As you may recall, at the end of Theme Park Apprentice 6.1 I put out a survey to see if there was interest in running a summer season of the competition. Based on the results I received, it appears that there is interest in holding the season. I originally planned to get this going last month, but due to a variety of things it's a bit delayed. However, now is the time to start. Welcome to...
Theme Park Apprentice 7
What is Theme Park Apprentice?
For those unfamiliar with the competition, Theme Park Apprentice is an imaginary design exercise for theme park fans. Each week, competitors are faced with a challenge relating to some aspect of a theme park and must submit a proposal that best satisfies the requirements of the challenge. The game was originally created by Tim W and patterned off the popular reality TV program The Apprentice, and while changes have occurred over time (most notably the introduction of judges instead of a public vote and various themes for each season) the basic premise has remained the same.
Who is AJ Hummel and what is he doing here?
For those that don't know me, I've been a user of Theme Park Insider for several years and have become more active recently. I have been a theme park enthusiast since I was in middle school. Since I started traveling North America for theme parks in 2008, I have visited over 70 theme parks and ridden over 350 roller coasters, but I still have not made my way to Florida. In real life, I have a Mechanical Engineering degree and the long term goal of working in the themed entertainment industry in some form. I live in Southern California and am always willing to help those from out of the area with any vacation-related questions.
As far as Theme Park Apprentice is concerned, I first competed in Theme Park Apprentice 4, where I was crowned champion. I later competed in Theme Park Apprentice 5 and was scheduled to compete in Theme Park Apprentice 6 prior to its cancellation. I was a judge during the previous season, Theme Park Apprentice 6.1, and as DPCC inc. (the host of that season) was not interested in hosting again he offered me the position. Therefore, I will be your host for Theme Park Apprentice 7 and, depending on how it goes, may be hosting more of these in the future.
What format is in use for this season?
Since the previous two competitions both used a cumulative format, this season will be returning to the original independent challenge format. Each challenge in this season will be set within a major theme park chain, but it will be up to competitors to pick the individual park to use in each challenge. For those who favor the cumulative format, it will likely return next season.
What is the duration of the competition?
Due to the short break between seasons and the delays in starting this competition, Theme Park Apprentice 7 will have a shorter season than usual. There will be 7 challenges (plus a bonus challenge explained below), most of which will last one week. The first challenge will begin on July 13th and, while the exact end date of the competition is TBD, it will be in mid-September after Labor Day.
How many competitors may participate?
In order to run Theme Park Apprentice 7, a minimum of 8 competitors is required. Ideally, I would like to have 10-12 competitors in case of drops. There is no maximum number of competitors, but if a large number sign up there may be more than one elimination per round (detailed below).
Who is eligible to participate?
Any registered member of Theme Park Insider who has ever fantasized about designing a theme park or working in the industry AND who is willing to commit the time to writing quality proposals each week (as a general guide, expect to spend 3-5 hours per week on this competition...possibly more if you're really serious) is welcome to participate. If you've never competed before, don't be intimidated as first-timers tend to have just as much success as veterans in this competition.
What is new this season?
For those who have played before, several concepts that were not used in the past will be tested this season. Depending on how well they work, these may become a part of all future seasons.
Realistic Design Constraints: Some challenges have become more restrictive than in the past to simulate the constraints a real attraction would have. This may force you to think outside the box a bit for some challenges and will hopefully lead to some creative ideas.
Suggested Length: In the past, competitors have gone above and beyond with proposals. While there is nothing wrong with writing a short novel, in order to make judging more timely a suggested length has been set for each proposal. You will not be penalized for exceeding this value, but if you write 10 pages for a proposal with a suggested length of 3 you might want to reconsider whether everything you wrote is really helping your case.
Point System: All competitors will receive points based on their placement in each round. These points will be normalized so that the same amount are available in each round and it doesn't become impossible for a competitor who starts off below-average to catch up.
Elimination Procedure: The primary elimination will be determined based on the judges' rankings for a challenge. The competitor who scores the fewest number of points in that challenge will be eliminated. If more than one elimination is necessary, secondary eliminations will occur based on the cumulative scores.
Immunity: The top competitor(s) in the cumulative standings will be granted immunity from primary elimination. This means that if they receive the lowest score in a challenge they are safe and the next-lowest score will be eliminated. In addition, a competitor who places first in a challenge will be immune from secondary elimination for that challenge only.
Late Penalty: In an effort to retain competitors, late proposals will be accepted. However, competitors will receive a penalty of 1 point per hour for a late submission. Furthermore, judges will not be required to critique late submissions.
Real Life Pass: As another feature to prevent drops, competitors are permitted to skip one round of the competition if real life gets in the way. Competitors must declare that they are choosing to use this pass prior to the challenge deadline or they will be considered to have dropped from the competition. Competitors using this pass will receive a score of 0 for the round, so it is not a "skip the challenge you dislike" pass.
Redemption Challenge: Lastly, for those who are eliminated early and feel they can do better, there will be one redemption challenge during the competition, likely about 2/3 of the way through. This challenge will be open to anyone who was eliminated prior to the challenge (those who dropped will be ineligible for redemption). The winner (or top few competitors) in this challenge will return to the competition for a shot at winning. More details will be provided closer to the date of the challenge.
How do I sign up?
If you are interested in competing in Theme Park Apprentice 7, simply state your intention to compete in this thread. Note that there will be no official sign-up thread for this competition and anyone who posts a proposal for the first challenge will be an official competitor. However, this thread will be used to judge interest and if there are only a few confirmed competitors the competition may be postponed or cancelled, so please reply here if you are planning to compete.
What about judging?
In addition to host, I will be acting as the head judge for this competition. I have already found another judge and will let him introduce himself at his convenience. In addition, we are looking for 1 or 2 additional judges for the competition. Judges are primarily responsible for critiquing the proposals submitted by competitors and assigning ranks each week. In addition, judges act as moderators during the competition, assisting competitors when they have questions and dealing with issues if they arise.
If interested in being a judge, know that this position will require you to submit a 1/4 to 1/2 page critique of each proposal each week. Since challenges end on a Saturday, these critiques will need to be posted on Sundays or, at the very latest, Monday morning. You will also need to submit a ranking of competitors to determine scoring and eliminations in each round. Lastly, you will be expected to respond promptly to emails from other judges and check the competition threads at least once every 2-3 days to monitor progress of competitors and assist with any questions. If you are interested in applying to be a judge, read the appropriate section below for directions:
I have judged a Theme Park Apprentice competition in the past: All you need to do is send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, preferred email address, and Theme Park Apprentice competition history.
I have competed in a Theme Park Apprentice competition but have never judged one: In addition to sending me an email (email@example.com) with your name, preferred email address, and Theme Park Apprentice competition history, you must submit a few sample critiques. Please select three proposals written by different competitors for different challenges in previous Theme Park Apprentice competitions and write a 1/4 to 1/2 page critique of each one. The challenges may all be from the same season or they may be from different seasons, but they must be different challenges (ex: you can't do three different dark ride challenges). Don't forget to include a link to the original proposal with your critique.
I have never competed in Theme Park Apprentice before: If you have no previous experience with this competition, I'm going to ask that you compete this season and consider judging in the future. It is a lot easier to judge something you have experience with, and since there have been issues with judges in the past I would like to make sure the judging panel knows what to look for.
Judging applications are due by midnight pacific time on July 5th. Judges will be selected by this time next week. Note that this is not first-come first-served, so anyone who submits an application by the due date will be considered for the position.
Okay, I think that's about it. Sorry for the long post, but there's a lot of information to cover. The full rules and challenge schedule will be posted late next week and the first challenge will begin on July 13th. If you're interested in Theme Park Apprentice 7, post in this thread, and if you've got any questions or comments feel free to share those too. I look forward to seeing what everyone can come up with and hope to have another exciting season of Theme Park Apprentice in the remainder of this summer.Tweet
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