SMILE BECAUSE IT HAPPENED: A Farewell to TriviaSD!

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Last Friday, the TrivaSD writing staff received an e-mail from our boss, William Bibbiani, that the site would be closing down. Although a re-opening of it is a possibility, it still came as some very unfortunate news for myself and for many of my fellow writers. So today, in my final TriviaSD article (for now), I’m going to take a look back at how this all came to be, and how much this opportunity to write about the Schmoedown has meant to me.

In May of 2018, just a few weeks before the Team Action vs DC Movie News match, I was scrolling through my Facebook when I came across something in the Movie Trivia Schmoedown group: an article written by Luke Robertson, posted to his own blog. Although I don’t remember what it was about, I do remember that I loved it and thought to myself, “It would be kind of fun to do that. Write theory articles about the Schmoedown.” It was already something that I did in my head, so why not put pen to paper (or in this case, words to computer screen).

I knew exactly what I wanted to write about, too. With the Action/DC Movie News match approaching, I figured I should write about someone who I felt was rather under-appreciated in the Schmoedown community: Andrew Ghai. This was before Ghai exploded onto the scene with his win against Murrell, and when he was kind of seen as a nuisance, the “lesser half of Team Action.” My first article was titled “Andrew Ghai: The Greatest Schmoedown Storyline?,” and ended as a Part 1.

When I finished it, I didn’t think it was half-bad. However, I did not have any confidence whatsoever to post it in the Facebook group like Luke did. This was the first thing I had written that was Schmoedown-related. It would be crazy. Instead, I posted it in the Action Army Facebook group, which was still nerve-wracking. But then, something happened that I didn’t expect: Andrew Ghai, the subject of the article, commented on the post saying how much he loved it, and encouraged me to post it in the main group.

I did, and lo and behold, the first comment that I get on it is from Kristian Harloff, who wrote three words that I will never forget reading: “This was fun.” It may not seem like much, but to a nervous 16-year-old who loved this movie trivia show more than anything, it was everything.

With those two nuggets of encouragement, I started to write more, bringing elements of kayfabe into some of my pieces. These articles actually helped me to get a better understanding of the game. But every now and then, I would write a more personal piece (like the one I’m writing now) about why I love the Schmoedown.

On July 4th, I wrote an article called “The Brilliance of the Schmoedown Storyline Writing,” where I talked about how well done the heel turns of Ken Napzok and Mike Kalinowski were. After posting this article in the group (to which I had become a regular contributor to), Kristian left another comment on that post, telling me to send him a DM. I did so, and he told me he was thinking of starting a Schmoedown website, and would I be interested in writing articles for them. At that point, I had to make sure I wasn’t imagining, and when I was sure that I wasn’t, I replied “absolutely.”

After that brief interaction, I didn’t hear any new developments about that for a few months. I was starting to wonder if maybe the website wasn’t actually going to happen, until he posted an official announcement in the Facebook group that TriviaSD.com would be starting up soon. He sent me another message, confirming that I was still interested in being a writer for it, which of course I was. A few days later, I received an e-mail from the managing editor of the website, William Bibbiani, that was a call to arms for all the new writers, which was kind of insane to me. I was a teenager who was going to be writing for the official website of the Schmoedown, and I was going to be interacting with one of the competitors weekly about it.

In the past 10 months, I’ve written 31 articles for the website. Many of them came from ideas I had for articles, which I would pitch to Bibbiani. Two of those articles (two of my favorites) were interview articles. Before the Free-For-All, I did an interview with Ben Bateman, and before this year’s Collision, I interviewed Roxy Striar. I did a five-week series of recaps, where I talked about both the matches and the storylines we could see forming. But by far, my favorite articles to write were the theory articles, where I would make predictions about characters, how certain storylines would play out, and where loyalties actually lay. I will also say that Bibbiani is the king of titles, giving them amazing openings.

Honestly, though, what I’ve loved most about being a TriviaSD writer is becoming more involved in the Schmoedown community. It is really incredible meeting Kristian and Mark Ellis at the live events, and getting to tell them “hey, I write for your website.” I’ve also gotten to be on the greatest Schmoedown podcast (Call To Action) twice, which was a ton of fun. But really, there’s nothing like engaging with people who are just as passionate about this thing as you are. Before writing for the website, I would have just kept my opinions on Schmoedown to myself. Now I’m ready to jump into the fray in almost any conversation.

Finally, I want to end this article with a whole bunch of thank yous. First, to the whole TriviaSD writing staff (special shoutout to Tim Etheridge, who was liking all the posts I made on my original blog). They all write such amazing articles, and I always love seeing a post in the Facebook group with a new one. Next, to the Action Army, the best Schmoedown fans out there. In particular, Andrew Ghai for being the person to encourage me to put my voice out there, Ben Bateman for being so awesome about my first interview ever, James Spence for bringing me on the C2A podcast, Jake Iacovetta for giving me a ticket to the first NY live event and being the best when I met him in person at the second one. A big thank you to Roxy Striar, my fellow NSHS alum, and being the sweetest person ever both during our interview and in person in New York.

Obviously a huge thank you to Kristian and Mark for creating this amazing game, and to all the competitors for being so amazing with fans. I know my day can be made when I see that one of the competitors likes or replies to a post or comment, and I’m sure it’s the same for a lot of others. And finally, one giant thank you to my managing editor, William Bibbiani, who was the best boss anyone could ask for. Any pitch I would come to him with, he would either approve it or give me a few tweaks and send me on my way with it. None of what the writers and I did on this site would have been possible without him, and he really did amazing things with this site.

It’s going to be hard to go awhile not writing on this site anymore, but as the adage goes, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” I am forever going to be thankful for what TriviaSD has done for me, and I doubt my writing will go away any time soon. But for now, thank you and farewell to TriviaSD.

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