Ryan’s back, with ‘My Life In Game Shows: Episode 7’

Ryan is back this week, with a brief entry chronicling his time on a somewhat usual Canadian game show… But despite the relatively low stakes, and the fact that the show isn’t around anymore, Ryan does – as always – have some great tips and hints for you.

Over to you, Mr. Vickers!

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My Life In Game Shows

Episode 7: Bringing along others for the ride – ‘Ice Cold Cash’, 2012

For years in the USA there was a game called Cash Cab – and in fact it’s coming back – where contestants mysteriously got into a taxi and answered questions to win cash. Food Network Canada came up with their own spin a number of years ago called Ice Cold Cash, whereby players answered food-related questions from a man driving an ice cream cart.

I found out about this game show the same way I found out about Inside The Box… on Craigslist! I dashed off an application and heard back a couple of days later that they wanted to book me for the show.

PRO TIP: Don’t just check a television network’s website and assume that they have the only contestant application information – make sure to do some digging. Look online on sites like Craigslist as well as blogs… and maybe even a game show host’s Instagram, for example.

Two different things happened in the lead up to the taping.

First off, I found out that I was near the start of the taping block. This is due to the fact that the production team got hold of me a few days before I was scheduled to tape. “We have been doing the show with single players”, they stated, “and it’s not really working the way we wanted it to. Please bring a partner.” In two days, I thought? Okay, I can do this.

PRO TIP: Roll with the punches. If I hadn’t said that I could get a partner (even if I didn’t have one in mind), I wouldn’t have gotten on the show.

Thankfully, I knew the perfect person to work with in this escapade – one that I had appeared in a reality TV show with previously, and she was free on the tape day.

The second thing was that production was still finding its legs – we weren’t where to go until the night before; they were still scouting locations. Again, as I said above, roll with the punches.

The show itself was a fun romp. We ended up filming in a large urban park in Toronto and we enjoyed our time. Take a look!

BONUS – watch my good friend on the show (on her own, to boot!)

PRO TIP: If you need to pick a teammate, make sure it’s someone whose skills complement yours. Don’t just aim for a “TV friendly” partner, but also one who fills in the blanks in your weak subject areas!

We had some luck with where the questions fell;

  • My friend is Italian and there was an Italian food question.
  • The name of my game show that I hosted on campus radio in university came up as an answer.
  • And we’re both French teachers by trade… and we got a French food question!

Mind you, if they’d allowed unlimited time on questions, it’s almost certain that we would have still been there six years later! It’s hard to walk away, but I remember not wanting to guess because we didn’t have a solid idea.

Next time I’ll hop back across the pond where I faced arguably my toughest game yet!

 

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I’d like to thank Ryan so much once again for all the work he’s putting in to sharing his various game show experiences with us. It’s great to read about someone’s game show journey in such detail, and to see so many tips and hints sprinkled throughout his posts.
Thanks again, Ryan!

No post today. Except for this one.

Hello everyone. Sorry, but there’s no post here today.

Apart from this one.

Obviously.

You see, I haven’t had time to prepare a game show-related post for the blog this week, because yesterday I just started an intensive rehearsal process for the stage musical Brigadoon, which will be on in Melbourne… just 3 weeks from now!

So please bear with me for the next couple of weeks, and normal service will resume as possible. We have another instalment of Ryan’s Life In Game Shows coming up, and I also have some more behind-the-scenes anecdotes and reminiscences, which I hope will in some way prove helpful to you.

In the meantime, I must dash back off to the Scottish highlands, and my kilt is beginning to chafe….

 

Guest blogger Ryan’s appearance on a cult classic…

Hello!

Firstly, an apology for the fact that I didn’t post here last Tuesday.

I was away on a little family holiday, enjoying a bit of R & R, so HowToWinGameShows.com wasn’t front and centre in my mind. It is this week, though, and today, our guest blogger Ryan Vickers returns, with Episode 6 of his game show adventures. And coincidentally enough, this time, it’s all about a certain holiday that HE took, and how game shows DID remain front and centre in HIS mind while he was away. Over to you, Ryan. 

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My Life In Game Shows

Episode 6: A cult classic – ‘Countdown’, 2009

In 2009 I embarked on a year-long adventure. I took leave from work and was determined to fulfil many goals that required different timing than my job would normally allow. In addition to wanting to see game show tapings – and I ended up seeing 12 different tapings on three different continents, which I’ll talk about in a future post – I also wanted to BE on another game show in a completely different country. I set my sights on the UK – I had previously lived there and was familiar with many of their game shows.

I ended up downloading three application forms – Going For Gold, The Weakest Link and Countdown. Of the three, I decided to focus on Countdown as I felt I would be at less of a disadvantage because the other two required knowledge that may have been Euro-centric.

PRO TIP: If you’re serious about getting on a game show, make sure to pick one that plays to your strength. Ask yourself where you feel the most confident – Words? General knowledge? Audience participation? Talent based? – and focus on that.

Initially I tried to email the application but it bounced for whatever reason. So I went old school and sent off a letter in early June of 2009. A week later, I received an email from the associate producer with the first line stating “Thank you for your application for Countdown – although we were a little surprised to see the Canadian address!”.

PRO TIP: If you’re thinking about applying for a game show in another region, DO IT! The worst they can say is no. And if they say “sure, we can accept your application”, they will probably be very accommodating. Shows really like contestants from “far away”!

To speak to that tip, the associate producer arranged not only to do an audition over the phone but also made sure that a tape date would work with my travelling that fall. As a result, that November I found myself on the set of Countdown taping an episode.

… And that’s where this picture of Ryan comes from!

Countdown was a wonderful experience but is very much a quiet affair. It has great play-along value both in the studio and at home. Which leads me to my next piece of advice.

PRO TIP: Seek out any ways to practice the game you can. Don’t only watch the show as it is currently running (which tends to be difficult if you’re not in the normal viewing circle) but seek out past episodes on sites like YouTube. Play the home game, find online stand-alone or multiplayer games too. Perhaps the show has an official game on the Apple Store or Google Play and if not, find a knock-off version. If all else fails, build yourself your own practice set. Many games allow this – Countdown for example only required me to make decks of consonants, vowels, and a series of numbers.

On the show I had thirty seconds with the clock going to either find a longest word or do a calculation. This time goes by quickly!

PRO TIP: Focus on the task at hand. I learned to block out the clock’s accompanying music only until the last few beats when there was a tempo change, so as to confirm my answer. Focusing on the task at hand also means making sure to not worry about other things going on around you in the studio, which you likely can’t control.

Although Countdown did hand me my first game show loss (and yes, I’m well aware of this site’s name but sometimes you don’t always win, sadly!) I made sure to take lessons from it. In retrospect, I would have prepared differently using more online resources. However this did help me for future game show outings!

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Thanks Ryan, some great tips there. For those of you in Australia, the equivalent show here was Letters and Numbers, which ran on SBS from 2010 to 2012. It was hosted by journalist / newsreader Richard Moorecroft, although one of the hopefuls who auditioned to host the particular show was in fact….. me.

But that’s another story, and one which I’ll be relating soon, right here at HowToWinGameShows.com!

Guest blogger Ryan’s Top Auditioning Tips.

Guest blogger Ryan Vickers

Hello!

Our guest blogger Ryan Vickers is back again this week, with his thoughts on – and experiences of – auditioning for various different game shows. So, if you’re wondering whether or not to take the plunge and apply to get on your favourite game show, you’ll no doubt find his words of wisdom very handy!

And just a reminder, if you’d like to be a guest blogger for HowToWinGameShows.com too, I’d love to hear from you! Just email me, at Stephen@HowToWinGameShows.com.

But now, it’s over to Ryan for Episode 5 of His Life In Game Shows….

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My Life In Game Shows

Episode 5: Try, Try, Try, Try, Try Again – Experiences In Auditioning

Over the years, I’ve been able to audition for various game shows and have applied for many more. And, just like me, the way that you were able to audition for game shows has changed. Originally it was merely the task of making a phone call when you saw the number on the screen during the show or read about an audition in the paper. Nowadays the “audition” has changed more into the “casting process” with considerably longer applications to fill out. Today, I’m talking about my experiences in various types of game show auditioning.

A WRITTEN APPLICATION

The first show I ever auditioned for was Wheel of Fortune. Once I was lucky enough to be randomly selected for a spot by random draw, I encountered what I would term the “personality form”. On many shows, longer forms are required – for example the English-Canadian version of Deal or No Deal was approximately an 11 page application that also required you to choose four dynamic people to be your “rooting section”

PRO TIP: When faced with questions like “Tell us something about yourself” or “What would you do with the money?”, take some time to think it through and put something unique. If you might spend the money on a trip, make sure to expand by picking something out of the ordinary that you might do, like a specific activity. I put down that I had swum in jello for a local mall contest; that was certainly out of the ordinary!

A CATTLE CALL

Two specific US game shows currently airing on the CBS Television Network – The Price is Right & Let’s Make A Deal – do auditions in the style of “speed dating”. Their contestants are picked from the audience members that have previously secured tickets for that day’s taping. The contestant staff quickly asks you questions like “Where are you from?” and “What do you do?”.

PRO TIP: Be yourself – just a bit bigger – when faced with this type of audition. Most importantly, BE YOURSELF. They will see through the fakers!

A PHONE / SKYPE CHAT

Following a written application, sometimes you’ll be asked to do a chat over the phone or Skype. They may ask you specifically why you want to play the game, or they may want you to play the game over the phone. The latter experience is the one I had when I applied for the French-Canadian shows Atomes Crochus (Blankety Blank / Match Game) and Pyramide ($100,000 Pyramid).

PRO TIP: MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THE GAME. Unless it’s a new game show (and that’s happened to me before) make sure you know how to play the game. It’ll look really embarrassing if you don’t know what’s going on in that situation!

THE (UN)INTENTIONAL IN-PERSON LAST CUT

At no point in the audition and appearance process is a game show obligated to put you “on the show”. Sometimes shows are very honest about this, and bring in more contestants than they actually need with the intention of not everyone getting to play on that day (but hopefully they will be playing at a later date). Sometime shows are literally watching during the taping and may switch prospective players out without any of their knowledge! This does happen at some shows – I’ve witnessed it!

PRO TIP: Keep up that high energy during the contestant briefing. You want to prove to the contestant staff that they picked you for a reason! And keep up that high energy throughout the taping, too! If you’re encouraged to get up and dance during a commercial break, DO IT. I stood up and danced at The Price is Right before the taping so I could prove I had great energy!

In the next episode of My Life In Game Shows, I’ll tell you about the first time I tried to get on a show across the Atlantic!

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Thanks Ryan, looking forward to it.

One auditioning tip of Ryan’s today particularly stood out for me; Be yourself – just a bit bigger. He’s dead right – in fact, this exact advice has been given before here on the blog, by producers and executive producers of shows such as Family Feud and Millionaire Hot Seat. Game show producers are ALWAYS looking for contestants who are cheerful, outgoing and have a great sense of fun. Another way of putting Ryan’s tip would be BE YOURSELF… BUT ON A REALLY GOOD DAY!

And that’s it for this week. I’d like to thank Ryan again for sharing his game show adventures with us. Until next time!

Ryan’s back, with Episode 4 of His Life In Game Shows…

Guest blogger Ryan Vickers.

Hello! This week our favourite Canadian guest blogger Ryan Vickers is back.

Oh alright, he’s our only Canadian guest blogger, but he’s still our favourite. Anyway, in this, Episode 4 of His Life In Game Shows, he takes us through a buzzer-based game show called Brain Battle, which he competed on in 2007. If you’ve never seen the show, don’t worry – Ryan’s helpfully included a couple of links to it so that you can watch his episode on YouTube… and maybe even play along at home, if you feel so inclined.

So… take it away, Ryan!

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My Life In Game Shows

Episode 4: Going Live – Brain Battle, 2007

The late noughties (the 00s if you will) saw a new development in game shows; the ability to participate from home, via a premium toll phone number. One of Canada’s first shows to use this was called Brain Battle, and it aired live on the Global Television Network at 11 AM in Toronto. As it was a buzzer quiz with a simple game mechanic, I figured I might do well. I phoned up the number and booked an audition/meeting for that Thursday. This, I found out, was more of a formality than anything else. As the game needed four new contestants EVERY SHOW (and it was running weekdays for an hour), it was less of an interview than a “when can we book you for?” situation. I was to make my appearance that following Tuesday.

PRO TIP: If you’re a local, or will be in the area, make sure you tell them of your availability! They might just book you on the spot!

I returned on the Tuesday, and from the green room, was able to watch the first half of the game between a married couple  This was useful as I could see how the game was played. In my half of the game I was up against a college student.

PRO TIP: Prepare and “execute” your resources. I coach “quiz bowl” at my school and thus had access to a set of buzzers to practice with.

Here’s my episode of Brain Battle PART 1 (of 2)….

The object of Round One, as you can see, was to fill in the middle word in a chain like SAFETY (BLANKET) STATEMENT. This I saw as an advantage, as I had played something like this before…

PRO TIP: Use your advantages! Round One of this game for me was just like BEFORE & AFTER from Wheel of Fortune, and I treated it as such.

After Round One I had a comfortable lead, but I knew with correct answers going up to 20 points I would still have to work at it. Round Two required you to pick the correct spelling of a word amongst four choices.

PRO TIP: Use your strengths! I tend to read quickly, and that helped me greatly during this situation.

Furthermore, I was able to pick up on the host’s cadence. Luckily enough, a typical sequence in that round went like this:

  • Four choices of words pop up
  • Jason, the host, starts to say the word
  • I would buzz in
  • Jason would stop saying the word, call on me, and I would answer.

I was able to ascertain that there would be about a one-to-two second delay between me buzzing in early and being able to speed-read through the choices. As you can see in the link, this helped me quite a bit!

My episode of Brain Battle PART 2 (of 2)

In Round Three, all questions were true or false, with a linking word or theme between statements. I got off to a strong start and ended up winning, to advance to the bonus round!

Having not scored anything in two previous bonus round attempts, I was anxious to hopefully do better this time. The bonus round gave you a statement word and then three choices. You started on $100, going up $100 every time you were right and moving down $100 when you were wrong. I started off strong, stumbled a bit, and then was able to clear a $600 prize at the last minute. And because it’s Canada, it’s tax free so that was my take home!

Next time, I’ll talk about my experiences in auditioning for various game shows.

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Thanks for that, Ryan – I look forward to it!

I was particularly interested this time in Ryan’s tips about anticipating the host’s questions. If you’re on a quickest-on-the-buzzer type quiz show, I think learning this technique can give you a real edge. I remember that was EXACTLY what I did on my Temptation run…

Focus on the host’s mouth, then buzz in when you think you know where the question’s leading.

He or she will still read a couple more words of the question after you buzz, and then you’ll get at least 2 or 3 seconds while the host ascertains who’s buzzed in, and calls your name. Then it’s only after that, that your official answering time (often 5 seconds) begins.

2 or 3 seconds may not sound like a lot, but trust me – it is. That time is GOLD in the fast paced cut-and-thrust of a quiz show battle – USE IT!

It will give you a solid edge over the contestants who don’t.

Until next time!

EXCLUSIVE Guest Post # 3 from serial game show contestant Ryan Vickers

Guest blogger Ryan Vickers

Hello.

Our guest blogger Ryan Vickers is back this week, with an account of his adventures on a Canadian game show from some ten years ago called Inside The Box. I must admit, I was unfamiliar with this show, but I did enjoy reading Ryan’s post, and the fact that he provided links to an actual episode on YouTube really helped it all fall into place.

I hope that you enjoy Ryan’s latest contribution to HowToWinGameShows.com too! ===================================

My Life In Game Shows

Episode 3: Homegrown talent – Inside the Box, 2006

Many game show fans don’t think Canada is a hotbed for game shows – but now and then we get a few. In 2006 I answered an online ad for a TV trivia show. I arrived back from a weekend scuba diving trip to find a tryout invitation for later that day in my inbox! I rushed to get organized and headed to the location specified.

The interview itself was very low-key, and it was a bit odd as the show hadn’t aired yet. We were asked to do a written test that was right out of an English as a Second Language course and then play an alphabet-based game to associate characters and shows. Right then and there, I was told I was going to be on the show!

Which was all well and good.

However…

Weeks went by. I was told of the taping schedule (roughly) and wondered if I’d get a tape date.

Then, thankfully, one Sunday night, I got a call to tape the next day!

PRO TIP:

BE FLEXIBLE (if your schedule allows) for a tape date. You never know – they might not call again!

I arrived at the studio around 12 PM. The benefit of getting a tape date not near the start of the taping block is that they actually could show us an episode! The show was called Inside The Box, and was based on the parlour game of “20 Questions”, except it dealt with TV characters, TV performers and TV shows. The show required two parts – asking your own questions while “inside the box” for two rounds (where you could score “time”) and answering other contestants’ questions for four rounds (where you could lose “time” if you answered incorrectly).

Right then and there I started to develop strategies.

PRO TIP:

For answering questions, I made sure to give a quick direct “YES” or “NO” to move the game along. This was to make sure I didn’t incur too many penalties, and to put the onus on my opponent to answer.

For asking questions, I had once read that good players on Jeopardy! didn’t look at the scores. While playing “inside the box” I just plowed through the questions, and took a breather when the major clue came up (after five YES answers).

Here’s the episode in four parts:

PART 1PART 2, PART 3 and PART 4.

As you can see, I struggled somewhat during Sean’s first puzzle. That wasn’t nerves… that was just the fact that I had never seen the show in question!

PRO TIP:

Don’t let yourself get bogged down on one or two questions. You need to keep going! In this game being in control “inside the box” was more valuable.

And when I said I plowed through the questions, I wasn’t kidding. My goal was to get as much information as I could before I took my (free) guess. As you can see, the other players guessed in other spots in their rounds (which they were allowed to do) but incurred time penalties. I wanted to be sure that I made an educated guess in the time allotted.

What you couldn’t necessarily see was the content on the screens when you were “inside the box”. To my left was a monitor that listed any information that was gained from a “YES” answer and any major clues given. To the right was a bank of thirty questions. These tended to be general questions while you were trying to get the five “YES” answers. Once this was accumulated, a new bank of thirty appeared that were more specific. During the second bank of questions, I could see that it was pointing towards a character from The Golden Girls, and that helped me glean my answer.

I was delighted that Betty White, US game show national treasure, “helped” me win the game. Oh, and if they’d never told me the bonus answer, I’d still be there, 11 years later! Speaking of which, Canadian content rules deem shows to have rerun value, so this episode still pops up now and then, much to the delight of my insomniac friends!

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Thanks for that Ryan, and thanks for your ‘Pro Tips’ too. Although Inside The Box is no longer with us, I feel these tips can be applied to a number of current game shows. There’s wisdom in those words, folks! 

Guest blogger Ryan Vickers returns, with some great ‘Wheel of Fortune’ tips!

HowToWinGameShows.com special guest blogger Mr Ryan Vickers

Hello!

This week, we have the second instalment of our special guest blogger Ryan Vickers’ LIFE IN GAME SHOWS! I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did, and just a reminder… if you have an interesting game show story (or game show stories) to tell, and would like to follow Ryan’s lead and be a HTWGS guest blogger, please drop me a line (Stephen@HowToWinGameShows.com) and let’s chat!

But right now, it’s over to Ryan, for….

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My Life In Game Shows.

Episode 2: The Big One (and it is a biggie).

When I was in my last year of high school in Canada, I turned 18. Having just missed the cut off for Supermarket Sweep the year before, I was anxious to apply to any game show that would have me. As luck would have it, Wheel of Fortune was to audition selected Canadians in Toronto in the fall of 1996. I dashed off ten postcards to the address required.

As a game show fanatic all of my young life, I had done it all in my small town. I had hosted game shows at school, at parties, in class and played in the local quiz bowl league. When I applied for Wheel, I hoped and wished but really the odds were against me. I was later told that 250 out of 50,000 postcards came out of the drum. My mother took the qualifying call as I was at school; she then took two headache pills once I stopped screaming after she told me the news later that day.

The audition, a five hour drive away, was at a downtown hotel. Apart from filling out the information sheet and doing a puzzle quiz, you had to stand up and call a few letters and then sit down.

PRO TIP:

When you are at the audition, try and do the following:

  • Make eye contact with the contestant staff and speak clearly with enough volume (but don’t yell).
  • Have confidence and make sure you know how the game is played!
  • Prepare a few funny anecdotes that will make you stand out from the crowd and that you are comfortable talking about if you are asked. More and more, the focus is on personality first, game play second.

In life, waiting is the hardest part. As a result of my tryout, Wheel put me into an 18-month window for a possible chance at the show. Sometimes the call never comes. Thankfully, for me it came and my mother and I flew down to Los Angeles six months post-audition, to tape my run.

Walking into the studio, it’s like stepping into Oz. While I’ll get to it later, if you haven’t seen a game show taping and you want to, you really should. My experience was awesome, as we were treated like royalty in the holding area!

PRO TIP:

When you’re on set, try to put yourself at ease. During rehearsal, I was able to gauge how far I could spin the wheel which helped me during the show. I took the time to look around, figure out where the host would stand, where all information would be (like used letters and the current score for all players), and generally to shake out my nerves.

In the audience, I watched the first three episodes being taped. I appreciated this; it let me get a feel for what was going on. My name was drawn for Episode Four, and I was raring to go!

Here’s how it went, in three parts; PART 1PART 2, and PART 3. 

It really does go so fast. I was relieved to win the first round and could pay my parents back for the trip! Everything else was icing (and upcoming college tuition payments). I also feel I got lucky in regards to the puzzles – Round One’s BEFORE AND AFTER category is my favourite, Round Two dealt with not wanting to oversleep, and Round Three fell directly into my Year 12 English class wheelhouse.

PRO TIP:

Pay attention to what’s going on and use your time wisely! When the wheel was spinning, I looked at the used letter board to figure out my next pick. When it was someone else’s turn, I was focused on figuring out the puzzle word by word. This helped quite a bit – during the entire run of the show I only relinquished control of the game due to landing on a penalty space because I was able to focus on the game!

After the bonus round was done, I ran backstage, changed clothes, and was back on set for the next episode 20 minutes later! And here’s the result;

DAY 2; PART 1, PART 2 and PART 3

After all was said and done, (including forfeiting the “Luggature”) I ended up with about $20,000 Canadian!

A month later, on my gran’s 75th birthday, the show aired. I invited 20 school friends over to watch the first show and everyone was quite surprised to see the result. Most couldn’t believe I held in the secret!

And lucky for me, there was more to come!

Ryan.

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Lucky for us, too. Thanks again Ryan, for sharing not only your adventures, but also those great Wheel of Fortune tips… from someone who’s actually been there, and done that! Much appreciated, and I greatly look forward to the next instalment of Your Life In Game Shows!

‘You May Be Right’…. or maybe not. Part II.

Hello! This week I’m rounding out my list of 7 ever-so-slightly hazy memories of You May Be Right, an obscure Australian panel game / quiz show that I wrote for back in 2006. If you’re here in Australia, and you remember this show, please get in touch with me (at Stephen@HowToWinGameShows.com) and let me know what your memories of it were! But in the meantime, here come the rest of mine….

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YMBR MEMORY #3

In the game Crate Expectations, when Australian politician Pauline Hanson was the ‘mystery guest’, she kept answering the panel’s ‘Yes/No’ questions about herself incorrectly… or at least, misleadingly. For example, if they’d ask if she was known for singing, she’d say “not usually….” completely sending them down the wrong path for their subsequent guesses. It made for a misleading, confusing and unsatisfying game.

She’s not very smart, bless her.

I think another one of the show’s mystery guests was Kamahl.

YMBR MEMORY #4

I remember, during one of the games, our show’s host, Todd McKenney, telling the panellists to “shut up” and reminding them “it’s my show, guys. Remember, this is my show.” On air.

YMBR MEMORY #5

Todd asking me in the Green Room if I thought the show would work, and find an audience… and me saying something (hopefully tactful) like, “Yes, absolutely!”, while thinking “Probably not”.

Rule #1 of writing for Light Entertainment television; Keep The Talent Happy.

YMBR MEMORY #6

The theme song. The production couldn’t get – or afford – the rights to the Billy Joel hit You May Be Right. They did approach Mr Joel (or ‘his people’, to be more accurate), but the money he wanted made securing the song impossible. Could it have been $100,000? Something like that? Whatever it was, for our purposes, it may as well have been a hundredy billion*. Mr Joel clearly didn’t want his song used for this venture, and that was a surefire way to ensure that it wouldn’t be.

I remember thinking that must be a nice position to be in; “Someone wants to use something I’ve created… I don’t want them to, and I don’t need the money. So I’ll just price myself out of the market, and that will make this go away. But, if by some strange chance it doesn’t go away, and they agree, then… KA-CHING! Money for jam!”

In the end, The Scared Weird Little Guys, who were the show’s house band (and two of the loveliest blokes you’ll ever meet), wrote an original theme for it, which was so catchy, I find myself humming it as I write this. “Yooooooou May Be Right, dum da da da da da daaa….”

YMBR MEMORY #7

I remember that the two competing teams in each episode were named after classic TV shows. For example, The Addams Family VS The Munsters. I’m pretty sure there was an I Dream of Jeannie VS Bewitched show, and there was most definitely a Cop Shop VS Blue Heelers episode. I thought this last one was great, as the 3 celebrity players on each team were actually cast members from these classic Australian cop shows. So they weren’t just celebrity TV fans testing their knowledge and memory of random shows, they also had behind-the-scenes stories to tell; they actually been there through the making of these fondly remembered shows.

This was, I think, when You May Be Right was really at its best.

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But… it was all over very quickly. For whatever reason – or reasons – the show didn’t last very long. We only made four episodes, I think. I do seem to recall there being a faint whiff of desperation about the whole thing; an over-riding feeling of “We’re all having a lot of fun, aren’t we, guys? Aren’t we, guys? GUYS?!! YES?! FUN?! YES??!” In the end, not enough people watched the show to justify its continued existence. 

There’s not much evidence online that it ever existed. Apart from a Wikipedia page with broken links, there’s a rudimentary imdb page, and this archived Channel 7 page about it, but that’s all I’ve been able to find. Unfortunately, it was one of many less-than-successful attempts by Channel 7 to create a successful commercial comedy panel game show light entertainment format. Attempts that to continue to this day….

And so, this venture that we all worked very hard on, and had high hopes for, (and were counting on for our income) came and went all within the space of two months.

C’est la vie.

Adventures like that are all just part of the cut-and-thrust of being a light entertainment/game show/quiz show/comedy writer for hire in this country. In many ways, it reminded me of my experiences being Head Writer on another short-lived game show with a comedy element; Shafted.  

But that’s another story….

* And that’s actually heaps.

‘You May Be Right’…. or maybe not. Part I.

Something a little bit different for you this week. A reminiscence about a game show that I was involved with…. and that, for quite a while, I had completely forgotten existed!

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In July 2006, I was living in Sydney, when I was approached by Denis Spencer, who was my boss when I worked on Deal Or No Deal. His production company was developing a new game show for Channel 7 based on a Swedish game show called Doobidoo. Back then, after the recent runaway success of Spicks and Specks (a light-hearted, panel-based quiz show about music trivia) on the ABC, Channel 7 wanted a similar show. This new show, after a number of other suggested titles, was named You May Be Right, and Todd McKenney was signed to host it. Following his success as a judge on Dancing With The Stars, he was now part of the Channel 7 family. It was devised as a panel game show, with two panels of three celebrities facing off against each other, over various rounds of pop culture trivia questions, tasks and stunts. The job Denis offered me – “head writer” – saw me helping to come up with various games for the show and eventually, writing all of the show’s scripts on an ongoing basis.

Now, dear reader, because this happened so long ago, I’m afraid my memories of it are slightly fragmented. So here, in no particular order, is a grab-bag of

7 Memories From The Making Of You May Be Right…

YMBR MEMORY #1

I remember one of the show’s producers (who shall remain nameless*) being very enthusiastic, gung-ho, and aggressive, and quite foulmouthed in his everyday conversations.

One of the games was to guess the identity of a “mystery celebrity”, who was in the studio, but not visible to the players. While we were workshopping the best way to present this game, the aforementioned foul-mouthed producer had the following idea;

“So, we disguise their voice, right? And we can’t see them, right? Because they’re in an outdoor dunny! In the studio! And we just see their shoes! And the panels ask them ‘Yes / No’ questions, and when the panel successfully guesses who they are, right, we hear the dunny flushing, and then the celebrity comes out, doing up their pants! It’ll be f***ing hilarious! Everyone will piss themselves laughing!”

An outdoor dunny. Exactly where that producer’s idea belonged.

Okay, four things…

  1. Classy. Very classy.
  2. How many celebrity guests did he think would be jump at the chance to be presented this way on national television?
  3. Call me a naysayer, but what if it turns out not to be as funny as you think it is? Even 30 seconds is an awfully long time for a TV audience to be looking at an outdoor dunny…
  4. With ideas like this, so confidently expressed, how did you get to be a producer so high up the ladder? YOU?

In the end, wiser heads (I.e: absolutely everyone else’s) prevailed, and eventually the mystery celebrity was hidden inside a crate. I came up with the name for the game; Crate Expectations. Alright, alright. I’m not proud of it.

YMBR MEMORY #2

Meeting Pauline Hanson. Yes, I met Pauline Hanson as part of this whole experience.

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EXCLUSIVE Guest Post from serial game show contestant Ryan Vickers

Ryan Vickers, on the set of the UK game show ‘Countdown’

Hello!

As promised last week, here’s the very first Guest Post I’ve ever had here at HowToWinGameShows.com.

It’s from Ryan Vickers, who’s a Canadian game show fan, game show veteran… and game show host! Ryan has very kindly offered to do a series of posts for the site on his life in game shows, and here’s the first one.

Take it away, Ryan!

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My Life In Game Shows, Part I: Getting To Know You.

My mom chuckled. “Oh Ryan, why are you spending five bucks on stamps?”

“Because Mom,” I replied, “It’s Wheel of Fortune”.

I grew up in a household where creativity was encouraged. My parents were both educators. So that meant no violent cartoons like all of my friends. No Nintendo Entertainment System – my friends were left to their own Super Mario needs.

When my friends were busy, I resorted to the thing that I loved: game shows. Canadian or American, French-language or English-language, it didn’t matter. We grew up near Montreal, and that meant with cable television came foreign adaptations from other big money American game shows.

I can’t tell you exactly where the passion (okay, addiction) came from. I do however remember not ever wanting to miss any game shows. And you can bet that when we went away on trips, I would do everything I could to be in front of the telly to see out-of-market game shows. I even spent one year in the late eighties with a routine; Get up. Shower. Breakfast. Fun House at 7:30. Run for the school bus. And so it went.

Why do I like game shows so much? Is it because of the lights? The sounds? Those catchy theme songs? No, it’s because it’s about people doing the out-of-the-ordinary in extraordinary situations. And now, with the presence of sites like YouTube and television networks like Buzzr and GSN in the USA, both classics and modern shows are available 24/7. I was even delighted to turn up a late seventies Reach For The TopGénies en Herbe all-star game with Alex Trebek hosting in both English and French.

We’ll get to Wheel and Reach soon enough, I guarantee you.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones. The first game show I applied for, I got on. And I’ve been really lucky since then. I’ve appeared on eight (yes, that’s right, eight) television and radio game shows in Canada, the USA, England and France. In addition to that, I’ve been part of a studio audience on three continents over thirty different times, and once even a part of someone else’s experience.

I look forward to sharing my adventures with you!

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And I’m really looking forward to reading them, Ryan!

I’d like to thank Ryan so much again for coming on board as my very first guest blogger, and hey, if you – yes, YOU! – have any game show adventures / stories / jooooourneys that YOU’d like to share with the game show community – through HowToWinGameShows.com – why not let me know?

Given the flying start that this first example has got off to, I’m really open to the idea of future guest bloggers. So if that could be you, just drop me a line at Stephen@HowToWinGameShows.com, and let’s talk!