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Interview: Jason “Jace” Hall

Most avid gamers are probably aware of the likes of G4 and GameTrailers TV, but you're missing out if you don't tune into the Jace Hall Show on Crackle. Jason "Jace" Hall, founder of HDFILMS, Inc. and Monolith Productions, is already a veteran of both the video game and movie industries. He worked with Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment as SVP and General Manager, and The Hollywood Reporter placed him in their enviable list of "Top 35 execs under the age of 35." And now, he has his own show, which consists of 5-minute episodes that focus on the gaming culture and lifestyle, and how it relates to real people.

We love the idea, so we wanted to find out more. Jace was good enough to talk to us, and we bring you the exclusive interview below.

PSXE: For those who aren’t familiar, how would you describe the show?

Jace: "It's a show that covers the lifestyle that has evolved out of video gaming culture, and how it effectively permeated other pop cultures to become much more mainstream, in the same way that hip-hop has. No program has really focused on that. Instead of focusing on game products, we focus on people who are relating to games in one form or another. We focus on everyone from game designers like Cliffy B to regular people/cool guys who love games. We all play games or know someone who does and it’s a common thing…this show is designed to lightly cover this." [Jace further likened his show to something like "Curb Your Enthusiasm"]

PSXE: This is another example of the gaming industry blending with mainstream entertainment appeal. Did you expect to see this 20 years ago?

Jace: "No, I didn't. But I didn’t care if it would become mainstream; I just cared about it myself. I actually feel a little violated because what was once a secret of mine now it's mainstream. Now everyone is doing it. But I also think it has become special in that it has become so mainstream; it's commonplace and relevant in terms of where people are getting their entertainment fix. It’s part of the normal day conversation. Celebrities have these conversations too, so I realized that this is a common denominator starting to apply to everybody. Get the most die-hard gamers, throw them in a room with George Clooney and they’d have something to talk about that's game-related."

PSXE: How do you think The Jace Hall Show differs from other game-related shows like G4 and GameTrailers TV?

Jace: "Those shows are journalistic, generally; they're trying to provide information about games. My show is not that at all; my show is about people. They (G4, GTTV) will interview Cliffy B and talk about Gears of War , and I’ll take Cliffy and go skydiving or go to a shooting range, and you’ll actually see Cliffy B the person. And that’s interesting, and if we do talk about GeoW, it'll be for about 10 seconds, and that’s it. If I show a game, it's just because I think it's cool. It’s a different approach; so my show is more accessible to non-gamers, it’s a much wider spectrum than just the narrow band of, 'hey, we’re looking at this game and here are the features.'

This industry has always been so product-focused; it has always been more about companies and less about people. And a lot of other entertainment does focus on people, so we can identify with them. The game industry doesn’t have that; we’re missing out on this, and how people relate to the gaming industry and those in the gaming industry. The show is about playing around in that space. I know a lot of people; I know all the top game designers and have met a lot of Hollywood celebrities. What you’re seeing is real; it's part of my life, so the show is like, 'let’s roll the cameras and see what happens.' It turns out to be entertaining."

PSXE: We know you’re only on the third episode, but what does the future hold in store for the Jace Hall Show? What are your plans looking down the road?

Hall: "There's a total of 13 episodes we’re definitely going to do. We're really focused on listening to what the audience thinks and reacting to it, and then shaping the show as we go. One of the big requests is to have more hot chicks, so we say, 'okay, so who’s really hot and how does the video game culture touch that person, if at all.' We see this show continuing to evolve and grow with the audience; it’s not trying to replace stuff like G4 and GTTTV because it’s unique and we really want the audience to feel as if their opinions and viewpoints matter.

We’ll respond to what the audience wants and we want to make it dynamic and interactive. If they want more beyond the 13 episodes, we’ll go and do it. It is only 5 minutes and you have to live within an Internet budget, but people seem to enjoy it and we’re doing the best we can. Crackle has been doing a great job of bringing people to the show and making it available to them."

PSXE: Who’s your favorite guest so far, and who would you like to get on the show going forward?

Hall: "They’re all so different but I will say that Zack Levi pissed me off the most. We have a bet here in Episode 3 and I don't want to give anything away, but he vanishes for a while and it gives me some stress. He really did take off; just know that when you watch the show. In the future, I’d like to have someone you absolutely wouldn’t expect to see, like Oprah Winfrey, then you’d be like, 'oh my God, the industry has come so far.'"

PSXE: What do you think of the PS3, and how difficult it can be for developers to get a handle on it?

Jace: "You’re going to see a dramatic increase in the quality of PS3 titles as time marches on. I know how difficult it was at first; it’s so different from traditional development. If you want to get the most out of it, you need to adjust your thinking. Monolith and all the developers; I know they want to deliver the best they can on the PS3 and now they’ve had more time to learn the intricacies of the PS3. So you should expect a better situation all around. I’m hoping to get my show up to Monolith and do a secret inside scoop on Project Origin."

PSXE: What types of games are you most interested in, and what are you playing right now?

Jace: "Generally, I focused a lot on FPSs, but when I moved into console gaming, my palette got much wider. I like the XBL arcade games for example, and actually, almost all my FPS shooting has been done on the PS3, particularly because of Unreal Tournament 3 . The speed of that game just hones your skills. Most recently I’ve been playing GTAIV; that's the last game I put my hands on and messed around with, but I’ve been pretty busy to get this show complete. Oh, and I play a lot of Nintendo Wii tennis, too."

End Interview

We certainly thank Jace Hall for his time and wish him the best of luck on his show. We've seen the first two episodes and the third just aired today. You should definitely take a look; the third episode features mixed martial arts champion Cung Le, plus the aforementioned bet between Jace and Zack. So go watch the show now and remember to tune in every Thursday at 1:00 p.m. ET to watch future episodes.

Lastly, Jace says he's working with Sony to bring his show to the PlayStation Network, so we can simply use our PS3s to check out the fun. We'll be looking for that!

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