Last week, Markos gave us a little bit of background, a bit of ‘The Story So Far…’ This week, we dive into the actual Hard Quiz process in much more detail. Hopefully, there’s something here that’ll prove useful for you if you’re contemplating going on this particular quiz show (or any quiz show, for that matter). Let’s dive in.
SH: Can you talk us through the audition / interview process?
MH: Both the 2016 and 2017 auditions were virtually identical. The contestants are checked-in and given a sticker with their name and expert subject on it, which I love… because it makes for a great ice-breaker: “Hello, ‘World War Two’!” “Hey, nice to meet you, Simpsons”… The contestants are taken from the waiting room into a large space with rows of chairs.
We sit and do a written general knowledge test, and then small groups of us stand up and a producer asks each of us about ourselves and our expert subject, why we chose it, and so on. We’re also put into groups and asked a bunch of general knowledge questions which we need to “buzz in” and answer.
After that, a producer reads out a list of all the people who are through to the next round of the process, and the ones whose names aren’t announced are dismissed. The remaining contestants chill until we’re called into a private room where we have a one-on-one chat with a producer who asks us to discuss our subject a bit further. After that, we’re dismissed and simply wait to see if we get the big call.
SH: When you heard you were going on the show, how long did you have between getting THE CALL and the day of the record?
MH: I got the call (or email, in this case) on the 23rd of June, and the record took place on the 2nd of August so there was a good chunk of time to study… and for the butterflies in my stomach to multiply!
SH: How did the experience of actually doing the show compare with how you thought it’d be?
MH: It went by much quicker than I thought it would, it surprisingly didn’t take much longer than half an hour to film a half-hour show, which is a testament to the show’s dynamic crew. I was also pleasantly surprised that contestants were given quite a nice green room prior to the show, replete with a shower and lollies.
SH: Did you have any mantras or self-talk? Anything that you kept reminding yourself while you were on the set?
MH: Not really, I was quite zen and not thinking too much. One thing I did tell myself while on the set was “don’t worry if you’re the first one eliminated…you can still tell people you made the Top Four.” When I got to the second round, I similarly reassured myself “you can tell people you made the Top Three.” That was the extent of my self-talk.
SH: You were up against an expert on Australian birds (Simon), an expert on Greg Norman (Phil) and and expert on the band KISS (Robyn). In the heat of battle, during the actual playing of your game, what moments – either good or bad – stick in your mind?
MH: Each time one of the other contestants was eliminated sticks in my mind, because it felt positively awful. They’re very nice people and all three of them had come from interstate, while I lived a mere 15 minutes away! I also distinctly remember a strong feeling of doom during ‘Tom’s Round’, after I got the first 2 questions wrong, I thought I was finished for sure. My favourite moment was hearing Tom say “correct” after I answered the last question in the Final Round. It was a moment of great joy and relief and probably the first time I’d relaxed that entire day.
In next week’s final instalment, Markos lifts the lid on all those insults traded between the host and the contestants, we discuss his future in quizzing. and he shares his three top tips for anyone preparing to go on the show!
Until then, then!