Guest contribution by Mirella Diez Moran
My name is Mirella, I’m a video game sound designer and I’m Spanish too. I guess that in any other country none of these things would be particularly relevant, but given that there are very few people working in video game sound over here-not many more than twenty people-I guess I’m like some sort of unicorn.
When I decided I wanted to work as a video game sound designer, I had already worked in a few audiovisual projects. The problem with the Spanish film industry is that most companies are pretty crowded, so I was aware that it would be almost impossible to make a living out of working in it. It was then, when I played a game called “Sword & Sworcery”, that I realized that I could try entering the video game industry. I’m also a gamer since I was little, so I thought it was a brilliant idea.
Jessica Curry is a Director and Composer at The Chinese Room, a game development studio based in Brighton, UK. The studio shipped their first game, Dear Esther in 2012 and are currently hard at work on their third, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture.
Designing Sound: Tell us a little about how you got started out as a composer? What kind of projects did you start out with?
Jessica Curry: I started composing when I was a little girl. I begged for piano lessons and loved it from the outset. I was always writing little songs; the first Mozartian classic being “Jessica Curry is in a hurry, she’s going on holiday/Hip hip, hurray, she’s going on holiday.” I think you can spot the innate talent right there. Then a fun three years reading English Literature and Language at University followed by a “what the hell are you doing with your life, you’re working at the Warner Brothers store” talk from my amazing late step-dad who gently pushed the National Film and Television screenwriting Screen Music course application under my nose. From then on, a vast and pretty bizarre array of projects. I often say that I’ve had a desperately unstrategic career but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I always follow my heart rather than my head and this has led to some phenomenally interesting collaborations, ranging from a Requiem for a Second Life character for the Royal Opera House to writing lullabies for Great Ormond Street Hospital. So although I’ve very probably sacrificed recognition in one particular field, to me what I’ve gained is the most wonderful and unusual collection of projects and that to me has been worth far more.
A fitting announcement for International Women’s Day. In an effort to counter the 20% pay gap between men and women’s salaries, Sound Librarian will be making a permanent change to their pricing structure, by allowing women wishing to enroll for any course or access training materials for a 20% discount on advertised prices.
Speaking from the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Stephan Schutze of Sound Librarian has said, “to counter the pay gap disparity, this will apply to regular pricing AND to any sale pricing of our products. [It] is a small attempt to address an imbalance and support women in games.”
Those wishing to take advantage of the policy will have to confirm their identity and applications will be processed manually. For further information, contact Stephan Schutze at Sound Librarian.
Steinberg will preview Nuendo 7 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco next week, and have announced a new feature, Game Audio Connect, that will provide instant and seamless connection to Audiokinetic’s Wwise middleware platform.
It will allow mixdowns to be exported to Wwise from Nuendo via a simple drag-and-drop operation, and it will also be possible to open the Nuendo project that corresponds to an exported section, directly from Wwise.
Michael Sweet presenting at GDC
As the Artistic Director of Video Game Scoring at Berklee College of Music, Michael Sweet leads the development of the game scoring curriculum. Michael is an accomplished video game composer and has been the audio director of more than 100 award winning video games. His work can be heard on the X-Box 360 logo and on award winning games from Cartoon Network, Sesame Workshop, PlayFirst, iWin, Gamelab, Shockwave, RealArcade, Pogo, Microsoft, Lego, AOL, and MTV, among others. He has won the Best Audio Award at the Independent Games Festival, the BDA Promax Gold Award for Best Sound Design, and has been nominated for four Game Audio Network Guild (GANG) awards. In 2014, Michael authored the book “Writing Interactive Music for Video Games” which is now available from Pearson Publishing.
Michael was a professor of mine during my studies at Berklee College of Music. Given this months’ theme of “education”, I thought it would be enlightening to hear Michael share his perspective as a professor of game audio with the Designing Sound community. So, without further ado…