Happy New Year, from www.HowToWinGameShows.com!

Thanks Steve, I’ll take it from here.

Just a quick one today, to wish you all a safe, happy and prosperous 2018!

May the coming 365 days be filled with love, laughter and light for you. And if you’ll be taking the plunge and appearing on a game show, please add ‘cash’ and ‘fabulous prizes’ to that list.

In 2018, I plan to continue posting here every week, and providing as many tips, hints, interviews and behind-the-scenes stories as I possibly can. And if there’s anything in particular that you’d like to see here on HowToWinGameShows.com in 2018, please don’t hesitate to let me know! I can be reached, as always, at Stephen@HowToWinGameShows.com

Now I’ll leave you to get on with all those New Year’s Resolutions… good luck!

 

Merry Christmas, from HowToWinGameShows.com!

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY!

In case you’re wondering, this boy in the 70s haircut and tiny lemon yellow shorts is NOT me.                                                                                                                                                                                             Nor is the monkey in a nightie.

Hello!

Just a quick one today to wish you and yours a very, very happy Christmas. Whether you’re Christian, Atheist, Agnostic, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Rastafarian, Pastafarian, Sikh or Zoroastrian, please accept my very best wishes for you, your family and your friends this festive season.

Because no matter what our varying spiritual beliefs may be, surely we can all wish each other well. We’re all just people muddling along, and doing the best we can to try and make sense of it all. The things we have in common far outweigh our few superficial differences.

A very happy, safe and kind holiday season to you and yours, and may 2018 bring all that you wish for…. and then just a little bit more.

Peace, love and light.

Stephen.

‘Brigadoon’ is BrigaDone.

Hello!
So the season of Brigadoon finished up on Sunday afternoon, and what a joy the whole experience was! Such a magnificent group of people to work with, and the show was well attended and well reviewed, right across the board.

‘Brigadoon’ – Me as Archie Beaton, alongside the magnificent Sally Bourne as Alice McLaren. Photo courtesy of The Production Company. Photographer: Jeff Busby.

Now, as I get ready to start my next gig tomorrow, I thought I’d just do a quick post, bringing you up-to-date with various gameshow related snippets of news, in case you haven’t seen them. So here we go.
Just thought you’d appreciate the info.
But we haven’t seen the last of him, my friends.
Also from the Jeopardy! desk, (the ‘now-this-doesn’t-happen-every-day’ department) a real rarity, as contestant Manny Abell won with a margin of just ONE DOLLAR, before going on to win over $42 000 in three days.
Back here in Australia, two new game shows (The Wall and Cram!) have premiered in the last couple of weeks, both to mixed reviews, to say the least. Both of their networks are saying they’re happy with the numbers the shows have pulled in, but it is a very cutthroat market. It’ll be interesting to see how their viewing numbers settle in the coming weeks…
 And in game show Intellectual Property news, the High Court in London court has ruled that game show formats can be copyrighted in much the same way that dramatic works are. Exactly how much of a game changer (sorry) this ruling will prove to be remains to be seen, but it could significantly change the game show development landscape. Originality and uniqueness front and centre in new game show formats?
Who’d a thunk it?
I also spotted this quick profile of 4 game show winners, and how they spent their prize money
And news of what looks to be a fascinating new documentary about a Price Is Right champion who-never-was-but-should-have-been. I’m definitely going to try and track this one down!
And finally, because you need to know this stuff, here’s a look at 8 of the weirdest game shows of all time. I cannot believe that Don’t Scare The Hare never got a second series. Where is the justice?
And that’s it for this edition of How To Win Game Show news. Up next, Erin with the weather, then a human interest story with footage of a cat on a skateboard.
Goodnight.

 

Virus-free. www.avg.com

A HowToWinGameShows.com alumnus!

Hello! I have something a little bit different for you this week. A few days ago, I was utterly delighted to receive this email from a visitor to the site…
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SUBJECT: A thank you from a ‘Hard Quiz’ contestant.
Hello Stephen,
 
I came across your excellent website earlier this year, when I was preparing to audition for ‘Hard Quiz’. Although I have a musical theatre background, I had never applied for a game show, and consequently did not know what to expect. Thanks to your very informative articles and resources, I was well-equipped to tackle the face-to-face audition process and was absolutely delighted when I was invited to appear on the show. Being an absolute research nerd, I followed your advice in researching the show back-to-front, devising my on-the-day strategy, and practising religiously at home. In particular, your interview with Gerard McCulloch gave me some clues about how to think like a ‘Hard Quiz’ writer.
 
My episode of ‘Hard Quiz’ aired last week. Although I did not win the Big Brass Mug, I made it into the final two, so at least I got to see one in person! Since the show aired, I’ve received a lot of lovely feedback on social media about my performance on the show, so I thought it was only fair for me to write in and say a huge THANK YOU for your virtual advice. If you feel like watching a short video of me roasting Tom Gleeson on the show, you can find it here.
 
Chookas for ‘Brigadoon’! I live in Sydney, so unfortunately I won’t be able to see it. I always wish The Production Company shows would tour interstate!
 
Cheers
Caitlin
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Yes, yes – I know what you’re thinking; “Wait a minute… This week’s post is shaping up to be nothing more than an utterly shameless one-man festival of pure, disgraceful self-congratulation. Oh come on, Hally – we expected better of you, you shameless hussy!”
Whoa.
Okay; firstly, a little harsh on your part… but please bear with me.
Caitlin really made my day, because this is EXACTLY the sort of thing that I wanted this blog to be all about.
The whole idea when I started this blog, back in March 2013 was to provide a resource for people wanting to go on game shows. And that’s exactly what Caitlin has used the site for. If you’re thinking about auditioning for a particular game show, there are a whole lot of articles and interviews here, on a wide variety of them…. including Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, The Chase: Australia, Hard Quiz, Millionaire Hot Seat, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire… to name just a few!
You can SEARCH for the show you’re interested in with the handy dandy SEARCH bar above (in the top right corner of the page).
Or just click on the title of the show you’re interested in, in the “CATEGORIES” section. (Also on the right hand side of the page, a little lower down).
So I’d like to thank Caitlin for reminding me to remind you about the features of this site, and how to use them. Caitlin’s next game show adventure may very well be on The Chase: Australia, and so I wish her the very, very best of luck with that!
If you’re interested in following Caitlin on Twitter, you can find her here. AND you can watch her episode of Hard Quiz right here. (But only if you’re in Australia, unfortunately; I believe it’s geoblocked).
I think that’s it for now. Please do take advantage of all the resources here before applying for your particular game show experience – YOU are exactly the person that I’m compiling them for!
As always, I wish YOU the very best of luck, and I heartily encourage you to do all the homework you can, to give yourself the game show edge…
Now go get ‘em!

Cheers,

Stephen

 

No post today. Except for this one.

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

Apart from this one.

Obviously.

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

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

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

 

EXCLUSIVE Guest Post from serial game show contestant Ryan Vickers

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

Hello!

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

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

Take it away, Ryan!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I look forward to sharing my adventures with you!

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

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

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

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

Announcing a first for HowToWinGameShows.com!

I’ve been blogging here at HowToWinGameShows.com since March 2013, and in all that time, I’ve never, ever done it.

Not even once.

I’ve written 218 posts here, and not a single one of them has ever been one of these.

But now, after all this time, and after all those posts, it’s finally happening. I don’t know why I haven’t done this before. Not sure why it’s taken so long, really. I mean, what have I been worried about? Every other blog does it; why shouldn’t I do it too?

You know what I’m talking about. Don’t pretend you don’t.

I’m proud to announce that next week, for the first time ever, HowToWinGameShows.com will be running its very first ever…

Continue reading

‘It Took Two’… Part I

Hello!

And sorry everyone, for my absence last week. I’ve been very busy with various things….

But hey, you don’t want excuses from me, you want blog posts.

And so today, (and over the next two weeks as well), I’m going to take you back. Back in time, to an eventful period in my life, and a game show that I was intimately involved in. A show that teamed professional singers with professional celebrities. A show that had millions (or at least, lots) of Australians glued to their TVs – and their smartphones – every Sunday night, as it all unfolded live before their very eyes. I found myself caught up in the maelstrom of all this, while 700 km away, my brand new wife was struggling with very poor health, leading up to the birth of our child…

NOW READ ON.

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

May, 2006.

I was living in Sydney, I’d recently won both Temptation and Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster, and Judi and I were newly married and expecting our daughter. One day, I got a job offer from Brad Lyons – an executive at the Seven Network who I’d worked for earlier on the sketch comedy series Big Bite – to write the scripts for a new celebrity game show that the network would be producing soon. It was to take over the live Sunday night 7:30 timeslot for the network, which had been so successful for them with Dancing With The Stars.

And as it turned out, it was in a pretty similar vein to DWTS. In fact, it essentially replaced the dancing element with a singing element. 10 celebrities not known for their singing abilities would be teamed up with 10 professional singers, and the resulting duos would battle it out LIVE every Sunday night, for the judges, and the audience, over a 10 week season.

This was It Takes Two. 

It was an adaptation of the UK show Just The Two Of Us, which had started airing over there just weeks earlier. (When I watched the first episode of Just The Two Of Us, I was upset to see that the very first professional singer voted off was one of the heroes from my teenage years – Martin Fry from ABC.)

Bye bye, Mr Fry.

Although we didn’t urgently need the money, I accepted the job. This was probably mostly due to force of habit. Having been a freelance writer and actor since 1987, when work comes along, the knee jerk reaction is always to say yes. Even if it doesn’t sound great, there are always those things you tell yourself:

“It’ll look good on the resume”,

“I might learn some new skills”,

“I might meet people who may consider me for the next gig”, and most importantly

“I will make some money here, and who knows when the next job will come along?”

All of these thoughts occurred to me every time a job came along. To some extent, they still do.

So, I said yes. With the understanding that I wouldn’t stay until the very end – as our daughter was due – but I’d certainly be there for the first half of the season, to help get it all up and running. Over the next few weeks, I was very much thrust into the deep end, as the producers frantically tried to work out how best to wrangle this all-encompassing LIVE weekly TV event, which had so many moving parts, and so many egos to placate… In terms of on-air talent alone, there were 27 people who needed to be looked after. (2 hosts, 4 judges, 10 professional singers, and 10 non-professionally singing celebrities, and one orchestra leader). Then there was the orchestra, the technical crew and all the administrative staff required to keep the machine running.

As for my role? Well, it was essentially to write all of the hosts’ banter, one liners for the judges, along with any ideas for any of the contestants. I also had to co-ordinate, print, copy and physically distribute all the scripts to everyone who needed them, in every department. This was the most time-consuming part of a show with so many people working on it.

Actually, now that I think about it… no, it wasn’t. The most time-consuming part (in the first couple of weeks, anyway) was learning how to write show scripts using Microsoft Excel. This was an idea of one of the producers. Apparently, she’d always written scripts that way, and found it much easier, so she insisted I do it that way too. I’d only used Microsoft Excel a handful of times in my life. I’m a writer, not an accountant – I use Microsoft Word. This caused countless headaches and mistakes, while I stumbled through the program as the Executive Producer ran around, literally yelling “Come on guys! WHERE ARE THOSE SCRIPTS?! NEED THEM NOW!” In the end, I spoke to the producer and the EP and told them I needed to use Microsoft Word for the scripts. They’re scripts; they should be Word documents, not spreadsheets. They acquiesced, and so that part of things was streamlined a little…

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

Not a lot, but a little.

Next week, the It Takes Two / expectant parenthood adventure continues, as we meet the show’s hosts, and examine a controversy that one of them sparked with a seemingly innocuous on-air comment…. 

Until then, then!

Tell Me Something I Don’t Know!

Hello.

Just a quick one this week – I wanted to let you know about a podcast that I’ve discovered, that you may like too. You may remember that I’ve mentioned the podcast Freakonomics a few times on this blog over the years. Well, this is their very own version of a game show. It’s called Tell Me Something I Don’t Know!, it’s a podcast, and it’s always recorded in front of a live audience.

The goal of the show isto tell you the things you thought you knew but didn’t; and things you never thought you wanted to know, but do.”

Here’s how it runs, according to the show’s official site, “Three celebrity panellists listen as contestants come on stage before a live audience and try to wow them with a fascinating fact, a historical wrinkle, a new line of research — anything, really, as long as it’s interesting, useful and true (or at least true-ish). There’s a real-time human fact-checker on hand to filter out the bull. The panel — an eclectic mix of comedians, brainiacs, and other high achievers — poke and prod the contestants, and ultimately choose a winner.”

There are no huge prizes; the whole raison d’etre of the show is to learn interesting and obscure knowledge while having fun along the way. And it delivers! I subscribe to it, and always find it entertaining and educational. So, if you’re a podcast kind of person, I recommend it. Each episode goes for just under an hour, and you’re guaranteed to learn some cool new stuff each time.

Because I firmly believe you can never have too much obscure, arcane, trivial knowledge. And this is a fun way to get it.

And that’s it for this week – until next Tuesday!