I'll admit, it's pretty far in the rearview, but I never did get around to writing anything about my thoughts on leaving GameSpot, nor about the next step in my career at Make:. Time has a way of clarifying and calcifying intentions, and in this case, have improved my outlook on both.
The last year I spent at GameSpot was focused, as much as I could be, on telling stories about how games got made, and telling stories about the people who made them. I had spent a decade on the road, traveling across the country and and throughout the world, meeting fascinating, humble people who wielded hard-won wisdom. So often I felt that their story was more interesting than the game they were making. Eventually, and with the help of my colleague Shaun McInnis, we convinced our directors to let me try an experiment - and it is from that experiment that the series Lost Between Levels was born.
I can't fault GameSpot for pulling the plug on the series. It was, at best, a successful failure. Everyone who watched it praised it, but the trouble was, not enough people watched it. Most people who visited the site weren't interested in documentary-styled content at the time, and worse, it was tremendously expensive to produce.
That didn't curb my hunger for producing this kind of content - if anything, it enabled it further. As I came to terms with this, I watched every gaming site cutting back their video teams and aspirations, retreating to the safe harbor of Let's Plays and listicles formatted for video. Frankly put, I just didn't have the will to participate. Heartbreaking as it was to realize, it seemed like my video production career in the video game industry was at it's twilight.
The year that I spent freelancing gave me ample opportunity to consider the kinds of stories that I wanted to continue telling with video. I still wanted to tell stories about how things got made. I still wanted to tell stories about the people who made things. I wanted to create content that celebrated curious people, and rewarded curiosity. The Maker audience couldn't be a more perfect fit, and with it, the most daunting challenge. Every day that I have worked with Make: I have had the opportunity to meet incredibly talented, passionate people who want to share what they make, and tell the story of how it was made. Their stories are humbling and inspiring, and I want to tell every single one of them. The audience is hungry for great content, and I hope I do right by them.
But enough about me. I recently had the opportunity to meet a master blacksmith working in West Oakland by the name of James Austin. He was happy to invite us into his shop to watch him work and tell his stories. It's the sort of content I hoped I would have the opportunity to produce again, and I can't wait to tell more of these stories.