But before that, just a quick reminder that there is an episode of the Master up on the HowToWinGameShows Facebook page for you to watch. So if you’d like to familiarise yourself with the show, the episode’s in two parts, and you can watch the first part here and the second part here.
And now, on we go!
SH: As this was a brand new show, with a brand new format, I imagine that
quite a bit of tweaking and finessing was still taking place during
pre-production and early production. Was that the case? And if so, what form
did it take?
MF: When I was asked to be ‘the Master’, I think Seven had been working on the show
for quite some time. I was probably the last person to join the team. I
think someone from the production team had told me they had already tried
Red Symons as the Master. Originally, (Executive Producer) Grant Rule had imagined that the show would look like a wrestling match, where contestants would be called out of
the audience – much like The Price is Right – to come up on stage and take on
the Master. Perhaps they could have had Michael Buffer announcing “Let’s get
ready to …”
Or perhaps not.
By the time the people at Seven had vetted Grant’s original idea and decided on what they thought would be appropriate, the show looked very different.
SH: When it came to the production, how did you find actually being
the star of the show? What surprised you most about performing that
MF: I felt somewhat misplaced. Having won on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, people would come up and congratulate me, which was really nice and I felt like I had achieved
something. When episodes of the Master were aired in late 2006, people would
come up to me and want to meet or chat with me. That was really nice too, but
it felt like they were mistaking me for a celebrity.
At the studio, I was kept away from everyone most of the time. I had to stay
in my room until I was asked to come out for the recording. I think it was
because the producers didn’t want any perception of collusion. Sometimes, if
contestants saw me near the set, they would call out to me to come over and
chat. I would have enjoyed meeting them and sharing our thoughts, but I had
to keep walking and pretend I was needed somewhere else. At the end of the
first one or two recordings, I chatted with some of the contestants – which I
really enjoyed, as we all had the same interest in quiz shows – but I was soon
told not to. Again I had to ignore them. So most of the time I felt quite
cut off from everyone.
What surprised me the most was how difficult acting was. I find remembering
lines really hard. My memory is quite good in many areas but it’s really
poor for recalling poetry or prose. I had a clipboard on my lap for most of the
show, which was there to write down strengths and weaknesses of the
contestants. I never did. I had my lines written on it. As for acting out
the lines in a meaningful way, I think I was hopeless. It gave me a new
appreciation of what skills real actors actually have.
Thank you, Marty. Yes, we really are quite staggeringly brilliant, we actors. Each and every one of us, without exception.
Next week, Marty and I get into the nitty-gritty of what he observed “from the other side of the podium”. As he was in the very rare position of being a former quiz show contestant (on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster) whose role now required him to compete against – and observe – other quiz show contestants, I figured this would give him a unique perspective. I was curious to know if he spotted any strengths or weaknesses as he faced off against contestant after contestant after contestant….
His answer – along with a LOT of great quiz show tips – will be revealed here, next Tuesday. See you then!