Time spent, the short amount of time that we have together, in conversation between people has a way of rapidly accelerating the incubation of thoughts inside one’s own head. Whether you share this opinion now, as a reflection of your experiences, or come to this realization later in life – when the moments that came before feel like the endless flickering of the sun’s rays across the shadows of a tree’s branch – it’s this time between people that can have a profound effect on our development as individuals.
This is equally true when it comes to the pursuit of one’s passion, a career, or in any relationship really: time spent with people is what fundamentally shapes who we are and influences what we will become. Every moment, every interaction, every opportunity to reflect, extol, or digest with other people brings about either; slow-change – like the friction of a thousand grains of sand across the surface of a rock – or the dramatic eruption of change.
Kind of a heavy way to kick off a resource focused on encouraging and organizing communities in game audio, but it gives you an idea of the significance I place on these interactions. Your community, whoever you are and whatever community makes you feel like you belong, can be a lifeline in times of need and allows for the building of relationships that can help transcend your current understanding of the world.
Ultimately, the most important aspect of any community are the people.
Interactions With People
They’re important. They’re fundamental. They’re a gift you can unwrap many times throughout your life. Not only that, but it is through these interactions that you grow as a person and as a professional. A failure to connect on a personal level can often be attributed to not trying hard enough or in the right way. With all of the different personality types that exist in the world, it’s unfair to expect everyone to be interstellar communicators. However, in an industry (and at events) that can be seen as fundamentally cooperative it’s important to cultivate the skills necessary to bridge those awkward gaps in conversation and gain understanding.
Power of Vocabulary
Choosing words that communicate inclusively within a community is something that requires understanding, empathy, and respect. It also takes people to help correct for any behavior that doesn’t fit within the context of the group, especially in the context of professional development. The cultivation of community within a group is as much about the people who contribute to it as the way in which they do. Finding ways to message appropriate behavior or conduct is sometimes as simple as the words chosen between people.
Every Conversation Resonates
There is always a value to sharing your experience with other people. Finding a way to respectfully add to, or start, a conversation will always have an effect. Like the ripples in a pond, our voices vibrate air in a magical dance of unseen consequence. It’s unknown to us how our words will be received, processed, or used as fuel for a person’s understanding which makes the mindfulness of our intention all the more important.
Perspective of Presentation
The community can help everyone find purpose and perspective in their work. You can dress-up any event with free food, great presentations, fancy branding, or conveniently located watering-holes, but you ultimately rely on the people who show up to carry the bulk of experience. Find ways to encourage the best in people, whether through; coordination diversity, involvement opportunities, ownership, or example.
The Three C’s of Game Audio Groups
Coordination – Consistency – Communication
Coordination: It only take one person to coordinate and can makes the whole experience easier to manage. While it does help to get ideas for locations and general meetup times from folks at-first…and maybe with a smaller group this can continue to be a solid strategy…but, as anyone who has ever tried to get consensus from a large group can tell you, eventually someone will have to make the final decisions.
It helps when one person coordinates. Set a time & place and people will show up.
Consistency: Monthly, weekly, bi-annually…whatever! Make it happen on a regular basis or risk losing the momentum of semblance. There will be folks who fade in-and-out, flake on a moment’s notice, and waffle right up until the end. As long as there are two-to-tango no meetup is ever without merit. Be the person who
Communication: Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Sure, but I would recommend finding a way to get meetup & community announcements delivered via email direct to people’s Inbox. Email continues to be the one-communication-format-to-rule-them-all in my experience.
Bonus Round: Education
Once a community has been established, you might find a ton of folks with valuable insight all participating in creating a culture of improvement. The best thing that a group or community can do with this situation is to provide a platform for people to share their experience equally across all involved. I’ll tell you a secret: Every community I’ve ever been a part of has had amazing folks who are eager to contribute. Find an easy path for people to share what they have found value in and you start a positive loop of education that feeds itself and keeps your community looking forward to future meetups.
Worldwide Game Audio Group Map
In an effort to help spread the word about game audio groups and their meetups, I have created a world-map with links:
Each location can be embedded with picture, text and links:
The only thing required for inclusion in the World Map is a web address of some kind where folks who are interested can “sign up” for notifications regarding upcoming events. If your group is on FB, please consider making the group public for those of us who are not part of FB but are interested in keeping track of your group’s activity.
If your group has been included or you are interested in establishing your group: Please verify the information I’ve gathered for your meetups and holler at me with any changes you might want to make. (Would also be great to get a brief on your group to add to the “Description”)
This article is a guest contribution by former editorial member Damian Kastbauer. It, and the entire Audio Implementation Greats Series here at DesigningSound.org, have been released as part of a two-volume collection or writings that can be found here. Thanks for reading!