heisman65 wrote:OK, having read Rex Kramer's bio on another thread I think I'm understanding his posting a lot better (and I think I'm getting the gist of his humor, too). My question to you, Mr. Kramer, is, OK it was harder "under the lights," understood, but do you still play J! and can you see a difference in the difficulty of material from then to now? Also, any advice to a hopeful contestant?
A belated congrats on your impressive run. I look forward to seeing you in action some weekend in the near future.
Anyone who implies that I have a sense of humor gets a personal response from me!
My impression of most of Season 22 -- and I believe this impression was shared by a number of Boardies at the time -- was that the clues were generally a couple of notches harder than previous seasons and following seasons. My fuzzy recollection is that we speculated that this was a reaction to the long runs of Ken Jennings and David Madden, perhaps a purposeful attempt to lessen the significance of buzzer skill on game outcome, though of course there was no way to confirm this. In any case, they seemed to back off by the end of the season.
When I play off the TV now, I do think the clues seem easier than they used to be, but in fairness that could just be because I know more.
As for advice:
1) Develop habits that help you learn a little bit about the world every day -- reading newspapers, magazines, or websites, listening to NPR, watching the National Geographic channel, etc. . . . and make a point of attending to things you wouldn't reflexively examine. So, for example, if you don't follow sports, make a point of reading the sports pages once a week. It's not asking much of yourself, and eventually you will develop enough of a context that these things will actually start to seem interesting to you.
2) Build off context -- it's much easier to learn things attached to what you already know. So if you're a movie junkie, for example, go ahead and memorize the major Academy Award winners year by year -- you probably know more than half of them anyway, and filling the gaps will be relatively easy. Of course, if you do #1 in conjunction with #2, what will happen over time is you will develop more and more context about more and more different things and then lay the groundwork for filling in your holes deliberately.
3) Figure out what you don't know, and whether it's important. Go through a couple of dozen old games in the J!Archive and figure out where you get things right and wrong, and how often such subjects tend to come up. Sometimes we confuse "like" with "know", and don't realize that we don't actually know much about a category we enjoy seeing, or that we know a lot about a category we don't. Also, you may discover, say, that you're not very good with poetry, but that it doesn't come up all that often, so you'd be better off learning more about another area -- say, classical music -- even though you feel you are already decent in that area.
4) Remember that the tryout is really an audition -- once you pass the online test and score an invite, your trivia skills are the least important assets to display. At the tryout, you want to show that you will look and sound good on TV, lively and presentable and amiable and interesting, so think about the anecdotes you'd want to tell, dress well, be outgoing, and most important of all
, follow any instructions you are given instantly. If the contestant coordinator has to tell you twice at the audition to speak up, or slow down, or whatever, she is going to assume you would be similarly uncooperative on stage, during the course of a stressful, rushed taping day, and your chances of being picked will drop.