Forums: TV.com User Submission Support: Submission Tips Column #11 - Tips on Trivia (Part 2)

 
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    [1]Aug 3, 2007
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    Star Trivia

    Again, two important reminders: don't cut-n-paste from another site. Check your spelling.

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    Trivia is for short interesting one-off facts and related info about the star. Favorites, hobbies, children, spouses, other family members, all are acceptable. Sometimes these can go in the Biography as well: as we said in our last column, there are no absolute rules.

    Reams of sporting statistics are rarely interesting or significant. Try and provide some context.

    Bad: He had 220 RBIs in 2004. He had 200 RBIs in 2005. He had 215 RBIs in 2006.
    Good: He had a career low of 200 RBIs in 2005/

    Yes, if you find a star's bio and it contains one hundred separate items, you can rewrite and submit it as a hundred separate Trivia items. But are they all interesting Trivia items? TV.com bio pages should not only be detailed, but entertaining and easy to read. Relatively few people want to read a laundry list of a hundred Trivia items, so a bio page that nobody wants to read because it's too boring isn't any good for anyone.

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    Trivia should be relatively short and concise. If you feel the need to start a new paragraph in the middle of a quote, it's probably too long. Trivia shouldn't be more than a reasonably-sized paragraph long.

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    Separate Trivia items should be added separately. If you have five totally unrelated trivia items, submit them as five separate Trivia entries.

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    Submit in complete grammatical sentences. Some sites accept sentence fragments: TV.com doesn't. Sentences should have a subject noun in them, either the star's name or a personal pronoun like he, she, his, her, etc. It's okay to use different subject nouns for separate entries for the same person.

    Bad: Is a member of the Bill Jones Fan Club.
    Good: Jack is a member of the Bill Jones Fan Club.
    Good: He is a member of the Bill Jones Fan Club.

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    Keep in mind that Trivia is partially intended for readers who know nothing about the star and want to learn something. Try not to write Trivia that only someone familiar with the star would understand. Just because they've been in only one show so far doesn't mean they may not be in others later.

    Bad: John once said he hated Joann despite their on-screen relationship.

    (Who is Joann? What TV show or movie did they have an on-screen relationship on?)

    Good John once said he hated Joann Jackson despite their on-screen relationship in Scuba Wars.

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    Brief related Trivia should be combined whenever possible. Ten separate Favorites, scattered throughout the Trivia section, are difficult to read.

    Helpful Hint: If you're using the word "also," there's a good chance this Trivia submission can be combined with another one.

    Bad: "He went to the University of Albuquerque in 1998." And a separate item, "He also went to the College on the Lake in 2002."

    Good: He went to the University of Albuquerque in 1998 and the College on the Lake in 2002.

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    Trivia should not typically include Appearances. Remember that TV.com lists film appearances through Filmspot.com, so make sure and click on the Credits tab or the All Appearances link. Once filmspot.com is fully active, all movie appearances for the star should be submitted there.

    If a show is not in the TV.com database then it is okay to list it under Trivia. If a show is in the database but the actor isn't listed for it, go to that page and submit them for the show/episode they appeared in. That will automatically put the appearance under Appearances here, and make that show's listings more accurate.

    Keep in mind that movie debuts are already listed on the page under Credits.

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    Trivia is about the actor, not the characters they played. For reality shows this is often a thin line. Generally information about what a star did on a show should be submitted to the show, not the person's bio page.

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    Don't enter information that is easily derived from the birthdate. People interested in astrological and Chinese birth signs can figure it from the birthdate provided: people who are uninterested don't care. The vast majority of our readers can do math, so you don't need to list the star's current age.

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    Trivia is biographical facts. If a project hasn't reached completion yet, don't submit it. Otherwise the information will eventually be wrong, or require constant updating until the project is complete.

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    Trivia should be unique and should say something significant about the actor.

    Bad: John was thrilled to be cast as the lead in Pippin
    (Why is this interesting or unique? Actors are almost always thrilled to be cast in parts.)

    Bad: Jane can cook.
    (Most human beings can. Why is this unique?)

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    Finish your sentence. "John Doe has three children." Great. What are their names? When were they born?

    Bad: Jane won an Emmy in 1992.
    Good: Jane won an Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy in 1992 for her appearance in Cheers.

    Don't leave the reader hanging.

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    Don't submit Trivia that will be wrong in a year. Never list ages or time periods that are going to change but instead post a starting date. Don't use terms like "currently," "recently," or "now." The reader doesn't know when the Trivia was submitted, so use a "start date" whenever possible.

    Bad: John's son is 33 years old.
    Good: John's son Ted was born in 1974.

    Bad: Will has been acting for six years.
    Good: Will started acting in 2001.

    Bad: Frank is currently married to Angela Smith.
    Good: Frank married Angela Smith in 2002.

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    Unusual nicknames are trivia. It's not necessary to list that William's nickname is Bill, Elizabeth's nickname is Liz, or Amanda's nickname is Mandy.

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    Reviews by outside sources are not personal biographical trivia. Many actors receive dozens, if not hundreds, of reviews over the course of their career. Unless the review had some personal significance to the star, don't submit it. If it does, explain the significance.

    Bad The New York Times said "Joe Bob is the greatest actor of all time.
    Good: After the New York Times said "Joe Bob is the greatest actor of all time," his producers gave him a $500,000 raise which he used to buy a house in Malibu.

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    Please avoid inserting in extraneous amounts of white space. This includes but is not limited to putting in excess white space at the beginning of paragraphs, extra line spacing between paragraphs, and extra hard returns at the end of the last line of an entry.

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    Next column: Star Quotes and Appearances

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    Previous columns:

    Write Like You Talk
    Sourcing Your Material
    Know Your Capitals!
    A Matter of Timing
    Soundalikes and You
    Periods and Commas and Colons, Oh My!
    Apostrophes, Hyphens, and Quotation Marks, Oh My!
    Numbers and You
    New Season New Shows
    How to Write a Better Biography (1)
    Edited on 11/03/2007 1:31am
    Edited 5 total times.
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