My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Winner Judd Field! Part II

Hello and welcome to the second part of my chat with Judd Field. When we left off last week, Judd had successfully got through the general knowledge test part of the audition, he’d made a good impression in the camera test, and he’d received the call telling him he’d been selected to appear on the show! Now read on…
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SH: When did you record your particular episode of Millionaire Hot Seat?
JF: My episode was postponed from an initial late January record, to Mon 18th of Feb 2019.
SH: And when did your episode air, and what was it like keeping your BIG SECRET in the meantime?
JF: I was initially told the episode would air sometime in May… then about two weeks prior, I was emailed and told the episode would air 30th April. The BIG SECRET was a delightful torment haha… I wanted to shout it from the roof sometimes. But after telling my wife, we decided to keep it a complete surprise. We even kept it from our kids. They knew I had gone on the show, but at the time we just told our kids we had won $1000, to put them off the scent.
So we cunningly decided to have a special surprise watching party for our family and friends. It was actually a lot of fun to have this big “secret”. Family and friends were all bamboozled, and it was quite hilarious, particularly in the week leading up to the surprise. All the theories our friends and family had, some thought we were pregnant, some thought we were moving overseas. Good fun.
So it was hilarious to watch their reactions when I finally turned on the telly to the show live, and shared the excitement with them all. I even filmed their priceless reactions. And so nice to share the night with the nearest and dearest.
SH: That’s brilliant, Judd. Well played! I’d love to know about the preparation you did for your appearance on the show. When did you start preparing (assuming you did!), and can you talk us through what you did?

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My EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Winner Judd Field! Part I

Hello and welcome to my latest EXCLUSIVE interview, and this time it’s with Judd Field, a contestant who recently had a very good run on Millionaire Hot Seat, here in Australia. It’s a multi-parter, and Judd goes in to a lot of detail about the entire adventure… so let’s get right into it!

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SH: Judd Field, hello and welcome! Thanks so much for talking to me for HowToWinGameShows.com today. You, sir, are a certified, genuine brand new game show winner, so firstly – congratulations! Now, the show that you were on – Millionaire Hot Seat – is an offshoot of the original Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? format, but it has some significant differences, doesn’t it? Some regular visitors to this site may be unfamiliar with its format, so could you give us a quick description of how the show works?

JF: Hey thanks kind sir, pleasure to share my two cents with you! The Hot Seat version starts with six contestants sitting in random preset order. They compete in a ‘Fastest Finger First’ series of 15 questions, for a cheque for $1000. The winner of this cheque can then trade that in for a lifeline, once they get into the Hot Seat, which is when the normal Millionaire question format begins.
The Hot Seat twist is that for the other 5 contestants, there are no lifelines. However, all contestants can pass if they don’t know the answer. The next contestant then jumps in the Hot seat and has to answer that question. (They’re not allowed to pass on that question).
When a question is answered incorrectly, the player leaves the game with nothing, a new contestant jumps into the Hot seat and continues to answer from wherever the previous contestant was up to (total prize money-wise), however the potential total prize money is reduced.
So for the first question answered incorrectly, the total prize money available goes from $1,000,000 down to $500,000 and so on… reduced by one level for every incorrect answer.
This continues until the final question, and whoever is in the Hot seat for that final question either wins that final reduced amount, or wins $1000. Everyone else (except the Fastest Finger First $1000 cheque winner) walks away with nothing.
Gosh…that wasn’t exactly brief sorry, I feel like I was describing Aussie Rules footy to an American.

SH: No worries at all, love that detail! To begin with, I’d like to establish the timeline for your Millionaire Hot Seat adventure. When did you initially register your interest, or apply to go on the show?

JF: June 2018.

SH: When did you audition?
JF: August 2018.
SH: And when did you get The Call to say you were on?
JF: November 2018. Just a side note to this audition process… I think being from Melbourne, and the show being recorded in Melbourne, was an advantage in my getting on the show. The lady who sat beside me in my episode was from Perth and had auditioned 8 years ago! She had almost forgotten she had auditioned.
In my episode there were only 2 contestants from interstate.
I know it is all about ratings, and I know they want a “mixed bag” of contestants (old / young / male / female / ethnicity etc) so maybe there were too many of her “type”, and maybe my stupid abnormal hair and singing career meant I might have been a more “entertaining” choice… and so I think I got cast pretty quickly in comparison.
Knowing a bit about how TV works, I definitely played up to that angle in my audition, singing to the camera and making sure I had “entertainment value” and humour in all my audition answers.
Would you like a bit more background info about the audition?

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This week’s post is completely relevant, and absolutely on topic. Mostly.

Hello!

Look, I get it. At first glance, this week’s post may look like some shameless self-promotion for something that has nothing to do with winning game shows.

I mean, yes, okay – I was one of Sam Petersen’s guests this week on his most excellent podcast Confessions Of The Idiots.

If you haven’t heard it, Confessions of The Idiots is about….. well, some confessions of some idiots. Each week, Sam invites a couple of comedians / actors / interesting people to examine, dissect and give advice on some confessions that have been posted online. It’s a great idea, that Sam executes beautifully, and he’s also nabbed some great guests in previous episodes.

Anyway, in this week’s episode, Sam paired me up with the brilliant young comedian Dave Warneke who – I think it’s fair to say – also has quite an interest in game shows, and we looked at the latest confessions that Sam had unearthed from his treasure trove.

BUT (and here’s the thing)… before we got to the ‘Confessions’ part of the show, both Sam and Dave* were quite curious to hear about various game show adventures of mine. So, for the first 17 minutes or so of this podcast, that’s what most of the chat is about. (There are even a few game show winning tips in there). So, if you don’t have the time to go back through the HowToWinGameShows.com archives to find the “official” versions of these stories (which are here and here, by the way) you can just listen to the first 17 minutes of this podcast!

I would recommend staying till the end, though… just because I think it’s kinda fun! But I should point out, there is some M-rated language. But not much.

So there’s my tip – download and listen to this week’s episode of Confessions of the Idiots, for some handy bite-sized game show advice, followed by some pretty funny and bizarre confessions talk. And once you’ve listened to that, why not try some others in the series? I must admit, I’m quite a fan; it’s given me quite a few Laugh Out Loud moments. And I never laugh at anything.

Until next time!

* Not THIS Sam & Dave.

 

 

 

 

 

 

… Just to be clear.

More on Martin’s ‘Millionaire’ moments…

Just a bit of an update today, on one of the first ever Game Show Winner interviews I did for this site!

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Back in August 2013, I interviewed Australia’s first ever Who Wants To Be A Millionaire millionaire, Martin Flood. Martin gave me a very detailed and thorough account of his whole WWTBAM adventure, covering all his preparation, the homework he did, the tactics he employed, the mental exercises he did, and the methods he used to keep the right attitude…. which culminated in him winning the ultimate prize – $1,000,000! The interview ran over 9 instalments, and I think it’s ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL READING for anyone contemplating going on that particular show.

Martin got in touch with me recently to let me know that somebody has now uploaded his two episodes to YouTube. So you can watch them right now, by clicking on the image below…

BUT I’d suggest reading my interview with Martin alongside watching the episodes on YouTube… that way, you can see (and hear) the exact moments from the show that Martin describes in the interview, as he describes them. A fully immersive HowToWinGameShows multimedia experience!

So, here are the links to my interview with Martin:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

And once more, here’s the link to his two episodes on YouTube….

And while we’re on the subject of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, you might also be interested to visit (or re-visit) my exclusive interview with the show’s Executive Producer Steve Gilbert. You can find that right here.

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… And that’s it for this week! And while we’re on this subject, if you’re an aspiring Who Wants To Be A Millionaire contestant – or a former Who Wants To Be A Millionaire contestant – please do drop me a line, and let me know how your WWTBAM experience compares to Martin’s!

Until next time! 

 

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

Hello! So this week sees the first instalment of my EXCLUSIVE interview with Martin Flood; Who Wants To Be A Millionaire winner and star of the 2006 Australian game show the Master. I was really curious about Marty’s time as the star of this brand new format, so I grilled him on every aspect of it, from its creation, to its gameplay, to the effect it had on his career and his life. He was very generous with his time, and I’m very grateful to him. Now, if you’d like to familiarise yourself with the show we’ll be discussing…

As I mentioned last week, I’ve put an episode of the Master up on the HowToWinGameShows Facebook page. It’s in two parts, and you can watch the first part here and the second part here.

Or, if you’d just prefer to dive right in to the interview… Here it is!

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SH: Marty, thanks for talking to me today about the Master, for HowToWinGameShows.com. For those who don’t know (or who may have not done their homework!), what was the format of the Master?

MF: Five contestants would compete against each other, much like Sale of the Century, Temptation and Million Dollar Minute. The winner would then take on
‘The Master’ in the endgame, in a literal face-to-face best of five
questions (multiple choice).

There were some variations on the Sale of the Century theme. In all but one
round, contestants did not lose points if they answered incorrectly. They
would only be locked out of the next question if they were wrong. This
format was also played out on Seven’s Million Dollar Minute. Which reminds
me; the ‘points’ they received for each correct answer was $100, which they
got to keep. Nice touch by the producers. So most went home with some money.
There was only one round where contestants would lose cash for incorrect
answers. Each contestant would be asked a list of questions from their
‘preferred subject’. Correct answers scored $100, while incorrect answers
lost them $200. Most contestants seemed to go backwards, so the producers
decided to call it ‘The Master’s Mean Minute’. What would we do without
alliteration?

The winner of the five contestants would be given $50,000 on top of their winnings from
the rounds. Then Mark Beretta, the host, would ask how much of the $50,000
they were prepared to risk against me, the Master. They could risk anything
from $10,000 to the whole $50,000. If they risked it all, they got to decide
on the subject, otherwise I would decide. If they risked $10,000 they played
for $100,000 total. If they risked $20,000 they played for $200,000 total
etc. But if they risked all $50,000, instead of playing for $500,000 (as you
might expect), they got to play for $1,000,000 and the chance to become the
new Master! For some viewers, I think the numbers might have been a little
complicated but I think the basic idea of “how much will you risk?” was quite
clever. I assumed most would risk $40,000 (leaving them $10,000 to take home, guaranteed) and play for the $400,000, but most only ever risked $10,000 (keeping $40,000 to take home) and played for $100,000. That really surprised me. In truth, many really should have gone for the million, as some of their Preferred Subjects were my
worst nightmares, and they could have beaten me easily.

The end game was like a soccer penalty shootout – best of five.
Theoretically, the quickest game could finish with 3-0 (no point in going on
from there)… but in one case, the contestant and I went to 5-5 and into a
sudden death playoff. Interestingly, both the producer and the executive
producer had confided in me at separate times that they hoped the final
score would not be 5-0 as that wouldn’t make good television. Each time I pointed out that a clean sweep in a ‘best of five’ game stops at 3-0, whereas a 5-0 result could only happen in a ‘first to 5’ game. I would then politely ask them if they were sure they knew how this quiz show worked, especially given that they had designed it.
I think the producers found such smug remarks of mine quite delightful.

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No doubt! Next week, our discussion moves on to cover how Marty was approached, why he said yes, and the tricky territory of playing the character of “the Master”…. So, we’ll see you then!

 

EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Executive Producer Steve Gilbert – Part II

‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Executive Producer Steve Gilbert… doing a little bit of brushing up….

Hello!

This week, my 2-part interview with Millionaire Hot Seat Executive Producer Steve Gilbert concludes, and I wanted to start by seeing if he had any words of wisdom about when to use the show’s built-in lifelines…

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SH: Are there certain times when it’s strategically best to use the ‘lifelines’?

SG: Yep. If they don’t know the answer!

Firstly, with Hot Seat, it’s only this year that we extended the show to an hour. We have added the ‘Fastest Finger First’ element of the “classic” format back in to Hot Seat.

15 questions are asked of all 6 contestants. Whoever is the fastest overall wins $1000 that they may keep or use to buy a lifeline when they get in the Hot Seat for the main game. These lifelines are slightly different to the “classic” format. They are: 50/50Ask A Friend and Switch. The contestant may use only one of these lifelines once during the main game. This has worked really well for some contestants this year, helping them win some big money.

SH: So, in the Hot Seat format, when is it advisable for contestants to use these?

SG: 50/50…If you have absolutely no idea of any of the options offered, then to use this lifeline is risky as you’ll simply be left with two answers you still don’t know. But it’s a great lifeline to use if you are throwing up between two answers.

Switch…You can elect to get rid of the question you have and get a completely new question. This is probably the most popular lifeline, but again risky, as you may get something else you have no idea about.

Ask a Friend… This really depends on who your friend in the audience is. If, for instance, you’re faced with a cricket question and you have brought your brother along who plays cricket for Australia, then I’d be using this lifeline. Totally depends on the question being faced and who the potential friend is.

SH: Thanks Steve, great tips. Just jumping back to 2009 for a moment, where did the format for Millionaire Hot Seat originate, and how did it come to be on Australian TV at 5:30 on weeknights?

SG: Well, I started with Millionaire back in 2003. The format is owned by a company in the UK. It was then Two Way Traffic, now it’s Sony Pictures. In 2006, the “classic” version of the show was rested, as Eddie (McGuire, the show’s host) took over as the company CEO (of the Nine Network – the channel that broadcast Millionaire). I was sent a copy of a version done in Poland I think, where they played the show as musical chairs. It was sent to me in the hope we could develop this into a half-hour format. Between us we shaped it into what is today “Hot Seat”.

SH: And, from your perspective, who have been the best contestants on Millionaire Hot Seat?

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EXCLUSIVE interview with ‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Executive Producer Steve Gilbert – Part I

‘Millionaire Hot Seat’ Executive Producer Steve Gilbert… doing a bit of research!

Hello!

We’re back to the interviews this week, and I’m delighted to have scored one with the Executive Producer of Millionaire Hot Seat, Mr. Steve Gilbert. Steve is a real game show producing veteran, having produced the classic version of Millionaire here in Australia, as well as this new version. I figured he’d be expertly placed to provide advice and tips for anyone interested in appearing on either of these shows, so that’s exactly what I asked him about….

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SH: Hello Steve, and thank you for talking to me today for HowToWinGameShows.com. You’ve served as Executive Producer of Millionaire Hot Seat since it debuted in Australia in 2009. Before that, you were Producer and then Executive Producer of the classic format of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? For our overseas visitors, can you explain the difference between Millionaire Hot Seat and the original WWTBAM format?

SG: Certainly. The “original” or “classic” format of the show was billed more as a drama than a quiz show. As the contestants had as long as they liked to think about the question AND they could take the money at the level they were then playing for, there was more drama involved as they struggled to decide to back themselves with an answer or take the money. With Hot Seat however, the questions run to set times; 15 seconds for the first 5, 30 seconds for the next 5 and 45 seconds for the last 5. This gave us a chance to then develop the show down from the one hour classic format to a brighter, more fun half-hour version more suited to the 5.30 time slot.

SH: Back in those WWTBAM days, (1999 – 2006), any memories of the most impressive  contestants?

SG: Without a doubt it would be Rob Fulton, our first “Million Dollar winner”. He had seen a clairvoyant several years before who had suggested that she could see a lot of money in the next few years for him. He had done years and years of research on all sorts of subjects and had filled dozens of exercise books with miles of notes of seemingly “useless” information.

SH: What did he do, do you think, that set him apart?

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My eBook ‘How To Win Game Shows’ is now HALF PRICE!

Hello!

I have a bit of a special announcement for you this week. As you may or may not know, a little while back, I wrote my first eBook, which was on the subject of how to win game shows. Its title is (unsurprisingly enough) How To Win Game Shows.

And you can get it here. 

I originally priced it at $19.99 AUD, but now, for 2017, I’ve decided to chop that price in half, and just make it $9.99. The eBook is 208 pages long, and features some of the best tips from the first 2 and a half years of this blog, all distilled, organised and summarized into bite-size chapters. There’s also heaps of new exclusive content in there, that I wrote specifically for the eBook, along with quite a few random Interesting Yet Highly Unlikely Facts*, and lots of pretty pictures.

So if you’re on a quest for Game Show Glory, and you’re looking for a comprehensive reference text on the subject that’s 208 pages long, and is divided into 14 chapters and is easy to download as a pdf, so that you can read it on your iPad, laptop, Kindle or Kobo, well then….

Your requirements really are unusually specific.

But you could do a lot worse than having a look at the eBook. Just head over to www.HowToWinGameShows.com/products for all the info, and to order.

Or you can just click on this link.

Or this one.

Or even this photograph of Benny Hill in a ginger Afro

Benny Hill in a ginger Afro.

They all lead there.

Thanks for your time, the sales pitch is now over, and I’ll talk to you next week!

 

 

* Oh alright then, they’re gags.

 

 

 

HTWGS book review – ‘How To Win TV Quiz Shows’ by CJ de Mooi

cj-de-mooi-book-cover

‘How To Win TV Quiz Shows’ by CJ De Mooi

Hello, and Happy New Year, to one and all ! Here’s hoping that 2017 is happy, healthy and fun for you… and that this is the year that all your game show dreams come true.

My first post for this year is another one of my occasional game show related book reviews. Today I’m looking at the first book by former quiz show champion, and Eggheads star CJ De Mooi. It’s called How To Win TV Quiz Shows and I picked it up as an eBook a while ago from Amazon.

It’s a quick read – just 152 pages – and although it does contain some good information, I wouldn’t say it’s an essential text book on the subject. But if you’re a fan of CJ’s slightly snarky, bitchy onscreen persona, then you’ll probably quite enjoy the ride. He writes in a breezy, chatty style, throwing in plenty of his trademark sarcastic barbs along the way.

The book begins with a potted history of CJ’s personal journey – from being quiz show contestant, to being a quiz show winner, to being a quiz show regular cast member. I must confess, I found his personality a bit hard to take during the relating of his life story. A pattern seemed to emerge in this part of the book; he’d repeatedly big-note his wins, then describe his losses as ‘injustices’, while assuring the reader that he’s over them now anyway.

An example of this comes when he relates how on one game show, he was only one second away from answering the final question in a 60 second round, when the timer went off. He complains that contestants not being able to see the clock is a major game flaw, and that this is unfair. To be fair, that’s how it’s usually done, CJ.

This very personal chapter concludes with him telling us that he’s now quit Eggheads, in order to pursue his dream of acting. And he’s happy; he goes to the gym every day, moisturises, and doesn’t care in the slightest what anyone thinks of him.

Hmm….

I can’t help thinking that if he’s telling us that he goes to the gym and moisturises every day, then he cares very much what everyone thinks of him.

Chapter 2 goes through the processes of getting on to quiz shows. This is a UK-centric book, and so the practical tips are all UK-based. He breaks down the reasons that people might have for applying for game shows and goes through them in more detail one by one. There are some useful tips here, such as the middle-aged white man (a demographic that’s generally over-represented on quiz shows) being selected time and time again due to drawing a little rainbow flag on the top of his application forms. Sometimes, positive discrimination works!

This is followed by a very comprehensive account of what you can expect on a studio record day.

Later chapters see CJ interviewing some other quiz show winners; Pat Casey (winner on The Chase and Tipping Point), serial WWTBAM contestant Paddy Spooner and British and European championship quizzer Gareth Kingston. But I’m not sure if I liked the way that he did this; rather than laying things out in a question and answer format, he’s reworked the content of the interviews into a prose, indirect speech format. Along the lines of “Paddy has an illuminating point”… “Paddy mentions his six year old daughter”, “Gareth advised always going in with a game plan”, and so on. This left me wondering exactly what CJ’s interview subjects did say to him in answer to his questions, and exactly how much has CJ paraphrased their responses.

As the book comes towards a conclusion, there’s a chapter titled ‘The Future’, which contains more practical tips about the why and how of getting on game shows – how you apply, etc., etc. It’s all sound advice, but not exactly inside knowledge. He’s a great advocate of joining an organised quizzing league (such as the ones that can be found here), which I think is certainly a good way of brushing up your knowledge, and exercising those question-answering muscles. He also recommends writing quiz questions, in order to get into the mindset of a quiz question writer. I’ve always thought that this is a great tip, and we’ve mentioned it many times here on the blog over the years.

The final chapter goes into more detail about how to write questions, and contains one list that I found interesting. It’s CJ’s Top Ten Topics that you should be well-versed in, if you’re looking for quizzing success. (I think the first one may be a bit anglo-centric, but here they are:)

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EXCLUSIVE interview with behind-the-scenes game show legend Michael Whyte – Part VIII

Michael Whyte (right) with host Eddie McGuire on the set of 'Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?'

Michael Whyte (right) with host Eddie McGuire on the set of ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?’

Last week’s part of my interview with Michael Whyte ended with us discussing the poor teaching that can sometimes go on in the media industry. In a discipline where sometimes the teachers are people who haven’t quite made it in the real world of the television industry, some of the knowledge they pass on to their students can, at times, be less than authoritative….

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MW: Now, the opposite to that I think, is my son, for example. He shoots, with a digital camera, skateboarding, BMX and scootering, and he’s got his own site. He has about 15 sponsors and he shoots on a regular basis and makes short films and is now being hired by people to shoot stuff.

SH: That’s smart.

MW: Well, exactly. So when he goes to do a course like that, he’s already done the editing side of things… because he does that every day.

SH: Self-taught.

MW: And he’ll pop that up on his own YouTube channel or on his own site and he he’ll get 80,000 hits for one of those. Quite easily. So he’s got that part of it done. So the theory side of it… I don’t know if it works for him. He can actually do what people require already.

SH: Or he can be his own business, his own entrepreneur, his own TV station. And with sponsors, then you wouldn’t need to go anywhere else if you can scale it and make it bigger and bigger… and there you go. You can do what you love and get paid.

MW: Yeah. But I think if he took that to Channel 9, depending on who interviewed him, they’d say “you need a Bachelor of Communication or something like that”, whereas if you took it to a small production company and just said “Here’s what I’ve done”, they’d go “Fantastic. Go and shoot this, and I’ll have a look at it at the end and if it is any good we will give you some work”. Will it be as simple as that, you know?

SH: Is that where he sees his future?

MW: Well I think so, because he enjoys it. More and more into the extreme sports because he likes extreme sports and when he goes, he shoots. People are going “that’s really good”. He puts some music to it, chops it up and there it is. He shouldn’t have a problem getting any work – just as long as the interest is still there, he’ll be great.

SH: You mentioned a moment ago that you’re currently working on Millionaire Hot Seat, which is a version of Who Wants To Be a Millionaire. Do you have any tips or hints for people considering going on either Millionaire Hot Seat or Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?

MW: First of all, get off the couch because mostly people sit there and say “Yeah, I know that”. And you would have had so many people say “Yeah, I could have done that”.

SH: Ah, yes – But you didn’t, did you?

MW: It’s fine to say afterwards “Yeah, I would have got that, no problem”. It’s those people, every time we record there’s a studio full of contestants and I say to them “you were sitting on the couch, you were watching the show and your husband or your wife or your boyfriend or whoever it was said ‘Get off the couch and go and have a go… because you are driving me mad!’”

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It may sound facetious, but I think that point IS really important; you DO have to get off the couch. “Fortune Favours The Bold” may be a cliche, but it’s absolutely true. In fact, I think the point Michael’s making was perhaps expressed most eloquently in these wonderful words from the 26th American president, Theodore Roosevelt;

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Nice one, Teddy. See you next week.