The best answer to any question.

April 1 2015 1:52 PM

What’s It Like to Be Nominated for an Oscar?

Answer by Couper Samuelson, executive producer, Whiplash:

I was an executive producer of Whiplash, so technically I wasn't nominated for an Oscar. (Only the producers are nominated.)

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March 29 2015 7:37 AM

Why Do Game Shows Use Actors as Contestants?

Answer by Eric Mueller, contestant on seven game shows, and I've helped with many more run-throughs and pilots:

As someone who has been on a lot of game shows (and who has tried to be on a lot more), I can tell you that there is a huge pool of professional actors who go out for game show auditions regularly. It's not hard to understand why: If you're an actor, you probably have a flexible job to allow for auditions, it's a chance to get in front of casting folks, it's a chance to win some money, and you get validation and attention. (Never underestimate the power of validation and attention when it comes to actors.)

March 27 2015 7:40 AM

What Skills Are Necessary for All Careers?

Answer by Richard Walker, entrepreneur, CEO, author of It's My Life! I Can Change If I Want To:

Let's face it: Who is happy with his or her first choice of careers? Few people start with something and stick it out forever. Even successful athletes start other careers, and you should too. The challenge is to use your first career to build up skills that are needed in all industries, organizations, and situations. The top three skills we all need to be successful in life and in our careers are communication, leadership, and confidence.

March 26 2015 7:22 AM

What Was It Like to Witness the Rumble in the Jungle?

Answer by Clarence B. Jones, public speaker, professor:

In 1967, Muhammad Ali had refused to be drafted into the military based on his religious beliefs and moral opposition to the war in Vietnam. “No Viet Cong ever called me a nigger,” he’d commented. He was arrested and on draft evasion charges, found guilty, and stripped of his boxing title and boxing license. Ken Norton had broken his jaw in a 1973 fight. In ’72, Joe Frazier had beaten him. By 1974, at 32, Ali was past his prime.

March 25 2015 7:26 AM

How Has Publishing Changed in the Digital Age for Book Authors?

Answer by Alan Cheuse, author of Prayers for the Living:

I've published more than 20 books; more than half of these were either novels or short story collections. I have never left behind the necessary feeling that each new book will be the best and that each new book feels as though it were the first. Even so, I have never felt as confused and at the same full of expectation as I have with my latest, the novel Prayers for the Living.

March 24 2015 7:38 AM

What Should You Do When Your Flight Is Canceled?

Answer by Stephanie Vardavas, United million-mile flyer:

Pull out your cellphone as soon as it becomes clear that your flight is significantly delayed, even if it is not yet officially canceled. Call your airline and ask to rebook. And don't forget to nail down your seat assignment while you have an agent on the phone. The airline will not charge you a change fee, and by calling in quickly you will have a better chance of getting a decent seat on a desirable alternate flight. Flights are so crowded these days that relatively few aisle and window seats will be available, so confirm your seat assignment if you can. This is the No. 1 most important thing you can do, and it has worked for me countless times.

March 23 2015 7:11 AM

Why Was the Eastern Roman Empire Unable to Reclaim Lost Territory?


Answer by Tim O'Neill, 20-plus years of studying various aspects of Roman history:



The Eastern Roman Empire did take back large swathes of the most important and most valuable territory, in north Africa, Italy, and parts of Illyria. From 533 to 554, Eastern Roman generals waged a long series of wars against the Vandal Kingdom in Africa and the Ostrogothic Kingdom in Italy as part of the Emperor Justinian's attempt to win back the key territories of the former Western Empire to Roman control.


March 22 2015 7:04 AM

Why Did It Take So Long for The Great Gatsby to Be Recognized as a Masterpiece?

Answer by Cristina Hartmannauthor:

Let's rewind all the way to the beginning, circa 1925.

F. Scott Fitzgerald was a budding writer with two successful novels, This Side of Paradsie and The Beautiful and Damned. As part of the unparalleled literary cadre of Hemingway, Stein, and Pound, he was on the cusp of greatness. He was good, but hispièce de résistance awaited.

March 20 2015 7:12 AM

How Do TV Writers Develop Episode Plots?

Answer by Kate Powers, newly minted TV writer:

It's not uncommon for a writing staff to use a visual reference tool to track the breaking of one or more episodes. I've pretty much only worked in rooms where we favored 3-by-5 index cards on 3-by-4 cork boards, but many shows prefer white boards, or in some cases magnetized white boards and dry erase “tiles” that function like cork boards. A lot of the time, this is in addition to the near-constant note-taking of writers' assistants.

March 19 2015 7:19 AM

Why Did the British Invade the Falkland Islands?


Answer by Stephen Tempest, qualified amateur historian:


An English ship under Capt. John Strong in 1690 was the first to explore the Falkland Islands in detail, map them, and give them a name. However, that can't be called an invasion, since nobody lived there at the time except for penguins.