I've been a fan of Gary's work for a while now and never realized he's just a hop, skip, and jump away from me in CT! We actually attended CT-FIG together and we never bumped into each other! Now I know, and can bother him all I want.
Also, Gary is cooler than me. Like, way cooler.
Let's start with you telling everyone a bit about yourself and what it is you do.
Day job and everything or just board game related?
Well as a day job I work with a [insert well-known insurance company that I try to avoid saying online, but if you really wanted to know you could stalk my Linkedin account] where I'm basically a high-level technician or low-level engineer...I honestly don't know anymore. My main responsibilities are being a first responder to major issues within the company, such as entire cities and states losing access to their servers, etc. Short story though is I basically just watch paint dry. Which kind of rolls over into what I do in the hobby which makes board game related videos. Because of my boredom at work, I actually watched a lot of other content creators, then proceeded to watch almost everything on youtube on how to make videos. Fast forward 2 and a half years later and I'm still making videos.
Funny thing about myself is that people think I've only been making content for a year now, but I actually had a Twitch channel under the same name that I quit after a year. It was always hard finding people that wanted to be in front of a camera for hours at a time AND be entertaining as well.
So what's your history with games? What did you grow up with? When did you get into the actual hobby stuff?
I played and loved board games growing up, and for some odd reason, I was absolutely fascinated by Payday which was basically a horrible fusion of Life and Monopoly. It wouldn't shock me if it was mostly because of the art because growing up I was really into Sunday Morning Comics and the art style was exactly that. But then I didn't really play much board games at all between the age of 8-16, video games consumed my life at the time (and still do) so whenever I had friends over we were playing things like Madden, Tekken, etc. But then when I turned 16 I got a taste of it again when I got a job at a pool as a lifeguard. Every day for hours at a time we would play Spades and nothing but Spades. Over a course of 3 years, I honestly think I played well over 300 hours of Spades. In other words, this is why I love trick-taking games. Fast forward a couple of years after leaving that job my college friend put on the final hook by inviting me out one night to play some board games. For some odd reason, he thought it was a fantastic idea to introduce me to Agricola. Just so happened I was one of the lucky ones that weren't turned off by this, and instead loved being absolutely destroyed.
Over the next couple of years I proceeded to get a game or two here and there, but then I found The Dice Tower and kept finding new games to get all of the time. Before I knew it I went from having a collection of 10 games that I built over a couple years, to around 100-150 within a year. It's been about 4 years now I think since that year when I built my collection.
Was it was the downtime at work watching other videos that first got you into content creation, or was it something earlier?
Oh, definitely things in the past, back in my teens when I was playing a ton of video games one of my friends had an obsession over Gears of War (well we all kind of did). So we actually learned how to use Sony Vegas Studios to make montage videos for him. These videos actually got him a sponsorship on a team, but he couldn't carry it out because he was still in school and he was required to travel.
But I've also always loved to learn new things and get involved in creative projects. I used to DJ for roughly 7 years and I made mashups and remixes during that time. For Halloween, I basically go full cosplay (I once built a functioning Daft Punk mask). But I find it hard picking up a hobby or activity without doing something extra with it.
That's awesome. Please tell me you have pictures or videos of that Daft Punk mask.
ummm 1 sec...I'll have to find them
More importantly. Do you still have it and would it fit me?
LMAO. If I empty out all of the broken circuits then yes. I literally could only see out of a tiny peephole the size of a finger
In fact, in my older videos, you can usually see it on the shelf of games.
You are cooler than me. I admit it.
Wish the lights were on!
OK. So we've established the hierarchy of cool in this conversation. Let's move on to your videos. How long does it take to produce one?
Back in the good days when I was using Sony Vegas the WSIG segment for Board Game Breakfast can be thought up, recorded, and done with editing in under 2 hours. But since I've moved to Premiere I haven't figured out ways to get my speed to that level...but I can do so much more. Nowadays the average video can take anywhere from 3 hours minimum to 8 or so depending on how much editing I do. Probably the longest I've ever worked on a video is sso far my only released review. Which was for Wits and Wagers Vegas Edition, and that took WELL over 30 hours total for everything, especially if we are going to include how I had recordings of several other people that never made the final video and several other games that I never made review videos for.
If I managed to free up a ton of time or made content creation a full-time job I'd go back and make those videos because I literally have at least 5 other recordings for reviews.
Btw that video took so long because I was going about it a different way. I wasn't reviewing the game, I was getting a lot of other's opinions on the games, then editing into one video.
Yikes. I haven't dipped my toes into Premiere yet. I'm taking baby steps with my videos 😀
Well lucky for you they are releasing a new Premiere by the end of the year that is a much more simplified version.
It's maybe a game changer, even for people like me because I'll be able to use it to edit video from my phone.
Let's get into the REAL meat of this interview now.
Let's talk about
Where's the beef?
(I kid, but you two have played off each other hilariously lately)
Christian is just a bad influence on others, that's my only beef with him.
So was this feud planned, or was it spontaneous?
So funny thing. People think it was all planned but he made that first video with no intentions and I made that response with no intentions and it just went from there.
Then BOOM, marketing gold.
Well, I haven't made any money off of it yet so I need to work on my marketing, or is that sales? I'm not good at this.
Me either. I pull in a whopping $20 a month from Patreon.
Yeah, I think I've netted $100 since I made my youtube channel on Amazon affiliates.
It is awesome, though, how social networks have changed the game on how content creators interact with not only their viewers but each other.
It's really great and it's definitely something people undervalue. For example, the idea (while like 99% his brainchild) of This Game Is Broken all started when I and Dan were spitballing back and forth at each other on new show ideas and he actually went off and did it. People should be talking a ton to each other because you never know what can happen.
Totally. It's amazing how many awesome ideas come from simple conversations.
So what's next for you? Any big plans? Business as usual?
(other than an obvious collaboration with me, of course)
Well, not board game related I'm trying to quit my job and I'm working on several projects to accomplish that both involving making videos and photography. But other board game related projects include a new series that hopefully, I can work on at the end of the year, I still need to make my Top 100 games of all time video for Tom Vasel and the Dice Tower dudes, and hopefully in a perfect world I'll be running a board game cafe in 3-5 years. But that's if everything else falls into line perfectly.
I don't want to say any details about the end of the year project just in case if it doesn't happen lol. But I almost forgot I'm actually starting up a couple new projects hopefully soon. I am just waiting on footage from other people before I can begin putting it all together. But I don't want to shed details on that until it's all in hand, but as a teaser, I can say the people I'd be working with are freaking hilarious and not a lot of people know that.
Ooooh. A board game cafe? That aligns with my interests since we live fairly close I think.
It'd be sweet to have somewhere a bit closer to visit!
Well, thanks for taking the time to chat with me. This has been great. Anything else you'd like to add before we wrap?
Ummm if anything I'd say to just reach out to people you really want to be talking to. This hobby is very open to others so you'd be surprised who you can communicate with and possibly even become friends with. Especially at conventions, don't ever feel like you are bothering others at conventions considering that people are there to meet others.
Kind of a random rant from me, but I just finished talking to a friend about this very subject and even made a video or two about it so it's been on my mind for weeks now lol.
I totally agree.
Meeting people at cons is my favorite part of attending!
About the Nor'easter Series
Nor'easters is a series of articles spotlighting a different tabletop game designer, publisher, or content creator from the Northeastern United States each week. The series was inspired by all the amazing people in the industry I've met over the years in my home region of the US.
Make sure to come back every week and see who is spotlighted next! To see a complete listing of the series' articles, click here.
Media personality Rob “Devar-TTY” Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of Devar-TTY’s Pawns Perspective, Dev now focuses mostly on video games and TTRPGs. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.