Tips for Williams Trivia running teams

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The Trivia Intro

  • Many teams opt to begin the contest with some kind of "intro," usually scripted and often pre-recorded. Sometimes the intro relates to the team's name (and the pop culture source from which it was drawn), though not always.
  • Two fairly high-production-value intros can be found here: Neutered Vampires Who Cheat at Kitten Poker and here: Diplomatic Immunity

Tips listed below that no longer really have anything to do with how Trivia is played and run today (which is, unfortunately, almost all of them) have been put in italics. (Nostalgia is a big part of Trivia, so deleting them altogether just seems kinda sad. (I or someone else should replace these with actual relevant tips sometime soon.)

Old-Timey Tips for Preparing to Run Trivia (From Back When We Actually Used Phones and Stuff!)

  • Have at least a dozen people. If you don't have enough, ask for help on the Trivia list — people will probably step up. (This is still VERY relevant - you can run Trivia with fewer than a dozen people, but you will probably be stretched to your limits and then some.)
  • Goodrich Hall is a good Trivia HQ. Following the link to the Goodrich Hall wiki yields some useful forms and information for scheduling and using the space.
  • Get the phone board from whoever has it. As of Fall 2006, that's Paul Stansifer. There are two jacks for it in the floor of the office on the second floor of Goodrich, under the big table near the windows.
  • You'll need to supply your own (plug-in, standard) phones for the phone board, so ask your friends if you can borrow theirs overnight. There are jacks for 7 phones on the phone board (though many of them may not work), and it's recommended you use them all, in addition to whatever cell phones with free night minutes your team has handy.
  • Wireless Internet is available at Goodrich. You need a student or other Williams affiliate to log in for you, but once logged in, you're golden.
  • Check that Security knows you'll be using Goodrich so they can turn off the card-reader for the evening. Do this a couple of times in case your contact gets lost in the paperwork.
  • Scout out Goodrich for alternate entrances. During set-up for Spring 2005, Deine Mutter was hampered by the organizers of a hip hop dance show. The organizers had the front door locked, which made it challenging for us to get our setup equipment into Goodrich on our schedule. Luckily, we found an alternate way in.
  • It would be a good idea to check with the Phones people and the Network and Systems people at OIT to make sure the phones are set up correctly and that the network is setup to handle the load from streaming WCFM off-campus. Do this a couple of times too.
  • Have the folks on your team who own cellphones (ideally, cellphones with free/unlimited night and weekend minutes) bring them, so if ports on the phoneboard die, you can replace the call-in numbers with people's cellphone numbers.
  • Have your team geek(s) subscribe to the Trivia-tech list and ask if there have been any major developments you should know about. There has been talk recently (2005) of setting up backup streaming servers and hosting shows off WCFM. There are challenges to be overcome, but it's possible progress has been made. See the Williams Trivia main wiki page for more information.

Old-Timey Information Helpful to Know During the Event (From Back When You Would "Probably" Want Computers To Be Available!)

  • You can use AIM to keep in touch with WCFM (AIM ID: requests4wcfm).
  • If you use the Trivia Application Software, you will probably want two computers available for input of on-air scores as well as for input of boni answers submitted on paper. Locate these, if possible, near the phones in the 2nd floor.
  • Bring extension cords and power strips. Outlets in the office in Goodrich on the second floor are not very convenient or numerous.
  • You'll probably want an additional 1 or 2 computers available for scoring electronically submitted boni. Come to Goodrich early to make sure the computers on the first floor are working with your application. You can use some of these for scoring boni.
  • Allow yet another computer for coordinating communication with WCFM and with remote team members. Locate this near the phone board also, if possible.
  • Bring a radio to tune into the WCFM broadcast from headquarters so you can be sure the DJs are staying on track with the program/so you can be sure your CDs are working out as planned (sometimes tracks get mixed up during preparations, so you'll want to be able to monitor the situation and improvise as quickly as possible in case of trouble).
  • Use remote team members for AIM on-air hints and scoring input. Later, they can participate in scoring electronically submitted boni. (This is still essentially relevant - you can and should still use remote team members, if you have them, as IRC hosts or bonus-scorers.)

Helpful Tools

  • Audacity is a free, open source audio editing tool that you can use for things like trimming songs down to a reasonable length (2:00 - 4:30 minutes is usually about right) and to do other sound editing jobs. It's available on many different platforms (OS9/OSX, Windows, Linux/Unix). You may need to locate the LAME encoder DLL if you choose to run it on Windows and want to export your edits to an MP3 file, but that's pretty easily done. Audacity is also pretty much the standard tool for creating audio boni these days - one can easily select the portion of a song one wants in the bonus and paste it next to a bunch of other clips. And voila, you have an audio!

* Trillian Basic is a good Windows client for multiple IM networks, including AIM. It's free too.