Thursday, May 18, 2006


"Do you get extra points for anticipating next year's buzzwords, or is that generally frowned-upon?"

There is a tendency among some to cling to the latest buzz phrases or words to demonstrate how very hip and "now" they are. This is similar to the tendency to drop pop-culture references in to every sentence in a sort of overly trendy MTV version of Dennis Miller. The Blue Cat has an idea for a game, based on his experiences with attempting to sell a script to producers who know little about writing but like certain words because they seem relevant. Here's the setup:
Buzzword Bingo

A game for two players. Player 1 ('The Producer') faces Player 2 ('The Writer') across a large desk.

The Producer has in his hand a sheet of paper, on which is written a list of words, known as 'Buzzwords'. These words are changed each financial year. The Writer is not allowed to see these words, although the rules do allow him to memorize a number of Buzzwords from the previous game.

The Buzzwords for last year, for example, were: 'grotesque', 'dark', uncomfortable', 'surreal', 'single camera' and 'trag-com'.

The Writer suspects that Buzzwords this year are: 'family', 'warm', 'silly', 'multi-camera', 'bold' and 'trad-com', but without being able to see the Producer's piece of paper, he has no way of knowing.
The game begins when Producer offers the Writer a cup of coffee, or glass of water. The Writer turns this offer down, or, if he wants to use the Tortured Genius Gambit and asks for a glass of water and a neurofen, then the game begins.

The Writer must attempt to use as many current Buzzwords as possible in the time allotted for the meeting. Each time the Writer guesses a correct and current Buzzword the Producer will Lean Forward In An Interested Way. Each time the Writer accidentally uses one of the previous years Buzzwords, the Producer will Wince Uncomfortably.

If the writer manages to get five Buzzwords in a row, the Producer will jump up from his chair and shout 'House!' (nothing to do with Hugh Laurie). The Writer will be declared the winner, and must return to his base to await news from his agent.

UPDATE: apparently Buzzword Bingo already exists as an actual teambuilding game. Dear god in heaven. Possible alternative names: Cliché Seesaw, The Shibboleth Shuffle, Wanker's Tennis.
Naturally, such a game has variants for all sorts of different jobs. Commenters played along:
Do you get extra points for anticipating next year's buzzwords, or is that generally frowned-upon?

Don't forget "studio audience" by the way. That's very 2006/07. Or are you in 2007/08 in commissioning terms? It's all terribly confusing.
-by Pashmina

Buzzword bingo is also played by web-development freelancers, when meeting a prospective client.

This year's "hot topics" are "xajax", "frameworks", "Ruby on Rails" and "code refactoring". Bonus points are scored for the client dropping any of these into the conversation in a way that proves they don't know what the F**k they're on about.
-by Steve Dix

You could always call his bluff and think of some Buzzwords of your own. How about inflammatory, contrapuntal, nascent, snorkel or even chamfer. If he doesn't use any of them, snatch the script from his desk, tell him you don't want to compromise your art for some one who is so obviously out of touch and stomp out of the office without a backward glance.
-by Nugglymammoo

In many ways producers I think are like editors. The same complete lack of originality, the same inability to see the point of the Internet. I really shouldn't worry about your blog - only people in search of NEW ideas read blogs.

Now I want to play, what about argent, crinkly, slobber, tango and throstle? or do you have to mention cameras, singly or in groups?
-by Hadmandod

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1 comment:

Christopher R Taylor said...

You never can tell what people will like, I thought this was a fun interesting story, one that might stimulate people coming up with office and church versions, but it didn't catch on.