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15 Minutes of Fame: Reality TV producer beats interview drama and ICC

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft personalities of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, from the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Discipline priest and reality TV field producer Jordan Peterson shows discipline indeed in maintaining two ICC raiding characters while working on the road for weeks and months at a time. Despite long days unspooling endless hours of production arrangements and endless drama filming interviews for The Marriage Ref, the Kingslayer has managed to carve a reliable nightly niche for 10-man progression raiding. With four twinks and two end-game raiding characters, Peterson balances perpetual travel, bad hotel connections, a fiancée (who happens to raid with him), work and interviews with playing WoW ... "But I find time," he declares.

Yes, folks, it's another 15 Minutes of Fame with just another non-basement-dwelling, non-Cheetos-munching WoW player ... The trolls who proliferate that stereotype all over the internet must really hate us, don't you think? Join us after the break as Peterson shares a slice of life on the road in reality TV.

Main character Nightingael (disc/shadow PvP)
Guild <The Farm Team>
Realm Bloodhoof (US-A)

15 Minutes of Fame: Tell us a little about the life of a field producer. What type of things do you do?

My path to this point was a strange one. I graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in film. I immediately moved to Florida and began working at Walt Disney World (Disney is my passion). While there, I was a dancer, face character, stunt man and improv actor in both Disney World and Tokyo Disney. Eventually, I felt like I needed to grow outside the company, so I moved to LA and began working in casting for Mirimax. That lead to casting for shows like Don't Forget the Lyrics and eventually producing.

On my most recent project, The Marriage Ref (NBC), I wore a few different hats. The show's concept was pretty basic: find couples who have an ongoing argument ... get a celebrity panel to vote on the fight ... and decide a winner. By the end, my job was to lead a team (camera op, second producer and myself) in the field and film the 2- to 3-minute "couple fight" packages that the viewers and celebrities would watch and judge. Sounds simple enough, right? The problem comes when you try to balance true realism with entertainment. The integrity behind Ref was actually really high. None of the fights you see are fake; there is no scripting or setting up fake scenes. However, not everyone fights in an entertaining manner, not everyone holds their ground in an argument and not everyone is funny.

This is where part of my job comes in. If your wife wants you to shave your beard you've had for 30 years, you can't win the argument by just saying, "I don't wanna shave." You have to defend and attack back in an entertaining manner. In that respect, I may stop the cameras down and ask you to tell me about some famous men throughout history who had beards. Suddenly, you're firing back with, "Jesus had a beard! Do you think anyone asked him to shave? Abe Lincoln had a beard! I bet his wife asked him to shave it before going to out to see a play and he said, 'Over my dead body.' Well, you see where that got him." Suddenly its funny, it's topical, it's an open-ended conversation that anyone can join in on, which is what we want.

Is your schedule fairly regular in stretches, or are you unable to maintain anything solid for long?

My schedule is consistently inconsistent. Most TV/film employees work on a project-to-project basis, which means you never know where/when your next paycheck is going to come from. I have been on shows for one week, and I have been on shows for 11 months. Sadly, the later is the rarer. The unfortunate part about contract work is when you are off, you can't enjoy it like a vacation. You don't ever feel like you have permission to relax, because you could always be doing something more to find new work. Also the whole lack of income during down times is a big bummer.

How how did you get into WoW?

My girlfriend ended up getting a contract to perform overseas at Tokyo Disney early 2005. I figured I had quite a bit of free time now and wanted to find a new game to sink some time into. Originally ... I suppose I was very casual. Some of the best times I had, however, were 2-manning higher-level dungeons with my roommate and best friend Dustin. We would hop into a 5-man five or six levels over our range and take it pull by pull, planning every move ahead of time. It was fantastic -- and every time we wiped, we took a shot, so it's a win/win. He was a ret pally and at the time my main was an afflic 'lock, so I would blueberry tank and banish, he would pick up the rest, rotating stuns and praying. Awesome times.

I'm more focused on end-game progression now with my main, a bubble-spamming machine. With DPS I feel stuck in a rotation, with little to no creative freedom. As a tank, it was more responsibility, but in the end, I was always in a healer's hands. As a healer, I feel I make or break the group. I enjoy the pressure, the last-second Pain Suppressions and agonizing choice to heal that tank and let the DPS go. The stress and frantic nature of it all just adds a whole new level to the game.

You say you have two ICC raiding characters. Do they raid with a guild? Are they part of the progression team, or is it more of a case of filling slots when your schedule permits? ... Or is PUG raiding a better fit for you?

*shudder* PUG raiding. No, no, Nightingael is one of the main healers for <The Farm Team>'s 10-man casual progression team. My tank stays geared on the off-chance that we are missing a tank for the week, but that's about it. We are currently 8 of 12 on ICC-10 hard modes, working on Putricide at the moment. Maybe he'll be down by the time this runs. Our group is fantastic and led by a great guy (Kharil). We are casual progression, so we understand life happens, and not everyone can be on all the time. There is very little ego, and everyone is willing to spend a night or 20 wiping. I'm also very proud to sport a 6k GearScore while almost never running an ICC-25.

How much WoW time would you say you can typically carve out during a week on the road?

This is where I luck out! Our 10-man progression is a late-night group and runs at 11:30 east coast time. As the field producer, I generally decide what time we shoot -- so guess whose team is usually wrapping shooting by 6 p.m. every night? I usually have enough time to comfortably get back to the hotel room, log tapes, do edit notes, write one sheets and scarf some food before jumping on to venture into the gates of Icecrown. Surprisingly, I have an easier time raiding on the road sometimes than back home because of the time. Days at the office can run till well past raid; days on the road are a bit more stressful, but thankfully a bit shorter.

We hear the girlfriend is now a fiancée. Congrats! Does she still play? What's her take on WoW and gaming?

We actually met doing a show together at Walt Disney World. It was a prince and princess situation -- quite literally, if you catch my driftI Really cheesy, right? We gag at it also ... don't worry. When she moved to LA to pursue acting, she decided to pick up a toon since I was so into the game and we could use it as a way to be together from across the country. She got hooked pretty fast. She is now the swing healer/DPS for our 10-man progression, though she's mostly healing due to hard modes. It has been a blast to watch this girl, who never gamed and used to literally tear up from the pressure of healing in 5-mans, become this ridiculously OP, chain-healing turret of a woman ... er ... space goat.

I know you must meet sooo many people in the course of your work. Any WoW players? Ever find yourself holed up talking WoW shop with someone completely unexpected?

At one point while casting Ref, I had to make a phone call to a couple who fought over the husband's excessive gaming. The phone rings at interview time, and it's the wife. She starts apologizing to me, but her husband can't make it to the phone because he is in raid. Suddenly I realize what game is the "problem." She forces the phone up to his ear and he starts stammering apologies, but he is in the middle of this thing called a raid and there are real people relying on him, etc., etc. I asked what exactly he was doing, and he cautiously replies, "Fighting the XT002-Deconstructor," sounding ashamed. I simply reply, "Well, go ahead, nuke the heart when it drops, beat the enrage, win some phat lootz, drop your wife aggro, and call me back and we will chat." I hear a loud cheer from him and a "You have to *%$(#ing kidding me..." from the wife.

What's next up for you professionally?

This is where my passion and future hopefully lies ... lays ... lie ... lye ... is going to be. I produce live shows (Pirates of the Caribbean 3 premiere for Walt Disney World) and interactive events like Zombie Adventure and CT Shield.

I have a meeting with Walt Disney Imagineering soon to discuss the future, and I pray that future is with them. It has been a dream of mine to be an Imagineer since I was 8. To be on the team behind some of the amazing shows, rides and events that Disney puts out would be a dream come true, pardon the turn of phrase.

And what about in game? Are you planning to play Cataclysm?

I believe we will keep on keeping on in Cataclysm. I am most excited about rated BGs. I friggin love BGs but can't stand running with idiots. It is such a crap shoot heading into one, because for all you know, you are with all 3k GearScore folks and you have no chance from the beginning. Or people are out in the middle of WSG fighting while they watch the flag run right past them. ... Suddenly, I'll have people to heal who will actually fight to protect me. CAN'T WAIT!

"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with these players from all walks of life, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Aron "Nog" Eisenberg to Olympic medalist Megan Jendrick ... from a quadriplegic player to a player who's racked up every achievement in the game.


Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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