5 Questions with TCM Ultimate Movie Trivia Challenge Creator Frank Miller

Recently Classic Couple interviewed Frank Miller, creator of the new game TCM Ultimate Movie Trivia Challenge: 400+ Questions to Test Your Knowledge. Read more.

Classic Couple Q1: What was your process for selecting only 400 questions from over 100+ years of Hollywood film history?

Frank Miller: I’ll admit, limiting this was hard. I started out going through my personal favorite films and performances, and then went through Oscar nominations to make sure I hadn’t left out anything (my taste and the Academy’s rarely synch up). For Cult Classics, I went through the Wikipedia listing of cult movies. With a lot of them I just wrote about things that tickled me, but in other cases, I had to research online and in my personal library.

Classic Couple Q2: The game has 8 categories that seem essential. If you could add another, what would it be and why?

Frank Miller: I suppose it would be cheating to say I’d do a wild card category. Maybe something on things going on off-screen. I love gossip, even when I don’t believe it. That can get negative though, so I’d want to come up with a title that also incorporated good deeds, charity work, etc. Maybe “Scandals and Blessings.”

Classic Couple Q3: How did you balance well-known Old Hollywood lore with obscure film facts in selecting the trivia questions?

It just sort of fell into place. I tried the questions out on friends who were movie buffs and listened to their complaints when things got too hard. I also had an editorial team that asked me to replace a few of the more obscure questions. One editor had problems with the questions that ask you to identify an actor from three or four pieces of information, but I love them. And if you think about them, the info helps you narrow things down. For example, we cut a question about an actor who made a career out of failed on-screen, romances with leading ladies like Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn and Doris Day. I figure the three names help narrow things down so you can come up with the only right answer.

Classic Couple Q4: You’ve written several books about classic film subjects. How did creating a game compare in process to researching a book?

Frank Miller: This was lots easier. You don’t have to tell a story or figure out the best way to organize facts. The categories provided the organization for me.

Classic Couple Q5: What’s your favorite way to play the TCM Ultimate Movie Trivia Challenge and why?

Frank Miller: I love being the quiz master and seeing if I can find the way to read the question that helps people get to the answers. Unfortunately, I’m not that good at impressions. I also think it helps to play in teams, so one person doesn’t have to cover the entire breadth of topics in the game. And with this many questions, it’s probably best to play with a time limit. You can always add more time if people are really having fun.

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