Hello and welcome to the second and final part of our most recent guest post from the Real Canada Man himself, Mr Ryan Vickers. Last week, Ryan had heard that a documentary series on Canadian game shows was about to go into production at Game TV. He’d emailed the producers expressing his interest in being involved, and he’d received a positive response from them. Within in a week, he’d had a preliminary chat with the project’s director Dave Hodgson.
Now read on….
Fast forward to the end of October. The entire session lasted for about three hours – one hour was dedicated to ‘set-up’, on either side of the filming, and then it was me talking for about two hours! We started off talking about Reach for the Top and then segued into other Canadian game shows such as Definition, The Mad Dash and the craziness that was the elevator-laden production of Pitfall.
PRO TIP: Even if you’re very busy and it’s only just a quick note or a short phone call to schedule a follow-up chat, make sure you make time for those in the game show industry. Don’t give away your shot!
Being interviewed for the documentary was, 100%, a very exciting experience! Compared to other productions, it was quite a quick turnaround from the time it was shot to the time of its release. The Search for Canada’s Game Shows premiered on Game TV on January 16th and as the six-episode first season has now finished airing, all episodes are now online for your viewing pleasure at canadasgameshows.com.
On a personal level, it was a great thrill to get to see not only my contributions on the small screen, but also to learn things about Canadian game shows that I never knew! I was also happy to see who they enlisted to be subjects in the documentary. Yes, I’m slightly biased because of my involvement (!), but it was wonderful to see how the production team covered aspects of the Canadian game show scene over the last 50 plus years.
At this point, I figured my involvement with the production was done. But I was about to be surprised with something that I never could have imagined. I met up with Dave, the director of the project, for coffee in mid-February. Dave returned the the game show footage that I had loaned him, and we got to talking about the documentary. Then he mentioned that they were doing small documentary subjects exclusively for the production’s YouTube channel – and you’d be wise to subscribe to Canada’s Game Shows on YouTube – things that didn’t fit into the documentary as a whole. These have included a piece on Howie Mandel (host of US Deal or No Deal) and his involvement in game shows, an interview with Bill Shizas, one of the few contestants who made it onto Who Wants to be a Millionaire: Canadian Edition for its two episode run (not a misprint!), a retrospective on Test Pattern, which was an “anti-game show” and a quiz with Steven Page (formerly of the band “Barenaked Ladies”) as he had appeared on the show Bumper Stumpers.
Dave then casually said “Oh yes, and we’re doing one on you as well”. This took me greatly by surprise and I feel both flattered and honoured that they chose me as a subject. If you’d like to take a look, here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zstBSeHEzc0&
So in summary – definitely a wild ride. I can’t wait to see what the future holds – maybe a Season 2 of The Search for Canada’s Game Shows?
Post script: If you liked the show, please consider sending a note to https://www.igametv.com/contact-gametv/ – it will go directly to the management of the network and it will increase the chances of the show coming back for a second season! Thanks!
No, thank YOU Ryan, for taking the time to share your wholly unique experience with us. I’ve watched the series (and of course, Ryan’s interview) and can highly recommend it to anyone who’s a fan and / or student of game shows… and I have a sneaking suspicion that would include most of the people reading this.
To stay abreast of what Ryan’s up to, you can follow him on Twitter, right here.
I’ll see you back here next week, for the next in my series of PatentedHowToWinGameShowsReminiscences, in which I’ll travel all the way back to 2002, as I recall my tenure as Head Writer on the long-running Australian game show Shafted !
If the words “long-running” can apply to one season comprising eight weeks.
See you then!