My exclusive interview with TV quiz show question writer Michael Ward – Part II

This week, as my interview with TV quiz show question writer Michael Ward concludes, I ask Michael about common contestant mistakes, his time in front of the camera, and how potential contestants can best put themselves in the shoes of a TV quiz show writer, as well as –

Oh – but I’m spoiling what’s up ahead.

I’ll stop now, and just let you read on, shall I?

Yes. Probably a good idea.

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SH: What do you like about writing quiz questions?

MW: It’s a job that can be squeezed in anywhere – something you can do outside of normal working hours if you’re employed on something else for example. You use a different part of your brain. I enjoy reading non-fiction, so digging around in books or on-line for stuff to form the basis of a question is merely an extension of that interest. Sometimes questions with a multiple choice option for the answer can offer the opportunity for a joke, which is always fun.

SH: From your perspective as a question writer, what common mistakes do you see contestants making when answering quiz questions on TV?

MW: Well, anticipation is a key – so almost subconsciously knowing the typical structure of a question can help in that regard. Of course, you can be too anticipatory. It’s a balance. Obviously you need to listen carefully and stay focussed.

SH: What do you not like about writing quiz questions?

MW: Writing questions can be a grind. When it’s prescriptive – and often it can be when producers are seeking the right balance of topics for their show – you can feel that your brain has been milked dry. For example, on a recent job I felt like I’d written every single ‘architecture’ question I possibly could, and all that remained was the ultra-obscure. I couldn’t face ‘architecture’ again. But you have to soldier on; there’s always another question you can write – you just have to find a fresh angle.

SH: You’ve also been involved on the other side of the quiz show camera, appearing as a contestant on Millionaire Hot Seat (obviously, this was well before you worked on the show). How was that experience? Did your experience as a question writer give you an edge?

MW: No no, I was on Hot Seat as a contestant while I was writing on the show. In fact, I got to answer my own questions, which was fun. They were so easy!
Of course, I’m joking.
On
Hot Seat, you’re essentially challenging yourself, as opposed to Temptation or Million Dollar Minute where you’re in direct competition with other players. So being on Hot Seat – my background in writing questions wasn’t particularly relevant, except that I guess I’d exposed myself to a broad range of knowledge in my research.

SH: As someone who’s ‘been there and done that’, what tips, hints or advice would you have for anyone wanting to be a contestant on Millionaire Hot Seat?

MW: In terms of actually applying for the show: you do the on-line quiz as the first step, then you go to an audition where you do another written quiz of 40 or so questions. If you make the cut (and many don’t) you fill out a questionnaire about yourself and do a brief chat to camera. The key thing is to make yourself sound as interesting as possible – a fun person. Sure, if you win you might plonk the money on the mortgage, but the producers don’t want to hear that. They want something interesting, like you’re going to shout your friends a week in Vegas or buy a zoo or invest in time travel. Make it up. On camera at the audition, it’s no big deal – just be yourself, smile, and relate something amusing that happened to you. No sob stories required. Then, if you happen to make it onto the show, well, it’s pot-luck really, both in terms of where you finish in the ‘order’ of contestants – thereby having a shot at the $ – as well as whether you’re lucky enough to cop questions that are ‘up your alley’.

SH: Is it helpful for a contestant to try and think like a question writer? And if so, how do you teach yourself to think like a question writer?

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My EXCLUSIVE interview with TV quiz show question writer Michael Ward – Part I

You join me today for a real ‘first’ for howtowingameshows.com – this is the very first time I’ve interviewed a TV quiz show question writer for the blog. His name’s Michael Ward, and he’s been writing for Australian television for some twenty years, right across the spectrum of comedy, light entertainment and quiz shows. I’ve known Michael for almost that long, and have worked with him on many different comedy projects for TV and the stage, but in this chat I really wanted to focus on his time as a TV quiz show question writer, to see what useful information he can give aspiring TV quiz show question answerers! Now read on…

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SH: Michael Ward, thanks for chatting to me today for www.howtowingameshows.com. In your illustrious and varied TV writing career, you’ve written questions for Spicks and Specks, RockWiz, Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation and Millionaire Hot Seat, Million Dollar Drop, and the upcoming Australian version of The Chase, as well as being the former compiler of the daily quiz for Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper, some time ago. How many quiz questions would you have written for TV?

MW: It’d have to be somewhere in the thousands. Let’s go with 3,679.

SH: Sure. What’s the secret to writing a good quiz question?

MW: I don’t know about ‘secret’ – but I guess the trick is finding the intersection between ‘knowledge’ and ‘trivia’. Something not too cold and hard and dull but, by the same token, something that’s not too trivial. A while back on Million Dollar Minute, some guy was going for the mill and one of the questions he had to answer was regarding the wrapper colour in a box of Cadbury Roses chocolates or something. For a million bucks, that is a ridiculously trivial question.

SH: Are there any topics or subject areas that you return to often, when you’re writing questions?

MW: I think most quiz question writers gravitate towards pop culture questions because we all have a lifetime’s accumulation of music, film and TV floating around in our heads. In my experience this stuff sinks deep into the memory banks, as opposed to say science or architecture (unless that’s your particular bag). Of course, pop culture is the first area where producers of quiz shows put the clamps on, simply because they get so many questions on TV, film and music. I also love travel (so, geography questions), reading (literature questions), history and sport, so I often write in these areas too.

SH: What is something that you never do when you’re writing quiz questions?

MW: I never write questions in the nude. It’s just a rule I have.
I would never transcribe a question word-for-word that I’ve stumbled across, but I’ll happily borrow from that source and re-work the fact into my own question. Also, I never consciously write a ‘trick’ question.

SH: What’s an example of a question you’ve written that you’re really proud of?

MW: I can’t think of one right now, although I seem to remember coming across the fact that Helen Keller is credited with introducing the Akita dog breed to the US – I think I wrote a question around that interesting fact. By the way, I believe it was Elton John who introduced ‘Nikita’ to the US.

SH: Are there any specific rules that you follow when you’re writing quiz questions?

MW: Not rules as such, but you try to be concise, unambiguous and frame the question in such a way that the answer is not able to be guessed immediately (which would render the remainder of the question superfluous). Ideally, you want the contestant to only buzz in right at the end of your question. A simple example: ‘Lima is the capital of which country?’ is not as good as ‘What is the capital of Peru?’ because, in the first case, as soon as you hear ‘Lima’ – the first word of your question – the answer is pretty much guessable immediately.

SH: Have you ever written any questions that turned out to be controversial?

MW: A question with the potential to be controversial will normally not make it through the filtering process – producers steer clear of anything that might, even remotely, cause offence.

SH: Have producers ever rejected questions that you’ve written? If so, why?

MW: Always. Questions are rejected for a myriad of reasons; A similar question may have already been used. The question isn’t clever or interesting enough. The wording is too unwieldy. The answer is plain wrong. It’s highly unlikely you’ll ever have all the questions you write accepted without knockbacks.

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So there’s a little initial taste of what life’s like on the other side of the whole quiz show production process. Next week, as our interview concludes, I ask Michael about common mistakes contestants make, he has some brilliant tips that’ll give you a great understanding of how TV quiz show questions are written, and I get his all-important thoughts on cute little dogs that also happen to be zombies.

And before I sign off for this week, just a reminder that my very first eBook ‘How To Win Game Shows’ is now just mere days away from release! I’m really pleased with how it turned out, and would like to offer you a FREE bonus chapter, by way of a sneak preview. To get this preview bonus chapter, all you have to do is sign up for the howtowingameshows.com mailing list, via the handy form to the right! ———->

I hope you’ll do so, and join us here in the How To Win Game Shows community… but even if not, I hope you’ll join us back here next week, for Part II of my chat with TV quiz show question writer extraordinaire Michael Ward!

 

My interview with Australia’s first ‘Millionaire’ millionaire – Rob “The Coach” Fulton! Part III

millionaire1This week, my exclusive interview with Australia’s first Who Wants To Be A Millionaire millionaire concludes. And I kicked off this part of the interview by asking Rob about the aftermath of his history-making win…

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SH: How did you handle the publicity, the spotlight?

RF: Hmmm. Publicity was not my strong suit; I’m actually a pretty shy person. Having said that, I did all the publicity that was asked of me. I’m sure there was something like 20-30 interviews for TV, Radio and print media over the following couple of days. I must say it was quite exhausting. Not having any media training didn’t help; I think I gave the exact same interview to all of the different radio stations.

SH: How did The Big Win change your life?

RF: The win allowed us to buy a house, travel the world, have a lovely wedding and honeymoon, still leaving enough left over to be comfortable. What more can I say except that it was a nice way to kick off a relationship. Now we are happily married with 2 lovely
girls.

SH: What tips or hints would you have for anyone thinking of applying to be a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

RF: I am a big fan of writing lists. Try and prepare with things like World Capitals, Melbourne Cup winners, Prime Ministers, Monarchs of England and Great Britain, US Presidents – whatever takes your fancy to begin with. You’ll soon find that you’ll be a valuable member of your pub trivia team, which might inspire you to do even more study. Whether you go on to achieve success on a quiz show is really a mix of luck and preparation. Regardless of the outcome, the worst thing that could happen through your study is that you’ve learnt a little bit more about the world you live in. Now that can’t be a bad thing!

SH: And finally Rob, I have to ask you about that all-important million-dollar question:

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My interview with Australia’s first ‘Millionaire’ millionaire – Rob “The Coach” Fulton! Part II

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As Rob celebrates his win, host Eddie McGuire seems surprised at the champagne’s behaviour.

This week, my exclusive interview with Australia’s first Who Wants To Be A Millionaire millionaire continues. Rob “The Coach” Fulton was a 36-year-old graphics operator when he went all the way on WWTBAM. His win was no accident; last week, in Part I of this interview, he outlined some of his study techniques, and he clearly had a strategy worked out for each element of the game. As you’re about to see…

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SH: What was your strategy about when to use the “50/50” lifeline?

RF: At $250K, this strategy was simple – get rid of two answers and pray that it left an obvious answer. I was really very lucky in this instance.

And this is Rob’s $250,000 question… 

In the wild, which tiger is the biggest of the big cats?

(A) Sumatran (B) Siberian (C) Bengal (D) Bali *

RF: I was most likely going to choose “Bengal” over “Siberian” Tiger, but using the lifeline removed “Bengal”. It was a fortunate escape.

SH: What was your strategy about when to use the “Ask The Audience” lifeline?

RF: At $500K, my strategy was to go for an answer that was opposite to the audience.

Rob’s $500,000 question was…

Which Ivy League university awards the annual Pulitzer Prizes?

(A) Columbia (B) Harvard (C) Princeton (D) Yale **

RF: In fact, my pre-game thoughts were to go for the 3rd most popular choice. That would have been “Princeton”, I think. I really didn’t think that Harvard or Yale were the answer. All I knew about Princeton was that Albert Einstein used to teach there. The main thing I knew about the Pulitzer was that The New York Times had won many of them, so therefore I used the New York association to opt for Columbia.

Incidentally, you can watch Rob’s last three questions (the $250,000, the $500,000 and the $1,000,000) right here on YouTube.

SH: What was your general strategy for answering questions on the show?

RF: First rule: READ THE QUESTIONS THOROUGHLY!!! I can’t overstate this. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen people bomb out because they misread the question. A silly error like that could cost you thousands of dollars! Secondly, Millionaire is as much about RULING OUT answers as it is about knowing the right answer.

SH: Did you have any mantras or self-talk? (Anything that you kept reminding yourself while you were in the hot seat?)

RF: Not so much. Maybe “fortune favours the brave”, “fortune favours the prepared mind”. I was probably focusing on breath control.

SH: How did you keep your cool when the stakes were so high?

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My interview with Australia’s first ‘Millionaire’ millionaire – Rob “The Coach” Fulton! Part I

Rob Fulton wins ONE MILLION DOLLARSI recently tweeted about this article in the Australian media, which caught up with Australia’s first Who Wants To Be A Millionaire millionaire, Rob “The Coach” Fulton, 10 years after his historic win. Coincidentally, just a few weeks ago, Rob had granted me an interview for howtowingameshows.com, so this seemed like as good a time as any to post it here on the site. Rob was very generous with his time and thoughts, giving loads of really useful tips and hints. I’ve split the interview into three parts, and Part Two will be up here next Tuesday. But right now, please enjoy Part One of my chat with Rob “The Coach” Fulton!

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SH: Rob, thanks so much for talking to me today for www.howtowingameshows.com.
By way of background, what was your life like before going on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in 2005?

RF: Life was pretty simple for me back then – reasonably good job, but reasonably sad life. Lacking motivation and direction, probably suffering from depression. Living off my credit card (was this supposed to be a “light” interview?). Ha-ha, probably going through some mid-life crisis, I guess.

SH: Had you watched the show from its beginning?

RF: Yeah, I had always tuned in on Monday nights, but my real passion was Sale of the Century. I’d applied for Sale but the show ended its run before I got a call up. Only just making the cut in the auditions, I became acutely aware of how lacking in general knowledge I was. Hence, I set forth on a regime of study.

SH: What made you decide to go on it?

RF: Ha-ha, poverty (mostly). Well all that study that I undertook for Sale must have sunk in because I was starting to answer some of the $125K – $250K questions on WWTBAM with not too much trouble. So I thought that it might be worth my while to maybe start applying (in 2000-2001).

SH: What preparation or training did you do for your appearance on it?

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How to Win Game Shows’ Greatest Hits!

GREATEST HITS MONTAGE

As we lurch into the cold winter months*, I thought I’d take an opportunity to let you know about (or remind you of) some of the earlier posts here that you may have missed…

You can find links to all of these, and more, on the ‘ABOUT ME’ page, but here are some highlights, and the ways in which you may hopefully find them helpful…

For those wishing to go on Family Feud, all sorts of handy hints can be found in this interview with the show’s former Executive Producer Michael Pope, and in this interview with the show’s current Executive producer Pam Barnes.

If The Price Is Right is what you’ve set your heart on, this incredibly handy list of tips is well with a look, as is this part of the Michael Pope interview, where he speaks about his time behind the scenes on the show.

And for any budding Who Wants To Be A Millionaire contestants, I’d recommend this 9-part interview with Millionaire millionaire Martin Flood, which goes into great detail.

If you’d like to hear more from other game show champs who’ve been there and done that, there’s this interview with Million Dollar Minute winner Alex Dusek, this interview with Sale of the Century champ Russell Cheek, my own Temptation experience is outlined here, here, here and here… and of course there’s also my recent interview with David St John, who holds the Guinness World Record for the Most Appearances as a TV Quiz Show Contestant!

And I have more winner interviews lined up in the coming weeks, so remember to keep checking back here each Tuesday.

Over the past couple of years, quite a few game show hosts have generously given their time to be interviewed for the blog. Among them; Peter Berner (the host of The Einstein Factor), Ed Phillips (the host of Temptation), Julia Zemiro, (the host of RocKwiz), and Michael Pope (the host of Blockbusters). Of course, Michael’s a game show producer and Executive Producer too, and he speaks about his experiences on that side of the camera in other parts of our interview.

And finally, if you’ll forgive me for a bit of cross(/self)-promotion, here’s a plug for the iPhone app I created: Step-By-Step-Story.

There’s just a sample of some of the past posts from the site. I hope you find some useful stuff in there. And again, a reminder that you can find them all on the ABOUT ME page, if you scroll down to the bottom.

Next week, I’m going to take an in-depth look at a classic game show conundrum, which is also a logic problem. And it’s one that packs quite a counter-intuitive punch, getting even the most intelligent, rational people acting in the most illogical way…

Spock_performing_Vulcan_salute

Until then, Live Long and Prosper.

* Your results may vary, depending on geography.

Review of ‘Come On Down! The Game Show Story’ – Part II

COME_ON_DOWN_THE_GAME_SHOW_STORY

My review of this 4-part TV series from last year (hosted by The Chase‘s Bradley Walsh) starts this week with Episode 2, which focussed on Quiz Shows…

Quiz shows were incredibly popular in Britain in the late 1950s  – in fact, in Autumn 1958, ITV was broadcasting quiz shows 6 nights a week.

In 1958, the UK version of the quiz show 21 was cancelled after a contestant – Stanley Armstrong –  claimed that producers were helping some contestants to win. In the same year, the US version of the show was scandalised too (as shown in the 1994 movie Quiz Show). As a result of this, regulations were changed, and in the 1960s a maximum prize limit of 1000 pounds was imposed.

These regulations stayed in force for three decades, ensuring that the prizes on UK quiz and game shows were never worth more than that amount. In the mid-90s, however, these restrictions were dropped, and soon after that, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire debuted. WWTBAM is an English format, which is now broadcast in 120 countries. There’s in-depth coverage of the show’s infamous coughing scandal, with Charles Ingram. They caught him, delayed broadcast of the episode, and withheld his prize money. He was investigated by the police, found guilty of fraud, and escaped prison time, with a suspended sentence.

This is followed by an interview with Bamber Gascoigne, who reveals that he started hosting University Challenge when he was 27. It was a format adapted from a US show called College Bowl. And I don’t know about you, but I can never hear the words “University Challenge” without thinking of the epic battle between Footlights College and Scumbag College on The Young Ones…

There’s a section on the popular quiz show Mastermind, whose creator Bill Wright based it on interrogations he had suffered at the hands of the Germans, during the war. The sparse setting – a lone chair under a spotlight – and the host’s invitation to “state your Name, Occupation, and Special Subject” was inspired by the classic army interrogation opener “State your Name, Rank and Serial number”. This is followed by a profile of – and interview with – 1980 Mastermind winner – London cabbie Fred Housego. Becoming instantly famous when he won, Fred’s still a cabbie today.

Then Bradley talks to the first UK Who Wants To Be A Millionaire millionaire Judith Keppel, and the episode winds up with this observation from professional quizzer and Eggheads panellist CJ De Mooi: “The top quizzers have the ability to remember the information and recall it at will.”

Well… yes. So they do.

Thanks for that, CJ.

The theme of Episode 3 of the show is ‘The Public’, and I found that there wasn’t really all that much to learn from this episode. Apart from the odd bit of trivia, such as this:

Alexandra Palace, overlooking London, broadcast the first live British TV game show in 1938. It was called Spelling Bee, and was, in fact, a spelling bee. It was deemed a success, although only 1000 households had TV back then.

This episode also explains why the BBC traditionally never awarded prize money on their game shows; the BBC’s money was actually the public’s money – collected through licence fees – and was meant to not to fund and maintain the BBC and all of its services, not to be given away! Makes perfect sense when you think about it.

The episode is rounded out by some interviews with contestants who lost BIG, and a pub quiz segment, where Bradley competes on a team with 3 game show veterans. One of whom is none other than David St John, who I recently interviewed for HowToWinGamehows.com! (Spoiler alert: they win the pub quiz.)

And that’s about it for the third episode of Come On Down! The Game Show Story. Next week, I’ll wind up my review, and preview what you can expect in upcoming weeks here at howtowingameshows.com.

Until then!

 

EXCLUSIVE interview with game show host Ed Phillips – Part VI

ed_phillips4This week, my exclusive interview with Aussie game show legend Ed Phillips wraps up, as I ask him his three most important tips for would-be game show contestants, and get his thoughts on The Very Future Of The Game Show Itself….

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SH: What do you see as the future of game shows or quiz shows? We don’t seem to have many happening at the moment.

EP: Well, Deal Or No Deal had a great run. Million Dollar Minute – which is just a Temptation ripoff anyway – is back. Millionaire Hot Seat is strong as ever, now they are bringing back Family Feud. The three main networks – 7, 9 and 10 – have all been hamstrung by output deals for the last 2 years with Warner Brothers, Disney and CBS. So once that has expired, that’ll free up tens and tens of millions of dollars in budget so there will be new shows trialled, I think.

SH: Can you explain what you mean by “hamstrung by output deals”?

EP: Ok. Say Channel 9 for instance have a deal with Warner. I believe it’s 150 million dollars. For that, Warner would provide them exclusive access to things; the format to The Voice, Big Bang Theory, several movies, that sort of thing. Big Bang really only gives them a dozen or so new shows each year because they make so few, but it gets them all the back catalogue to play as many times as they like.

SH: And they sure do.

EP: Yeah. The Block cost them 10 – 20 million dollars to do a couple of series, The Voice costs them 40 or 50 million dollars, which includes The Kids’ Voice version as well; paying all the stars. But once those deals expire, they’re set to be renegotiated. So they will crunch those down by a factor of ten, and free up a lot of money for local production. Because you’re right – there’s literally been no local production in new shows, where they would once try something out for 6 or 10 episodes and see how it goes. They have all been running very lean. So Seven has been tied to Disney, Channel 10 has been tied to its American output deal. Once they all expire at the end of this year, there’ll be more money freed up for more projects – just to give them a trial, and see how they go.

SH: That’s interesting.

EP: There could be some new ones – that they haven’t even thought of – coming out. It could be revamping of many more old faves again. Because they won’t have to pay so much money for those, so they can give them a go.

SH: Yes, and try something even… (dare I say it?)… NEW!

EP: Whoo-hoo! Because as you’d know, there are hardly any great new formats of shows. The old ones are like old family favourites, tried and tested… and it is so hard to break in a new one that’s cool.

SH: That’s true.

EP: And of course everyone wants the added element of ‘can we play along at home’? Can we have an app running at the same time and test ourselves against a champ? Can we vote a champ off? Can we join in, if we missed the start of the show? Can we join in half-way through and play? Can we win prizes at home? Everyone wants this amazing multi-layered experience, that you didn’t get on Wheel of Fortune, when the wheel was just spinning around, watching it at home.

SH: It’s a different landscape now.

EP: Yeah.

SH: Ed, Thank you so much for chatting today. In closing, what would you say are the three most important things for someone to know if they want to be a contestant on a game show? I think you have covered some of the things earlier on. 

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Game show news update #5

newsreader - 'sup y'allHello and welcome to another quick round-up of recent game show news from around the world…

First up today, even more Price Is Right winning tips. Following on from our previous posts on 14th November and 20th November, here’s an article by Carla Day, with even more tips on how to win the games on The Price Is Right. This time, the tips come straight from the show’s Executive Producer Mike Richards and host Drew Carey, and I particularly like Drew’s tip about the prices of the cars on the show. The article’s URL is http://www.buddytv.com/articles/remote-patrol/price-is-right-tips-to-win-gam-51282.aspx

Who Wants To Be A Crorepati? The Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire – Kaun Banega Crorepati – has celebrated its first female champion for this year. 26-year-old Firoz Fatma has taken home a cheque for the show’s ultimate prize – Rs. 1 crore. A Crore is a unit in the South Asian numbering system equal to 10 million. So that’s 10 million rupees (equivalent to around $US 162,000).

Although we haven’t spent much time discussing Big Brother here – and when I say “much time”, I mean “any time” – the fact remains that it’s an extremely successful game show, in many territories all over the world. And just like all other game shows, it appears that there are tactics and strategies that contestants can use to give them the edge. Well, at least according to Tim Dormer, the most recent winner of Australian Big Brother. He discusses his Big Brother … wait for it…    journey here, including the mindgames he reckons he played. And hey, he’s just become $250 000 richer, so who are we to argue?

In Hong Kong, a brother and sister have been jailed, after being caught cheating on a live TV game show. After bribing a worker at the TV station to phone them with the correct answers, Fung Kin-fung, 29, and Fung Kwan-wai, 28, won cash and prizes totalling $HK 348,830. But then it all started to unravel… the full story is here. For the record, $HK 348,830 is worth about $US 44,990 at the time of writing.

And finally, a distinctly Hollywood approach to getting on game shows and reality shows, from Dingo over at Hollywood Oracle. Entitled 10 Hollywood Secrets On How To Get On A  Game Show / Reality how, it assumes:

1) that you’re in Los Angeles,

2) That you’re really interested in getting your big break in showbiz, and

3) that getting your head on TV is more important to you than cash and fabulous prizes.

So, if all three of these criteria apply to you… then go for it, you vainglorious bugger!

And that’s all for this news update. See yez!

 

Exclusive interview with ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ winner Martin Flood… the pay-off!

And so, after winning his way through 14 questions on the Australian version of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’, Martin Flood finally makes it through to the Million Dollar Question. And as you’ll see, even at this high pressure moment, all the homework and tactical preparation that Martin has done is still front and centre in his mind…

MF: I concluded what the answer was, I said something like “to me the answer is Mao Zedong”. His response, I knew – I would have bet a million bucks on this – was going to be “are you prepared to go for that for a million bucks?” or “are you prepared to lock it in?”. And that’s exactly what he said! “Are you prepared…”

SH: Wow.

MF: I didn’t hear anything else. I knew he was going to say that, because that’s exactly what he said to Rob Fulton (when he won the million) a month before. I liked seeing Rob getting that, because I thought ‘now I know exactly how he’s going to say it’.

Then I locked it in, he went to an ad break, came back. I just sat there thinking… For a moment there I nearly had a teary eye thought come to my mind, but then I said ‘forget that, I’m not going to cry here – I knew this was going to happen all along’. This has happened in my dreams for years. He waited till they calmed down and stopped clapping and he handed me the cheque. I just looked at it and sort of thought “so what?”. It just looked like a big oversized silly cheque. Because when I looked at it, I thought “that was so easy”.

Marty Flood Millionaire

SH: “Easy”?

MF: The previous five years wasn’t easy. Especially when you never know you’re actually going to get on the show. Leading up to it, I thought “God, if I never get to go on that show, all this effort I put in….” That was the most stressful thing, but I put it out of my mind. I can’t do anything about it. All I can do is things I can do about. In the actual Hot Seat itself, it was just wonderful.

It felt easy, it felt so natural to do it. I could have sat there forever. Not many people would understand that, but I was talking shortly after to Loretta Harrop who’s a triathlete who got the silver in the Olympics. She said she finds training incredibly hard, but actually running the triathlon is really enjoyable; she loves it. That’s the same as me. The five years was really tough at times but actually sitting in the Hot Seat… it was just the most enjoyable thing.

SH: When you won, how did you feel?

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