Letter from the President 2010

Now is a time to reflect and remind ourselves of all that our community has accomplished, and to remember that GANG – in it’s 9th year – is still going strong and staying relevant & beneficial. We continue to expand and evolve, and stay focused on our core mission: to serve and support the very best and brightest ears and minds in game audio.

The following recaps some of the year’s bright moments, and provides crucial evidence of action by the Guild community – a reminder that we can still produce, still grow, and still support each other in a time of worldwide uncertainty and fundamental change:

Pro Branches Evolve

With over a year of hard work under their belts, the GANG Voice Actors Coalition (GVAC) hasn’t stopped evangelizing on behalf of the professional dialog and VO community. Led by co-chairs and industry veterans Chip Beaman, Alexander Brandon, David Chan, Morla Gorrondona, and Jacquie Shriver, GVAC hit some serious milestones in 2010. Meeting like clockwork on a bi-monthly schedule, GVAC has been maintaining regular contact with AFTRA/SAG representatives, and continues to develop core best practices for the VO pipeline.

The first membership-wide conference calls were established, and featured input from 2K’s Michael Csurics, Line In Audio’s Kevin McMullan, DB Talent’s Debora Duckett, and actors JS Gilbert and Sarah Elmaleh. The transcript notes from the call titled “Understanding Both Sides of The Microphone” will be made available before the 25th GDC.

Not to be outdone, The Interactive Entertainment Sound Developers (IESD) branch successfully completed it’s reorganization by installing co-chairs Rob Bridgett, Kenny Young, and the intrepid Scott Selfon. Rob Bridgett continues his well respected work on reference level standards, and we have begun to post new material and content from the pro branch on the main GANG website. Stay tuned for more announcements at the Gang Townhall Meeting at GDC.

Exclusive Events

2010 was a banner year for events, with GANG hosting and supporting more industry exclusive events than ever before in our history. Our goal was to surpass 2009, and we did it with style, grace, and excellence (and I bested my frequent flier mile record in the process!). Hot off the heals of GDC and the BIGGEST GANG Awards After Party ever, GANG continued a grand tradition with the second annual Summer Summit, sponsored by DTS and hosted by Diamond Sponsor Pyramind Studios. The event showcased members of the Valve Audio Team, including Tim Larkin, Mike Morasky, Bill Van Buren, and Kelly Thornton – who expertly discussed their work from Left for Dead and Left for Dead 2. The sold out event was a huge success, and we will surely continue the tradition in the months ahead.

2010 also saw the evolution of Board Member and Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Brian Schmidtʼs GameSoundCon – hitting Seattle, NYC, and San Francisco with a cutting-edge format and top pro speakers and presenters. Highlights included presentations from Tom Salta, Scott Selfon, and yours truly – and some surprise special guests like Guy Whitmore from MGS, David Mollerstedt from EA/DICE, Jesse Harlin from LucasArts, Jason Hayes from Carbine/NCSoft, and Jay Weinland from Bungie.

SCEA also continued its postmortem partnership with GANG and Pyramind Studios by presenting an exclusive panel event on God of War 3. Moderated by SCEA’s Clint Bajakian, the panelists included composer Gerard Marino, Leslie Ann Jones from Skywalker Sound, and Michael Bricker from SCEA. Another major game franchise hit the road this year with an exclusive tour and presentation series.

Created in collaboration with MTV Games and Harmonix, Pyramind Studios CEO and NARAS/GRAMMY Trustee Gregory J. Gordon worked with RBN Executive Director Jeff Marshall to produce and deliver the T-Mobile RBN Creators Club Workshop Tour. The tour featured presentations from authoring experts, including GANG Demo Derby phenom Jeff Schmidt; and hit 8 major cities including Miami, SF, NYC, Nashville, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle.

Other key GANG events included the annual GANG BBQ, ASCAP Composer Roundtables, NAMM, AES, Grammy Soundtables, Art Institute, Berklee College of Music, E3, Stadium Red, and a special NYC GANG Hang hosted by Tom Salta and Diamond Sponsor Somethin’ Else Music.

Last but not least, Video Games Live hit a major milestone with a national concert event broadcast on PBS stations around the country. GANG Founder and VGL impresario Tommy Tallarico took to the airwaves to promote the concert event and presented the exclusive Blu-Ray offering, which has garnered rave reviews – not to be missed!

Sponsors and Partnerships

We couldn’t present all of these exclusive events without the help of our dedicated sponsors and partners. GANG proudly continues its partnership with Sumthing Else Musicworks, whose award-winning soundtrack releases have served as a benchmark for the medium. Sumthin’ highlights have also included a 89.5 Classical Austin broadcast of “HALO! Nice to Meet You”, a retrospective of the music from the Halo universe.

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) P & E Wing continues to build bridges with us – and we’d like to offer thanks to Maureen Droney and SF Executive Director Chris Wiltsee for their continued energy and guidance.

GANG also thanks UBM/Think Services and the incredible staff of GDC for their constant support. We would also like to welcome our newest Sponsors East West and Stadium Red Studios for their kind support, and Dan Rudin for sponsoring our newsletter initiative.

GANG continues to thrive because of caring Sponsors that support our mission. On behalf of all of the Officers and Board Members, GANG would like to thank Sumthing Else Musicworks, 5 Rockets, Pyramind Studios, Capcom, Professional Musicians Local 47, ASCAP, TEC Foundation, Pinnacle College, Dolby, The Producers and Engineers Wing, DTS, BMI, Epic Games, Heavy Melody Music, Richard Jacques Studios, Video Games Live, GameSoundCon, Global Mobility Law, Berklee Music Online, Presonus, and ThinkServices/GDC.

Hellos and Goodbyes

I wanted to take a moment to recognize Sean Beeson – composer, friend, and former GANG Secretary and Community Manager. After years of service to the Guild, Sean has stepped down to take care of his growing family (congrats on number 2 on the way!), and manage his busy professional schedule. GANG would not be where it is today without his wit, charm, dedication, and pioneering spirit. Sean will still be active on the message boards, and we all wish him well on the next stage of his journey.

Filling big shoes is not a problem for News maven and new Community Manager Dren McDonald, who was unanimously elected to assume crucial community engagement duties. Dren has stepped up to the challenge with gusto, and is now quarterbacking more infrastructure challenges than can be believed. Welcome Dren!

Final Thoughts

We continue to persist, pursue, and produce – and GANG is not slowing down at all. Our international numbers are growing, and the game audio industry is looking to us for guidance and leadership as the creative bar is raised.

With the 25th GDC almost upon us, we hope that you will stay engaged and active in our community – and help us achieve more than ever before in the coming year. Please stay in touch with us through the website and forums, and feel free to email us at [email protected] We want to hear from you, and work with you to make the GANG experience as good as it can be.

On behalf of the Officers, Board Members, Advisors, and Co-Chairs – stay healthy, stay happy, stay productive, and stay with us – there is much that the New Year will bring.

Warm Regards, and with much love and admiration to you and your families,

Paul Lipson
Game Audio Network Guild