Electric Playground’s Victor Lucas Talks Greedy, David Hayter, and CVAs
One of the key people responsible for taking videogames into mainstream Canada, Victor Lucas has worked hard over the last two decades to bring Greedy Productions and their shows Electric Playground and Reviews on the Run to the forefront of videogame journalism in Canada. Both shows can now be found in syndication on a number of major markets across the USA and Australia.
Victor is also the brains behind the annual Canadian Videogame Awards; a once-a-year event that celebrates world-class videogame developers and publishers. His cast and crew love working for him, video game journalists all over the world respect him, and the videogame industry knows the things he’s done to help bring the industry to the masses.
I met with Victor at the Canadian Videogame Awards where we talked about Greedy Productions, about David Hayter being the host of the Award show, and about his thoughts on the future of the Canadian Videogame Awards.
Check out the full interview after the break.
JTM Games: From talking with staff and hosts of Electric Playground, Reviews on the Run, and Greedy Productions, the one theme that kept coming up was that they love working at Greedy. What’s your secret for having great synergy with everyone in the company?
Victor Lucas: I love them. I really think it’s as simple as respecting the rare gift that we have to work together and to give them a lot of room to be creative and to trust them. And try to engender that so that everybody respects each other and works as a team. Basically make it about real passion to build something cool.
JTM Games: Congratulations on having a great show (Canadian Videogame Awards). What did you love about the production? And which part(s) of the production do think you can improve upon for next year?
Victor Lucas: I loved that it was really ambitious with all these elements, with the rock and roll component playing live music based on the nominees, I loved the video bits that were coming in from everywhere, I loved the sequences where David (Hayter – host of the CVA’s) was talking to Solid Snake; I was really happy!
That was a really ambitious thing that came together with not a lot of time and we also had to deal with integrating with FanEXPO this year, creating a booth. So I think the CVA’s came out a lot better than what I had hoped it would and it was also very organic. David actually took a lot off my shoulders creatively because he wrote a lot of stuff for himself to do and was really open to doing all these cool video bits. That was an unbelievably cool collaboration. That really was great.
I think going forward, I want to learn from this and start earlier; I wont have to imagine what it would be like to work with FanEXPO next year because we’re going to do it. I think now, we iterate. Now we come up with cooler music bits, we come up with cooler video bits, we’ll ask for some more wacky cameos, we’ll have more rehearsal time so that everybody gets to know each other a little bit better than we had this time around. That all just comes with iteration; so I’m just looking to improving.
JTM Games: How did that collaboration with David Hayter come about?
Victor Lucas: It was actually through my friend Ryan Payton (Founder of a new studio, Camouflaj). And I’ve known David for a while but not a super friends-type basis or anything like that. But certainly Ryan’s a great friend of mine and he’s also very close with David because they worked together on the Metal Gear Solid series. David knows who I am and we’ve interviewed him before, he’s also been on our show before. Ryan connected us, so I sent David an email.
In that one email to David I said, “I’d like for you to be the host of the Canadian Videogame Awards” and he said yes right away. We had a phone call and it was done. To me it felt like he’d been looking to do something like this and we gave him that opportunity.
JTM Games: Do you think you’ll be inviting him back as the host of next year’s CVA’s?
Victor Lucas: I might! Yeah I’m definitely thinking about it. The feedback has been pretty awesome so far. I have enjoyed us trying to tweak and change and do things; that felt really good. That was a great show.
What would you like Jan? Would you like him back as the host next year?
JTM Games: Oh yeah definitely! I thought he did an amazing job as the host. (Plus, I’m a die-hard fan)
JTM Games: If we can rewind time for a bit and talk about Greedy Production’s past, could you talk about the difficulties you faced getting media executives and the public to recognize Electric Playground, Reviews on the Run, and the videogame industry as a relevant media to be shown on television?
Victor Lucas: It’s been an educative process the entire time and it continues to be so. I think that people are so busy in what they focus on, and if videogames aren’t a part of what they focus on it’s pretty hard for them to grapple that there’s an enormous audience out there that is hungry for this kind of stuff.
Actually it’s crazy to me that it’s taken this long for FanExpo to be here in Vancouver. It’s kind of crazy to me that I kinda kickstarted a Canadian Videogame Awards. I mean this is something that just seems so obvious and so necessary to me. But it feels great to belong to this, to help this along. And that’s, I think that’s been my drive; because I know what I’m doing is worth it. I love it, and I know a lot of other people do.
JTM Games: Electric Playground, and the Canadian Videogame Awards are the only shows that actually focuses on giving the spotlight to the developers, the game companies and their products; not just the celebrities who are coming. What are your thoughts on that?
Victor Lucas: From the beginning, that was important to me. The celebrities that we do have, that are associated with this award show, they have to have a reason to be associated with it. For example, Billy (Campbell – The Rocketeer) isn’t in a game right now, but he’s going to be, because he loves videogames and I want him to be introduced to stuff.
The tangent for him is he was The Rocketeer; and I know that there’s a lot of fans in our business that love The Rocketeer and would love to see him in the award show. And guess what, he’s an enormous gamer! He’s actually addicted to videogames and I love that. I’ve gotten to know him personally so it’s really cool.
But everybody that’s a part of this is connected to videogames. Elias (Toufexis – Adam Jensen in Deus Ex) and Michelle (Boback – Megan Reed in Deus Ex) are both in Deus Ex: Human Revolution. David Hayter and Jennifer Hale, Jennifer’s in everything! She’s got an amazing resume, and she’s an incredible person. I loved working with her. Then there’s Michael Hogan (Battlestar Galactica), Aaron Douglas (Battlestar Galactica) is in videogames now too.
We gotta go, but if they’re going to be in the show, they’ll be connected to videogames in some way.
JTM Games: Thanks for taking the time to chat with me Victor.
Victor Lucas: Thank you Jan, it was great to meet you.
I would like to personally thank Victor for taking the time to talk with me at FanEXPO and the CVA’s as well as for introducing me to a number of developers that had great, exciting projects on the go. It was a great experience meeting someone I had watched on television growing up.
His dedication, and love for the videogame industry definitely inspired me to work harder because what he’s achieved, what he does in the industry, and what we do as game journalists help the public understand the power community through videogames.