One of the coolest bits of information I got while visiting San Francisco over the weekend (aside from my own adventures) was hearing that yet another one of us had found an in with IGN.
My friend Barrett Courtney (@banandlerchong) played coy about an interview he'd had last week, even going so far as to tell me it was for an IT job at a place where his mom worked. Not until I met up with him for dinner Friday night did he come clean about having interviewed for and been hired by IGN. With the upcoming busy season, IGN brought on a couple of temporary staffers to aid in collecting game capture and he was selected as one of them. I couldn't be prouder of him! He held the public announcement until today so I didn't want to spoil it but I definitely hinted at it in yesterday's piece by referring to him as a Squire, like myself and Sean Pitts, as my designation for the IGN-ers trying to work their way up to editorial Knighthood.
Barrett and I first met at the very first Kinda Funny community meet-up I ever attended. In town for the original Kinda Funny Live, a bunch of us met up at one of Greg Miller's favorite haunts: Wing Wings on the Thursday before the Saturday event. Barrett was still a wee young 20-year-old at the time so he wasn't going to be able to attend the event proper. We didn't get to visit all that much that first night but we did bond over our mutual experience in theatre and started following each other on Twitter.
I missed seeing him when I came out the next month for the first IGN House Party last year to celebrate Beyond 400 and Unlocked 200. We tweeted about the possibility but, as I recall, he was pretty busy with work that weekend so the stars just didn't quite align. Somewhere around here, I think I started listening to his BaiaZona Gamers stuff for the first time. He, like so many others, had been inspired by the Kinda Funny guys to create something.
By the time last year's PlayStation Experience rolled around, we had become fairly good friends in the community and it was great to see him again, we had a great conversation with others at 21st Amendment. Event Documentarian and fellow Kinda Funny Best Friend Christian Puente hung around with us that weekend and I snagged this screengrab from one of his amazing videos.
Barrett had big aspirations for BaiaZona Gamers (or BzG since he gets mad when Alex O'Neill and I talk about buying zones of gamers), eventually starting a Patreon and reworking their shows. At some point, he mentioned a Patreon-exclusive episode where he got really intimate and expressed his concerns and fears of not making it into the industry. So I contributed to his Patreon and listened to the episode (it's worth the dollar). Somewhere along there, I also went ahead and bought one of their shirts because I try to support my friends if I can.
Shortly thereafter, Barrett invited me on his weekly news show BzG News as part of a monthly segment "Gamer of the Month." We discussed theatre and gaming for over an hour and it was great getting to bond with him some more over that. There's something symbolic about Sean Pitts being the first Gamer of the Month, me being the second, and now all three of us having assorted roles with IGN.
Barrett was effectively the "man on the ground" for a lot of the Community Event planning around Kinda Funny Live 2 as a San Francisco resident so he was able to identify a lot of great options while the rest of the organizers were out of city or state. I was excited to finally create some more content with him that week, appearing alongside him for a week's worth of Let's Plays for Trivial Pursuit Live! We had a lot of fun (even though he tricked me by telling me it was gonna be Final Fantasy VII Let's Plays but I think we were both really happy with how our Best of Three tournament turned out. Or at least I was because (spoilers) I won, even beating him on a baseball question despite the long-running joke between us that baseball is probably my least favorite sport.
One of Barrett's most recent and exciting endeavors was when he launched a new video series titled The B List, where he discusses underappreciated works like The Dark Knight Rises. He does a phenomenal bit of analysis and it's a huge inspiration to the kind of editing I would love to get up to sometime.
I'm so incredibly proud of the growth I've seen in Barrett since we met a year and a half ago. And I wish him all the best with this incredible opportunity at IGN. I know he's going to make the most of it!