Movie Trivia Schmoedown Co-Founder Kristian Harloff Interview

Kristian Harloff

Kristian Harloff is a producer, actor,  writer, and movie reviewer. He is best known as the co-creator of  “Schmoes Know”, which is a film reviewing platform established in 2008. In 2014, he would co-create the platform with stand up comedian Mark Ellis called Movie Trivia Schmoedown. Movie Trivia Schmoedown is a mixture of WrestlingUFC, and Trivia. The platform brings together their passion for sports, movies and Sports Entertainment. Harloff is also the director of development for Collider. He is also a correspondent on Fandango and has had the opportunity to interview numerous cast members of Star Wars. Through a platform called Jedi Council, which is a weekly program on Collider.

Harloff recent spoke with The Hype Magazine about how the concept of Movie Trivia Schmoedown came about and where did he the platform head in the future.

According to the Movie Trivia Schmoedown official Facebook, you created this in 2008. Can you tell us what sparked the original idea for the concept?

The original brand of Schmoes Know was created in 2008. My partner Mark Ellis and I became regulars on the Adam Carolla podcast back in 2010 and began to build our brand. In 2011, we created the Schmoes Know Movies show (Think the Howard Stern Show for Movies). The show went from being an audio-only show and eventually went to video in 2012.  The Movie Trivia Schmoedown idea was formed over a conversation Mark and I had at a pizza place in Anaheim. We are both avid sports fans and thought it would be fun to take some of the crew and have them face-off in a 15-week movie trivia tournament. This was in 2014. The segment was very popular with fans, so we did a teams version in 2015. In 2016, while working with Collider, I evolved the show from an annual tournament into a full-fledged sports league. I created rankings, divisions, championships etc.. I also expanded the league and invited more personalities to join the league. Professionals from Nerdist, IGN, Rotten Tomatoes, The Wrap, Screenjunkies, actors, actresses, writers, and directors joined the league. I was a writer for WWE in 2001 and wanted to take the sports & entertainment element with me and mix it with the intensity of competitive trivia. That’s pretty much a nutshell of how it all came to be.

You have a scheduled Innergeekdom Championship between Mike Kalinowski and Rachel Cushing on July 27. Can tell us what you are looking forward to in this upcoming match up?

This is the Ali-Frazier of the Innergeekdom division. Mike and Rachel are the two best that the Innergeekdom has ever seen. They are both two of the biggest stars we have in the Schmoedown. Both are triple-threat players (both highly ranked in Innerggekdom, singles, and teams where Rachel is co-holder of the team championship). This will be the third time in the Innergeekdom division that these two have played one another. In their first match in Season 4 (2017) Rachel defeated Mike by a score of 20-18. They didn’t face-off again until the start of this year. Mike had won the championship at the end of last season and his first defense was against Rachel in February. It was a 5-round battle that went to sudden death and is right now at the top of the list for a match of the year. The final score was 31-30 and Rachel took the championship, becoming the only player to hold both the Innergeekdom and Teams title at the same time. As far as what we are looking forward to? Another scrap. These two know each other so well and the amount of knowledge they both have is insane. You don’t have to know a single thing about Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek or Marvel, but you will be on the edge of your seat watching them both answer question after question correctly and to do it in front of a live crowd, it will be something special. Mike is looking to become the first person to hold the IG belt twice and Rachel wants to continue her unbeaten streak against Mike and defend her title.

What would be your dream Movie Trivia Schmoedown match up and why?

Funny you should ask. Kevin Smith is a fan of the show. He has stated that he wants to compete and we’ve been trying to make it work for a while. I’d love to see Kevin versus Edgar Wright. I think the amount of knowledge would blow people’s minds. And come to think of it, throw Tarantino in there and do a triple threat match. I think it would be the most intense match we have done to date and that is saying a lot. WWE legend and current AEW star Chris Jericho also expressed interest in competing recently and when I brought up Kevin Smith to him, it really got him excited. He wants Smith. Chris is in Silent Bob and Jay Reboot and thought it would be a great way to promote the film and I couldn’t agree more!

Do you plan on conducting a live trivia events in the Dallas, Texas this year?

We were just in Texas City performing at WWE Hall of Famer Booker T’s World Arena. We did a live event there in May. Booker has been a fan for a few years and was generous enough to host the event. He got involved in the storylines and it was one of my crowning accomplishments. I love Booker and having him a part of this show was incredible. I would love to come back to Texas. Coming to Dallas is something I would love to do.

Where do you see your platform headed in the next couple of years?

Growth. The goal is for people to realize that we are turning trivia into a sport. It is a mental sport. When you see how these competitors train, study, what they put themselves through to win and watching the great ones do it, it is like watching an athlete perform to the best of their ability in their arena. My daughter is 7 and she is a diehard Schmoedown fan. She watches movies now and pays attention to who directed them, who composes the music for them because she knows that it will be asked when she is a competitor in the Schmoedown. I have seen that happen with not only the children who follow us but overall fans of the show. They have been watching the show, how it works, how to study and they want to compete with the elite in the Schmoedown. We just saw the transition over the last few years of the fan-inspired players becoming bonafide Schmoedown stars. Our current singles division champion is a 22-year-old phenom who started playing in the fan leagues online. I found him, brought him in and he is undefeated and already 5-0 this season. I see the platform headed for more eyes and ears. It has something for everyone. If you are a game-show fan and you just like trivia, we have that. If you are a UFC fan, we have the big fight feel, promo packages championships on the line. If you are a wrestling fan, we have heightened stories, heels, babyfaces, factions, betrayal, and drama. I want to find the stars of tomorrow and find a partner who gets what this thing is and what it can be. Everyone loves movies and we have created the ultimate sport for the movie fanatic.

What advice do you have for content creators struggling to take their platforms to the next level?

Keep pushing forward. Do what you love, but make it unique to you. Listen to your audience! They will tell you what they like and what they don’t. We have a unique opportunity online to really connect to people through social media, comments, etc.. Do what you do because you love doing it not because you think it is the thing that can get you noticed.

How can up & coming comedians be part of your platform?

They can either be great at trivia or they can call a match with me and Mark. Mark and I both come from comedy backgrounds. I met Mark at The World Famous Comedy Store on Sunset Blvd. It was my home base and the club I was a regular at. I performed there every night for 7 days a week, 2 shows a night. Mark is still performing regularly and crushing it. He usually performs in every city we take the Schmoedown to on the night before the Schmoedown event. He is one of the most seasoned comics I know. We would love to have more comedians involved on the desk, make it our Best In Show.

Originally posted on The Hype Magazine.

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Written by Landon Buford

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