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The first annual Stiks Arcade Charity Gaming Gala will take place at Boulevard 3 on Thursday December 6, the night before the Spike TV VGAs hosted by Samuel L. Jackson. Stiks Gaming co-founders Michael Wasserman (The Final Season) and Brett Claywell (One Life to Live) will be joined at the charity event by Janina Gavankar (True Blood); Cobi Jones (MLS soccer star); Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights); Mike “The Miz” Mizanin (WWE); LaMorne Morris (New Girl); Scott Porter (Hart of Dixie); Ethan Zohn (Survivor) and other celebrities. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Hurricane Sandy relief.
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In January 2013, Stiks Gaming will expand beyond physical fundraising events by launching a gaming site (www.stiksgaming.com) that will allow celebrities to connect with fans over games, while raising money for their favorite charities. Claywell talks about how gaming is opening up new opportunities for good causes in this exclusive interview.
The Hollywood Reporter: How did Stiks Gaming come about?
Brett Claywell: I was an actor for 10 years and coming out of One Life to Live I felt like there was a void in the celebrity charitable world. Michael Wasserman, my partner, has focused on organizing successful charitable events. We put our heads together and with his expertise in charity events and my connections with the gaming world, we came up with this idea. We could utilize the celebrity base we know and create events and gaming leagues. The platform we’re launching in January 2013 will be on www.StiksGaming.com.
THR: How are you working with game companies on these events?
Claywell: We did a campaign in June with Red (Rush) at the Avalon and we worked with Xbox, PlayStation, 2K Sports and EA Sports. We’re uniting the gaming community by getting companies that normally compete against each other to come together in support of charities. We look at this as a new avenue to support charitable giving. Video games are the most successful entertainment industry around. As a company, we’re open to working with everyone in the games industry from social, PC, mobile and console gaming.
THR: How will StiksGaming.com work once it launches?
Claywell: The site will be a social networking site, where celebrities can create profiles and link to whatever charities they want to support and gamers can come in and play. In addition to playing games there will also be the ability to web chat and video chat.
THR: What options are there for celebrities interested in bringing their charity to this gaming world?
Claywell: StiksGaming.com will offer multiple opportunities for celebrities to get involved. You can create a tournament on a game like Madden NFL 13 and have gamers enter for the chance to win a chance to play against that celebrity. You can also create a sweepstakes, where fans for smaller donations can enter for the chance to play a celebrity. These can be randomly chosen. And a celebrity can pick a charity and set a price and offer fans the chance to donate that amount to play against them in a game.
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THR: Who are some of the celebrities you’ve worked at so far?
Claywell: We’ve been building up this company and this site over the past 12 months and we’ve worked with over 100 celebrities already. We’ve worked with Kate Upton, Rampage Jackson, Zac Efron, Chris Evans, Havana Brown, Wayne Brady, Fatal1ty, Jorge Garcia, Snoop Dogg, Tyler Posey, John Salle, and Michael Strahan.
THR: How did you end up teaming up with Michael Wasserman for this company?
Claywell: Michael and I met in 2006 on a movie we worked on, The Final Season. Over the last eight or nine years both of us have been active in this world. A lot of these people who attend these events are personal friends of mine. Part of what this company is founded on is our relationships with a lot of these people. When you look at the list of the celebrities we’ve worked with over the past year, we expect to work with many of them in 2013 and beyond.
THR: Can you talk about the Stiks Arcade Charity Gaming Gala?
Claywell: Our company wants to create unique charitable fundraising events through gaming. We’re bringing in 20 to 25 arcade machines to Boulevard 3 from Pac-man to Gauntlet to Dance Dance Revolution. People can purchase tokens to play these games and 100% of the proceeds will go to Hurricane Sandy. We have Nick Cannon as our DJ for the event. We’ve been getting a lot of good traction around Hollywood so far and it should be a really fun event to attend.
THR: How much do you hope to raise with this event?
Claywell: We’re hoping to raise $50,000 at this event. This event is night before the Spike VGAs. It will be an annual event before that show to highlight and celebrate the fusion of games and celebrities.
THR: How easy is it to get the growing number of gamer celebrities to get involved?
Claywell: The impetus for this idea is that celebrities are very busy and time is valuable. Even attending one of our events, they have to get red carpet ready, travel and it’s a four-hour commitment. The Stiks Website allows that celebrity to raise money for their charity from home, on set or from their tour bus. I’ve been around a lot of celebrities that play video games consistently during their free time. Athletes will play in hotel rooms, actors will play on set, singers will play on tour buses. I’ve had a lot of different gaming sessions with celebrities from all over. This idea came from personal gaming experiences I’ve had.
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THR: What video games are you playing these days?
Claywell: I was an athlete growing up, so NBA 2K13 is a great game. The fusion of music and gaming has always been big in 2K games and I like what they’ve done with Jay-Z in the new game. FIFA 13 is my favorite. I grew up playing soccer. I don’t get a lot of time to play the one-player games, I usually play cooperatively. I haven’t played Call of Duty: Black Ops II yet, but I’m looking forward to that one.
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