These days, there’s a convention for everything, from online video to podcasts. GameSoundCon is one of the nerdier ones, a two-day conference that aims to teach all the core concepts, practical skills and game audio training needed to get a music or sound design job in the video game industry.
The timetable is relatively complicated, with four separate tracks depending on where your interests (and existing skillset, ambitions, etc) lie. If you’re fairly new to the industry, the Game Audio Essentials Track is the one to pick but if you’re a seasoned professional, you’ll find yourself more comfortable on the game audio pro track.
Audio for Virtual Reality is more of a conference within a conference, focusing on the unique challenges of creating music and sound design for virtual and augmented reality. Finally, there are special training sessions for Wwise (a game audio tool and engine, which you can download for free here).
There’s also a one-to-one speed mentoring session available where you can meet with some of GameSoundCon’s speakers/other game audio professionals for a quick fire Q&A or 30 second demo critique depending on your individual needs. If you’re looking to network, then there’s a mixer on the Tuesday evening that you might want to check out.
Over fifty different panels and sessions run over the two days, including: how creating music and sound for games differs from traditional media (i.e. films, television, etc); making virtual scores sound live; navigating the video game music business; and a whole load more. The keynote speaker will be Becky Allen (head of audio; composer; sound designer) from PopCap/EA Games where she recently directed the audio for Plants Vs. Zombies: Heroes.
Other speakers include composer Neal Acree, whose work includes World of Warcraft and Overwatch (as well as contributions to the scores of both Stargate SG1 and Stargate Atlantis), and attorney Jim Charne, who practices law at the intersection of intellectual property, entertainment, technology, music and e-commerce.
GameSoundCon has a relatively impressive track record with representation for women (something that is often over-looked in almost all areas of the gaming industry) and this year includes a roundtable discussion about women in game audio, facilitated by Karen Collins, Becky Allen and Sally Kellaway.
The panelists aim to discuss a range of topics, including: their personal experiences as women in game sound design, the challenges faced by minorities in the gaming industry, and ways to overcome the external and internal barriers that form a part of those challenges.
It’s important to know that you don’t have to sign up to one specific track; you can move between tracks depending on the sessions, panels and masterclasses that take your fancy. Another important bit of info is that there are student rates if you can verify that you are indeed a student; email firstname.lastname@example.org for the details.
GameSoundCon runs from 7th to 8th November 2017 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, California. You can pre-register for the conference here or on-site. Alumni rates are available for past attendees.