Hello Sporclers, today I am pleased to release my first blog post on Sporcle as part of a new series, Trifecta Talk. The goal is to gain insight into the greatest minds of Sporcle’s Quiz Lab. All of the interviewees will have earned the Big Three badges, Honor Roll, Dean’s List and Crazy Ivan. Today, we feature resident Science editor, quizmaking juggernaut and cat owner bhenderson79. Let’s tap our heels together three times and go straight to the interview!
When did you first start quiz making and how long did it take you to earn the Big Three?
What was your first ever pick and what was your reaction? What about your first publish?
These questions are kind of intertwined, so I’ll tackle them together.
I made my first few quizzes in March 2015, but those were really just some very niche things I made for myself. They still have almost no plays, and rightly so. :)
In October of that year, I spent a few weeks creating a puzzle hunt as a bit of a brain exercise and a way to learn the quiz creation tools. I had no expectation of anybody playing it, but it was a fun learning experience. Later that month, I got to chatting with El_Dandy, who had enjoyed the video game quiz in my puzzle hunt and he encouraged me to make some more quizzes with wider appeal. So on Halloween 2015, for the first time I made a quiz with the hopes that other people might check it out – and it was this one. It received both a CP and EP within the first day, and I immediately got the quiz-making bug. I churned out a ton of content in November that year and managed the Honor Roll within 23 days of my first CP. The first publish came on a Missing Word quiz a couple weeks later, which was quite exciting at the time. I believe Dean’s List happened just in shy of 3 months, and Crazy Ivan was about 8 or 9 months from that first publish.
What category did you struggle with the most? Which one was the easiest?
I definitely gravitated towards Geography (like many quizmakers and players do) and Literature (due to my interest in Harry Potter trivia) early on. I suppose, perhaps surprisingly, I feel like I struggle to get good ideas for Language quizzes – simply because it’s the category that lends itself the least towards visual/image-based quizzes, and that’s really my strong suit.
Who helped you, or inspired you, the most to earn these badges?
A ton of curators, editors, and staff members have helped a ton over the years, for sure. But I quickly developed friendships with El_Dandy, needapausebutton, and LTH – they’re my go-to guys for bouncing draft ideas and such, and they’ve all been tremendously helpful.
Did you actively try to earn any of the badges? If so, when and why did you start?
Oh yeah, definitely – I tried to focus on creating some compelling quiz series that were extendable across many categories as a way to help move things along. In particular, my “Clickable Sporcle Quiz Show” series did a ton of the work for me in moving towards all three trifecta badges.
What is the most rewarding part of making quizzes?
I mean, I certainly love that my content gets out to the masses and a lot of people appreciate and enjoy it. But the most rewarding part is probably just having a consistent creative outlet. For my whole adult life, I’ve spent much of my free time writing and playing music. Over the past few years, band members and I have had children and don’t really find time to make that happen anymore… so sinking hours or days into crafting a Sporcle quiz has become a great replacement for that, creatively.
Which of your published quizzes are you the proudest of?
If I have to pick just one, I’d probably go with this one. I always love the challenge of putting together of complex, themed word ladder. And this one also incorporates one of my favorite academic topics (evolutionary biology). I had the idea to put something together where the branches actually roughly follow Earth’s true evolutionary timeline, and didn’t know if I’d be able to make it work. It took a few days of redesign to get a sensible ladder, and I was ecstatic when I realized it would actually work!
Any advice for would-be badge earners/quizmakers?
I always advocate for quality over quantity. I feel like sinking a lot of time into crafting a really eye-popping quiz is the best way to get noticed. Most of the curators and editors do a really, really thorough job with their categories – so if you release something spectacular, it’s more-than-likely going to get recognized.
Thank you bhenderson79 for the interview! It’s no wonder you rose through the ranks so quickly, as you have astonishing talent and an eye for detail. And thanks to everyone who read the interview. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some clickable Quiz Shows to replay…