My Other Job: Daniel Millar, quizmaster
What’s your other job?
I run pub quizzes and compose questions for music and film trivia companies.
How and when did you get into it?
For a bit of extra cash on the side when I was at drama school I used to write quiz questions for a music and film trivia company – you know, those little boxes of questions you find as stocking fillers by the till at Next and things like that. A fellow student knew I was a bit of a quiz geek and so put me in touch with a guy named Andy who had set up a pub quiz company called Question One. I ran my first pub quiz the day I got in touch with Andy and I’ve been doing it ever since.
What happens if you get an audition?
As most quizzes happen in the evening, attending auditions is very easy.
And what if one of those auditions turns into an acting job?
I’ve been running a pub quiz on Sunday and Monday evenings for around 7 years, and as many theatres don’t have shows on those nights I’ve tended to be able to keep it going. If I’m away on tour it’s a different matter altogether, but thankfully the company are really good at finding cover from their vast reservoir of keen quizmasters.
What makes it a good other job for you, as an actor?
There’s always a quiz to run and questions to write; I could run five quizzes per week when not doing a show in the evening and it’d be a great income. It’s also great if you’re rehearsing or doing telly in the daytimes, because you can still work in the evenings.
Do you use any of your performance skills?
I reckon so – certainly from a technical point of view. I mean, I try to keep anything performative down to a minimum as there’s nothing more tedious than a quizmaster who thinks he or she is a stand-up comedian, but you have to be able to think on your feet and be entertaining as well as discharging the fundamental task of asking questions. But barking trivia in a crowded pub for two hours with no microphone can be a huge strain on the voice, so it’s very handy to be able to switch on some actorly vocal tricks to make sure you’re heard without shouting.
And does doing it help you as an actor?
It has certainly made my voice a lot more robust.
What other jobs have you had?
When I came out of drama school I worked in a pub and did some temp work in Charing Cross Hospital.
Would you recommend your other job to other actors?
If you like quizzing and can spare a couple of hours a week, then absolutely. It’s a lot of fun and you get to meet some really fun and interesting people.