We have a huge treat folks! Meredith Gerber is one fantastically busy lady, and she sat down with me, (well, as close as one can while exchanging many emails), to put together this exciting interview for you. I hope that you enjoy getting to know this fabulous lady as much as I have!
(1) What first drew you to this line of work?
I started LARPing in a World of Darkness Community in my early 20’s. I met a lot of really awesome people there that led me to start going to larger scale events. I wanted to help the community with improving their overall social media presence so I started to network with people in the industry. After a year or two, I learned that it was possible for me to get started at working at gaming, but it didn’t really become a full-time gig until a few years later. I did a few art pieces for World of Darkness publications in the beginning, which seemed like a fun side gig at the time, but I wanted to do more. I loved being able to interact with the gaming community while using my skills to help.
(2) Tell us about some of your ongoing projects!
I just finished three Community Content Programs, for DriveThruRPG: Miskatonic Repository from Chaosium, W.O.I.N. Community Content for EN Publishing and Infiniverse Exchange from Ulisses Spiele. We had a really awesome December filled with setting up those programs. My Tech Team members at DriveThruRPG are champions and I couldn’t have done it without them. I have one more coming up but it’s a surprise!
(3) What do you enjoy the most?
I love making people happy, even if it sound cliché. It’s a weird addiction that I have developed over the years. From my friends to my publishers, if I can make their day better, it makes me feel really good. I enjoy seeing people’s smiles and their happiness when helping them out.
(4) Do you have a favorite role? How did you find out about it?
I love all three of my roles, because they offer different sides of everything! I love DriveThruRPG so much, because I can interact with publishers all over the world, and help them get their games up on our site. I found out about the position from my friend, Matt McElroy, who told me that they were hiring. I tossed my resume to them and didn’t think anything would come of it. Three years later, I absolutely LOVE IT!
I became Marketing Director for Midwinter Gaming Convention, because the President, Anne Holmes, needed some help with graphic design. I helped here and there because it was fun and challenging. After about a year, I started helping more and more until Anne gave me the title to work officially for the convention. I adore Midwinter Gaming Convention because it is a small, intimate convention which has tons of games available. The joy you see on guests’ faces is absolutely worth all of the hard work.
I became an Assistant Social Media Administrator Freelancer at Onyx Path Publishing through industry connections. Their Community Manager, Ian Watson, does a phenomenal job running all the different social media platforms, but sometimes it can be a ton of work juggling multiple brands. So, after chatting with the owner, Rich Thomas, I got hired on as a freelancer to split the workload. Ian and I work extremely well together and it’s incredibly fun.
(5) What do you like to do in your free time?
When I am not working, I am usually going on road trip adventures with my friends and/or husband. I love exploring this continent to experience life from different angles. My group of friends enjoy trying out new breweries too! My husband used to be a brewer, so I have developed a taste for craft beer.
I am a photographer on the side, so I am usually snapping pictures of all our adventures. I have an ongoing project right now where my friends pose as Gods/Goddesses for me, which has gone exceptionally well so far. I love being able to create art, but its way better when you can do it with your friends.
I am not a huge reader but the last book I read was American Gods and that was fantastic. I had to read quickly to make sure I finished in time for the premiere of the show.
In terms of tabletop gaming – I started out as a LARPer (Vampire the Masquerade, Werewolf the Apocalypse) but have moved to tabletop RPGs like Mage the Awakening from Onyx Path Publishing, Pugmire from Pugsteady/Onyx Path Publishing, or Little Fears from Jason Blair. We recently did a Roll20 game with my DriveThruRPG crew with D&D 5th edition and I really enjoyed playing with my coworkers. I still LARP extremely rarely at conventions and I am usually going for the one-shot indie parlor LARP games that only last an evening. I recently found a love of card games like Honey Wars and Hero Realms. I do adore classic card games like Cribbage, too. I am slowly dipping my toe into the board game pool with the help of my friend, JR, who is the Board Game Director for Midwinter. So far, Two Rooms and a Boom and Codenames have been really fun. I like fast and quick competitive games the most and have really loved trying out whatever comes my way.
When I am home, I am usually hanging out with my awesome cats (Noctis and Banjo), binge watching The Great British Bake Off or Brooklyn 99, or playing video games. I love most JRPGs like Persona or Final Fantasy or the classics (I am almost done with Zelda: Majora’s Mask!) but you can catch me sometimes playing Puzzle Fighter and Animal Crossing. We no longer play Mario Party or Mario Kart because the household gets a little too competitive!
(6) Is there a role that you have taken that you did not enjoy as much as you thought you would?
Freelance Layout Designer. I thought that working in InDesign was a lot of fun and my skills were beginner at best. When I was handed a he book with tons of art, I was so thrilled and rushed to get it done. Soon, though, it became multiple evenings of frustration. I realized, after the fifth time I opened the file, that I needed to leave it to the experts, and that I had a long way to go before I was at that level. I think that my biggest struggle was making sure everything was absolutely perfect and it drove me a little crazy. I still do layout design from time to time, but for black and white books with simple art that are less than 100 pages.
(7) What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
The Gaming Industry is a pool of talented individuals who have been in the business for varying amounts of time. If you want to get into the industry, you have to network and put yourself out there. One of the biggest misconceptions is that you can jump into the industry and sort of wing it and then have a top title in a matter of days. Get some business cards and start travelling to different conventions, join Facebook groups, and ask questions. Once you start meeting new contacts, follow up with them. If you don’t get picked for something that you’re awesome at, don’t worry! There will be more opportunities that come your way. You just have to remember to keep working and keep getting better. Don’t ever stop doing what you love.
Remember, stay humble and be nice. I see so many people jump into the industry who get cocky very quickly after their first success. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your work, but when you start to lose your sense of manners, the industry will notice. We’re not here to compete. We are here to support one another and celebrate each other’s talents. I think it is important that we remember to say “thank you” and to be appreciative of people’s time that they spend with us as well as building each other up.
(8) Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Hopefully still rocking through all of my jobs! I love all of them and want to continue working in this industry. Travelling off this continent at least once to experience the different cultures around the world. I would like to own my own home with my husband, adding in our two cats and having killer dinner parties.
(9) Growing up, what was one of your favorite things to do?
I was and still am a huge video gamer. I had a healthy social life and spent time with my friends every weekend. When I had free time to myself, though, I always dove into the various stories of video games. I fell in love with the Final Fantasy Series and played it pretty regularly. It gave me a safe place to go when the world around me wasn’t doing so great. I still use video games as a means of relaxing and play pretty frequently in my spare time.
(10) What is your favorite quote?
“Grind Hard. Shine Hard.” – The Rock
My mentor always tells me to ‘hustle hard’ and to work until my dreams are achieved. A lot of people out in this world get their dreams handed to them, and, while it’s great for them to able to have that, the rest of us have to work incredibly hard to get where they are. I think that when you overcome challenges and fight for what you want, it makes that afterglow so much better. You get to look back on all that you have accomplished for a minute before moving onto the next mountain that you want to climb.