Barry and Jason: How We Write an Awards Show

by The Bloom Report | 26 Oct 2023

Industry Commentary, Op-Ed


Barry Mclaughlin and Jason Lautenschleger of Barry & Jason Games and Entertainment were brought in to write this year’s TAGIE awards, and we thought we’d try an experiment: Let’s see just how in sync these two guys are! We asked them to each recount, separately, what the process was for writing the awards show. Do they share a brain? Or is one of them from Mars and the other Venus? Let’s find out!


Jason’s Memory:

When we were asked to help out with the TAGie Awards show, we were as honored as if we had been told that we won every single one of the TAGie Awards ourselves. So we acted as if we had done exactly that and celebrated for two weeks straight on the French Riviera--telling everyone we were Melissa & Doug and that they should just “put it on our tab.” 


That’s how we start writing all our awards shows.


The second thing we always try to do is put ourselves in the shoes and seats of everyone attending as we wonder aloud, “What would Rich Mazel want to see?” 


Pyrotechnics…feats of grace and strength…talented bears… 


And then it usually hits us: Super-strong bears juggling flame-throwers! This is a roundabout way of saying that the second step to writing an awards show is about finding where the boundaries are. After hearing enough people say, “listen, Melissa & Doug…if those even are your real names…We don’t know what kind of anarchy you’re used to, but Chicago has laws.” 


Oh man, the number of times we’ve heard the phrase “Chicago has laws” in the past few weeks…


The third phase of writing for an awards show is to ask ourselves, “would our parents be proud?” This conjures up repressed feelings, itchiness, hiccups and a 5-week fugue state that I eventually wake up from in time for Barry to say, “It is finished.”

Barry’s Account:

When Mary asked if we would help write the TAGIEs, we immediately carb-loaded with 32 baked potatoes, stood up very slowly (so we didn’t pass out), bought all the pencils we could find, sharpened those pencils, counted the pencils over and over and over while calling ourselves The Pencil Kings, asked ourselves “Who has more pencils than the Pencil Kings??? No one!!”, took out a full-page ad in the Bloom Report challenging anyone to take us on in a Who’s Got More Pencils Competition, got no takers, reconsidered our approach, bought more pencils from a shady pencil dealer, asked ourselves “Why are we ruining our lives with all these pencils???”, and then decided to just sit at our computers and type up the script like normal human adults.


The meat and potatoes of the night (great Chicago reference!) are really the various speakers and the awards themselves. Everyone is there to see who takes home the hardware! But we were able to sneak in a handful of funny moments throughout the event, including a new video series called The Toys That Didn’t Make It. With Karri Bean as our host with the most, music from Skip Towne and the Greyhounds, and a fun new venue at Joe’s Live, this event is sure to be a hoot and a half! (Keep an eye out for that half-hoot, whoever spots it first gets an extra salad!)


The TAGIEs team is a talented group of hard-working heroes, led by Mary Couzin, Karri Bean, Brent Roland, Peggy Brown, Danielle Reinhardt, and Sari Wiaz. We’re happy that we were able to add some special sauce to the evening, and if you like our special sauce, we will be handing out samples of Barry & Jason’s Special Sauce at Costcos throughout the greater Chicago area following the event. (ONE SAMPLE PERSON PLEASE, we’re not made of sauce!)

See you in Chicago!

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Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!