Saturday, 16 August 2008

Commercial Opportunities

I have given in to market forces. I have sold my first quiz. Not that its my first quiz. Since my debut as question master 13 years ago I've made several hundred, but this is the first I've ever sold, although not the first I've ever been paid for.

I write a quiz for the Aberavon Rugby Club's weekly Thursday night quiz. I take my turn in a rota, but there are only two of us regular setters, and so I write the quiz at least once a month, and quite often once a fortnight. It was my turn to write the quiz for Thursday, and I have put the same quiz onto a well known internet auction site - and already had an offer when I checked this morning.

As it is , I do know someone whose business is setting quizzes, but he has worked at it for years to build up the business, his reputation, and his contacts, so any thoughts of me being able to quit teaching and live on quizzing are at best extremely premature.

I do understand why a pub or club would buy a quiz like this in. If the pub or club has regulars who are prepared and skilled enough to take turns making the quiz themselves, for the reward of a couple of pints, then all well and good. However in reality they can probably buy a quiz off the internet for less than the cost of a couple of pints. Personally I think you can usually tell a 'bought in' quiz when you play in it. They have a homogeneous quality to them. To use an analogy, a ready made meal from your local supermarket will always be edible, but never fantastic, while a homemade meal could always be a disaster, but when its good, its amazing. 'Bought in ' quizzes are bland. They also take away one of life's little pleasures, that of arguing with the question master when he's asked a wrong'un. For the uninitiated, a wrong'un is a question to which the question master gives a blatantly wrong answer - for example, saying that Elton John's first solo UK number 1 single was " Crocodile Rock " - whereas it was actually 'Sacrifice' . You get mistakes in bought in quizzes, but there's absolutely no point arguing with the question master - even if the question master is fully aware that you won "Mastermind" .

So I just hope that whoever wins the auction is satisfied with what he or she - lets face it , probably he - gets for his money. I can't possibly rate my own quiz, all I can say is that it seemed to go well at the club, and nobody pulled me up on any of the questions. I do sometimes worry with a quiz that I'm making it too difficult, and this one I redrafted twice, and changed some of the questions to make it a bit easier. This was probably just as well , since only 2 teams had any full houses in any of the rounds. I also used the gimmick of giving each team a joker, which they could play once after any of the rounds, and double their points in the round. As it was, this made all the difference. The winning team actually answered fewer questions correctly than the second place team. However they played the joker on an 11 point round, where they scored a full house for 22, whereas the other team waited until the last round which had 10 questions, and they only answered 9 correctly to score 18. So they lost the questions by a point.

As well as selling a quiz, I have also been given a tentative booking for a bit of after dinner speaking on the back of my Mastermind win, a thought which frightens and excites me in about equal measures.

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