There have been three formative moments in my longer-than-you’d-think career.
- Being hired as the San Francisco-based reporter for MTV News, and writing under Stephen Totilo, who’s now the editor of Kotaku. Totilo was a brutal editor, and he savaged my work—an editorial beating I needed. I was a curious writer prior to working with Totilo, and I came out of it a reporter.
- Getting laid off from MTV News when the financial crisis of 2008 rocked the world, and gambling on a questionable job as an editor for G4’s The Feed blog. It’s where I developed an interest in being on camera, and met my friend Adam Sessler. (We’d met before then, but we were just colleagues.)
- Leaving a job that was breaking me at EGM and coming to Giant Bomb, where I finally found the place that perfectly matched my personal and professional interests. It’s been a dream ever since then.
I was employed at G4 for about a year or so, but it was an incredible ride. It’s a place that gave the appearance of being this big organization, despite only a surprisingly small number of people making it all work. The ambition was huge, and made it a pleasure to come into work. The merging of G4’s video capabilities with its editorial staff never worked out, and remains a tragedy. One of the early secrets to 1UP’s success was its connection to EGM, and that connection just never came together for www.g4tv.com and X-Play.
G4 took a chance on me a couple of times, and I’ll never forget it.
Once, after most of the TV “talent” (the phrase that was used at G4 for those who blabbed in front of a camera) had gone home for Christmas, an opportunity arose to interview director James Cameron. This was just days before the opening of Avatar, and his connection to Ubisoft meant there would be a chance to talk to him for X-Play. No one from X-Play was around, though, and I hadn’t left for my annual trek back to the Midwest. X-Play producer Wade Beckett came up to me out of the blue, and asked if I wanted to interview Cameron. What does a person say in this situation? A person says yes.
I stressed about it all day. It wasn’t clear if Cameron would even show up, and if he did, there was every reason to believe it would only be for five or 10 minutes. By sheer chance, I was being given a shot to move up the ladder at G4, since I was considered one of the people on the web side capable of sitting in front of a camera every once and a while.
Cameron not only showed up, but he showed up a whole 45 minutes in advance, and we had a chance to casually talk about Halo, Aliens, Avatar, and a whole host of other topics. It was cut down to a video that only lasts a couple of minutes, but I didn’t fuck it up, and this lead to X-Play giving me the chance to be one of their E3 hosts. That was huge.
The result was a version of E3 that I’d never been a part of before. Waking up at 4:00 a.m. for a 10:00 a.m. shoot, learning what the hand signals are for bullshiting before a commercial, spending hours under hot lights—it was all stuff that would eventually prove vital when coming to Giant Bomb.
To steal a cliched phrase, I wouldn’t be where I am without G4. It was and is a great group, even if it never realized its full potential. Good luck to everyone who got bad news today. You’ll be fine. I don’t know what G4’s going to become, but thanks for being what you were.
“We have to go back!” This scene reminds me of the video game industry’s obsession with returning E3 to a big circus. Here, Kate is the voice of reason (i.e. the people who enjoyed last year’s E3) and Jack is the ESA, or a dude who loves pictures with booth babes.
WARNING: Massive Lost spoilers above. Watch at your own peril!