for now)

Game shows are an interesting bunch. Much like other media, they come and go. Currently in the USA (and we get these shows here in Canada too) there is a resurgence of “reboot fever”… in the last two years we’ve seen new versions of $100,000 Pyramid, Match Game, To Tell The Truth, The Joker’s Wild and much to the delight of my generation, Double Dare (with the original host, Marc Summers, along for the ride). Game shows are definitely “back in style”.

Side note: I’ve been able to get to New York City and see Pyramid and Match Game tapings. Game show tapings are a fun experience – I’ve been to see over twenty different shows in five countries! And maybe you’ll get a chance to play the game… you never know!

After my writings, what would I like you to remember? Here are some of my favourite tips from previous posts:

BEFORE THE AUDITION

  • New shows need people. They are willing to take more risks on contestants that might not get on the show later in the run.
  • Going on vacation? Game shows LOVE players that aren’t from the taping area.
  • Practice any way you can. Home games, internet simulations, etc.
  • If you’re going to be on a show with buzzers, GET OR MAKE A BUZZER. A clicky-pen, a hotel bell, whatever works for you. If you’ve got a long lead time until taping, consider purchasing a professional set.
  • Pick game shows that play to your strengths. If you’re not good with words, don’t try to get on Wheel of Fortune, for example.

AT THE AUDITION

  • When auditioning, give answers to ‘personality’ questions that are different. You might want to pay bills with your winnings, but try instead to tell the contestant pickers what else you might do with it.
  • When you’re auditioning, whether you get on or not, take note of how it went. Try to write down what happened to remember for next time.

ON SET

  • Pay attention to what they tell you before the show. Sometimes it’s a tip, sometimes it’s a “must-do”.
  • Keep up your energy. Whether you need to be proper or crazy, remember that you’ve been picked for a reason!
  • It’s fun, it’s chatty
  • Don’t play your cards early if you don’t have to (strategy wise). Keep something in the tank!

Where do I personally go from here? Well, I was asked that by two game show friends and I basically mentioned that most of the US shows are “used up” for me for now… but you never know when shows will come along! Also, there are other countries to find game shows in!

I’ll keep looking, and I hope you do too!

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Thanks so much, Ryan – I’ve really enjoyed your contributions to the site, and I wish you all the very best in all of your future game show-related endeavours.

If you’d like to know what Ryan’s up to right now, you can find him on Twitter, as @RealCanadaMan.

And if Ryan’s posts have inspired you, and YOU have some game show related stories you’d like to share here on the site, please… let me know! 

Just email me at Stephen@HowToWinGameShows.com, or find me on Twitter; @How2WinGameShow, or via the Facebook page at: Facebook.com/HowToWinGameShows.

Until next time!

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘The Game Show Guru’ Scott Hostetler – Part II

Scott Hostetler, The Game Show Guru!

Hello!

The Story So Far…

Last week, I started to interview Scott Hostetler, The Game Show Guru, from www.TheGameShowGuru.com.

This week, that interview continues.

Um – that’s it, really.

Now read on…..

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Stephen Hall (SH #1): It looks like your passion for game shows extends beyond just appearing on them; your site also mentions that you’ve created one game show and were co-creator on another. What can you tell us about them?

Scott Hostetler (SH #2): I created a game I called Final Judgment; a two team trivia game where you bet points down to the ‘Final Judgment’. I have run tournaments and people have a lot of fun playing it. No success getting TV to notice it…yet. The other show HAS been rejected by TV guru Bob Boden. It was a show where I coach a group of people on getting on game shows. It had games in it and weekly eliminations. I had a meeting with Bob, but he was up to his eyeballs producing The Chase and thought the concept might be too contrived. Oh well.

SH #1: In the book, you’re very generous in sharing not only all your game show adventures, but also all the lessons you’ve learned from them; all the Things To Do and all the Things NOT To Do. After the book was finished and published, did any subsequent thoughts occur to you? Any other stories, tips or hints that you’d have liked to mention, but which didn’t make it into the book (for whatever reason)?

SH #2: Maybe just to emphasise that you should always keep trying, and let the outcome lie. If you play a game and lose (or don’t win as much as you could have), don’t stew on what could have been; let it go, because it will eat you up. I go, I play my best and I expect to win. If I make a mistake, and I have (like passing my spins from third place on Press You Luck), I try to learn from it and move on to the next game show.

SH #1: In your long career as a game show contestant, you must have seen many changes in the game show landscape over the years. What do you think is the future of game shows?

SH #2: Game shows run in cycles; high and low seasons. They have changed more recently with trying to combine the physical with the mental. People will always watch game shows because they are entertaining, fast paced and emotionally charged. It’s fun and I think they will keep getting better (as long as they put me on them!)

SH #1: And finally, what’s coming up next for The Game Show Guru?

SH #2: I am always looking for my next game show… and maybe I will investigate the coaching aspect a little more. I love talking about game shows, and I love that I can help people realize a lifelong dream. One of my readers, Brian Schwartz of Philadelphia, recently came to California to appear on Wheel of Fortune, which was a dream of his. His show aired on April 13th and he made me proud! Still 100% success rate!

SH #1: Scott, thank you so much again for your time, for your book, and I’d just like to wish The Game Show Guru all the very best in all his future endeavours!

SH #2: Thank you very much, Stephen, and I look forward to reading your book!

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I’d like to thank Scott again for his time, and for sharing some of his impressive accumulated wisdom in this area. Just a final reminder, you can read my review of Scott’s book Winning Secrets From The Game Show Guru (SPOILER ALERT: I liked it, and I gave it three game show buzzers out of four), and you can purchase the book right HERE.

Next time….

 

 

 

 

See you then!

 

My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘The Game Show Guru’ Scott Hostetler – Part I

Scott Hostetler – The Game Show Guru!

Hello!

Well, as promised last week, here is my latest HowToWinGameShows.com interview. Scott Hostetler (AKA The Game Show Guru) is something of a career game show contestant, having appeared on 19 of them over the years. He’s also written a book about all his experiences, which is also chock-full of handy hints. The book’s called Winning Secrets From The Game Show Guru, and you can order it from Scott’s website right HERE. I reviewed the book here on the blog a couple of years ago, and so was really pleased when Scott agreed to be interviewed by me for the site. Here’s how it turned out…………….

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Stephen Hall (SH #1): Scott, thank you so much for speaking to me today for HowToWinGameShows.com. When you published the book back in 2009, you were a veteran of some 17 game shows. Have you added any more appearances to your list since then, and if so, could you tell us about those most recent game show adventures?

Scott Hostetler (SH #2): Since the book was published in 2009, I have appeared on two more game shows – Catch 21 on GSN where I won $26,000 cash and The Price is Right with Drew Carey where I won $44,047 total. My goal when I went on TPIR was to win a tropical vacation and a new car… I won a trip to Maui, Hawaii, a new Ford Escape and a trip to Scotland to the Olympics! It’s on YouTube if you search my name.

(* Or you can just click here! – SH#1)

SH #1: Congratulations! I was intrigued to read on your site that 100% of the people you’ve personally coached have won money on game shows, and to hear some of their testimonials in the introductory video there. Can you tell me a bit more about that?

SH #2: Many of the people I have coached are friends and relatives but I do make myself available through the phone and email to people who have read the book and have specific questions or seek advice.

SH #1: Do you run formal group classes in game show preparation?

SH #2: I have not held a formal class, but I would love to do it if the opportunity presented itself. I have not charged for personal counsel; I figure people have already bought the book but if I ran a class I would probably have some kind of fee.

SH #1: Have you ever considered running an online, subscription-only course in game show preparation? I think there could be a big market for that, and given your unique credentials, it’s a market that you could definitely corner!

SH #2: I have thought about an online course and your very kind encouragement may spur me to develop something…

SH #1: I don’t want to ask you for too many game show tips or hints for our visitors – that would defeat the purpose of plugging the book (which, again, I recommend, and which you can get HERE, by the way)… But if you could offer ONE big essential tip or hint for anyone preparing to audition for a game show, what would it be?

SH #2: There are two aspects to game shows – one is getting on, and two is winning! It doesn’t do any good to get on a show if you don’t win. I have been on 19 game shows and won 15 times and I love it! A tip to get on is to follow the Producers’ instructions! I am amazed at the number of times we have been told to do something or not to do something and people ignore the person picking the contestants! If you can’t follow simple instructions in a conference room, how can they trust you to follow directions on the stage?

A tip to win is Study the Game! Musicians and actors rehearse, athletes practice and make a game plan… you get one chance to be on a show; don’t waste it! Study and prepare. I give you tips on how to do that in the book.

SH (#1): Thanks, Scott – that’s actually two tips!

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And that’s where we’ll leave it for today. Next week, in the second and final part of my chat with Scott, I ask him about the game shows he’s created, we discuss the future of game shows, and ONE BIG TIP that didn’t make it into his book.

All that, and more, next Tuesday…

Until then, then!

A brand new MYSTERY GUEST!

Hello!

Just a quick one this week to let you know about next week’s next brand new EXCLUSIVE interview for HowToWinGameShows.com, with a VERY SPECIAL MYSTERY GUEST.

Now, I don’t want to say too much… but I will say that this particular mystery guest is known to be a little bit of a “Game Show Guru”….

In fact, he happens to run the website TheGameShowGuru.com

And he’s written a book called Winning Secrets From The Game Show Guru.

AND his name’s Scott Hostetler.

Hmmm….. WHO COULD IT POSSIBLY BE?

Be sure to check back here NEXT WEEK to find out!

Developmental As Anything – the aftermath

Hello!

This week’s post is the long-awaited conclusion to a pair of posts from last year; Developmental As Anything – Part I and Developmental As Anything Part – II. What follows won’t make much sense unless you’ve both of these earlier posts, so I strongly suggest you do so now. You can find the posts by clicking on their titles above, or simply by clicking on this picture of Benny Hill in an afro for Part I….

and a chihuahua puppy frightened by a snail for Part II.

So please, go there by whichever route you prefer, read the two posts, and I’ll see you back here. Off you pop.

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All up to speed? Good. So…. as I said near the end of the second post, after I’d sent all of my written-up notes to the producer after the first of “our” two workshopping days, he responded with a lovely email:

All great, thanks

Was good fun.

Speak soon

Whoa, don’t gush dude – you’re embarrassing me. Anyway, that was on February 17th, 2017. Since then….

As I also mentioned at the end of the second post, as of late March last year the network in question were still looking for the show to fill this slot (in other words, it looked like they’d passed on this one).

Well, it’s now 14 months later, and the network in question (for those playing along at home, that network was the ABC) has indeed found a new(ish) one-hour quiz show to serve as the lead-in to their 7:00 news. It’s called Think Tank, and it’s an adaptation of the BBC show of the same name.

That being the case, I think I’m probably safe now to talk in a tiny bit more detail about this proposed show-that-never-was from over a year ago. The first thing that strikes me is how close (but not close enough) we were to the show that ended up getting the slot.

Think Tank positions 3 contestants opposite the ‘Think Tank’; 8 people representing a cross section of ordinary Australians. Our show pitted 5 contestants against ‘The Crowd’; 10 people representing a cross section of ordinary Australians.

In Think Tank, at the end of Round 3, one contestant is eliminated. In our show, a contestant is eliminated at the end of Round 1, another at the end of Round 2, another at the end of Round 3 and one more at the end of Round 4, leaving just one contestant to face off against ‘The Crowd’ in the final round.

In fairness, though, these similarities can’t all be put down to coincidence. I seem to remember the producer telling me that these were the parameters that the ABC had previously specified; they wanted something that would involve an inclusive, diverse group of Australians on screen; and something that would pit individuals against – and / or have individuals working with – a group. When I arrived to the “workshop”, the concept was already there in these broad strokes. I just helped to bring a bit more shape and structure to it.

Think Tank has 5 rounds across its hour-long running time. Our show had 5 rounds across its hour-long running time.

That’s pretty much where the similarities end, though – in our show, our contestants were always opposing the group, rather than working with them, we gave the host a co-host, there was more physical stuff happening in the studio, and there a few more opportunities for viewer involvement. We were mindful of the non-commercial nature of the enterprise (for overseas visitors, the fact that the ABC is Australia’s national, taxpayer-funded broadcaster means that no sponsorship or commercial endorsements are allowed). There were a couple of other twists and scoring details that I thought were pretty neat, but now I’m starting to wonder if I’ve said too much already.

One thing I was quite proud of was that we churned through the questions pretty quickly. A couple of things I found slightly frustrating when watching Think Thank were the repetition and the slow pace. Re-asking questions multiple times, and asking Think Tankers (who, as we’ve established are NOT experts) why they’ve chosen certain answers – including the wrong ones – feels like a lot of padding to me. But maybe that’s just me. It’s a show that needs to fill an entire (not just a commercial network 43 minute hour), five nights a week. That’s no easy task.

So I guess those notes from that “workshopping” session where I was left in a room by myself for 8 hours will remain squirrelled away in the depths of my hard drive. At least until such time as someone would like my help putting together another new quiz show, and I check them again, to see if there’s anything in there that I can re-purpose…..

Aha! I’ve got it! We just need to get a cross section of 8 – 16 ordinary people; “The Think Crowd”, four of whom are eliminated every second non-consecutive round by a random draw of the remaining six of the nine original contestants from the initial four rounds, (of course, that’s provided there’s been no SuddenDeath HeadToHead play-off, resulting in a FastestFingerFirst ClosestToThePin Tiebreaker Showdown.

No, this is good. I gotta get a pen….