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Ladies and gentlemen, in tonight's Programming Challenge the role of Margo Channing, normally played by patful, will be performed by Eve Harrington, uh, actually ChipHeartsMovies. patful is stranded in the country with Celeste Holm and a mysteriously empty gas tank.


Kidding, of course. It's nearly time for the next edition of the TCM Programming Challenge! For newcomers, the TCM Programming Challenge is a fantasy scheduling game we play on the TCM boards three or four times a year. Each Challenge is generally hosted by the previous winner, and those of you who played last time know that patful's spectacular winning schedule deserved the Sarah Siddons Award the other players bestowed on it. patful had a personal scheduling problem and asked me to step in, since I squeaked into runner-up status. I'm hoping patful will even be able to jump in at the last minute to play this round!


We're about ten days away from the beginning of the new Challenge! In a little while today, I will post my goal for this go-round, and some more info on what's to come.


If you've never played the game before, or if you're a frequent visitor to the TCM boards who has never joined the site, I especially hope you'll check back in.


Look for another post later...

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I'm currently confined to the Psychoneurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous under the care of Dr. Thorndyke and Nurse Diesel. I'll try to put together a schedule when I'm released as an outpatient, hopefully VERY soon. Looking forward to anything Chip throws at us.

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Based on my last schedule, I think the appropriate line is,


"Fasten your seatbelts; it's going to be a sexy night"


I've got some ideas for week-long themes, but this time they're rather cleaner than my last schedule. :-)

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Yay, I am so excited!


I have a lot left over from last time. Because during the last contest I had abnormally large amounts of schoolwork and wasn't able to enter a schedule. So this is gonna be supercool!


By the way, can I be Birdie?


P.S. Did anything interesting happen in the month or so I was gone? Besides the guest programmers, which somebody NEEDS to put on Youtube.

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We're just over a week away from the next TCM Programming Challenge!


My goal is to encourage new folks to play the game, while still challenging veteran players. That's why this thread is open now -- so new players can ask questions.


You'll all get details on the actual Challenge rules when the game begins on May 1.


In the coming days, I'll post tips on how to play the game. For instance, if you don't know how to tell if a movie has played on TCM in the past, I'll tell you just how easy it is to find out (it takes less than a minute). I didn't figure this out until the third time I played, and it certainly makes the game easier and more fun!


I'm also asking all of you experienced Challenge players to post short tips and tricks --- and to encourage your TCM pals who haven't played before to give it a try.


This is a thread for questions from newcomers to see how to navigate the game. Just like Monopoly, it's easy once you _know_ how to play. Instead of playing a game about building luxury hotels (ugh), you're pretending to entertain millions of folks with your own love of classic films.


I'll post a list of FAQ shortly that will explain the game structure in an easy-to-follow format for newcomers. And then let the questions and the advice/tips begin!


The TCM Programming Challenge is the reason I joined the TCM Boards. I lurked until I happened on the Challenge, and it looked like so much fun I signed up for the Boards just so I could play. I can't tell you how much fun I think the Challenge is. I hope you'll dip your toe in the water and play along!


Check back for the FAQ! Coming soon...

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filmlover, Lonesome Polecat, patful, CineMaven, Fedya, lzcutter, and ILoveRayMilland have all signed on in less than 24 hours --- it already promises to be a great game, but they welcome more competition!


Look for FAQ's about the Challenge later today. They'll help explain the ins and outs of the game for first-time players.

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An Introduction for New Players



It's the best game imaginable for classic movie fans!


The TCM Programming Challenge is a friendly competition to create the best possible fantasy week of programming for TCM.



Anyone who registers for the TCM Boards before the deadline for final entries.



The rules change slightly from game to game, but overall you select a real calendar week that occurs at some point in the next couple of years.


And then the real fun begins --- YOU AND YOU ALONE decide what to show on TCM for a whole week. YOU program The Essentials, Sunday Silents, TCM Underground, and pick the Star of the Month. YOU decide who Robert O interviews for Private Screenings. You can even research the actual dates of your week and set up birthday tributes!


The Challenge is a GREAT way to introduce your TCM pals to movies you love that they may not have heard of. Love screwball comedies with Carole Lombard? John Ford films? Movies about orphans? Can't live without a 24-hour tribute to Marjorie Main? AT LAST --- YOU make the call!



Well, there is. You are allowed to program any movie from specific film libraries that simulate the choices available to the real TCM programmers (the exact libraries are announced with the contest). That means that a Paramount movie might not be available, so maybe you'd need to substitute a Warner Brothers or MGM title. You're also always able to program any movie that TCM has aired in the past.


You are also allowed a set number of TCM Premieres, where you can use any movie at all.



No, it isn't hard at all, but it IS time-consuming. That's why you get approximately a month to set up your schedule. Play around with it all day on Sundays, or for a short while every day, and you'll be fine. For this Challenge, I added two days to the month to give you five full weekends.


Most of the time you're researching classic movies that you care about, maybe learning about a movie a favorite star made that you didn't know about. This is the really fun part.


Students, teachers, and "education professionals" --- I'm scheduling the game to be sure you have time after final exams to play, so don't let me down!



The aspect that some people find intimidating is putting the movies into a time slot (you know, if *Gone with the Wind* ends at 12:10, then *A Night at the Opera* starts at 12:15). If you like jigsaw puzzles, or crossword puzzles, or board games, you will have fun with this aspect too (I do!). Some people do find this part less than fun.



Both the TCM website database and IMDB give you every bit of info you will need on any movie for the purposes of the Challenge. Pick a forgotten Betty Hutton flick and you'll have this information in two seconds.


This is the part of the Challenge that seems hardest to new players...and it's actually the EASIEST. You don't even have to leave the TCM website. And if you don't know how to access the TCM database or IMDB, I will give you the links!



Generally, the winner of the previous Challenge moderates the next game. This time, the well-deserved winner patful had a personal schedule conflict and asked me to step in since I squeaked into second place in the last Challenge. This is my first time running this particular rodeo, so I may make some interesting changes...you'll find out when the rules are announced May 1.



You post it before the deadline in the thread set up for that. Most of us also write accompanying "programming notes" explaining why we picked the movies we chose.



It's a fun vote among the participants. Occasionally there are small prizes provided, just for kicks. This time there will be prizes, but I won't tell you what til the game is over. You basically win bragging rights. Think of this as Game Night at TCM.



The real TCM Programming Department sometimes takes our play-ideas and uses them ON TCM FOR REAL! They even chime in on the Boards and offer us words of encouragement --- and then they tell us they're swiping our ideas, hehe.


So even if you don't "win" the Challenge...you might just look at the TCM schedule a few months later and see that "you" programmed Monday afternoon after all! So who REALLY won?



The Challenge will be posted on Friday May 1. You will have until May 31 to enter your schedule.


Until then, this thread is the place to ask questions, speculate, and wonder what diabolical rule twists I have up my sleeve!


Newcomers, please ask questions!

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This is so great. How many times have I said if I just had one week to run programming this is what I play. I think about it more and more and I believe I would actually need a month. But this is a great challenge to get people to really pay attention to timing and everything that actually goes into the hard work people do at TCM.

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Of course you can step away, but don't think I won't try and lure you back in ... I can be very Willie Wonka as I try and coax you into this TCM Challenge.


Or perhaps I am more like...


Message was edited by: ChipHeartsMovies, who hates it when he uses redundant words in a single sentence.

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Ohhhhh you! :P


"YOU decide who Robert O interviews for Private Screenings..." - ChipHeartsMovies.


One question Chip. Are these actors for the Private Screenings to be alive or can they be (since this is our fantasy) can they have passed away?

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That's one of the things you'll have to wait til May 1 (when the rules of this Challenge are announced) to find out. That's a great example of the way this game (slightly) changes depending on who hosts it.


The FAQ's I posted earlier give you a general outline of the way the game generally works. Each game's moderator then tweaks the rules to make a slightly different experience each time.


As for the folks you can choose among for Private Screenings/Guest Programmers/et. al. for this particular Challenge...I have a fun spin on this planned for you all. All I will say at this point is that in the upcoming Challenge you might be able to think of your favorite stars to participate, living OR dead...and your choices won't necessarily stop there.


"I'll admit I may have seen better days, but I'm still not to be had for the price of a cocktail, like a salted peanut." Margo Channing


Message was edited by: ChipHeartsMovies, cuz PlainText still makes him make silly mistakes.

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