EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘The Master’, Martin Flood – Part VI – The Conclusion

Martin Flood as ‘the MASTER’, in his big red chair.


This week, I wind up my chat with Martin Flood, regarding his tenure as ‘the MASTER’, on the Australian quiz show of the same name. As always, if you’d like to familiarise yourself with the show, I’ve put an episode of it up over at the HowToWinGameShows Facebook page. It’s split into two parts, which can be found here and here


SH: What fame or notoriety did the show give you? And how long did it

MF: While the MASTER was airing, people came up and said hello when they
recognised me, especially when we were holidaying on the Gold Coast. One
woman, as she handed me my milkshake at Sea World, said “You’re Martin
Flood!” For a moment there, I thought she might have been a relative or
friend of a friend because it’s really weird being 1,000 km from home and
someone knows who you are. She was the only one to use my name. Everyone
else called me ‘the MASTER’. That was weird. When people called me that, I
felt so pompous. But as soon as it stopped airing, people stopped coming up
to me.

At the time, I was regularly volunteering for Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The
Streets. I was helping kids with their School’s Certificate or HSC study.
The kids didn’t know I had recently won a million dollars. Then they saw the
ads on TV for the MASTER. They were so excited that the guy they knew as Marty
was some kind of TV quiz guy who had his own TV show. I think that was a lot
of fun for them. But it was even more fun the next week, when the show was
cancelled… because they all really enjoyed ribbing me about it!

SH: If you were invited to be part of something similar tomorrow,
would you do it all again? Is there anything you’d do differently?

MF: I was invited to audition for The Chase. I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to
do it, but I found the audition really fun.

With the MASTER, I would have focused more on my on-air persona. I needed
to have spoken with you and perhaps gotten you to write some of my lines. I
was so focused on studying and making sure I’d be really difficult to beat.
I didn’t want to give away free money. But – no surprise! – nothing of what I
studied came up in the eight episodes, so I could have gotten away with doing
no study. I think how I performed as a personality would have been far more

SH: What do you think was the most important thing you learned from
your MASTER experience?

MF: TV is very deceptive. We all know that what we see on TV isn’t completely
real, and it’s usually edited. But I was surprised just how clever producers
are with the ‘magic of television’. I won’t give away any secrets, but I’m
sure you know them.

SH: That all happened in 2006 – what’s been your involvement with the
world of quiz shows and game shows since then?

MF: Nothing. But I like to watch.


And so do we! I’d like to thank Martin for generously giving so much of his time for this interview, and taking us through his unique journey from game show contestant to game show star! I’m really very grateful to him. And ever so slightly jealous too, if I’m honest…

Next week, a special announcement, as I prepare to do something here at HowToWinGameShows.com that I’ve never before done, in the site’s entire four year history.

What could it be?

Check in next Tuesday, when All Will Be Revealed….

Until then, then!


‘How To Win Game Shows’ the eBook: UPDATE!

Hello everyone, and welcome to the scheduled launch day for How To Win Game Shows  – the eBook! 

Only thing is, it’s not quite ready yet.


All the content is done, but I’m afraid I’ve underestimated the time that editing, proofreading and getting an eStore up and running would take. So, I know I did say that it’d be ready to go by today, but if you can bear with me for one more week, I’d really appreciate it. That makes the revised launch date Sunday September 20th. I’d like to thank you so much for your patience and understanding. As a little taste of what it’ll look like, here’s the eBook’s cover:

The eBook's front cover!

The eBook’s front cover!

In the meantime, it’ll be business as usual here at the blog, with my next weekly post due on Tuesday. That will chronicle the first part of my Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster journey – this was the show in early 2006 that pitted Who Wants To Be A Millionaire winners against Sale of the Century and Temptation winners, in a battle to win the $20,000 for charity, and the title of ‘Australia’s Brainiest Quizmaster’. I did manage to win it, but it certainly wasn’t all smooth sailing. The story of how I accomplished it begins right here on Tuesday, and hopefully there’ll be some tips and hints in there that will be helpful to you, as you learn from my mistakes.

Until then, thank you so much for your patience, and remember, you can still get a FREE SNEAK PREVIEW BONUS CHAPTER of the eBook by signing up to the How To Win Game Shows mailing list, by using the handy (if slightly squashed) email sign up box to the right! ——————————————————————————————————->

It was exactly 10 years ago TODAY…

TV Week - Oct 1st 2005 - Copy

A scanned clipping from ‘TV Week’ magazine in 2005 – the photo was taken on the ‘Temptation’ set, moments after The Big Win.

… when I walked out of the Channel 9 studios in Richmond in a daze, carrying the bunch of flowers and the bottle of champagne you see in the picture above. I had just won $672,357 worth of cash and prizes, including $500,000 worth of gold bullion on Temptation (you can watch the entire 20 minute episode here)… and my knees were feeling a bit shaky. My mum Julie (pictured above), my sister Kate and I went back to Mum’s house that night, got some pizza delivered and sat there drinking champagne, scarcely able to process what had just happened. I remember staring at them and repeatedly saying, in a low, astonished tone, “Bloody Hell! This changes everything”.

And it did.

Before I outline the general, here’s the specific, just in case you were wondering what I did with those prizes I won along the way..

I used Night #1’s prize – the home renovation worth $10,000 – on the kitchen of my home. In Croydon. It was sorely needed.

The prize from Night #2 – the white leather lounge suite – I still have. See?

me on that couch 2

Me and the ‘Temptation’ couch, yesterday.

Night #3’s prize; the $19,000 watch, set with 68 diamonds from Versace? Well, I remember taking it to the Versace branch on Pitt Street in Sydney (feeling extremely nervous about carrying something that valuable – and easy to steal – on my person!) I wanted to ask them about the possibility of exchanging the watch for a ring, which could serve as an engagement ring… I was thinking of proposing to my then girlfriend (now wife) at the time. The nice Versace saleslady advised me against it, as most of the Versace ring designs at that time featured their logo… a Medusa.

Ah. That Medusa? The hideous gorgon with snakes for hair whose appearance was so horrible that it turned men to stone? Yes. Right, so not exactly ideal ‘engagement ring material’, then. So, no exchanging of the watch for a ring. Not feeling especially comfortable with the idea of wearing a $19,000 watch, in the end, I put it up for auction at a Sydney auction house. I got $3,000 for it.

Night #4’s prize: the 13 day holiday in the Canadian Rockies, valued at $35,876, I gave to my mum and sister. They really enjoyed it, and I’m so glad I was able help make that Continue reading

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…


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

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:

Continue reading

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!


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?

Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE Interview With ‘Million Dollar Minute’ Champ Alex Dusek – Part VII


Alex, with some money.

This week, as my chat with Alex continues, we begin to discuss his life after game show fame and fortune. And as such, it seems only natural to lead with this question….


SH: How has the money made a difference to your life?

AD: In a way it hasn’t. I went on the show to prove to myself that I was a good quiz show player. That was my main mission, it was a personal quest. Anything that I won money wise was in a way incidental. It was a kind of marker of how much glory there was to be had on the show. I feel kind of uncomfortable talking about it to some people who only kind of see it in money terms. I don’t know how to articulate it. Personally for me it has been kind of character-defining. That’s how it can be. I love to absorb new knowledge, and I think people who really love learning and love quiz shows do that because they love learning new information and not because it is going to translate into money at some later stage.

I think first and foremost it’s a personal thing but then obviously you have this money in your bank account, and like you say, I do recall looking up sites on the internet and going “Oh, a Hovercraft – I could buy that!”

SH: (LAUGHING) Love a Hovercraft! Very practical. In the show, it was a real conversation point that you have written a screenplay – or several screenplays – and you chatted to Simon about using money that you won to fund producing a low budget indie feature… or more than one. Is that still the plan at the moment?

AD: It is the plan. I’ve got a year left on my course. I am going to need that, and probably a little bit more time afterwards, to become a good enough filmmaker to spend the money wisely on a production. A guy came to our uni recently, a guy by the name of Patrick Hughes, who directed The Expendables 3 as a direct result of backing his own films with his own money.

SH: My goodness. To be given the reigns to that as a director, what a huge responsibility.

AD: Exactly! He was making the transition from commercials to films and he wanted to get his career started. He used $300 000 of his own money – that amount, funnily enough – to get Red Hill (his first feature film) going and that got seen by Sylvester Stallone who in turn invited him to the US to direct Expendables 3. I think there is a need sometimes, even when you are as good a filmmaker as Patrick was at that time, to do something off your own bat and sink your own money in. It is kind of good to have that there for when a project arises. I am not exactly sure which one it will be yet, but it is such a handy thing to have for that purpose.

SH: That is an incredible success story and an incredible story of backing yourself. What’s Patrick Hughes doing next?

AD: Following from Expendables 3 and the talk that he gave at our Uni, I believe he was off to do a ride-along with the FBI which was part of his next film, and also doing something in Singapore, so I’m not exactly sure, but it’ll probably be in that ‘Action’ vein.

SH: I just have a couple more general Million Dollar Minute questions. In the ‘Million Dollar Minute’ game at the end of the show, after you have won through and beat your two opponents, you have the five multiple choice questions in… is it 30 seconds?

AD: One minute.

SH: That’s right – I was watching it at twice the normal speed. They did seem generally fairly easy to me. Did they seem easy to you? And if so, why do you think they are?

Continue reading

EXCLUSIVE interview with Quiz Show Champion Russell Cheek – Part III

MG_1856This week, my interview with Sale of The Century Grand Champion Russell Cheek continues. When we left Russell’s story last week, he had played – and won – 7 of the 8 consecutive games that he needed to win, in order to take home “The Lot” (over $315,000 worth of cash and prizes). However, due to a technical problem in the studio, Russell then had to wait an agonising 7 days before playing that one last game! The one that would ultimately clinch it all for him. I asked him how he handled the suspense, and what he did during that fateful week…


RC: I did a lot of yoga, a lot of meditation, a lot of swimming. I really just tried to keep myself under control, but Steve, time would just not pass! I knew it was inevitable that in one week I would be getting on that plane, flying down to Melbourne. But a second was like a minute, time just would not go past. I suppose because I was on some kind of elevated megahertz, you know? My clock speed was running really fast so time just would not pass. I was visited by every possible demon in the Cosmos. One minute I would be thinking, as you said, I was popular on the show, people liked me, I was good television… then I thought “Well, they’ll only get average opposition for me to play because they want me to win, because I am good, I am good for them”. And then the next second I would think “No! Of course they would get the best players possible to play against me”. I kind of was on this rollercoaster and I was trying to keep myself as level as I could.

SH: Did you try to do any study or revision during that time?

RC: Yes I did. I had a lot of notes about things and lists of stuff. But I didn’t want to do too much because I already knew that I knew a lot of stuff. I would go over some things casually, but I knew it was much more to do with my mental state than it was to do with what I knew. This is why I tried to keep myself kind of on a level keel, just trying to keep myself within myself, and not let those roller coaster rides of emotion sap my energy.

SH: When you were in the studios actually doing the shows, was the experience pretty much as you’d imagined?

Continue reading

WINNING THE LOT PART IV – Top 8 Tips For Game Show Winners

Tempation winner

The date was August 25th, 2005.

After winning 6 consecutive nights of Temptation (the *journey* of which you can read about in my previous posts here, here and here)… tonight, I’m playing for “THE LOT” – $672,000 in cash and prizes.

The closely-fought contest between me and Drew Devlin – a salesman from Hampton Park in Victoria – is coming to an end. The seconds tick away in the final ‘Fast Money’ round, until host Ed Phillips asks the last question: “Devotion and pride in the group one belongs to is called “Esprit de“… what?” Drew beats me to it, answering correctly (“Corps“) right on the buzzer that signifies the end of the round. But it’s not enough, and I vaguely hear Ed saying “Stephen wins everything! The lot! The works! He’s won it all!”

The next few days and weeks passed by like a dream, and my post today aims to offer you some tips in case you ever find yourself in the wonderful, blissful position of being a Game Show Champ! So here they are;

My Top 8 Tips for Game Show Winners!

1. Keep it under your hat. Your winning episode usually won’t be aired until a couple of weeks after it’s recorded, sometimes longer. You’ll have signed a contract not to disclose the results of any games you’ve recorded before they go to air, and so you are legally bound. In fact, if you do reveal the results, the contract may stipulate that you forfeit your prizes! Despite that, you’ll feel like you want to shout it from the rooftops and tell everyone you meet, but you must exercise self-control. They’ll hear about it soon enough.

2. Before you’ve got your money (usually, you won’t get a cheque until after the winning episode goes to air), enjoy daydreaming about what to spend it on! I remember waking up early some mornings after the win, still too excited to sleep, and going window-shopping online, thinking “I could buy that. I could buy that. Or I could buy that…” How often in your life do you get a chance to do that?

3. Get financial advice. I’d have thought this was obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of big cash winners who don’t do this. I engaged a financial planner very shortly after winning.

4. By the time the money does arrive, you should have researched and found an account which gives a good interest rate, while allowing you access to your money when you need it. Park your prize money here, while you work out what to do with it. On some of those big sums, getting good monthly interest can really make a difference!

Continue reading