One-On-One With Temptation's Grand Master

Written by Tashi from the blog Interviews on 30 Oct 2006
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theuns_3After Theunis Strydom’s humdinging Grand Master win on Temptation SA last week I so had to catch up with him to congratulate him on his bounty, find out more about him and snoop out what the experience of the buzzing has been like:

Tashi: Hi Theunis - many congratulations on behalf of both myself and TVSA readers for your fab win! How do you possibly know all the stuff you do?
Theunis: I watched a lot of TV as a kid. Lots and lots of TV. I think it’s just a God given talent to recall things easily.

Many of the people I faced knew pretty much the same kind of things as me but I think recalling it quickly is the key to doing well.

Tashi: It’s so interesting to hear you say that you watched a lot of TV. Many people always go on about how TV’s bad for you or whatever but clearly it isn’t - it’s seriously worked for you.
Theunis: There’s a guy who wrote a book last year called Everything Bad’s Good For You and he claims that the kind of knowledge the new generation of people can use is found in mediums like television or music or the internet.

Watching TV is more condusive to doing well in Temptation because you get a very superficial sort of view of a lot of things whereas if you read a book on Marine Biology or something - you’re gonna learn about that field but how many questions are gonna come from that field?

Tashi: But you also know so much about stuff like Geography.
Theunis: Ja, Geography is definitely my strong point.

Theunis's Temptation Prizes
1 x Bling
Plasma TV
Silver kitchen appliances
10-day overseas holiday
Mazda RX-8
Sony Playstation II
MP3 Hi-Fi
R178  000
Plus/minus R380 pocket change
Tashi: Were you a brainbox at school?
Theunis: Well, I did well at school but I don’t think ridiculously, off-the-charts kind of well.

Tashi: What were your fave shows as a kid?
Theunis: The Simpsons. I like the Simpsons a lot. From pretty early on I’ve watched a lot of news too.

I grew up with the 8 o’clock and 7 o’clock News and that’s a good starting point. You hear the same names and the same places over and over again so that sticks in your head.

Tashi: You’re a journalist but you’ve never mentioned who you write for. You’re a business writer not so?
Theunis: Yes I am - I do all sorts of stuff. I’m still very junior, I only finished my studies last year. At the moment I’m on contract at Beeld for a year – it expires at the end of January. I do other things too - I’ve written some articles for the universty’s magazine and things like that.

Tashi: You were at Stellenbosch University?
Theunis: Yes I was.

Tashi: For ten years?
Theunis: No, not ten, haha, the better part of ten - seven years.

Tashi: Why’d it take you so long?
Theunis: I wasn’t a very diligent student. I dunno I just loved res life too much and spent most of my time in res and got involved in a bit of student politics and all sorts of fun stuff. I think Stellenbosch is a funny place to build a university because there’s just so much else to do there.

Tashi: To the actual event and the winning. When you won on Night Five - were you tempted to take the car?
Theunis: No I wasn’t. I really wasn’t tempted that much. It was a big prize and I played the thing to pay off a lot of student debt I built up over the seven years so I thought I could just take the car and sell it and pay it off but I decided I wanted to go for the title of Grand Master.

Tashi: Was this something you knew from the very beginning?
Theunis: Yes. My thinking was: I arrived at the studios with absolutely nothing and along the way I got a hi-fi and R380 and the Sony Playstation and I decided that if that’s all I left with it would be a bonus and good.

If I didn’t go for it I’d always have asked myself if I would have got it if I'd gone for it.  In the end it was so the right decision not to take the car. After that I was more relaxed and more focused and I really walked the opposition that final night.

theuns_1Tashi: Yes, night 5 was very intense because it was so close.
Theunis: Yes, the fifth night was very horrible - I was very nervous. For the first time it really felt like I was playing for something big.

Before that it was all fun and games but that night I realized it was getting serious and I dunno, I was also very tired. After playing five rounds you get tired and I didn’t focus that well before that show. After that I realized that if I had another show like that I’d lose, so I pulled myself together.

Tashi: Did you talk to the other contestants before?
Theunis: I tried not to do that but obviously when you’re waiting for the recording there’s a lot of time to kill. One of the guys I spoke to was Matthew - the guy from UCT who I got on the second show - who I thought was an excellent competitor.

I got a Burglar on one of the fame boards and after having spoken to him I knew he was pretty smart and the big threat so I took the ten points from him.

Tashi: What was the most difficult thing about it all?
Theunis: Shew, I think staying focused all the way through. The best thing about the show is that if you get something wrong you can always make up for it with the next question but obviously if you’re over-eager and get the next question wrong as well it builds the pressure and you need to regain that ground.

The most difficult thing was staying focused and not being overly zealous on a question when you’ve fallen behind. To listen to the question properly.

It worked very well for me that I’m a quick buzzer and that as soon as I think I have an idea of what the answer is – I buzz – and usually James stops and says another word before you have to give the answer.

Tashi: Yes the buzzing thing’s hectic - you have to be soo fast. And you have to know the answer being so fast.
Theunis: I decided that I’d buzz and then try to figure the answer out by the time he said my name. It’s pretty hectic.

Tashi: What’s your fave prize out of them.
Theunis: The TV.

Tashi: Yes that’s a very fine TV. It impressed that one chick so much she just said byee the moment she won it. Where’s your holiday to?
Theunis: To the Himalayas.

Tashi: Seeings as you don’t have a girlfriend, who are taking with you?
Theunis: I’m still deciding.

Tashi: Do you have someone in mind?
Theunis: No I don’t.

Tashi: So the search begins now?
Theunis: You could say that. I’m not sure. I mean I have a sister and two brothers and taking any one of my siblings might be a mistake because the other two are gonna be so cross. I just don’t know yet.

Tashi: As you head on to the final showdown for the house this week - what do you think your chances of winning it are?
Theunis: One in three.

Theunis's Fave Things
Movie: Good Night, and Good Luck
Actor: George Clooney
Actress: Scarlett Johansson
Muso's: Klopjag, Fokofpolisiekar, Cold Play, James
Tashi: So you don’t feel as confidently Grand Mastery to tackle it?
Theunis: It’s different because every day your chances change. You don’t really know what the other people are like until you’ve played them.

Depending on who it is. It’s most likely gonna be Brendon and Pamela I think and they’ve both gone through four or five shows so they know what’s going on. My advantage over them is just one show.

Maybe psychologically for them, the fact that I’m Grand Master will have an impact. I think it would be more of a motivating factor for them than a disadvantage though – the fact that they want to beat me.

Tashi: It’s such a big, big prize. All the best with going for it! What Grand Master advice would you give couch potatoes who want to play a game show?
Theunis: When you’re under the lights and in front of the buzzers it all changes completely. I was a big couch critic of all sorts of game shows for as long as I can remember and it’s different when you’re under the lights.

My advice is to buzz first and think about it later.


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