This week, Ukie Students spoke to Victoria Prentice from OMUK about her career in games.
Ukie: Please can you introduce yourself and your current role in a few sentences.
Victoria: My name is Victoria Prentice and I’m studio manager at OMUK, a production company that specialises in all aspects of casting and voice recording for video games.
Can you describe a typical day for you?
My typical day can vary greatly. Sometimes I’m in the recording studio all day working with actors, either as an audio engineer or a voice director. Sometimes I’ll be working on pre-production, getting everything ready for when we start recording: preparing scripts, gathering images and other assets to give the actors some context for the game, liaising with clients and handling project management. Or I could be working on post-production: editing, reviewing and mastering audio recorded in the studio.
What is your favourite thing about doing your job?
We work with so many different developers and on so many different game genres, which means I can go from working on a sprawling RPG one week to a fantastically funny point-and-click adventure or a wonderfully inventive indie title the next. You get to work on so many different stories and help bring them to life.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
At OMUK we work on over a hundred titles a year, and having the opportunity to work on so many great games and collaborate with so many talented writers, actors, and development teams is amazing.
I’ve also recently moved into voice direction, which is something I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do before I started working in dialogue production. It’s a new challenge and I absolutely love it.
What was your first job in the games industry?
Before starting in the games industry I mostly worked in film as a freelance sound designer. My first job in the industry was as a dialogue editor. After that I looked for anything I could learn and any way to make myself useful, and worked my way from audio post-production to casting and then to project management and directing.
Why did you want to work in the games industry?
I’ve been playing games ever since I was a child and loved dissecting them to see how they work, for example finding the trigger for the next event in the story and seeing if I could break that sequence. The non-linearity and player choice in games allows us to tell stories in new and interesting ways and it’s great to be a part of that process.
Did you go to college/university? What did you study?
I have a degree in music from the University of Manchester and also did a year of sound design at UAL. Just goes to show that a computer science degree is not an essential requirement to working in games!
What do you think are the most important skills for someone in your role?
When working in dialogue production you need to be able to listen intensely for long periods of time, for technical issues when engineering and editing or to make sure the performances work well together when directing. You need to keep that concentration and attention to detail at all stages of the production process.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for people wanting to work in games?
It can be difficult to know where to look for information when you’re starting out, though schemes like Ukie’s Video Games Ambassadors are definitely helping to change that. Networking at meetups and games industry events is also a great way to learn more and build connections but can be daunting at first. As with so many things it’s best to throw yourself into it, don’t worry you’ll find your feet!
What tips would you give to someone wanting to pursue a role like yours?
Building a portfolio is a great way to show off your skills and creativity, no matter your discipline. If you’re looking for more experience in audio there are always people needing good sound, so try joining their projects. You can find teams online, or if you’re a student you could approach other departments at your university (e.g. film, animation, or games courses) to see if anyone needs sound for their projects.
If you already have a portfolio and want to send it out to companies it’s worth calling them before sending any emails, to see if you can get a specific contact name or email address. Always tailor your email to the company you’re contacting, you can easily find out what they do on their website and it’s very easy to spot when you’ve been Bcc’d to a mass email. It’s also worth following up with another call after sending your portfolio. There’s a lot of people in the games industry that are happy to help those starting out but they’re often also extremely busy, this could help prevent you from slipping through the cracks.
Is there anything interesting or exciting that you’re currently working on that you can tell us about?
Unfortunately we often can’t discuss our involvement with a game until after release, but I can say we’re working on several exciting projects at the moment, including one of the most anticipated games of 2016!