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.
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?
VJ: I went home with a TV, a framed print of Bambi (hilarious!) and $1500 in cash. And of course the Temptation pen – brilliant!
SH: You were also a contestant on Million Dollar Minute, which was widely considered to be pretty darn similar to Temptation, format-wise. In what ways did your previous appearance on Temptation help you, on your Million Dollar Minute run?
VJ: I think knowing what the TV studio would be like was helpful. I think I also didn’t back myself on Temptation. As a younger lady, you’re almost always sandwiched between two older guys – simply because more guys seem to apply – and that can be a tiny bit intimidating. I’ve made a real effort to go into the shows I’ve done since Temptation with the clear intention in my mind that I deserved to be there and I could give it a real crack.
Exactly! I think that’s a really important point to remember. I know that TV studios can be intimidating places, particularly when they contain people trying to beat you in a competition. But when you’re a game show contestant, it’s really important that you KNOW that deserve to be there. You’ve already succeeded in passing the audition / interview phase. You have every right to be there, and you have every right to win. It’s a good idea to keep telling yourself these things. Because if you tell yourself often enough… you’ll start to believe it. My interview with Vicky concludes next week, but in the meantime, I do want to plug another project of Vicky’s; her Vocal Warmup app for iPhone. If you’re a singer, performer or public speaker, I highly recommend this app. I’m currently using it to warm my voice up (and cool it down again) in rehearsals for Fawlty Towers Live, and I reckon it’s great. So, if an iPhone app for vocal warming up is the sort of thing that might be useful for you, please do consider giving it a look. Okay, that’s enough cross-promotion for now. See you next Tuesday, for Part II of my chat with Vicky Jacobs!