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Slashdot Gameshow Experiences?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the can-he-kill-kenny dept.

Television 55

Rev Wally asks: "Next Tuesday, I hope to achieve one of my life long goals, as I've been selected to try out for Jeopardy! in Boston. I am looking for any words of wisdom from any one else who has appeared on/tried out for any game shows. Also, from any one at all, I am looking for you to throw random trivia questions my way, to try to sharpen my skills. Any help will be much appreciated, And I will try to keep any updates in my journal."

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Jepardy Prompt: (5, Funny)

students (763488) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481157)

Trebek: The worst trolls on slashdot.
You: What is FP?

Oh, I'm sorry (2, Funny)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 9 years ago | (#10485496)

"Oh, I'm sorry, but the correct answer is: What is goatse"

Re:Oh, I'm sorry (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 9 years ago | (#10498625)

Speak for yourself. I'm hoping Natalie Portman will be giving the video "answer" to /. Trolls for 800.

I'm on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in a week (4, Insightful)

robolemon (575275) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481196)

This post couldn't be more timely! I went through the tryout process for Millionaire over the summer and was just selected to tape down in NYC on October 19th.

A few observations: it helps incredibly to give a good interview. Sure, you can get the good trivia questions answered, but what will interest viewers at home? Think hobbies, quirky facts, personality traits...

Also, I have some friends who have tried out for Jeopardy!, and they tell me you can expect to play a mock game if you make it far enough, and that it's hard for middle-aged white males to make it on (they get a ton of those, if you can imagine).

And, sadly, I must tell you that there are a lot of people that make it to the tryouts and very few that make it onto the show! You really have to differentiate yourself from the crowd.

If Jeopardy! is anything like Millionaire, you won't be able to tell anyone the results of the show until it airs. For Millionaire, you don't even get paid until 30 days after your air date (mine is January 24th, by the way). So if you get on, get ready to keep a big secret.

Re:I'm on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in a week (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10487421)

"For Millionaire, you don't even get paid until 30 days after your air date (mine is January 24th, by the way). So if you get on, get ready to keep a big secret."

Uh, then how does that Phone a Friend business work? Often Regis (or whoever it is now) will tell the person that they call up how much money they've attained at that point. I guess you may be able to conceal the ultimate result, but they're still divulging information conveniently for you - maybe to prevent you from getting paid?

Re:I'm on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in a week (1)

arb (452787) | more than 9 years ago | (#10489471)

Uh, then how does that Phone a Friend business work? [...]

The "phone a friend" person doesn't get to hear the outcome of the question, so they don't know if you have actually won that amount or not. Also, you could easily bomb out on a later question and the PAF will not know.

I would also expect that as part of the pre-planning for the show that PAFs would be required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Re:I'm on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in a week (2, Interesting)

NickFitz (5849) | more than 9 years ago | (#10502084)

I would also expect that as part of the pre-planning for the show that PAFs would be required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Not so, at least in the UK. My brother was on the show here last year, and I was a PAF. He entered the competition on Friday, got his second question by phone on the Saturday, was confirmed as appearing (by phone) on the following Wednesday lunchtime, and the show was recorded Friday evening. I was phoned by him early Friday afternoon to be told the rules (no asking anybody else, no googling, basically what you'd expect); then the studio phoned me at 19:55 to tell me he'd got into the hot seat and confirm that he'd told me the rules. At no point did I ever have to sign anything, and although he was supposed to keep things quiet to avoid advance press coverage, no duty of confidentiality was ever imposed on me. There simply isn't time; he had less than 48 hours from being told he was on the show to phone round all 5 PAFs, confirming we were free, before giving our numbers to the production staff 5 hours before recording started.

Re:I'm on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in a week (2, Interesting)

NickFitz (5849) | more than 9 years ago | (#10502022)

FWIW, my brother was on the UK Millionaire last year, winning GBP250,000. Don't know how it works in the States, but the cheque he was given by the host (Chris Tarrant) in the studio was the real thing; he just had to wait for the broadcast date to cash it, as that was the date on the cheque.

The only reason he had to wait a couple of weeks was that they were recording a few weeks ahead, as Tarrant was going on holiday for a month. But as I say, YMMV over in the US.

Re:I'm on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in a week (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 9 years ago | (#10504205)

Last I knew, the check on US Millionaire is this big thing that is most definitely NOT real...

cliff (3, Funny)

Konster (252488) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481267)

With a name like Cliff, you should do alright! ...it's a little known fact...

Re:cliff (2, Funny)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481563)

Oh, stop being a Claven.

Re:cliff (1)

WoodenRobot (726910) | more than 9 years ago | (#10482215)

Jeopardy!: Cliff.

You: What do you call a man with a seagull on his head?

Buy decks of Trivial Pursuit cards. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481289)

You read the subject.

Jeopardy (1)

bobbozzo (622815) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481299)

I've been thinking of trying for Jeopardy myself in LA.

I'm curious... how many days do you need to take off work to do the interviews, etc?

Re:Jeopardy (1)

Rev Wally (814101) | more than 9 years ago | (#10488240)

I'm just taking of one day. My wife and are driving from Portland, ME to Boston. It being a holiday weekend in Maine helps, too.

So... (0)

Evanrude (21624) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481310)

Will you be the next Ken Jennings?

Memorize a few otherwise silly lists (4, Informative)

astroboscope (543876) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481313)

I (a Canadian) tried out for Jeopardy! a few years ago and just barely missed the 35/50 needed on the test they gave to go on to a fake game. Of course I blame it on missing a couple of questions like who was vice president in 1882, and who was first lady in 1920. Yes, I'm bitter, but I was bitter before, so you don't need to lecture me about how Jeopardy! is an American show, and therefore American oriented.

Being Bostonian you should already know American history fairly well, but my point is that it is worth memorizing a few lists, like

  • vice presidents
  • 1st ladies
  • 1st ladies' pets (seriously!)
  • supreme court judges, past and present
  • losing presidential candidates
is essential.

There are other possible lists, like national capitals, but personally I'd rely on general knowledge for those, while the above lists come under "things I couldn't bring myself to bother studying even when I knew I had a Jeopardy! tryout coming up". That was a mistake. I know most people advise that you can't really study for Jeopardy!, because it covers such a broad range of topics; you just have to know it from lifetime experience. That's mostly true, and most questions are not studiable. A few are though, since the above lists are a relatively small body of knowledge, and it can make a big difference if you hit one on a daily double. I know from watching that most of the 5-time champs know this stuff cold.

Good luck!

Re:Memorize a few otherwise silly lists (2, Funny)

mikael (484) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481593)

I thought that was the question and answer list for getting a Green card.

Re:Memorize a few otherwise silly lists (1)

Quay42 (444528) | more than 9 years ago | (#10484001)

I think we all think we "just barely missed" but since they *don't actually tell you how many you got wrong* there's no way to actually know.

I will definitely agree that it totally feels like you just missed a couple "silly questions" that you just *know* you could have gotten right. What I realized is that I didn't get them right and in the heat of the moment and stress of being on TV, I probably wouldn't have gotten them right at that time either.

So I definitely give kudos to those who can make it through the whole process (the guy sitting next to me during the testing had been on Ben Stein's Money and *he* didn't feel to confident about his written answers).

The best tip I can give is simply to READ. Read as much as you can about anything. Fiction books often have interesting tidbits of knowledge that the author found cool (best to look up the "fact" somewhere else to verify) and it's definitely easier to pick it up that way then to go trolling through a science textbook trying to memorize *everything*.

As the parent said, knowing lists would be very helpful as well. I can't count how many times Jeopardy! has disguised a "what is the capital of so and so state?" question.

--jw

Re:Memorize a few otherwise silly lists (1)

astroboscope (543876) | more than 9 years ago | (#10484164)

I think we all think we "just barely missed" but since they *don't actually tell you how many you got wrong* there's no way to actually know.

Yes, I should admit that I was going by my (usually pretty good) hunch of what I got wrong and right. But they *might* (it was several years ago) have given us the answers while we were waiting for the marking to be done. On the other hand we were lucky enough to have Alex there to entertain us.

Anyone else wanna see Ben Stein compete in Celebrity Jeopardy! (against smarter and faster than average celebrities), and Alex guest host a Win Ben Stein's Money?

The best tip I can give is simply to READ.
Over a lifetime, yeah, but maybe not right before a tryout or game. Some of the questions are about very recent music, movies, or TV shows, and the champs astound me with their ability to get them. How do they have time for that much nongeeky stuff along with the geeky stuff? Especially when the question's about a plot detail in the middle of a movie or TV season - you'd think you'd have to watch it in real time instead of speed reading that stuff.

Re:Memorize a few otherwise silly lists (1)

Quay42 (444528) | more than 9 years ago | (#10487878)

Some of the questions are about very recent music, movies, or TV shows, and the champs astound me with their ability to get them. How do they have time for that much nongeeky stuff along with the geeky stuff? Especially when the question's about a plot detail in the middle of a movie or TV season - you'd think you'd have to watch it in real time instead of speed reading that stuff.
Definitely agree there...perhaps I didn't mention that because I'm sorely lacking and that area as I don't really watch TV anymore. I used to be able to talk about Friends and the Simpsons and all that. Now the "Daily Show" is the only show I even try to catch. That and "Trading Spaces" which my girlfriend loves to watch. So I guess some another of the lists to know would be character/actor lists of televisions shows.

Re:Memorize a few otherwise silly lists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10501015)

Wow, holy shit! Win Ben Stein's Money! Canada really IS five years behind the US 'pop-culturally'! That show's sidekick has moved on to cohosting a cable show, and moved on from there to his own "Big 3" network show! That's like three pop-culture iterations down here!

Tell me more about these Spice Girls you speak of- and what are these mysterious foodstuffs? Chalupas?

Tell us more about pogs, grandfather!

Here's one... (5, Funny)

kjones692 (805101) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481316)

Trebek: This is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.
You: African or European variety?
Trebek: Well, I don't know that... AAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!

Re:Here's one... (3, Funny)

bobbozzo (622815) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481399)

Alec: 42

You: What is the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything?

Alec: I'm sorry, the correct question is "What is 6 times 9?".

Re:Here's one... (1)

bobbozzo (622815) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481416)

oops...
s/Answer to/Meaning of/

Re:Here's one... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481577)

*cough*6 times 7*cough*

Re:Here's one... (1)

bobbozzo (622815) | more than 9 years ago | (#10482096)

read the book.

Re:Here's one... (2, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 9 years ago | (#10483009)

Moderator: That's not +1, Funny; it's -1, Sad. This poor slob hasn't read one of the most nerd-friendly series of fictional books in the galaxy (or heard the radio series or watched the TV series, both of which covered this point, as I recall).

Although Adams insisted it was coincidence, the answer to "What is six times nine?" is 42... in Base 13.

Re:Here's one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10483486)

Nobody writes jokes in base 13!

Re:Here's one... (1)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 9 years ago | (#10514624)

Alec: We've just had a correction from our judges...
the correct question was, "What do you get when you multiply six by nine?"

Apparently I need to reread Hitchhikers Guide so I don't misquote it.

Goal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10481385)

I think you need better life goals ;)

Good Luck (4, Insightful)

BigT (70780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481448)

When you try out for Jeopardy you first take the written test. It's 50 questions, and you have less than 10 seconds to answer before you get the next one. Most of the questions are of the $1600 double jeopardy level of difficulty. You have to get at least 35 out of 50, but it's tougher than it sounds. Less than 10% typically make it to round two which consists of on-camera interviews and a mock game.
I tried out in Seattle 2 years ago and didn't make it but it was fun. Let us know how you do.

Re:Good Luck (1)

bofkentucky (555107) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481895)

That was the high school/teen proceedure in 1995, I was, at the time, one of the 20 best Gen Knowledge competitors in Kentucky and that test absolutely smoked me, I had a 26/50, it was the hardest test I took in high school by far.

Re:Good Luck (1)

ebh (116526) | more than 9 years ago | (#10503843)

I tried out for Jeopardy a long time ago in a "cattle call" in Atlantic City. There was a ten-question test designed to be passed by 100-150 of the 5000+ people they expected to try out over three days. After years of running entire Jeopardy boards, I got TWO of the ten questions right. It was the hardest test I've ever taken anywhere.

OTOH, last week I auditioned for Millionaire, passed the 30-question test, interviewed, and am now waiting to hear if I've made it to the contestant pool or not.

game show warning (1)

f00zy (783212) | more than 9 years ago | (#10481580)

I went on this game show called Jerry Springer. Don't pick the thing behind door number two.

If you're a white man, or fat, forget it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10482282)

As someone with inside knowledge of how this works (i.e. anonymous for a reason), I offer you this advice so you don't waste your time:

No matter how smart you are, or if you make it through tryouts and into the player selection pool, if you're a white man or are fat, your chances of being selected to actually appear on the show approach zero. The player pool is full of white guys, and the producers like the show to "look like America," not to reflect who actually shows up for tryouts - i.e. almost exclusively white guys.

Also, if you're fat, forget it. Be telegenic.

If you're female or non-white, you've got a huge advantage in terms of your chances of getting on the show. You'll still have to be smart enough to make it through tryouts, though, and that's not easy!

Re:If you're a white man, or fat, forget it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10486729)

in other words, the truth in the fact that white males are in general much smarter than most of the other people on the planet is concealed, all in the name of icky pc-ness.

Re:If you're a white man, or fat, forget it. (1)

big!theory (678960) | more than 9 years ago | (#10502986)

i read a great article by a writer who tried out for the show. sorry, too long ago, can't find it.

but the writer's observation was that the selection process was not about finding great trivia experts.

lots of pale PhDs and chessmasters show up and crush the trivia test. they don't pass the interview or mock game. it's about finding people that the audience will identify with and root for.

the audience roots for attractive, 'regular' people. not geeky, alienated and alienating eggheads.

subject areas (1)

loomis (141922) | more than 9 years ago | (#10482375)

Definately bone up on Presidents, Vice Presidents, and First Ladies. I would also be sure you know the important classical musical pieces as well as a lot of the literature canon and a concrete science understanding.

Re:subject areas (3, Funny)

BenGanis (79712) | more than 9 years ago | (#10483136)

Be careful when boning up on first ladies. The secret service will get ya.

Re:subject areas (1)

Frizzle Fry (149026) | more than 9 years ago | (#10518580)

They also seem to be big on Greek and Roman mythology. My knowledge of these subjects is near zero which is why I notice when they come up on the show, and it is quite often.

what sort of question.. (0, Troll)

J3r3miah (753239) | more than 9 years ago | (#10482942)

I can't believe this question got accepted! I've been asking stuff (tech. stuff) all the time and it always gets rejected.. almost started to hate slashdot eds. do you have to be subscriber and bribe the eds to get an article submitted on slashdot?

Some practical advice: (1)

Randolpho (628485) | more than 9 years ago | (#10482951)

buzz with your index finger, not your thumb.

Re:Some practical advice: (1)

magefile (776388) | more than 9 years ago | (#10487333)

Why, is it faster? I'd do it with two hands (one to hold it, one to push it with the palm of my hand). But I have finger problems, so that might be why.

Re:Some practical advice: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10489608)

wtf is a finger problem? like you can't move them?

Re:Some practical advice: (1)

magefile (776388) | more than 9 years ago | (#10490351)

No, but they're weak and they get tired easily. By "tired", I mean they move slowly/clumsily and are painful.

Actually, all my joints are like that. It's similar to arthritis symptoms, but I've had it all my life due to a genetic disorder. Sadly, it's one of the less annoying symptoms.

Re:Some practical advice: (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 9 years ago | (#10497966)

Having played trivia with buzzer systems in high school and college- use your thumbs, not your fingers. Thumbs are faster (especially if you play video games), and you can depress the button until just before the point it rings in, speeding response time. Hard to do that with a finger.

important (1)

austad (22163) | more than 9 years ago | (#10484090)

It is very important that you follow the lead of this fine young gentleman:

http://www.bash.org/?993 [bash.org]

I was on "Remote Control" on MTV. (2, Interesting)

Big Sean O (317186) | more than 9 years ago | (#10486049)

Yes, I knew Colin Quinn when he was funny...

And Ken Ober when he was famous...

And Kari Whuler when she was an A-cup...

I won the game but I didn't do so good with naming the videos. What can I say, I'm a trivia geek, not a music geek.

The buzzer is the key to success. There's an off-camera light that appears that signifies when you can buzz-in. Get used to buzzing in after that light appears.

If you know the answer, it's really hard to wait until the right moment. If you can keep calm, relax, and be the first one in, then you will get points for the questions you know.

There's nothing worse than knowing the answer and having the other person beat you on the buzzer.

If you need practice with trivia questions, try to get you hands on "College Bowl" questions. They're uniformly excellent.

Anyhow, being on remote control was one of the high points to life so far (bigger deal than Graduation, smaller deal than my wedding). Hope you get a chance!

Jeopardy Advice (1)

focitrixilous P (690813) | more than 9 years ago | (#10487668)

Don't play against Ken Jennings. You will lose. I've heard the rumors about him losing, but I don't believe it. If youwalk on stage and see Ken's smiling face, turn right back around and save yourself the trouble of playing.

Thank You (1)

Rev Wally (814101) | more than 9 years ago | (#10488226)

Thank you all for your advice. I will try to take it as much as possible. I have been doing as much studing as possible in the past few days, And I am now in crunch time (Its sunday 6pm, the test is on tues. 2:30pm). The info about the "racial profiling" is definatly interesting, and was something that I had suspected (not that its a bad thing, it kinda makes sense, ratingswise). I am a white male (Strikes one and two), but I'm hoping that the fact that I'm younger than the average contestant (28), and live in a state where they don't get many contestants from (Maine) will help me out. That and I think I pull off the middle line between "freak" and "clean cut" pretty well (I manage to keep a proffesinal job, but still have colored streaks in my hair). Hoping they'll see me and think "Ah, he'll atract the younger audience". Maybe not. But, as I stated in my question, I will keep an update in my journal. And I will try to mention /. on the air (perhaps before my own mother). Again thank you all much

-Wally

Re:Thank You (1)

hamsandwich72 (680700) | more than 9 years ago | (#10494589)

"I have been doing as much studing as possible in the past few days"

I'm sure your sister is quite satisfied, but how is that going to help you for the show?

I tried out last year (1)

I_M_Noman (653982) | more than 9 years ago | (#10493331)

First you take the written test. As others here have said, it's a tough 50-question test. While you used to have to get 35 or better correct, they've changed that, and now they don't say how many you have to get correct -- I think it changes based on how many people have passed in each city, but again, they're not talking.

I passed the written. Next, they took the people who passed the written test and played a mock game with us. It's fun! They give you hints on how to click the buzzer (and how not to click it -- don't slap it with your other palm, for example), and generally give you a good overview of what a real game is like.

Oh, and Alex doesn't come to the tryouts any more like he used to. We did get one of the Clue Crew, though.

Good luck!

My shot at the big time. I coulda been a contender (1)

ccnull (607939) | more than 9 years ago | (#10508028)

I wrote a little story about my failed attempt to try out for Jeopardy almost 10 years ago...

check it out - I was a Jeopardy Rejekt [filmcritic.com]

Executive Summary: The Jeopardy tryout tests are VERY hard. 9 out of 60 people in my group even made it to the 2nd round. I was not one of them.
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