Most fun projects: Naming the characters in a board game
It’s always fun to work with designer Melanie Paykos and the brilliant people she invariably surrounds herself with. For this project — a board game in which the goal is to make a movie — character cards had already been created with illustrations of “actors” and “directors.” Gary’s job was to name the characters. With the help of a friend he hired who’s a whiz at actors and old movies, the team came up with some inspired names.
Most fun projects: Creating content for barbie.com
Gary has had the pleasure of working on several projects for Mattel. In one, the online shopper can give their doll a name and a personalized profile, then order and buy the doll online. His job was to create the menus and choices from which the personalized profiles were derived. His niece was around eight years old and a total Barbie fanatic at the time, and she thought she had the coolest uncle ever!
For Barbie’s 50th birthday in 1999, JLA was charged with creating a timeline of significant events that happened in each year between 1959 and 1999, to appear adjacent to each year’s significant milestones for Barbie, Mattel and the toy industry.
Most challenging projects: Write video box copy for Saturday Night Live compilations
Having started out as a proofreader, Gary had done very little writing at the time in the early ’90s when Melanie Paykos recruited him to write the copy for the retail video box for The Best of Saturday Night Live 1991. Up to that point, all the copy for the previous SNL compilation boxes had been written by Tom Shales, the Washington Post television critic and author of Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live — in other words, not only a consummate professional writer, but the leading TV critic possibly in the world and the expert on all things SNL. This was slightly terrifying. But apparently Melanie’s confidence was well-placed, as the client was sufficiently pleased that Gary went on to write the box copy for several more SNL compilations, including The Best of Saturday Night Live: John Goodman, The Best of Saturday Night Live: Chevy Chase and The Best of Saturday Night Live: Toonces and Friends.
Most challenging projects: Create BMW Fast Facts 2006 and MINI Fast Facts 2006 for British BMW
Converting American English into British English (or vice versa) is fraught with peril, even if you think you know what you’re doing. When the field is automotive, it’s doubly hard because automotive terms are almost 100% different in England than in the U.S. — tire is spelled tyre (or should we say spelt), whilst the trunk is the boot, our sidewalk is their footpath, etc. But make the assignment creating and communicating complete information for the new model year BMWs and MINIs for British BMW? Are you kidding? But the team at Crider Associates pulled it off; besides overall copyediting, Gary was in charge of the AmEng-BrEng conversion.