So anyway, I did ‘Sleep At The G’… But I also didn’t.

Sorry folks, but it’s another non-game-show-related one today. You may recall that a little while ago, I mentioned that I was planning to do the Sleep At The G, to help raise funds to combat youth homelessness….

Well, back on Thursday May 21st, I did.

In a manner of speaking.

You see, due to the cancellation of the physical event, I decided that on the night, I’d still sleep outside… but instead of doing it at the MCG, I’d do it on my front porch.

My bed for the night. Yes, I know it’s undercover, but it’s still technically outside. Don’t @ me.

A relatively cold night was forecast: overcast with some rain, getting down to a minimum of 9 degrees at around 4 AM. I made sure I was well covered – long johns, thick socks, jeans, T-shirt, jumper, jacket, scarf, beanie – and set up a Zoom connection with my good friend Tim, who was taking part in the event with me.

Ready to go. Let’s do this.

It was so great to have Tim “there”, and a few other friends also joined us on the call, offering their support. I found myself appreciating – yet again – how lucky we are to live in this age, when we can all stay connected virtually, if not physically.

Imagine getting through the pandemic without that…

After the call ended, I settled down, to try and get some sleep. My various layers of protection generally stood me in good stead; it was only the coldness of my face (and nose, in particular) that seemed to repeatedly stop me from nodding off.

It got colder, and then it got colder again.

And then it started to rain.

So… is this the fun part?

Eventually (no idea what time) I did finally manage to get some shuteye… And I’m pleased to report it was relatively uninterrupted shuteye, at that!

This is obviously a re-enactment. I’m just pretending to be asleep here. (Well, somebody had to take the selfie, didn’t they?)

When I was woken by the sunrise, I felt sure I’d got a lot more sleep than I did on this night last year, at the actual MCG.

Morning has broken.

Recently in our street, a couple of cars have been broken into…. so when, at around 6 AM, I heard someone get into a car, start it up, and drive off quite quickly, I instinctively sprang up and and dashed out the front, to see if it was ours.

It wasn’t.

And so, after that mild shock, I was now fully prepared to get up and at ’em, and start the day; bright-eyed and bushy-tailed…

… And fresh as a frickin’ daisy.

Reflecting, once again, on how lucky I am to have a home to go to. Not everyone is so fortunate.

Again, I’d like to thank everyone who sponsored me. I understand and appreciate how uncertain things are at the moment, financially, so your support really is very much appreciated. Together, you’ve raised $177.21 to help combat youth homelessness.

And if you’re reading this and you’d like to add to that total… you still can! At https://sleepatthegcommunity2020.everydayhero.com/au/stephen

==================================================================

Next week, I’m really pleased to be bringing you a brand new two-part guest post from our Canadian friend – and game show contestant, host and aficionado – Ryan Vickers.

And hey, if YOU’d ever like to write a guest post for HowToWinGameShows.com – just like Ryan has – I’m always open to the idea.

Just drop me a line at Stephen@HowToWinGameShows.com and let’s talk!

Hey, whaddaya know? I’m a novelist! (kinda…)

Hello! I’m afraid I’m going off on another non-game show related tangent again this week… (we’ll get to the end of the Mark Humphries interview next week, I promise!) … but this sort of thing doesn’t happen every day.

As I may have mentioned before, last year, I decided to finally make a serious attempt at writing my first novel. Like many people, I’d been wanting to write a novel for many years, but I never wanted to be one of those people that just leaves it at that.

So, last May, in an effort to keep myself focussed, on track, and accountable to this big goal, I broke it down into a series of smaller goals. Namely, I resolved to write one chapter of the novel every week for 52 weeks, posting a new chapter online – here – each Friday at noon.

And now, one year later, it’s done. Admittedly, it’s only a first draft, and I do have an awful lot of editing ahead of me, but the 52 chapters of the novel have now been written. It’s a rollicking, swashbuckling, science fiction, space pirate adventure, and I’m calling it:

It’s a project that’s obviously been occupying my mind a lot over the past year, and reaching the end of it (or the end of the first phase of it, anyway) seemed to me to be something worth celebrating. So, you know…

Cheers!

Quite apart from anything else, the whole endeavour was a valuable learning experience. And it did remind me of that really important life lesson – which I think also applies to ANY game show related quest (at last, he’s stumbled back on to what this blog is supposed to be about)… if a goal is daunting, break it down in to smaller goals. Then you’ll achieve them, one small step at a time… and before long, odds are you’ll glance back over your shoulder and be amazed at how far you’ve come.

Sure, this may seem only tangentially related to getting on game shows and winning them, but I have written about this on the blog before, and I really believe it bears repeating – it’s such a powerful idea.

And speaking of game shows (about time, too!) next week, I’ll see you back here for the conclusion of my epic interview with Pointless host Mark Humphries.

But before that (this Thursday, in fact) I’ll be doing the Sleep at the ‘G (at home), to raise funds to help homeless youth. I’m very aware that times are tough, but if you are able to help out by sponsoring me, for any amount, it would be deeply, deeply appreciated.

The link to the page where you can do that is: https://sleepatthegcommunity2020.everydayhero.com/au/stephen

or you can simply click HERE.

Thank you so much!

Off on a tangent, for a very good cause…

And now, from our ItAllSeemedMuchMoreFeasibleWhenISignedUpForItBackInEarlyMarch Department….

Something a little bit different this week. I want to tell you about something I’ll be doing soon, and invite you to consider me helping out, if there’s any chance you’re able to.

In a few weeks (actually on Thursday, May 21st, to be precise), I’ve signed up to “Sleep at the ‘G“, to help raise funds to combat youth homelessness.

This is an annual event organised by Melbourne City Mission, who do great work in this area. It involves spending the night at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (the “G”), and sleeping on its concrete floors in a sleeping bag, with only a collapsed cardboard box for a “mattress”. I took part last year, and although it could never equal the experience of sleeping rough on a regular basis, it gave me a much better understanding – and a deeper appreciation for – some of the hardships suffered by the many (far too many) people who find themselves homeless.

I’ve enrolled again this year, but as you’ve probably guessed, the event (which requires thousands of people to congregate in one place overnight) won’t be taking its usual form this time. All the sponsorship and fundraising pages are still open, and the ‘Sleep at the G’ folks still need donations. Perhaps now more than ever – as you can imagine, homelessness and COVID-19 are a deadly serious combination.

So I’ve decided that if I can’t sleep outside at the G on May 21st, the least I can do is sleep outside at home on that night. I’ll be out in our backyard in a sleeping bag, again with a cardboard “mattress”, and if there’s any chance you’re able to sponsor me or make a donation…. well, that would be wonderful. Of course, I don’t yet know what the weather will be like on that night, but last year it was frickin’ freezing!

As per last year, I have a fundraising page set up right here.

(The full URL is https://sleepatthegcommunity2020.everydayhero.com/au/stephen),

Every little bit really does count.

I will be posting some pictures up here after I’ve done it…

A) to prove that I have done it, and

B) to bring you a little bit of schadenfreude, to brighten your day.

… and that’s it for this week! Thanks for your time, and I’ll see you back here next week, with the next instalment of my exclusive interview with game show host Mark Humphries!

Until then, then.

 

Seven years old today!

Well, here we are at the seven year mark!

When I nervously started HowToWinGameShows.com, way back in 2013, I really wasn’t sure if there would be enough material on this subject to sustain a blog like this for any reasonable length of time. As it turns out, I kinda think there has been.

I’ve done 327 posts over the past seven years (this being my 328th), and interviewed loads of game show contestants, game show winners, game show producers, question writers… and hosts! I hope you’ve managed to glean some useful information from our discussions.

I’ve reviewed various books and TV shows (there are more of these reviews to come!), and I’ve related many behind-the-scenes experiences from the various game shows I’ve worked on. There are more of these on the way, too!

Along the way, I’ve written my first book – the cryptically titled How To Win Game Shows – and self-published it on Amazon. All of which was quite a learning curve in and of itself. As I’ve mentioned here before, a second HTWGS book is on the way, and my goal is to get it written and published by the end of the year.

In short, I guess what I’m trying to say is… yes, there is enough material on this subject to sustain a blog like this. And, much more importantly, there’s enough interest to sustain it….

Interest from you.

And for that, I’m very, very grateful.

So I’d like to sincerely thank you for your interest and for your support, and of course for your visits. I really, really appreciate it all, and will never take it for granted.

And now

In case you didn’t know, my current interview guest Mark Humphries will be competing in TONIGHT’s episode of Celebrity Mastermind, which you can watch on SBS, if you’re here in Australia. So why not tune in, and get behind Mark?

I know I will be – good luck, Mark! 

O Canada! O Game Shows!

Something a little bit different this week. I just wanted to draw your attention to an interesting new six-part documentary series all about – you guessed it – Canadian game shows! It’s called The Search For Canada’s Game Shows, and you can watch all six 22-minute episodes right here, on the Search For Canada’s Game Shows website. (www.CanadasGameShows.com)

It’s a really engaging and amusing series, with loads of archival footage, and interviews from some of the major players in the Canadian game show… erm… game. 

In fact, one of the people they interviewed for the series is our old friend and occasional guest blogger Mr Ryan Vickers! And I’m happy to say that if all goes well, he’ll be sharing the details of his involvement here in his next guest post, in the not-too-distant future.

It’s a well made series, and while it’s a great primer on game shows in that part of the world, there are lots of interesting tidbits in there about the genre in general. 

So there you have it – this week’s recommendation: The Search For Canada’s Game Shows; all four episodes streaming now, at www.CanadasGameShows.com

You’re welcome!  

… and a Happy New Year!

Yep, the front cover of George Benson’s album certainly knows what year it’ll be, a few hours from now….

Hello, and a very Happy New Year to you and yours!

I hope that 2019 has been a happy, safe and prosperous year for you. It’s been a good one over here at HTWGS HQ, with a quite a few more interviews, guest posts, industry insider reminiscences, and (hopefully) a lot more helpful game show hints and tips for you.

I know I haven’t managed to bring you something every week this year – there have been quite a few other demands on my time* – but I hope you’ll forgive me for that, and that what I have managed to bring you here has been interesting and / or useful.

Now, there is something that I need to talk to you about….

Back in March, I know I promised you a second How To Win Game Shows eBook by the end of the year.

This news just in…

It’s not done.

Yeah look, I’m sorry about that. You see, after finally getting the first HTWGS eBook properly published (and priced!) on Amazon in January, the plan was that I’d finish my second (non game show-related) eBook, get that up on Amazon in February, and then go straight into the second HTWGS eBook.

That second eBook was just days away from being finished and uploaded when, for reasons I won’t go into here, it all came to a screaming halt. This meant that the two years I’d spent working on it did not result in a polished, fascinating, jam-packed 250 page finished product after all… but they did result in an extremely valuable learning experience.

Cést la vie.

After that, in the course of re-examining my writing and publishing goals, I came up with my Bold Literary Experiment / Frustrated Novelist / Mid Life Crisis idea… This is my 52-chapter novel, which I’m writing over the course of a year, from my 50th birthday to my 51st birthday. I’ve been releasing a new chapter each Friday at noon, and you can read them all here. This project has been taking a lot of my time and creative energy this year; time and creative energy which I think would otherwise have been poured into the second How To Win Game Shows book. I hope you forgive me. The second HTWGS book is still on the way – it will still be a mini memoir about my time working on various game shows over the last 20 years. Its working title is Tales From The Shiny Floor, and here’s an early idea for a cover photo….

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, this eBook will be a compilation of all of my Patented HowToWinGameShowsReminiscenses, from a career spanning 20 years in the industry. There’ll also be insider interviews, behind the scenes photos, more ‘Interesting Facts’, with quite a few game show tips and hints sprinkled throughout.

I’ll be throwing myself into the writing of this as soon as the novel’s finished. That’s scheduled for May 2020, but I’m happy to report that I’m currently five weeks ahead on the writing of that. Hopefully, if I can continue to work at my current pace, I can increase that lead time, and get the novel finished even further ahead of schedule. Which will mean that I can get to work on the second HTWGS book sooner.

Anyway, so that’s where all that’s at. I’ll sign off for this week – and for 2019 – with a reminder that my EXCLUSIVE interview with Australian Sole Survivor Pia Miranda continues here next week, and once more – a wish for all good things for you and yours in 2020!

As always, I thank you for your patience, and your continued interest in this site.

Cheers,

Stephen.

* Apart from the serialised novel, some of the other demands on my time have been this, this, this, this and this.

A podcast about ‘Quiz Show’…

Link

Hello!

Another cross-promotional, podcast-related post this week, but this one’s much more relevant to game shows and how to win them.

I promise.

It’s been 25 years since Robert Redford’s brilliant movie Quiz Show came out, and we’re revisiting it today. Quiz Show is a great period drama, based on the real life scandal behind the game show 21 back in the late 1950s. You may remember that I reviewed this movie here last year (my first ever movie review for the site!), but recently, I was invited onto the movie podcast Chatflix to discuss it with host Brose Avard.

Spoiler alert: we both liked the movie.

If you’re interested in the details, you can find the episode right here:

Episode 160 Quiz Show with Stephen Hall

So there it is, available for your listening pleasure right now, if you’re interested.

Now, I did mention at the top of today’s post that it would be much more relevant to winning game shows than the last one was… and it just so happens that there IS one very big tip on winning game shows that’s central to the plot of Quiz Show. But if you haven’t seen the movie yet, this could possibly be considered a spoiler, so I’ll leave a bit of a gap before I reveal it…

Continue reading

Off on a cross-promotional / self-promotional tangent…

Hello! I’m going off on a bit of a tangent this week, which has nothing to do with game shows, or how to win them.

Sorry about that. Actually, no I’m not. I’m not sorry at all. This is my blog. Mine, do you hear me? So I can do whatever I blummen well like… Right, kids?

And so today I’m just going to remind you about – and give you a quick update on – my B.L.E.* As I think I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve undertaken a fairly daunting task this year – I’m writing my first ever novel, and releasing a new chapter online every Friday, from May 17th, 2019 to May 17th, 2020.

You can find it at http://www.thestephenhall.com/novel-chapters/, or by clicking on the image above.

I’m 21 chapters into it now (of the total of 52), and it’s proving to be one of the most challenging, intimidating, difficult – and yet exhilarating – things I’ve ever done. One of my hopes when I started was that the project would build up a readership, who’d keep checking back each week, subscribe to the blog, get active in the comments section, and even get a bit of story discussion going, as it all unfolded. That hasn’t materialised yet, and that’s partly why I’m plugging it here today. The story is a rollicking, swashbuckling space adventure (PG – rated) that takes place 512 years in the future, on an enormous luxury space cruise ship that’s been boarded by pirates. There are ray gun battles, daring escapes, a mysterious treasure, double crossings, desertions, and all that good adventurey stuff. I’m trying to write the kind of audacious, quick-moving ripping yarn that I enjoy reading myself, for a bit of escapism.

As part of the writing process, I’m also recording a short video diary entry each week, discussing the creation of that week’s chapter. You can find all of the weekly video diary entries on the dedicated YouTube channel (click on the image below)… but I would recommend that you don’t watch an entry until after you’ve read the chapter it’s discussing. (Here be spoilers!)

Anyway, please do consider dropping by and sampling the novel, if it sounds like your cup of tea.

And finally, below is a link to the latest episode of The IndyCast (The World’s #1 Indiana Jones Podcast), where the show’s host Ed Dolista very kindly allowed to me babble on about the B.L.E for a while (starting at the 12:10 mark)…

IndyCast: Episode 285

And that’s it for this week. See you back here next time, when it’ll definitely, definitely, totally and utterly be something about game shows. Promise!

* Bold Literary Experiment.

Coming Attractions…

Hello! Just a quick, somewhat interstitial, post this week… as I just want to mention four things.

Firstly, I wanted to thank Judd Field again for chatting to me about his Millionaire Hot Seat experience in the interview that’s gone up here over the last few weeks. I really appreciate him giving such a detailed account of his adventure, and I hope that there were some nuggets of wisdom in there that YOU found helpful.

Secondly, I wanted to let you know about my first ever interview with a game show DIRECTOR. In the six years I’ve been running this site, I haven’t yet spoken to someone who calls the shots (literally) on a game show. Well, now that’s about to change. I can’t say too much at this stage, but the person I’ll be speaking to is a true industry veteran, who’s directed at least ten game shows, on every Australian TV network, dating all the way back to 1998! I’m really pleased he’s agreed to speak to me, I’ll be grilling him about all of them in detail, and getting as much information as I can about the world of game shows from his unique perspective up there in the control room…. If YOU have any questions you’d like to ask a game show director, I’d be more than happy to put them to him, on your behalf! Just let me know, in the comment section below.

Thirdly, a little heads-up about what I have in store for you over the next three weeks. I’m really pleased to be talking to my first ever Hard Quiz winner, Markos Hasiotis. Markos got in touch with me via Twitter (where he’s @FactBuffet – well worth following if you’re a trivia buff – and I’m tipping you are). For those of you unfamiliar with it, Hard Quiz is an Australian quiz show which tests its contestants on both their general knowledge and their knowledge of their own special subject… so if you’re keen on quizzing (of either the general or specific varieties) you should find lots of useful stuff in this interview.

And fourthly and finally, I just wanted to go off on a little tangent and remind you of my current – and ongoing – literary experiment for this year. I’m writing a rollicking science fiction comedy adventure story, and releasing a new chapter every Friday, over at www.TheStephenHall.com. 

I’m twelve chapters in now (nearly a quarter of the way), and it’s proving to be an extremely challenging, yet extremely rewarding (not to mention fun!) experience. Please consider popping over there and giving it a read, if you like that sort of thing.

Okay, that’s it for now. See you back here next Tuesday, with Part I of my exclusive interview with Hard Quiz winner Markos Hasiotis!

Until then, then!

My B.L.E. (Bold Literary Experiment)…

Hello! It’s Stephen here.

Well, I’m glad you asked, Unimpressed Baby.

Firstly, my apologies for not posting here on the site in a while. The fact is, I’ve been pretty busy with work (writing this year’s Logie Awards) AND a new creative project, that I’ve thrown myself into with great gusto.

You see, this year, I’ve decided to write my very first novel.

And I’ve decided to serialise it.

And to publish it online, one chapter at a time.

AND to do that each and every Friday, from May 17th 2019 to May 17th 2020.

The full story behind this big, ambitious (over-ambitious?) idea of mine is over at my other (personal) blog www.TheStephenHall.com, right here.

And all the instalments of the novel I’ve written to this point are right here.  

So far – and we’re currently 5 chapters in – it’s been quite an all-consuming task. It’s very challenging, very fulfilling, but also extremely daunting, as I ask and re-ask myself… “Have I bitten off more than I can chew”?

Time will tell.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in page-turning science fiction adventure stories with a dash of humour, please consider popping over and having a read.

As far as HowToWinGameShows.com goes… very soon, I’ll have another exclusive multi-part interview for you, and a few book reviews, and an analysis of that whole Jeopardy! James Holzhauer thing…

Until then, then!