San Diego Playwrights

Getting San Diego Playwrights Produced on San Diego Stages

The Story of GAM3RS: An Interview with Walter G. Meyer, co-writer of GAM3RS The Play with Brian Bielawski

on June 25, 2013
Rooftop party at Gam3rcon

Walter G. Meyer and Brian Bielawski at a rooftop party at Gam3rCon

Tell us about yourself.

I am a freelance writer and have been since I was in high school. I have written three published books, numerous screenplays that have been optioned and hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles for the Los Angeles Times, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Out, San Diego Magazine, and many others. My most recent book, “Rounding Third” happened to be published just before the bullying crisis starting making the news and because the novel powerfully addresses that topic, I have been speaking and writing about that timely topic all over the U.S.

What are you working on now?

We are turning GAM3RS, the play, into a web series. We started shooting two weeks ago. GAM3RS will be performed at the first San Diego Fringe Festival July 5, 6 & 7, and at Gam3rCon, July 17-21. And we are booking the GAM3RS fall tour. We hit lots of colleges and high schools across the country. Oh, and we are doing a one-night only show in North Hollywood June 26. Details on all of the shows at: http://www.gam3rsthewebsite.com/

What have been your successes? What are your challenges?

GAM3RS was a hit in the 2007 New York Fringe Festival and has toured the country from MIT to UCSD. We have had theatrical runs in New York, New Jersey, San Diego and Los Angeles. I lost count of the number of performances, but it well into triple digits. And of course, having it become a web series is a huge success.

There is a saying among book writers that you can either promote your last book or write the next one, but you can’t do both. That is our biggest challenge with GAM3RS—we can either do the show or work on the web series or book more performances, but there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all of that. Recently we took on a booking agent to at least handle that aspect of things for us.

What is your plan for producing your work in San Diego?

All of the shows I mentioned before, and we’ll be doing the University of San Diego—where the show started—at their new theater in fall. Plus I’m sure we’ll get other offers—we are talking to some high schools and other possible venues.

How did you and Brian come to work together? Also, how did GAM3RS grow into Gam3rcon?

I barely knew Brian—he had to call our mutual friend to get my number–but he called one night and said he had a play due the next day. He was working on getting his Masters in theater at USD/Old Globe Theater. One of the requirements of his graduate thesis was to perform a short (15-minute) one-person, one-act play.

He said he’d been working on it for weeks and he knew what he wanted to say, but somehow it wasn’t coming. As he told me, “I have about 17 words on paper and I think 12 of them are bad.” He knew I was a professional writer and asked if I could help him. For whatever stupid reason, I went over to his place at 10 p.m. and we pretty much pulled an all-nighter and wrote the first draft of GAM3RS. As I later said of the process, he had all of these jokes and ideas—all of these beautiful Christmas ornaments and no tree to hang them on—so I helped him create structure and story and character arcs. He read it the next day and the class loved it. The first time it was performed, it was a huge hit and was optioned to be a sitcom. That deal fell through, but GAM3RS started playing around the country and eight years later is now becoming a web series.

Brian and I had tried for years to get GAM3RS into Comic-Con. Comic-Con used to do a lot more live theater than they do now. And we never got a flat-out no, but we also never got a yes from Comic-Con. Brian had done a play at the 10th Avenue Theatre in downtown San Diego and happened to mention to the theatre’s owner that we had once again failed to get GAM3RS into Comic-Con. The owner said his theatre was sitting empty during Comic-Con, maybe we’d like to do it there. As soon as we said we were doing it, people came out of the woodwork saying, “I couldn’t get my movie/game/play into Comic-Con either, can I do it at your place?” And with barely over a month to plan, Gam3rCon was born. We had 500 people that first year. Last year, our third year, we had 2,300 attendees. And now it has become all things gaming—live theater and GAM3RS, the play, of course, but also videos, art, stand-up comedy, live music, art—all about gaming. And of course, gaming with large video and table-top lounges.

Walter setting the stage at MIT

Walter setting the stage for GAM3RS The Play at MIT

Walter and Brian on stage after Cal State Fullerton performance of GAM3RS The Play

Walter and Brian on stage after Cal State Fullerton performance of GAM3RS The Play

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: