What do you get when you combine the over the top antics of the WWE with the pop culture world of movie trivia? You get Movie Trivia Schmoedown, a weekly competition that pits the finest (and most entertaining) personalities against each other in a weekly matchup of film trivia questions. We had the opportunity to catch up with Movie Trivia Schmoedown co-creator Kristian Harloff to discuss the concept of Movie Trivia Schmoedown and the importance of utilizing Patreon.
Innovation & Tech Today: Where did the concept for Movie Trivia Schmoedown come from?
Kristian Harloff: Myself and Mark Ellis are huge sports fans. We had a popular weekly show called the Schmoes Know Movies Show. While we were out at dinner one night, we began throwing the idea around of a March Madness type movie trivia segment for the show. We set 16 of the crew/friends of show against one another and it was wildly popular with the fans. We did it again the following year in 2015 with teams and had the same results. While I was doing shows with Collider, I pitched it for their YouTube channel as a weekly show that would become a full fledged sports league.
I&T Today: The show has been called a mix of trivia, UFC, and WWE. Would you say that’s pretty accurate?
KH: 100 percent. I would throw a little Jeopardy in there to boot. The WWE aspect throws back to my time there as a writer. We have so many personalities in the league and a lot of actors/actresses that I thought a good way to spice it up was to create a show that blended with the competition. So we have heels, babyfaces, factions, smack talk, drama. The UFC element is the actual trivia. It is unpredictable, not scripted, and dictates the storylines. As a promoter, I might wish for a certain match to headline an upcoming show but underdogs make sure those matches get cancelled regularly. I have thought about Dana White many times while watching high profile matches saying, “This must be what its like when a 10-1 underdog shocks the world and erases that big fight in Vegas next month.”
I&T Today: What are some of the more difficult/obscure questions that have been on the show?
KH: Honestly, I think that is subjective and the fun of this sport. If you have seen Raiders of the Lost Ark 1000 times and I ask you what is the name of Karen Allen’s character, you will know right that it is Marion. However, maybe you have seen that movie once or you haven’t had a chance to see it just yet, it becomes harder. Trust me, I get it all the time from competitors and fans about how certain questions should have been either worth 2 points instead of 5 or 5 points instead of 2. It really depends on the viewer/competitor.
I&T Today: Along those lines, what do you believe is your own area of expertise when it comes to trivia?
KH: Well I held both the teams and singles title at one time in the league. I think I was pretty good in my day. I don’t compete anymore since the league grew and I have way too many responsibilities now. But I will say this, going back to the UFC analogy, when the UFC had Chuck Lidell and others as their main stars, it was a different sport at the time. Fighters could rely on one skill and match it against another fighter of a different skill and see who came out on top. Eventually guys like Georges St. Pierre came around and learned it all, became utility knives. That is what is happening in the Schmoedown. Competitors take it very seriously, they study and learn movies that they either have never seen, didn’t want to see and make full on guides to become better. In my day, we just relied on what we knew. You can’t really do that anymore.
I&T Today: Why is Patreon such a helpful platform for content creators?
KH: Oh man, it is our lifeblood. I don’t think everyone truly understands how it should be looked upon. I think people still see it as a crowdfunding thing. We treat it the same way we would if we were running Netflix, Amazon, the WWE network. We want to offer it as a streaming network. It allows creators to truly engage with the hardcore fan. Our patrons understand what we are trying to do with this thing and they are on board to help us get it to the next level.
I&T Today: What makes the trivia live events unique?
KH: The energy. When you come to a live event, you see why I keep calling it a sport. It is a mental sport. You could be simple about it and say “What? It is just trivia.” Well it is just football, it is just baseball or boxing. Why do we get so invested in our favorite sports? Because we look and say “How did they do that?!” That is what happens at every live event. My favorite part of live events is when hardcore fans bring people who have either never heard of it or never watched it and they leave saying they are hooked. The live events honestly is where this show thrives. The crowds embrace it like a WWE or UFC event. They cheer their favorites, they boo the villains. We have a HUGE teams title match happening in Orlando on Oct 19th and the two teams facing one another are bitter rivals. The smack talk has already begun and we are two months out. I cannot wait for the energy in that room in front of 700 screaming Schmoedown faithful.
I&T Today: Where do you see the future of Movie Trivia Schmoedown?
KH: Expansion and turning it into more than just movie trivia. I want a Sports Trivia Schmoedown, Wrestling, Music, TV, Video Games… I think a competition similar to The Ultimate Fighter or Tuff Enough could be incredible finding the new Schmoedown stars of tomorrow. I think someone like Mark Cuban would really get this show and understand what we are trying to do with it. To have someone like that on board helping push this into a worldwide thing, that would be the dream. Right now we are independently financed, so every day is a push to the next step. But Rocky said it best: keep moving forward.
Make sure to check out the official Movie Trivia Schmoedown YouTube channel!