Some months back, I found myself at the SoCal Retro Gaming Convention. I was attending with the editor of Boss Fight Books, as we had a booth there and he needed the help. I’d been working with Gabe (the editor-in-chief) since September of 2017, and this was our first convention together. The plan was to sell books, network, and have a great time- I even brought my NES and SNES Classic to our table as a little bit of eye candy. Peruse our books, play some classic games, have an amazing time! We had it all planned out.
I found out that my old college friend Jirard was going to be there too, but I had lost his number- I got in touch with a mutual friend of ours and asked if he could put us in touch before the convention. Of course, Jirard was no longer just my pal who would play Super Smash Bros. Melee with me at the drop of a hat, or the guy who would visit me at work back while I was slinging drinks at Starbucks. He was basically internet famous- The Completionist. He had turned the spark of an idea into an empire, and now he was going to cons and reviewing games and meeting Shigeru Miyamoto, for crying out loud. I wondered what it would be like to see each other after almost ten years apart.
Of course, Jirard being Jirard, it was an absolute pleasure seeing him. He was set up at a table for a signing and the line was forming- but he still jumped up when he saw me and came around to give me a hug. I told him to stop by our Boss Fight booth when he had time, and we could catch up then. He did- because he’s awesome- and we reminisced about some old times. Later, he told me that one of his guests cancelled for a panel he was on, and asked if I would be down to play some Secret Hitler in front of a live audience with him, Andre from Black Nerd Comedy, and a few others. It was a blast. He murdered me. I forgave him later.
After all that action, during a quieter moment- he asked me what I was up to these days. “Doing any writing?” I told him yes, occasionally. Just some blog posts here and there. Some other friends and I had written a screenplay (you aren’t allowed to be a young actor in Hollywood without currently writing, or having written a screenplay). He nodded for a moment and asked me to talk to his producer. “You should come write for my show. I miss you, man.” I told him I’d be in touch, for sure.
It’s always weird having a friend, losing touch with that friend, and then reuniting with that same friend. In this case, we picked up right where we had left off. He’s still the same guy I knew ten years ago- but with way more business savvy, and way more overworked. I like to think that I’ve totally changed who I am since then, but honestly? I’ve probably changed less than I’d care to think. More confident, maybe. More grey hair.
Frazier, one of the producers on the show and another old college friend, got in touch with me a couple weeks later. Said if I wanted to write a script reviewing Mario Is Missing and bring it in, read it out with Jirard and the office, maybe we could talk about a position. I accepted, and now I’ve been working for The Completionist for the last few months.
Honestly, I love it. The whole office is constantly buzzing with activity. The writer’s room is a blast. I love talking with Jirard about what he thinks of a game, and what jokes or riffs we can make on it. I love watching him play/ work- he’s truly living his dream, and it’s incredibly inspiring to watch him knuckle down and make it happen. I’ve alluded to it before but that man is a freakin’ machine. He plays every game for the show. Every review that goes up, he’s had a hand in. Stuff is planned out so far in advance you wouldn’t even believe. If you’re subscribed on Twitch (why not subscribe on Twitch, while you’re here?). I help punch up and edit scripts where I can, maybe pitch a game for the show here and there- but as far as playing and recording footage? He’s the man.
It can be exhausting. But it’s always exciting. I didn’t know I wanted this job, but now I’m glad to be here.
I still don’t really understand YouTube culture- I don’t have any social media, save for this and an infrequently-updated Medium account- but I know that Jirard is something of an anomaly. He doesn’t chase trends. He chooses games that he’s passionate about, and his videos and other shows reflect that. He’s an infectious personality who cares about everyone on his team. I’m proud to know him.