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Married couple collaborate on creative work

Dan McGee

Jon and Eileen Gay are a selfemployed couple who have separate business ventures.

He is the director and cameraman for JAG Broadcast Video while she is the lead animator for WAAAHOO Productions.

Originally from Southern California, both were headed toward their creative fields early in life.

“I always wanted to draw,” Eileen said.

“When I did my homework, I was usually watching cartoons or scribbling.”

After high school she attended Cal Arts on a full-ride Disney Fellowship Scholarship, worked for several studios, including Hanna Barbera and eventually moved to Lake Tahoe, where she commuted to Southern California to work on a series.

“I got a lot of frequent flyer miles as I was working on the ‘Black Caldron’ series,” she said.

“At Tahoe I was an illustrator and logo designer.

Then I joined the Crystal Bay Group and met a lot of people that are still working with each other.”

Jon grew up in a news household as his father was a radio and newspaper reporter.

“I attended San Diego State and went through their telecommunication and film projection major where I got a degree in TV production,” he said.

After moving to Reno, he was the head photographer at Channel 2 before joining the Crystal Bay Group, where he met Eileen.

After they married, the Gays moved to Hawaii where Jon worked for a TV station while Eileen joined an agency and dealt with corporate clients.

“We came back to Reno in 1990 and an opportunity presented itself for going into business,” he said.

Although they usually work independently, they recently collaborated on the “BowWowOw,” video for Nevada’s Department of Agriculture.

The goal was to help reduce dog bites among school children.

As the producer, Eileen realized that video would be needed.

“I knew just the guy to do that,” she said.

Animation was used to show the dogs, some of whom were angry, while Jon shot the part-live action with actor Joey McKenna and several local children.

Combining two mediums, they achieved the desired results, which won them a “Telly,” award for a non-broadcast video.

Both Jon and Eileen have seen major changes in their business efforts due to the digital revolution.

Embracing change, they found that CDs and DVDs have brought them increased opportunities.

Asked about dealing with the rapid changes in technology, Eileen said, “You have to go with the flow.”

Commenting on their independent, yet complementary, businesses, Jon said, “We can work together, like on BowWowOw, or separately.

The nice thing is that you don’t have to keep all the knowledge in your head.” “How we do it depends on the product,” Eileen said.

“If I need help, say with editing, I can ask Jon while he can ask me about animation or layout.”

Currently, most of Jon’s work is broadcast video for corporations or working with visiting production crews.

“Locally I’ve been doing industrial projects for Sierra Pacific for a long time and work with local corporations through agencies,” he said.

“My business varies in cycles,” Eileen said.

“I’ll have projects out of town then it cycles to local work for commercial clients.

The illustration has been pretty local while animation comes and goes.”

Asked about the future, Jon said, “Reno is beginning to get some recognition.

There is a lot of things beginning to happen and it’s great for me.

It’s also very important that Reno stays friendly.”

Both Eileen and Jon feel they’re in expanding markets and that their recent video has helped showcase their talents.

Now they’re looking forward to the next opportunity.