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Signup and Rules for Theme Park Apprentice 6

Jeff Elliott
Submitted by Jeff Elliott
Published: July 16, 2014 at 9:19 PM

Before we get bogged down in an explanation of the rules, I want to make a simple point that might encourage everyone to play who is interested: All you need to win is a couple of good ideas, the ability to create on the fly, a nice easy to read writing style, and the desire to have fun. If you are not having fun, we are doing something wrong.

It is common for newcomers to do extremely well in this competition if not win the whole thing. But you are liable to get knocked out quick if you aren’t at least a little wary of the grizzled veterans of this competition. You need to bring your A game every week just like the veterans will. Looking back at past competitions, particularly the later rounds, reading the proposals that didn’t do so well and the ones that won the round, are a great way to get up to speed quickly. If you have questions, just ask them. Most of the veterans will be happy enough to help if the judge’s attention is diverted.

This season, we are trying to stress strategy while trying to lower the time commitment (at least the last minute time commitment). It will be possible to win the whole thing with 6 proposals this season, or possibly just barely lose writing 10 proposals.

Please keep in mind that this season (unlike previous seasons) we have a prize to be awarded to the winner!

The Rare & Sacred Lost Helm de Minionis will be awarded to the winner of Theme Park Apprentice 6
The Helm de Minionis

New Rules

Time Commitment:
It always kills me when 2 weeks into TPA we have people wanting to join in. At the same time, it also kills me when someone makes it to the last round and then has a conflict come up and can’t participate in the final round.
This year we are going to shorten the competition, have more of them, and then have a final round.

Here is the way it is going to work. There will be 2 separate rounds that will last for 4 weeks. You can sign up for either the first or the second, it doesn’t matter to us, except that the first round will have a golden parachute option for up to 3 people who just barely didn’t qualify for the final. Those few people are then allowed to try again in the second round (or more if no one signs up for the second round). Three people from each round (6 total) will then compete in a two week final round to determine the winner. Only two or three people will be in the very last round.

Since the competition is shortened, elimination will be 1/3 to 1/2 of the participants will be eliminated each week. Instead of a formal score, a judge will give you an “up” or a “down”. If two judges give you a down, you are out. The judges will only be able to give a certain amount of “down”s per week, so one judge can’t try to eliminate everyone. If you receive a down, it is no big deal if you advance, since the very next week, everyone is even again.

In addition to this, we are going to post all of the challenges ahead of time so you can work ahead and work around your schedule and vacation. Which leads me to…

Strategy:
The following is the list of attractions:

1. Dark Ride
2. Roller Coaster
3. Show (stationary seats)
4. Parade
5. Restaurant
6. Motion Simulator

For each week you can choose one attraction style off of the list, but you can only use an attraction style once.

The strategy comes into play based on how well you think the attraction type goes with the week’s challenge, but also based on what attraction type you want to hold onto for the later rounds. For most people, dark ride and motion simulator have historically been the best themed attractions, so then you have to think about either using it in the first round to make a good impression on the judges or waiting until the potential last round when everyone else has probably used their dark ride. Since there are only 4 rounds, you will always need to be thinking about how you will do a roller coaster, restaurant, or parade, because you will have to use at least one of those. Since we are living in a world of combined elements, the rule is that your ride must start and end with the overall attraction style (so you can combine a roller coaster and a motion simulator like Gringotts if you really find the need to, but if it is a roller coaster then it must start and end as a roller coaster). The two week final round will be done differently and will not use the above list. Since the challenges will be a little more wide open to accommodate all of the different attraction types, please keep in mind that we are still basing this on a bit of reality, so a brand new Lion King attraction will never be seen outside of a Disney park, and Harry Potter will never be seen outside of a Universal park.


Standard Rules…but glance at these later when you have a moment…

1. Grammar counts. If we can’t read what you have written, it becomes next to impossible to get a good idea of what the attraction is about. We all understand that misspelling crop up (I’m sure there are several in this introduction article) but please do your best to make it as readable as possible. It is a shame for a really good idea to be hidden under an avalanche of fragmented sentences, bad grammar, bad spelling, and fragmented ideas. Use a spell checker and a grammar checker.

2. Deadlines count. If you can’t get something in on time, please let us know and we will attempt to work with you. The extra time to work on each idea should make this less of an issue, but we all understand that nothing squeezes creativity out of a brain like a looming deadline. While the judges are allow to make the determination of what kind of penalty is assessed based on circumstances, think of it as the old school model of losing a letter grade or more for late work.

3. Creativity counts. The challenges have been designed to give you a wide variety of directions to go with a challenge. If we get three attractions that use the same characters and one that doesn’t, the one odd duck will be much more memorable when it comes time to vote. If you come up with an idea so obvious that you think everyone else probably will to, you are probably correct. In such a case it might be a good idea to see if you can come up with a second theme. Although we also understand that a spectacular attraction is going to be spectacular even if it uses the most obvious theme.

4. The judges' rulings are final, and since they make the determination of who moves on and who is dropped from the competition, it might not be a good idea to argue with or upset them. We are not total jerks, though, so if you feel that we have misinterpreted something you have presented we will listen to your explanations privately, not on-site. Explaining is one thing, arguing is another.

5. The judges will be casting all of the votes this season. This should make the criteria of a good proposal a little more clear since the popularity of, say, Black Caldron instead of Frozen, will not have nearly as much of an effect on the judges as it will with a popular front page vote. There have also been too many instances of vote manipulation, either actual or perceived, when a public vote was held, so we have decided to have the judges make the decisions as to who moves on and who is dropped from the competition. We assure you that we are going to base our votes on the quality of the proposals, their originality, creativity, professional presentation, etc. and not on anything else.

6a. Add-Ons: Pictures. Pictures are a handy way of saving you a thousand words in your proposal. Pictures are not an official requirement, and last year, one of the finalists made it without posting a single picture, but many competitors utilize them. We will be posting some documentation talking about the best way to go about posting pictures, so don’t worry too much about the mechanics of it. Most people don’t create the images themselves and merely find images on the internet through various search engines. I would ask people to not post stick figures or anything other than images of the highest quality as they may negatively impact the rest of your posting. There is a limit of 5 pictures per post, unless otherwise noted. Pictures need to be limited down to a 500 width in order to keep it within the column structure of TPI. You will be allowed to substitute one (1) video for one of your pictures, but no more than one video. If you are doing a video, keep in mind that Jeff has an extremely short attention span and won’t watch more than about 3-4 minutes of video.

6b. Add-Ons: Title Logo and Footer. This is not an official requirement, much like putting any pictures into your post is not a requirement, but it is something that many contestants like to do to further fill out their idea. You are allowed a title picture before your posting and a footer picture after your posting in addition to the 5 pictures (or 4 pictures and 1 video) in the middle of the post. All pictures need to be limited down to a 500 width to keep in the column structure of TPI.

6c. Add-Ons: Music cannot be added onto a proposal unless it is part of the single video allowed. No back-ground music, please!

6d. Add-on pictures, videos, etc. are NOT a requirement, and a competitor should feel free to present their proposal with no added visual enhancement if they so choose. A poor picture can do as much harm to a proposal as a good one can benefit it.

7. If you need help, please ask for it. The judges should be able to respond very quickly to any inquiries, issues, problems, or calls for assistance. There have been problems in the past with posting lengthy proposals, but those seem to have been resolved. If you need help with creating logos or posting pictures, please ask.

8. Under no circumstances will we tolerate criticism, attacks, bad mouthing, or chaos in general. If any behavior is deemed detrimental to the game or the spirit of the game, such people will be dismissed from the competition without reason or recourse. We hate to have to include a rule like this, but trust us, this protects you as much as it protects us and the integrity of the game.

9. There have been situations come where a competitor was unable to post due to circumstances beyond their control (power failure, death in the family, etc.) but they wished to continue in the competition. We hope that nothing like this happens again, but if it does, contact any of the judges as soon as possible and we will do all we can to be fair to all competitors, including the one with the situation. But we have to be informed about it- we can't help if we don't know.

10. These rules are subject to change. If something is not working we are going to fix so it does.

11a. The schedule. All challenge proposals will be due on Saturday night at midnight website time. Anyone not posting by that time will be automatically eliminated unless they have either contacted the judges with their excuse- and it better be a good one- or if unable to contact a judge by then contact a judge as soon as possible and they will decide how to proceed (see rule #9).

11b. The judges will try to post their decision about who will advance by Monday night at midnight website time. You will already have the next challenge, so it wouldn’t hurt to work ahead a bit.

11c. The week’s proposals will need to be posted after the week’s challenge thread has been started by one of the judges. Please do not post your proposal until you know that you have made the new round. We have no problems with a secondary thread going up where all of the unused proposals can be posted and get commented on by everyone, but let’s try to keep the threads somewhat cleanish. Only post your correct week’s proposal on the appropriate week’s thread.

11d. If you have a conflict and won’t be able to post your proposal in the window that the thread is open, please let the judges know so they can post it for you.

Any violations that we may see of these rules will result in a strong warning sent to the competitor in a confidential email. If the violations continue the judges reserve the right to expel the competitor from the competition and possibly from any future Theme Park Apprentice competitions.

For further research, please take the time to do a TPI search and read some of the past posts and cross reference them with who won a particular round. Reading the comments is also extremely helpful as well as getting to know the judges and what they look for.

Please take a moment to share this post, and encourage others to reply!

From Jeff Elliott on July 16, 2014 at 9:21 PM

Now that you have read the top part and at least glanced at the rest of it, please feel free to sign up below.

When you sign up, please let us know if you want to be in Round 1 or Round 2.

The rounds will be populated on a first come, first served basis, but let us know if a commitment is keeping you from one round or the other and we will try to work with you even if the one you want is full.

This what the schedule currently looks like (but possibly subject to change).
7/16 – open registration (done)
7/19 – roughly when the first round challenges will be posted
8/2 (Saturday night) – 1st round, 1st proposal is due, thus ending registration for round 1 (unless we fill up earlier)
8/9 – 1st round, 2nd proposal is due
8/16 – 1st round, 3rd proposal is due
8/17 – roughly when second round challenges will be posted
8/23 – 1st round, 4th proposal is due
8/30 – 2nd round, 1st proposal is due, thus ending registration for round 2 (unless we fill up earlier)
9/6 – 2nd round, 2nd proposal is due
9/13 – 2nd round, 3rd proposal is due
9/17 – roughly when the final round challenges will be posted
9/20 – 2nd round, 4th proposal is due
9/27 – Final round, 1st proposal is due
(skip a week)
10/11 – Final round, final proposal is due

From Brett Angwin on July 16, 2014 at 10:53 PM

I am in! I would like to be in round 1. This is going to be great!

From Rob Yeo on July 17, 2014 at 1:48 AM

I'd like to take part in Round 1 please.

From Alan Hiscutt on July 17, 2014 at 5:53 AM

im in :) Round 1 is good for me!

From Joseph Catlett on July 17, 2014 at 6:03 AM

Well, it looks like I'm in. Having won the NEXT WALT DISNEY tournament a few years back and sadly having to drop out last year due to family obligations, I am back. I would love to be part of Round 1.

Yes guys you heard it right. The mind behind NIGHT OF THE LLAMA is climbing back in the ring.

From Christopher Sturniolo on July 17, 2014 at 7:07 AM

Is it too late to sign up? PS are we following a theme or format this year?

From Dylan Kojola on July 17, 2014 at 7:29 AM

I'm in, please put me in for Round 1

From Jeff Elliott on July 17, 2014 at 8:01 AM

Signups will continue even after round 1 starts up...

The theme this year is strategy...although we are going to try and pepper the world instead of staying in a CaliFlorida mode...but the challenges will be general enough to allow any of the attraction types to work well.

From Robert Niles on July 17, 2014 at 9:16 AM

My regular reminder to everyone: When embedding photos or videos to the forum, please do not exceed a width of 560 pixels. (That's the default size for YouTube videos.) Anything wider than that blows out the design of the page, making it especially difficult for readers on phones and tablets. If you want a higher-resolution image for people to see, embed the 560-pixel version here and link it to the higher-res photo on Flickr, Imgur, etc. Thank you!

From AJ Hummel on July 17, 2014 at 11:51 AM

I was kind of doubting this would be happening again this year, but I'm glad to see it back. This format will hopefully work a lot better and result in fewer dropouts during the competition.

As for me, I wasn't going to play this year due to the time required, but I'll give it another shot as I like the new format. However, I'm leaving for a trip on Monday and won't be back until August 9th, so I'll have to sign up for Round 2.

From Bryce McGibeny on July 17, 2014 at 3:06 PM

Glad to see this back and I love the new set up. I'll never forget the epic three person finale two years ago with myself, AJ, and Chad. So exciting. I'm gonna sign up for Round 1.

From Matt Stevens on July 17, 2014 at 4:08 PM

I'd love to sign up for round 2. This sounds like a blast!

From Christopher Sturniolo on July 17, 2014 at 5:25 PM

I guess I'll join round 1 because I start school when round 2 begins. Can proposals be part of a master-plan to redo an existing park (like the DCA makeover)?

From Jeff Elliott on July 17, 2014 at 6:16 PM

@ Christopher.

Last season was about trying to build a park in pieces. This season we are going to go back to a more traditional approach of a different situation that requires an attraction each week. We will add your idea of a redo to an existing park to the ideas floating around right now for the two week final.

From Kirk Johnson on July 18, 2014 at 1:37 AM

I'm in for Round One!

From Matthew Kelly on July 18, 2014 at 8:08 AM

I'm in for round one. Looking forward to it!

From Brian Mignone on July 18, 2014 at 9:23 AM

I'd like to participate in round 1. thx

From Christopher Sturniolo on July 18, 2014 at 10:59 AM

Thx. Can I still play? I don't care which round. (Makes it more fun with a surprise)

From Jeff Elliott on July 18, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Yes, everyone who replies to this thread can still get in. Registration is not going to stop until right before the second round starts.

We should be posting the challenges sometime this weekend.

Good luck to all who have registered so far.

From Chad H on July 18, 2014 at 2:38 PM

Hello everyone, long time no see.

Timing commitments will prevent me competing in round 1, but I'd like to defend my title in round 2.

Good luck everyone.

From luca ferracuti on July 18, 2014 at 4:20 PM

I want to go in to round 2

From luca ferracuti on July 18, 2014 at 4:33 PM

A question. When will the 2nd round first challenge will be posted

From Jeff Elliott on July 18, 2014 at 7:25 PM

@luca

The schedule has been posted on the first post of the talkback.

From Oscar Marquez on July 18, 2014 at 8:25 PM

I'm in, since I wanted to make an Theme Park rides and everything. Come on, Show me the round 1. Booyah

From James Koehl on July 18, 2014 at 8:39 PM

We have usually (always) had people sign up to compete then either do us the courtesy of letting us know they can't actually compete due to a conflict, or just never show up. Please look over the competition dates and be sure you are able and willing to compete in all the dates of the round or rounds you think you will need to, including the final rounds. It sounds like fun- and it is- but it is also a lot of work, as any of the veterans will attest to. If you can't commit the time to do the entire competition, and you must assume that you will end up in the finals, then you might want to rethink competing.

From Chad H on July 18, 2014 at 9:18 PM

I'll just echo what James said there... Its a lot of work.

After seeing the idea for the next challenge, you may be tempted to wait before starting anything more than a brief outline in the worry that maybe you might not make it.

Don't delay. Get your ideas down now, whilst they're fresh, whilst you're motivated, and whilst you have time.

Before even signing up, I'd practice by writing old challenges. Pick one and complete your idea for it in a week - ideally one of the later rounds, even better to do the final (that is the one you want to do after all). That way you know what you're in for, and wont be under any illusions as to how much it takes.

From Tyler Harris on July 19, 2014 at 7:45 AM

Is it too late is sign up? I want to sign up for round one!

From James Koehl on July 19, 2014 at 7:54 AM

Not too late for anyone...be sure to read the rules about the two rounds. We've got you down for round 1.

From Arthur Carlson on July 19, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Hi, I'm new to the whole shebang, but I've read the previous Theme Park Apprentices and loved the idea. So, wanted to sign up for Round 1, give it a try. Thanks.

From Jeff Elliott on July 19, 2014 at 12:37 PM

Here is who I have and in what round so far. Please let me know if I am missing anyone or have you in the wrong round.

Judges
James Koehl
Andy Milito
Jeff Elliott


Round 1
Brett Angwin
Rob Yeo
Alan Hiscutt
Joseph Catlett
Dylan Kojola
Bryce McGibeny
Kirk Johnson
Matthew Kelly
Brian Mignone
Oscar Marquez
Tyler Harris
Arthur Carlson


Round 2
AJ Hummel
Matt Stevens
Christopher Sturniolo
Chad H
luca ferracuti


Keep in mind there is plenty of time to sign up even after round 1 starts.

We are currently finalizing the challenges for round one and should post all of them either later today or tomorrow.

From DPCC inc. on July 24, 2014 at 12:46 PM

I would love to participate in round 1 if it's not too late. If it is round 2 will do. Thanks!

From DPCC inc. on July 24, 2014 at 1:49 PM

As an idea for the finale, you should create a whole new theme park.

From James Koehl on July 24, 2014 at 1:52 PM

Ok, DPCCinc. you're in round 2. I must admit to being curious about your name, but you're certainly entitled to keep rather anonymous in here. Just not sure what to call you: DP for short, or do you prefer the entire DPCCinc.? As to your suggestion for the final challenge, we already have it created. You might want to look over past competitions to get an idea about what it might involve, but this year there is a twist- we can't let TPA get stale! Welcome aboard!

From DPCC inc. on July 24, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Thanks! DP will work. It's just an anonymous name I use online. I followed the competition last year and was hoping it would be similar to that again. This will be great too!
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