Ryan’s Life In Game Shows, Episode 16: Conquering A Mountain – Part 3 of 3

Hello!

And welcome to the climax of Guest Blogger Ryan Vickers’s three-part post on his experience as a contestant on the French Canadian quiz show Au Suivant (which translates as.. Next!)

So far, Ryan’s applied to be on the show, he’s been interviewed to be a contestant, he’s been selected to be a contestant, he’s made his way to the studio, he’s met his fellow contestants, he’s met the show’s host Stephane Bellavance….

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And then it was show time! I was lucky to snag spot number one in the line so I got to lead off the show. Here’s the episode in its entirety.

As you can see, it was an awesome experience – let me touch on some highlights:

THE HOSTING GIG: When Stephane came backstage to discuss conversation topics, I gave him a choice of three scuba diving stories… or my ambition to be a game show host. I can’t even start to tell you what a MONSTROUS thrill it was to get to host, and to interview Stephane before the show started. The production staff arranged that – and I had no knowledge that it was going to happen before I arrived at the studio. And then came the wait for six months to see if it would make the edit – which it did! I’ve had a fun time sharing that clip.

WINNING THE FIRST ROUND: I was so nervous when the first question came up but so thrilled when the third came up. I had set a goal to at least get one scroll, and now I had the chance. That excitement you see is genuine!

PICKING A SCROLL: We had lessons on how to do this. Use your fingers to slow the carousel. Don’t stop it immediately. Don’t grab a scroll while it is moving.

ON WHETHER OR NOT TO STOP: I had run some numbers based on average winning scores from the previous year’s shows. $6K wasn’t going to cut it. It’s like stopping on 60 cents when you’re the first spinner on the Showcase Showdown on The Price is Right. Sure, you’re probably going to go over, but at least you control your own destiny.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU’RE DONE: You realize you’re done. If you’re me however, you’ve got a massive grin because it was one of the craziest five minutes of your life and you have a smile plastered on your face.

THAT BONUS ROUND: We were SO happy that Sandrine won. Having won big on a game show at a young age makes a massive difference.

My friends and I stayed around for the second episode, got a few pictures and talked with Stephane after it was done.

To conclude: When I was fifteen, I was in an article in the local newspaper, saying that I wanted to be a game show host. 26 years later, it came true. Never give up on your game show dreams!

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I couldn’t agree more, Ryan! I’d like to thank Ryan again so much for taking the time to share his story over the last three weeks, and – in case I haven’t said this before – for his endlessly positive, joyous attitude. Always a pleasure. After all, they are called game shows… and games are supposed to be fun! 

Remember, you can follow Ryan on Twitter at Real Canada Man

And hey – if you’d like to follow in Ryan’s footsteps, and write a guest post (or two) for HowToWinGameShows.com, just let me know! You can contact me, as always, at Stephen@HowToWinGameShows.com. So if you have a game show-related story – or stories – to share, drop me a line! I’m always open to new contributors and ideas. 

See you next time, for ….

Ryan’s Life In Game Shows, Episode 16: Conquering A Mountain – Part 2 of 3

Hello!

As you’ll remember from last week, Ryan had applied to be a contestant on Au Suivant, a French Canadian quiz show, somewhat similar to Australia’s Millionaire Hot Seat. He’d made an audition video and sent it in, and subsequently received an invitation to do an audition / interview for the show on FaceTime.

WILL the interview go well?

WILL the contestant selectors take a shine to him?

WILL Ryan be selected as a contestant on the show?

Let’s just say that there’s a lot riding on the outcome of this interview.

Now, I don’t want to give too much away, or spoil that outcome for you… so I’ll just let this picture do that.

Now read on!

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The day came. I put on a nice outfit, sat down and got ready. Two things happened that weren’t really to my advantage. First, I put the phone down to put FaceTime on horizontal and all of a sudden, my two-person interview panel became two half-faces! The next bump came for my very first question; “What is the main ingredient in hummus?” I knew it was chickpeas but I couldn’t find the French word…

My interviewers said “Tu peux le dire en Anglais!” (You can say it in English!)

Which I did… and I thought might be the end. However, it was not and I used that to my advantage. One of my interviewers told me to just say a funny answer if I didn’t know the real answer. I decided to roll with it; I figured it might not go anywhere and so I should treat it as a fun learning experience. Several times during the interview I made the interviewers laugh. In addition, the personality section went well.

That was late April.

The first Friday of June was a particularly difficult day at work. I had a long road trip planned for that evening, so my mind was probably somewhere else as I checked my email on my phone. I read the first line of the new email that had arrived.

« …vous avez été sélectionnée comme candidate pour la prochaine saison d’Au Suivant ! »

After years of trying, I had finally made it! I was going to be on a French-Canadian game show! I was pumped. Following that long drive, I sat at breakfast the next morning at my hotel and ordered the Au Suivant board game online.

For the next two months, I played the game incessantly with friends. I dug out my old copy of Qui Veut Etre Un Millionaire? to use as flashcards. I recruited a friend who had been on both Jeopardy and Millionaire to conduct Skype sessions twice a week. I was going to be ready for this.

I found myself at Radio-Canada in early August. We were led down into our green room where we went over the rules and contestant agreements. I talked with the other contestants (in my group there was someone who had been on five game shows and another person who’d been on eleven!), and generally just relaxed.

About a half hour before the show we were led onto set to practice where we should stand, where we should look and where we should exit, if luck was not on our side. It was at this time that my friends arrived to sit in the audience and I was pretty excited. This was the first time in a long while that I had a rooting section! We were then led back to the green room.

We were just shooting the breeze when Stephane, the host, came in to say hello! He gave us some sound advice – keep it moving but have fun! – and talked to each of us individually to see what we would talk about on air before we started our round of questions… that is IF we got to play. The structure of the show doesn’t guarantee that everyone gets to play, although we were told that if we didn’t get to play, they would try to bring us back for a future episode.

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Next week, as this three-part post concludes, Ryan meets up with Stephane again, when he takes to the stage to play Au Suivant

See you next Tuesday!

Ryan’s Life In Game Shows, Episode 16: Conquering A Mountain – Part 1 of 3

Hello!

This week sees the first part of a new three-part post from my regular guest blogger – and game show contestant / game show enthusiast / game show host – Ryan Vickers. And this time, our Canadian friend, who you can follow on Twitter by the way (@RealCanadaMan), gets all impressively bilingual.

So… Emporte-le, Ryan!

Which means “Take it away, Ryan!” 

(Well, it does according to Google Translate anyway.)

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My Life In Game Shows.

Episode 16: Au Suivant, 2019

“I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down!” 

Tubthumping by Chumbawumba

Dear reader, when I had last written you, I figured this might have been the end. Luckily, it wasn’t!

In the summer of 2017, I had a number of whirlwind game show experiences. One of them was seeing a new show (to me at least) called Au Suivant, which was a French-Canadian adaptation of the original Italian show Avanti Un Altro! Loosely translated it means “NEXT!”. Think of it as Who Wants to be a Millionaire, but with a line up. This all boiled down to a warm summer’s night when I found myself at the Radio-Canada studios to watch a taping in August of 2017. I was fascinated by this show (more than you know!) and after the taping, I vowed to apply for the next season.

Quick back story: we lived about 90 minutes’ drive from Montreal when I grew up which means we had all access to Quebec TV channels, most of whom adapted formats from the USA with smaller budgets. I dined on such shows as Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, Jeopardy!, Street Smarts, Supermarket Sweep and Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, helping me to improve my French as life went along. I was a bit nervous to apply and when I finally did, my love of Fort Boyard was not to be, as it was cancelled before I had the chance to apply. I did have auditions for shows such as Le Cercle and Paquet Voleur which required a long six-hour ride to Montreal but they didn’t pan out.

So, it happened this past Easter, in early April 2018 that the contestant call for Au Suivant went out. I wasn’t about to miss my chance. I put together an audition tape.

PRO TIPAs others may have said, make sure that your audition tape is sharp and gets across your personality. I put in an interesting tidbit (I am one of the coaches for Team Canada for ‘sport stacking’), showed my love of travel (by saying hello in front of one of the TV station affiliates when I was away on vacation a month previously) and made myself stand out (I explained why I should get picked by sitting on my staircase, talking clearly with my scuba diving gear in shot).

Take a look at my interview video! I’m not above saying that I did about twenty takes before I got the right wording on the stairs! I also filled out the application and sent it off.

My phone rang about three weeks later when I was sitting in our staff lounge. I read the name on the inbound call and raced to my classroom to find out that I had booked a tryout! And unlike last time, I auditioned for them via FaceTime!

PRO TIP: I had lead time of about two weeks for the audition. I made sure to organize two key things. Firstly, I arranged a room at my workplace that was going to be extremely quiet. Secondly, I recruited a French-speaking friend to simulate the interview – both the “personality” section and the “knowledge” section.

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And that’s where we’ll leave it for this week. Next week, we find out whether Ryan’s audition is successful or not (spoiler alert: it is), and exactly what homework he did in preparation for this, his latest game show appearance. 

Jusqu’à mardi prochain!

Which is “until next Tuesday!” in English. 

I think. 

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!

Game shows: The Cutting Edge

A photo of the primordial soup, snapped billions and billions of years ago.

The Game Show has been a highly adaptable form of entertainment, since The Very Dawn of Time. 

Well, maybe not the very dawn of time… I mean, the earliest unicellular lifeforms drifting about in the primordial soup probably weren’t all that great at pop culture, geography, or sports trivia. Word puzzles? They’d have been useless. Guessing which briefcase contained the big money? Not a chance in hell. And of course they didn’t stand a chance when the subject was history.

Because there hadn’t been any yet.

No, come to think of it, game shows have not been adaptable since The Very Dawn of Time, and I’m now sorry I wrote that. But game shows are adaptable these days. And that, I think, is the point of this week’s guest post from Mr Ryan Vickers. Now read on… 

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My Life in Game Shows

Episode 14: Game show as technology – ‘Complete the List’, 2017

With the advent of so many different platforms such as Netflix filling in for what used to have been our television watching, something else great has come down the chute – podcasting and apps. And with podcasting and apps has come internet game shows. Played mostly for pride and not for prizes, this allows anyone with an internet connection to play from the comfort of their home. The hottest thing going right now is HQ Trivia, an app whereby hundreds of thousands of players try to get twelve questions in a row right for a split of the game’s cash prize. In fact, for three seasons Let’s Ask America ran in US television syndication and while the host was in the studio contestants were on Skype at home.

In the traditional game show vein, Complete the List is a podcast game show run by Canada’s Andy Saunders (disclaimer: I have known Andy for years, and he is the tournament director at Reach for the Top, and he does a damn good job!). After hearing a few episodes, I knew I wanted to apply, and it was a simple as filling out a Google Form.

PRO TIP: Podcast game shows are always looking for players – why not have a try at Complete the List yourself?

Three players (and on occasion teams) are given a list of eight categories, in the vein of Pyramid, whereby you’ll have to decipher what they actually mean and that’s part of the fun. Players give answers in turn, in an attempt to score points. But in a neat twist, if you can’t think of another answer you can copy someone else’s – well, at least if you think it’s right! Other rounds include having to name a year a series of events happened as well as answering a question within a certain numerical range.

I first played on Episode 21, whereby to my surprise, I was against two other Canadians. It turns out Andy had prepared a slate of questions that were Canadian-themed. I then started to try and figure out what the categories might mean.

PRO TIP: On a show like this, pen and paper are not only allowed, but you need to use them. When a category came up, I started to scribble down possible answers. When it came to the “name the year”, I divided everything up by decade. Also make sure to take time to write down what other contestants had said so I wouldn’t repeat answers where I didn’t want to.

One of the great things about this podcast is the variety of questions – I’ve had to name countries who produced a Tour de France winner, Canadian Prime Ministers, currently running soap operas, characters from The Hunger Games and so many more things. As well the calibre of contestants has been quite high – the second of two episodes I played against two recent Jeopardy! contestants – one of who made it to the semi-finals of the recently finished Tournament of Champions.

And while this show only plays for pride, there is tons of it at stake. You can hear me play on episodes #21 and #25 wherever you find your podcasts – just search for Complete the List!

Next time, my life in game shows comes to a conclusion – well… for now…

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Well, the game show as a podcast – who would have thought? I’d like to thank Ryan for once again opening my eyes to a new corner of the game show universe that I was completely unaware of, before he came along. That was, as he mentioned, the penultimate instalment of his Life In Game Shows guest post odyssey…. but before he returns for one last round, perhaps you’d like to follow him on Twitter, at @RealCanadaMan.

And just a reminder that you can follow me too, at @How2WinGameShow.

Until next time!

The Trivia Championships of North America!

Hello! Guest blogger Ryan Vickers is back again this week to take us through a trivia-related phenomenon that I had never even heard of – shame on me! Now read on…

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My Life in Game Shows

Episode 13 – Meeting with like-minded folks – TCONA / ‘Game Show Throwdown’, 2017

In the world of fan conventions – because geek is now chic – Comic Con is come-one-come-all for everything pop culture in San Diego, California. Musical Theatre fans have Broadway Con in New York City.

But what does that leave for us game show (and trivia) aficionados? The Trivia Championships of North America (TCONA)! Held in Vegas every year, this has some loose connections to the previous “Game Show Congress” which occurred during the 2000s but truly today TCONA stands on its own. Trivia players from all around the world (including game show writers, contestants and talent) attend and play in events such as LearnedLeague Live, Last Quizzer Standing, and Total Recall about Strange Happenings (TRASH). There’s something for everyone.

It also means there is a boatload of game show contestants there.

PRO TIP: If you ever find yourself at an event whereby there are this many game show contestants, make sure to ask them about their experiences! And furthermore, ask them what they did to get on that show that you want to get on!

I’m not joking about the alumni – far from it. My quiz bowl team included two people that had reached the $500,000 level on Who Wants to be a Millionaire and a Lingo champ, for example. I ran into alumni of shows like Win Ben Stein’s Money, The $100,000 Pyramid, Whammy!, Jeopardy!, Wheel of Fortune, Weakest Link, $ale of the Century… and the list goes on and on and on…

On a personal level, I had a blast. It was not only great getting to meet all of these wonderful game show people, but it was also the activities as well. I went with a friend to see a taping of Millionaire and got to stand on the set where the host stands and actually “host” a question. I spent time playing Jeopardy! with actual Jeopardy! alumni in someone’s hotel room. I played trivia titans in a 15-player head-to-head game of Last Quizzer Standing (similar to Britain’s Fifteen-To-One) where I came in fifth place.

PRO TIP: Don’t play your cards early if you don’t need to. In this fifteen-player quiz battle, I might not have been the strongest but gave confident answers and then did not make eye contact during the second round (where players nominated other players to answer) which helped me make it as far as I did. Know the rules of the game and figure out how they can work to your advantage!

I also had one of the best nights of my life with approximately twenty other Wheel of Fortune alumni with dinner at a restaurant (where someone did the math and there was over $300,000 in winnings at that table alone!) and then a nightcap singing karaoke with those fine people. Don’t get me wrong – I had a great time but I’m not posting the footage!

The highlight of the weekend for me was raising money for childrens’ hospitals across North America. As part of a group that put on the “2017 Game Show Throwdown” we raised over $7,000 by playing different game shows for 24 hours with contestants from the TCONA audience. You’d be surprised, but I got to host a cult-Canadian game show at 4 am and it was a blast. We live streamed on the internet so everyone could watch as well!

PRO TIP: If an opportunity comes where you can use your game show skills to give back, please try and do it! I have helped out with events at various locations and trust me, it will warm your heart. Not to mention you’ll have funny anecdotes to tell for years to come based on the answers that players give!

I can’t wait to go back!

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Thanks for the heads-up, Ryan; I was completely unaware of the existence of this event. It sounds like a lot of fun! Hopefully I’ll manage to get there one day. 

One day….

 

Ryan Makes A Deal

Hello, and again Happy New Year again, from all of us here at HowToWinGameShows.com!

And when I say ”all of us”, of course I actually mean “me”. 

Our guest blogger Ryan Vickers (by which I actually mean “my guest blogger Ryan Vickers”)  is back this week, with Episode 12 of His Life In Game Shows…

So take it away, Ryan!

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Ryan and his friend Terri on ‘Let’s Make A Deal’

My Life in Game Shows

Episode 12 – Going with your gut – Let’s Make A Deal, 2017

I’m pretty lucky that as a teacher (my main job) and my hosting of Reach for the Top (the secondary gig) allows for a structured summer holiday schedule. This year I was committed to be in Detroit, Michigan for a sporting event and then in Las Vegas for a trivia convention (which I’ll talk about in a future entry). There was some time in between and one thing led to another and I soon found myself with a friend from work once again in Los Angeles.

As per my previous visit to La La Land, I had booked tickets to The Price is Right and Let’s Make A Deal.

PRO TIP: If you’re serious about getting on an audience participation show such as Price or Deal, bookmark the website for ticketing and check it daily so you can get tickets when the date first becomes available. Also consider calling the ticketing agent – often you won’t get a date guarantee but you can at least establish a reasonable window of time when they will tape. The agency that deals with Price, Deal and Match Game, for example, gives out priority tickets (get there at 8:59 AM for a 9 AM call and you’ll get in) and general tickets (which seats after priority). All it takes is a bit of time!

The first show was The Price is Right. I was delighted to have to mark an “X” on my contestant qualification number as a badge of honour (as I was on the show previously) and it lead to many fun conversations in line.

The second show was Let’s Make A Deal. On and off since 1963 (and currently in season nine) it has evolved from a calm affair at the beginning to the Halloween party for the audience that it has become.

Similar to Price, Deal has players line up and do “speed dating” interviews. One thing that was a bit different from Deal that I remembered from two years previous was that they might ask what game was your favourite and why – so we spent a good half hour the night before verifying the names of games, just in case.

PRO TIP: Lots of people have been on lots of game shows – so do your research and see how their experience was!

In line, my friend Terri went first and then I went second. The interview went well and then we were led into a holding area where we could improve our costumes, take pictures, mingle with other audience members and watch some previous episodes. We kept our energy up – not because we needed to, but because we were having such a darn good time!

PRO TIP: Pay attention to information before the show. We were told, for example, to try and avoid going away empty handed if we were chosen. The staff made sure we knew that if we took the cash bribe that it would indeed be cold hard cash we’d be winning!

About an hour later, during the show Wayne Brady (the host) said he’s looking for two friends… and then pointed at us! As excited as I was to get on the show, I was so happy that my friend was picked as well!

You can see our time on the show here.

Afterwards, much like on Price, once the show was done we were put into a room to deal (ha!) with all of our prizes. In fact, as I type this, I am thrilled to know that one of my prizes will be in my apartment by New Year’s Eve and we will celebrate with it!

PRO TIP: Say Thank You to the prize staff. They are nice people and basically they are giving you FREE STUFF. If for some reason you choose to decline any prize (due to space issues, for example) be polite about it! You never know if you’ll meet these people on another game show!

Next time I’ll talk about a meeting of the game show minds – where we could swap game show war stories!

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Congratulations, Ryan – that looks like a fun prize. We don’t have Let’s Make A Deal here, so I’m a little unfamiliar with the format. I do remember, however, writing this post about the logic you should use when confronted with the infamous Let’s Make A Deal door dilemma, back in 2015. It’s a classic mathematical conundrum, and often proves quite controversial… If you’re considering going on Let’s Make A Deal, I’d strongly suggest you have a look at the post.

See you next time!

 

Ryan comes on down to ‘The Price Is Right’!

Hello! I hope you had a great Christmas yesterday, and Happy Boxing Day to you!

We’re hearing again from our guest blogger Ryan Vickers today, and this time he takes us through his experience on a show that’s pretty much an American institution – The Price Is Right.

There are some great tips too, so if you’re harbouring an ambition to ‘Come on Down’, read on….

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My Life in Game Shows

Episode 11 – Sick day viewing: ‘The Price is Right’, 2015.

When I was a kid in the 80s, Canadian and American television game shows were a dime a dozen in daytime television. You hoped that if you got sick, your parents would at least let you watch the glitz and glamour of these spectacles. I loved shows such as Scrabble, Blackout, Super Password and $ale of the Century.

Over the years, daytime game shows have for the most part gone the way of the wind. Yes there are syndicated offerings that pay in daytime hours, but the only true ones on network television are The Price is Right (since 1972!) and the current reboot of Let’s Make a Deal (which I’ll get to in the next entry).

The Price is Right is as classic game show as you’re getting to get, from the heyday of game shows of the last century. A smiling host, a jubilant announcer, an audience that clearly has come expecting a rock concert and prizes galore; and it also boils down to a simple premise: guess how much something costs, without going over.

I had been twice previously to Price in the 2000s but it had been a good ten years since my last visit.

PRO TIP: If you’ve auditioned for a show before, try to remember how the last time went. What did they ask? What do you think they were looking for?

Armed with that thought, I made attempt number three at trying to get on the show. I felt I had interacted well with the contestant picker that day and waited to see my fate. But I didn’t just rest on my laurels… I made sure that I interacted with other people while we were waiting in line (not that it took that much effort – I’m a people person!) and made sure my energy was at full capacity when we were ushered into the studio.

PRO TIP: Assume someone’s always watching. That could be in the form of a staff member either behind or in front of the scenes. Give them the best impression and you never know what could happen!

And then I heard those magical words…

“RYAN VICKERS, COME ON DOWN!”

Continue reading

Ryan Gets Radio Active.

Hello!

Our guest blogger Ryan Vickers is back again this week, and after touching on TV game shows, French game shows and high school game shows, this week, it’s all about a radio game show!

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My Life In Game Shows

Episode 10 – ‘Newshounds’ (radio), 2014.

At this point in my life, I had never done a radio game show. Well, that’s not exactly true – I hosted a game show on my campus radio station in Newfoundland, Canada called Brain Freeze – but that’s a story for another day.

As luck would have it, CBC Radio (our national public broadcaster) put out the call for Toronto-area contestants to be part of a summer show called Newshounds in 2014. It would require contestants to answer questions about the headlines of the week, as well as other aspects of the news. I figured that it was a new show so… why not?

PRO TIP: Find out everything you can about a new show; in the early days they can’t afford to be picky about contestants because the pool tends to be smaller. I found out that it had a news and current affairs focus and made sure to tailor my application towards that.

Imagine my surprise when I was selected to be on the premiere episode! Thankfully I was able to arrange my attendance at the taping through some creative scheduling. The show’s format required you to be knowledgeable in all facets of the news. So I hunkered down and studied.

PRO TIP: As I’ve mentioned previously, use your resources. As the show was airing on CBC I made sure to do thorough studying of the news articles on their site, but also went on other sites like our national newspapers, entertainment sites and sport sites. Since there was also a “features” round I did more studying in major events around the world.

And HERE’s that premiere episode!

In the end, the studying paid off! The questions were definitely in my wheelhouse that day, and my knowledge base of the FIFA World Cup came in extra handy. I made sure to have fun with it and leave a great impression on the production staff so that hopefully I would see them again.

And as it turned out, there was a champions’ episode planned for the end of the season and I was invited back, to be part of it! I was thrilled beyond belief.

PRO TIP: If you’re lucky enough to be invited back to a championship match or tournament, make sure to step it up a notch. Be aware of how the show works, and if you can, study old championship episodes to see the level of difficulty presented.

And here it is – that Newshounds finale!

So what did I learn from the whole Newshounds experience? Be aware of your surroundings, be aware of your world… and be aware of that dreaded buzzer!

PRO TIP: If you’re going to be on a show that uses a buzzer, find a buzzer set to practice on. Even if it’s a ballpoint clicker pen or a hotel call bell, practice that buzzer.

In the next instalment of My Life In Game Shows, a slice of true Americana, where I get to “come on down”…

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Thanks Ryan, and although Newshounds dealt specifically with current affairs, I do believe it’s really important for every aspiring quiz show contestant to be keeping up to date with the day’s news as a matter of course. If you’re serious about quizzing, there’s no excuse for not “consuming” some news each and every single day. It doesn’t matter whether it’s via newspaper, TV, radio, Facebook… whatever! It is absolutely essential to stay on touch with world events. After all, today’s headlines are often tomorrow’s quiz questions. And your daily reading will also have the very pleasant side effect of making you a more well-informed, interesting person. A win-win, really!  

Ryan Reaches For The Top… and gets there.

Hello! Our guest blogger Ryan Vickers is back with Episode 9 of His Life In Game Shows, and this week, it’s all about a long-running Canadian institution, which has crossed his path at various stages throughout his life….

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My Life In Game Shows

Episode 9: Hosting A Show That I Played – ‘Reach For The Top’, 2010-present

I was in Year 10 in high school in rural Eastern Ontario, Canada when I heard about Reach For The Top.

What? A game show for high school students?!

I was in.

I was gung-ho for this game, a four-person quiz bowl style format, and I would make sure never to miss a practice. I also organised regional tournaments leading to championship matches for our school board finals.

When I moved to the Toronto area in the early 2000s, I took on coaching at a secondary school, which lead to helping to organising our local league.

In 2010, I found myself with some time to spare, and was able to hook up with the production team from Reach For The Top and landed myself a position as a Production Assistant. I was thrilled to get to help in any way I could.

PRO TIP: If it so happens that you want to work on a game show, take any position you can – you just need to get your foot in the door.

Over time, my role as Production Assistant led to me becoming a Question Writer, Game Assembler, Provincial Championship Host and in 2013 I took over the position that I have now – National Host! I get to preside over the National Championships every May.

What is it like? Well, as someone who has loved game shows all of his life, and who had the childhood dream of becoming a game show host, it’s pretty flipping cool! There are also tense times – the first game I ever hosted at the National level (a quarter-final match), the game went to a tie-breaker, which is rare in Reach games. I also love getting to do the “interview phase” with the players, and if they’re good at improv I’ll lob them classics such as “It says here on your card that you created the colour yellow. Tell us about it!”.

Well… at least it makes me smile!

Is it hard? Yes, very much so. As someone who is surrounded by knowledge all day long (I teach elementary school when I’m not having my game show adventures), I do think I know quite a bit about a lot of things, however I do make sure to read all the material before hosting any matches. I also keep my skills sharp by hosting regularly at the local, regional and provincial levels.

Is it rewarding? You bet it is. Every year I get to see such a bright, personable group of young people showing their academic prowess – it’s their version of the Olympics. I also love seeing players seemingly pull knowledge out of nowhere. I was also flattered in that one student once asked me to write a reference letter for her (and she ended up enrolling in my alma mater – bonus!)

If you’re so inclined – please check out a recent National Championship game!

Next time, we’re back on the game show experience train, but on the radio this time, and an additional follow up surprise on that show!

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Congratulations Ryan, on following that dream, and having a ‘full circle’ style journey around that pivotal game show from your younger years. I’ve found that if you’re persistent and patient, incredible things can happen over a period of time. This has certainly been proven to me time and time again, not just by my own game show experience (as chronicled here, here and here), but in many other areas of life. So, whatever your goal may be – stick to it!

It may take time, but the rewards can be… well, immense!