EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘The Master’, Martin Flood – Part I

Hello! So this week sees the first instalment of my EXCLUSIVE interview with Martin Flood; Who Wants To Be A Millionaire winner and star of the 2006 Australian game show the Master. I was really curious about Marty’s time as the star of this brand new format, so I grilled him on every aspect of it, from its creation, to its gameplay, to the effect it had on his career and his life. He was very generous with his time, and I’m very grateful to him. Now, if you’d like to familiarise yourself with the show we’ll be discussing…

As I mentioned last week, I’ve put an episode of the Master up on the HowToWinGameShows Facebook page. It’s in two parts, and you can watch the first part here and the second part here.

Or, if you’d just prefer to dive right in to the interview… Here it is!

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SH: Marty, thanks for talking to me today about the Master, for HowToWinGameShows.com. For those who don’t know (or who may have not done their homework!), what was the format of the Master?

MF: Five contestants would compete against each other, much like Sale of the Century, Temptation and Million Dollar Minute. The winner would then take on
‘The Master’ in the endgame, in a literal face-to-face best of five
questions (multiple choice).

There were some variations on the Sale of the Century theme. In all but one
round, contestants did not lose points if they answered incorrectly. They
would only be locked out of the next question if they were wrong. This
format was also played out on Seven’s Million Dollar Minute. Which reminds
me; the ‘points’ they received for each correct answer was $100, which they
got to keep. Nice touch by the producers. So most went home with some money.
There was only one round where contestants would lose cash for incorrect
answers. Each contestant would be asked a list of questions from their
‘preferred subject’. Correct answers scored $100, while incorrect answers
lost them $200. Most contestants seemed to go backwards, so the producers
decided to call it ‘The Master’s Mean Minute’. What would we do without
alliteration?

The winner of the five contestants would be given $50,000 on top of their winnings from
the rounds. Then Mark Beretta, the host, would ask how much of the $50,000
they were prepared to risk against me, the Master. They could risk anything
from $10,000 to the whole $50,000. If they risked it all, they got to decide
on the subject, otherwise I would decide. If they risked $10,000 they played
for $100,000 total. If they risked $20,000 they played for $200,000 total
etc. But if they risked all $50,000, instead of playing for $500,000 (as you
might expect), they got to play for $1,000,000 and the chance to become the
new Master! For some viewers, I think the numbers might have been a little
complicated but I think the basic idea of “how much will you risk?” was quite
clever. I assumed most would risk $40,000 (leaving them $10,000 to take home, guaranteed) and play for the $400,000, but most only ever risked $10,000 (keeping $40,000 to take home) and played for $100,000. That really surprised me. In truth, many really should have gone for the million, as some of their Preferred Subjects were my
worst nightmares, and they could have beaten me easily.

The end game was like a soccer penalty shootout – best of five.
Theoretically, the quickest game could finish with 3-0 (no point in going on
from there)… but in one case, the contestant and I went to 5-5 and into a
sudden death playoff. Interestingly, both the producer and the executive
producer had confided in me at separate times that they hoped the final
score would not be 5-0 as that wouldn’t make good television. Each time I pointed out that a clean sweep in a ‘best of five’ game stops at 3-0, whereas a 5-0 result could only happen in a ‘first to 5’ game. I would then politely ask them if they were sure they knew how this quiz show worked, especially given that they had designed it.
I think the producers found such smug remarks of mine quite delightful.

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No doubt! Next week, our discussion moves on to cover how Marty was approached, why he said yes, and the tricky territory of playing the character of “the Master”…. So, we’ll see you then!

 

EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Executive Producer Steve Gilbert – Part II

‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Executive Producer Steve Gilbert… doing a little bit of brushing up….

Hello!

This week, my 2-part interview with Millionaire Hot Seat Executive Producer Steve Gilbert concludes, and I wanted to start by seeing if he had any words of wisdom about when to use the show’s built-in lifelines…

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SH: Are there certain times when it’s strategically best to use the ‘lifelines’?

SG: Yep. If they don’t know the answer!

Firstly, with Hot Seat, it’s only this year that we extended the show to an hour. We have added the ‘Fastest Finger First’ element of the “classic” format back in to Hot Seat.

15 questions are asked of all 6 contestants. Whoever is the fastest overall wins $1000 that they may keep or use to buy a lifeline when they get in the Hot Seat for the main game. These lifelines are slightly different to the “classic” format. They are: 50/50Ask A Friend and Switch. The contestant may use only one of these lifelines once during the main game. This has worked really well for some contestants this year, helping them win some big money.

SH: So, in the Hot Seat format, when is it advisable for contestants to use these?

SG: 50/50…If you have absolutely no idea of any of the options offered, then to use this lifeline is risky as you’ll simply be left with two answers you still don’t know. But it’s a great lifeline to use if you are throwing up between two answers.

Switch…You can elect to get rid of the question you have and get a completely new question. This is probably the most popular lifeline, but again risky, as you may get something else you have no idea about.

Ask a Friend… This really depends on who your friend in the audience is. If, for instance, you’re faced with a cricket question and you have brought your brother along who plays cricket for Australia, then I’d be using this lifeline. Totally depends on the question being faced and who the potential friend is.

SH: Thanks Steve, great tips. Just jumping back to 2009 for a moment, where did the format for Millionaire Hot Seat originate, and how did it come to be on Australian TV at 5:30 on weeknights?

SG: Well, I started with Millionaire back in 2003. The format is owned by a company in the UK. It was then Two Way Traffic, now it’s Sony Pictures. In 2006, the “classic” version of the show was rested, as Eddie (McGuire, the show’s host) took over as the company CEO (of the Nine Network – the channel that broadcast Millionaire). I was sent a copy of a version done in Poland I think, where they played the show as musical chairs. It was sent to me in the hope we could develop this into a half-hour format. Between us we shaped it into what is today “Hot Seat”.

SH: And, from your perspective, who have been the best contestants on Millionaire Hot Seat?

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EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Executive Producer Steve Gilbert – Part I

‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Executive Producer Steve Gilbert… doing a bit of research!

Hello!

We’re back to the interviews this week, and I’m delighted to have scored one with the Executive Producer of Millionaire Hot Seat, Mr. Steve Gilbert. Steve is a real game show producing veteran, having produced the classic version of Millionaire here in Australia, as well as this new version. I figured he’d be expertly placed to provide advice and tips for anyone interested in appearing on either of these shows, so that’s exactly what I asked him about….

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SH: Hello Steve, and thank you for talking to me today for HowToWinGameShows.com. You’ve served as Executive Producer of Millionaire Hot Seat since it debuted in Australia in 2009. Before that, you were Producer and then Executive Producer of the classic format of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? For our overseas visitors, can you explain the difference between Millionaire Hot Seat and the original WWTBAM format?

SG: Certainly. The “original” or “classic” format of the show was billed more as a drama than a quiz show. As the contestants had as long as they liked to think about the question AND they could take the money at the level they were then playing for, there was more drama involved as they struggled to decide to back themselves with an answer or take the money. With Hot Seat however, the questions run to set times; 15 seconds for the first 5, 30 seconds for the next 5 and 45 seconds for the last 5. This gave us a chance to then develop the show down from the one hour classic format to a brighter, more fun half-hour version more suited to the 5.30 time slot.

SH: Back in those WWTBAM days, (1999 – 2006), any memories of the most impressive  contestants?

SG: Without a doubt it would be Rob Fulton, our first “Million Dollar winner”. He had seen a clairvoyant several years before who had suggested that she could see a lot of money in the next few years for him. He had done years and years of research on all sorts of subjects and had filled dozens of exercise books with miles of notes of seemingly “useless” information.

SH: What did he do, do you think, that set him apart?

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My eBook ‘How To Win Game Shows’ is now HALF PRICE!

Hello!

I have a bit of a special announcement for you this week. As you may or may not know, a little while back, I wrote my first eBook, which was on the subject of how to win game shows. Its title is (unsurprisingly enough) How To Win Game Shows.

And you can get it here. 

I originally priced it at $19.99 AUD, but now, for 2017, I’ve decided to chop that price in half, and just make it $9.99. The eBook is 208 pages long, and features some of the best tips from the first 2 and a half years of this blog, all distilled, organised and summarized into bite-size chapters. There’s also heaps of new exclusive content in there, that I wrote specifically for the eBook, along with quite a few random Interesting Yet Highly Unlikely Facts*, and lots of pretty pictures.

So if you’re on a quest for Game Show Glory, and you’re looking for a comprehensive reference text on the subject that’s 208 pages long, and is divided into 14 chapters and is easy to download as a pdf, so that you can read it on your iPad, laptop, Kindle or Kobo, well then….

Your requirements really are unusually specific.

But you could do a lot worse than having a look at the eBook. Just head over to www.HowToWinGameShows.com/products for all the info, and to order.

Or you can just click on this link.

Or this one.

Or even this photograph of Benny Hill in a ginger Afro

Benny Hill in a ginger Afro.

They all lead there.

Thanks for your time, the sales pitch is now over, and I’ll talk to you next week!

 

 

* Oh alright then, they’re gags.

 

 

 

Book review – ‘How To Win TV Quiz Shows’ by CJ de Mooi

cj-de-mooi-book-cover

‘How To Win TV Quiz Shows’ by CJ De Mooi

Hello, and Happy New Year, to one and all ! Here’s hoping that 2017 is happy, healthy and fun for you… and that this is the year that all your game show dreams come true.

My first post for this year is another one of my occasional game show related book reviews. Today I’m looking at the first book by former quiz show champion, and Eggheads star CJ De Mooi. It’s called How To Win TV Quiz Shows and I picked it up as an eBook a while ago from Amazon.

It’s a quick read – just 152 pages – and although it does contain some good information, I wouldn’t say it’s an essential text book on the subject. But if you’re a fan of CJ’s slightly snarky, bitchy onscreen persona, then you’ll probably quite enjoy the ride. He writes in a breezy, chatty style, throwing in plenty of his trademark sarcastic barbs along the way.

The book begins with a potted history of CJ’s personal journey – from being quiz show contestant, to being a quiz show winner, to being a quiz show regular cast member. I must confess, I found his personality a bit hard to take during the relating of his life story. A pattern seemed to emerge in this part of the book; he’d repeatedly big-note his wins, then describe his losses as ‘injustices’, while assuring the reader that he’s over them now anyway.

An example of this comes when he relates how on one game show, he was only one second away from answering the final question in a 60 second round, when the timer went off. He complains that contestants not being able to see the clock is a major game flaw, and that this is unfair. To be fair, that’s how it’s usually done, CJ.

This very personal chapter concludes with him telling us that he’s now quit Eggheads, in order to pursue his dream of acting. And he’s happy; he goes to the gym every day, moisturises, and doesn’t care in the slightest what anyone thinks of him.

Hmm….

I can’t help thinking that if he’s telling us that he goes to the gym and moisturises every day, then he cares very much what everyone thinks of him.

Chapter 2 goes through the processes of getting on to quiz shows. This is a UK-centric book, and so the practical tips are all UK-based. He breaks down the reasons that people might have for applying for game shows and goes through them in more detail one by one. There are some useful tips here, such as the middle-aged white man (a demographic that’s generally over-represented on quiz shows) being selected time and time again due to drawing a little rainbow flag on the top of his application forms. Sometimes, positive discrimination works!

This is followed by a very comprehensive account of what you can expect on a studio record day.

Later chapters see CJ interviewing some other quiz show winners; Pat Casey (winner on The Chase and Tipping Point), serial WWTBAM contestant Paddy Spooner and British and European championship quizzer Gareth Kingston. But I’m not sure if I liked the way that he did this; rather than laying things out in a question and answer format, he’s reworked the content of the interviews into a prose, indirect speech format. Along the lines of “Paddy has an illuminating point”… “Paddy mentions his six year old daughter”, “Gareth advised always going in with a game plan”, and so on. This left me wondering exactly what CJ’s interview subjects did say to him in answer to his questions, and exactly how much has CJ paraphrased their responses.

As the book comes towards a conclusion, there’s a chapter titled ‘The Future’, which contains more practical tips about the why and how of getting on game shows – how you apply, etc., etc. It’s all sound advice, but not exactly inside knowledge. He’s a great advocate of joining an organised quizzing league (such as the ones that can be found here), which I think is certainly a good way of brushing up your knowledge, and exercising those question-answering muscles. He also recommends writing quiz questions, in order to get into the mindset of a quiz question writer. I’ve always thought that this is a great tip, and we’ve mentioned it many times here on the blog over the years.

The final chapter goes into more detail about how to write questions, and contains one list that I found interesting. It’s CJ’s Top Ten Topics that you should be well-versed in, if you’re looking for quizzing success. (I think the first one may be a bit anglo-centric, but here they are:)

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EXCLUSIVE interview with behind-the-scenes game show legend Michael Whyte – Part VIII

Michael Whyte (right) with host Eddie McGuire on the set of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?'

Michael Whyte (right) with host Eddie McGuire on the set of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’

Last week’s part of my interview with Michael Whyte ended with us discussing the poor teaching that can sometimes go on in the media industry. In a discipline where sometimes the teachers are people who haven’t quite made it in the real world of the television industry, some of the knowledge they pass on to their students can, at times, be less than authoritative….

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MW: Now, the opposite to that I think, is my son, for example. He shoots, with a digital camera, skateboarding, BMX and scootering, and he’s got his own site. He has about 15 sponsors and he shoots on a regular basis and makes short films and is now being hired by people to shoot stuff.

SH: That’s smart.

MW: Well, exactly. So when he goes to do a course like that, he’s already done the editing side of things… because he does that every day.

SH: Self-taught.

MW: And he’ll pop that up on his own YouTube channel or on his own site and he he’ll get 80,000 hits for one of those. Quite easily. So he’s got that part of it done. So the theory side of it… I don’t know if it works for him. He can actually do what people require already.

SH: Or he can be his own business, his own entrepreneur, his own TV station. And with sponsors, then you wouldn’t need to go anywhere else if you can scale it and make it bigger and bigger… and there you go. You can do what you love and get paid.

MW: Yeah. But I think if he took that to Channel 9, depending on who interviewed him, they’d say “you need a Bachelor of Communication or something like that”, whereas if you took it to a small production company and just said “Here’s what I’ve done”, they’d go “Fantastic. Go and shoot this, and I’ll have a look at it at the end and if it is any good we will give you some work”. Will it be as simple as that, you know?

SH: Is that where he sees his future?

MW: Well I think so, because he enjoys it. More and more into the extreme sports because he likes extreme sports and when he goes, he shoots. People are going “that’s really good”. He puts some music to it, chops it up and there it is. He shouldn’t have a problem getting any work – just as long as the interest is still there, he’ll be great.

SH: You mentioned a moment ago that you’re currently working on Millionaire Hot Seat, which is a version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. Do you have any tips or hints for people considering going on either Millionaire Hot Seat or Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?

MW: First of all, get off the couch because mostly people sit there and say “Yeah, I know that”. And you would have had so many people say “Yeah, I could have done that”.

SH: Ah, yes – But you didn’t, did you?

MW: It’s fine to say afterwards “Yeah, I would have got that, no problem”. It’s those people, every time we record there’s a studio full of contestants and I say to them “you were sitting on the couch, you were watching the show and your husband or your wife or your boyfriend or whoever it was said ‘Get off the couch and go and have a go… because you are driving me mad!’”

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It may sound facetious, but I think that point IS really important; you DO have to get off the couch. “Fortune Favours The Bold” may be a cliche, but it’s absolutely true. In fact, I think the point Michael’s making was perhaps expressed most eloquently in these wonderful words from the 26th American president, Theodore Roosevelt;

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Nice one, Teddy. See you next week.

EXCLUSIVE interview with serial game show contestant Vicky Jacobs – Part II

How to win game shows vicky jacobs 2

Vicky Jacobs

Last week, in my chat with serial game show contestant Vicky Jacobs, we discussed her appearances on Greed, Temptation and Million Dollar Minute. But Vicky’s game show contestant career certainly doesn’t end there….

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SH: You’ve also appeared on Millionaire Hot Seat, whose format is very different to the original Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. What strategy did you employ – if any – to make sure your time in the actual ‘hot seat’ was as advantageous as possible?

VJ: I had lots of permutations of strategy in my head going in, but when it came to the actual day, none of them made any difference. I answered the most questions right in my episode, but with the way the day panned out, there was pretty much no chance of getting back into the hot seat. In my opinion, there’s a huge amount of luck in that game and it will only be with a certain set of events that strategy will do you much good.

SH: And most recently, you took to the stage on The Chase: Australia. How did you go, and as a former contestant, what tips or tricks would you now give any future contestants?

VJ: I had a great time on The Chase. I’d been watching the British version avidly and was busting for a chance to play myself. I knew the odds were low of going home with money – I just wanted to play! I got through to the final round – there were only two of us left – but we got caught by the Chaser, losing $22, 000. My advice would be to do everything in your power to have four people playing at the end. Chat about it when you’re hanging out backstage (they don’t seem to mind this).  And if you do get to the end, have a “passing” strategy, with a clear leader who is boss of the passing!  I think we may have squished in a couple of more questions if we had have worked something out beforehand.  Also, this is a small thing but I think could be helpful – don’t stress too much about the chit-chat bit with Andrew O’Keefe beforehand – if you say something goofy, it really doesn’t matter, just keep your head in the game.  I reckon we lost one of our players to this on the day I was on. 

SH: Vicky, obviously game shows are a recurring theme in your life, and you’ve applied and been accepted time and time again. What do you think are the keys to being selected as a game show contestant?

Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE interview with serial game show contestant Vicky Jacobs – Part I

How To Win Game Shows Vicky Jacobs

Vicky Jacobs

A brand new interview for you this week, with someone who’s “been there and done that” a number of times! Vicky Jacobs is a musician, musical director and vocal coach, but she’s also a serial game show contestant, having appeared as a contestant on at least five different game shows. In fact, it could even be said that game shows are in Vicky’s blood, being, as she is, the daughter of a genuine Sale of the Century champion. I was curious to ask Vicky about her diverse game show adventures, and whether she had any hard-won tips, drawn from her wide and varied experience.

And so I did. 

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SH: Vicky, welcome and thanks for chatting to me today for www.HowToWinGameShows.com

VJ: My pleasure!

SH: I’d like to start our chat today by hearing about your dad – you mentioned he was a Sale of The Century champion. When was that, and what did he win?

VJ: I think it was 1992. He’d won all the prizes except for the car and was playing for the car when he got beaten. It was the fifth episode they’d filmed that day and I think he was probably a bit tired and hungry by that stage. But we won heaps of cool stuff! It kept turning up at the house for months – all the game show classics: saucepans, luggage, ski gear, a home gym, a giant Garfield (still got it!) and we even got a family trip to Vanuatu… so not a bad couple of days work!

SH: How did your dad’s win change your family’s life?

VJ: I’m not sure I’d say it changed our lives significantly, but was definitely lots of fun while it was happening and a real talking point at school (I was in Year 8 at the time)!

SH: Was it your dad’s win that started your fascination with game shows? Or did you “catch the bug” later in life?

VJ: Funnily enough, Mum had actually done Sale of the Century first – she didn’t win her episode but did bring home some prizes so I think she probably gave the bug to all of us. Who doesn’t love free stuff?!  My whole family loves a game of Trivial Pursuit and are highly competitive, so it was kind of inevitable! 

SH: Which was your first game show appearance? Would that have been Greed, in 2001? How did you go during that appearance, and looking back now, was there anything you would have done differently?

VJ: I’ll start this story by pointing out that I was quite young and didn’t know much stuff in 2001. But essentially what happened was: I got a 50/50 question wrong which lost our team $100,000 and put us out of the competition. And that wasn’t the worst bit! The worst bit was being put in a room with them after I’d stuffed it up, while they filmed the rest of the episode. Small talk with strangers who hate your guts – not the funnest hour of my life! I’m not sure I would have done anything differently, as it was a luck-of-the-draw type situation: I simply didn’t know the answer. For anyone playing at home, the question was “Which of these is a currency: ‘punt’ or ‘kind’?”  I now know it’s ‘punt‘ !

SH: Then a few years later, you were a contestant on Temptation (the rebooted version of Sale of the Century). What advice and / or training did your dad give you, as you prepared to go on? After all, he’d been there and done that…

VJ: Dad told me to buy everything that was offered to me!  It was great advice for that particular competition. I was ahead for much of the game so I took everything that was offered. I got beaten in ‘Fast Money’, but when I did the maths afterwards, I still wouldn’t have won if I hadn’t bought, so it was excellent advice.

SH: And what did you end up winning on Temptation? Continue reading

Confessions of a ‘Family Feud’ warm up man… Part VII

Russell Fletcher and 'Family Feud' host Grant Denyer, with the 2016 Logie award for

Russell Fletcher and ‘Family Feud’ host Grant Denyer, with the 2016 TV Week Logie Award for Best Entertainment Program!

This week’s instalment of my chat with Family Feud studio host and audience warm up man Russell Fletcher includes one of the best strategic tips you’re ever likely to get for playing Family Feud. It’s just below, and highlighted in blue bold, as all the best tips on this site always are.

See if you can spot it…

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SH: Any words of advice – or warning – for anyone who’s keen to go on Family Feud?

RF: It is really fun coming in to the studio because you will actually pick up on some of the nuance that we try and coach people about and that’s all about just staying focused and relaxed. And dealing with nerves, maybe possible strategies. Some people are learning the strategy of getting the top answer and it is a slightly difficult question, they will know the question will be difficult so they pass it over to the other side, in the hope to have time to consult. Because the only time you get to consult with the rest of your family and chat about the answers is when the answering contestants are on two strikes. SO you have that little moment to huddle together and brainstorm, brainstorm, brainstorm… That one! That’s the good one. 

SH: Does that often work or is it just 50/50?

RF: Steals often work. We get very few clean sweeps of questions, very seldom that Grant would be asking a question and they will get all the answers out in one hit. Very seldom.

SH: That would make sense. 

RF: Quite often a team that’s attempting to steal will also fail at stealing. There are always one or two elusive answers that people cannot get from a survey of 100 people; “Name a famous Australian desert”.

SH: The Simpson Desert.

RF: 43 of 100 people put down “Pavlova“.

SH (LAUGHS) Ha! That’s great!

RF: Yah. So some questions we can’t put to air.

SH: But that’s in the writing, not in the spoken.

RF: That’s right. That is in the written answers to the survey.

SH: But if Grant was to ask that question verbally it would be a different answer because he wouldn’t be pronouncing “dessert”, he would say “desert”. 

RF: “Name something that comes in a carton”. 

SH: Milk. 

RF: Yes. SpongeBob Squarepants…. comes in a cartoon.

SH: Oh, for goodness’ sake.

RF: Bugs Bunny.

SH: Really?

RF: Yeah. So the hardest part of the show is writing questions because I am not  a fully skilled question writer like your good self, it is a muscle that you have to adapt and you have to develop techniques for writing questions. What is going to be fun to play with? What is topical? What is going to capture the zeitgeist? It is a really inexact science. Questions that are going to be fun for Grant to ask and fun for the contestants too. Sometimes you’ll get Fast Money questions which are so easy for that family, and sometimes you go “wow, that was a hard set of questions”. And that is a really hard judgement call. I write 500/600 questions per year and that is the hardest thing to do. 

SH: Also to make it answerable enough, and not too hard and not too easy, and not too accessible and not too inaccessible. 

RF: Yes because it’s not a factoid. There are no facts, it’s not trivia. 

SH: It’s not right or wrong, it’s not yes or no. 

RF: People will answer and say the most reasonable things and it won’t be there on the survey.

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… which all just goes to show how much thought, effort and care goes into the questions you see on the show. Family Feud, like all game shows, is very much an “iceberg proposition”; we only see the 10% that’s “above the surface”. So many hours, days – even weeks – of work has already been done by the time the network delivers that half hour of TV content each night. Which I think’s really cool. 

It also goes to show the reading levels of many people auditioning for the show. Is that also cool?

Not so much. 

See you next Tuesday!

 

Confessions of a ‘Family Feud’ warm up man… Part VI

 

Russell Fletcher

Russell Fletcher

Hey, I must say it was great to chat to Angela and Andrew on Weekend Sunrise about How To Win Game Shows on Sunday! If you didn’t see our brief interview, you can catch it right here. But now, back to business. And this week, as my chat with Family Feud‘s studio audience host and warm up man Russell Fletcher continues, Russell lifts the curtain on how to find out when the show will next be auditioning, the best mindset to have when playing Family Feud, and what not to say when you’re asked to name a city beginning with D…

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SH: This is the third year now of Family Feud‘s run on Channel Ten – it started in 2014?

RF: That’s right. 

SH: It’s been a big success for the network. Has it been renewed through to the end of the year?

RF: Well, we’re going up to June, but we didn’t start until the second half of 2014 so we haven’t been 2 years yet. I guess something that the wider audience might not know is that when auditions opened in May 2014, eight and a half thousand families applied and basically broke the system. Because there are only 2 or 3 producers that can work with the contestants! Everyone else has got other jobs. So we closed auditions down immediately so people who applied back then… we are still working through that number of families. That is a lot of people; that is eight and half thousand by four. 

RF: I am doing auditions tomorrow night in Melbourne and then we have Adelaide coming up very soon. And we just spent a double header this weekend in Sydney with 40 families per day. So we do meet a lot of people. That may be something that the general public might not know. We are about to finish working through that backlog of people. I think they are going to open up the auditions again too. 

SH: That’s good to know, because I did get a few questions on the Facebook page asking “how do I audition for it?” and saying “I went to the Family Feud website, and it said auditions are currently closed”… Well, now we know why. That’s huge. 

RF: It is always worth maybe emailing Fremantle or maybe having a look at tenplay because we are just about to announce that auditions will be opening. I think that would be really good fun because it almost will be like a different market, like a fresh pool of people come to the show. It is really interesting how many  different school groups, media groups who kept coming along for the records, I find that every school teacher, especially the primary school teachers actually play Family Feud with their classes. They do their own survey questions, they survey the class and they have the top answers because it is a fun way of getting to know how everyone thinks. 

SH: It is a Social Sciences exercise, I guess. 

RF: Yes, in a way. How do people think? We have a bunch of camera rehearsal questions and there is one question in there: “Name a city beginning with the letter D” and the first thing you would say….?

SH: Me? Dunedin

RF: Dunedin’s very good. That is on there.  

SH: Or Darwin

RF: Darwin’s the top answer.

SH: Düsseldorf.

RF: Düsseldorf is not zare, sadly, for za cherman peeple. Düsseldorf peeple, don’t be dizappointed. Out of 100 Australians – and I’m not saying these surveys are like Morgan Research or anything – but out of  100 Australians, “Darwin”, “Dublin”, “Dallas”, “Denver”, the greater city of “Dandenong“… Most of our contestants say Denmark. 

SH: (PAUSE) As a city?

RF: Yyyesss…. and all the camera guys know that I hate that response – because I am an atlas guy – and they go “Ooohh….” (LAUGHS) 

SH: The great city of Denmark. Knowing what you know, if you were a contestant on the show, how would you approach it?

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