How to Make Fun Audio Trivia
Need an activity for work or a pub night?
In this article, I will provide tips for creating a simple and fun audio trivia game that your friends or colleagues will love. Using real audio, you can get people to guess song names, artist names, lyrics and more.
1. Know Your Audience and (if applicable) Create Teams
- You won't be able to make the teams, but have an idea of the demographic of people that attend the venue and what content they are likely to be familiar with.
- Age is the most relevant factor, but don’t think about it too much. Just keep it in mind for Step 3 (Create Your Content).
- You should be the one who creates the teams.
- Assign people into teams beforehand based on who has marked themselves as coming to the event. Allow room for flexibility because not everyone will turn up.
- Mix together people who aren’t already friends or working together on a daily basis, allowing people to get to know each other and promoting team bonding.
- Mix people of different ages to create a better spread of knowledge within each team.
- If there are multiple people that you know have very good trivia knowledge, separate them.
2. Develop Your Game Structure and Format
- Determine how long you want the game to run.
- Decide how people will score points; this could be - guessing the song name, artist name, movie title, actor, next lyric.
- Establish how you want people to answer (eg. raise hand, buzzer, yell out, write on paper).
- Think about the audience and what they are likely to enjoy.
Below is an example format for a game of approximately 40 minutes duration (including explanation of rules):
Now that you have determined your game structure and format, you will have a rough idea of how many audio snippets you will need.
3. Create Your Content
- Drawing on your knowledge of the audience, decide what songs, movie scenes and speech you want to use.
- How you choose the content will depend on your game rules. If you have decided people will score points by yelling out the answer (the more fun way), your answers cannot be too easy, otherwise everyone will say the answer at once - this makes the game difficult to adjudicate. Don't make the answers too hard, or else people will be less involved.
- If you have broad music taste and a good collection of digital music files, use what you have. There are of course many other ways to access music that I won’t go into.
Movies / Speech:
- Audio snippets from movie scenes and other speech can be extracted from YouTube.
- There are thousands of options for speech tracks; you could choose famous political speeches or any audio featuring a (semi) famous person. For example, you could use any 60 minutes interview.
- Once you've decided on your content, bookmark it or leave each tab open in your browser.
- Now, download the Media Human program “Youtube To MP3” (logo below); it is very simple to use.
- Copy the movie scene / other speech URL into “YouTube to MP3” (the program will extract the audio and save the mp3 to your computer).
- If you don’t want to install software, some browser options are onlinevideoconverter.com or ytmp3.cc. I am not a huge fan of these however due to the spam that pop-ups during use.
- The next step is to create a playlist. It is preferable to open all your mp3’s in iTunes because it is simple for the editing required in Step 4.
4. Edit your Playlist and Song Metadata, Sync
- Arrange the audio tracks in the order you need to follow the game structure.
- You don’t want to play a song, movie scene or speech in full. For each track, determine what section of audio will be enough for some people to answer the question.
- Edit the start/stop times of each track so that when you play the audio it only plays the section you want (in iTunes, select your track then click Edit > Song Info, or simply ⌘I on the keyboard). You should then see the below window:
- Once you have all of your tracks in order, it is a good idea to put some silent space in between them, this will help you know when a track has ended and be able to pause it before more audio starts again. When your trivia is happening live, you don’t want the next track suddenly playing when previous track answer is still being discussed.
- One way to make some silent space is to convert 2-3 seconds of a blank screen Youtube to mp3 (using “Youtube to MP3”).
- Make copies of this file and import all the copies into iTunes.
- In your playlist, insert each silent track in between the real audio tracks that will be used for the trivia. See example below:
- Include a tie-breaker question at the end just in case.
- Then, sync your final playlist to your phone.
Note: There are methods of combining audio snippets into one single track (with silent gaps) using audio software such as GarageBand. If you follow your nose this is also quite simple.
5. Practice and Execution
- Do a practice run.
- Switch your phone to airplane mode and be comfortable with controlling audio from your phone.
- You can easily pause and skip on the iPhone lock screen (see below) . This will allow you to pause when audio has ended or during the silent track, skip to your next audio track, then play again.
- Of course, you will need an audio player, like a portable sound dock. Test the audio quality and ensure your player is suitable for the trivia room.
- Time how long the game takes, including explaining rules. People will be laughing and making noise so it may go for longer than you expect if you aren’t organised. Edit your playlist and content again if you need to.
- You want everyone to be involved, so gradually give clues for harder questions, even if the answer eventually becomes obvious.
- Lastly, be funny and have a good time!
... Have a good time!