Amplifying New Voices will train diverse game creators to be industry speakers

Amplifying New Voices is launching its third year of hands-on training and boot camp for diverse people in the gaming industry. The group has opened applications and nominations for its latest batch of trainees.

The boot camp will take place March 18 at the Game Developers Conference 2018 in San Francisco, and it will accept 36 to 45 students. Amplifying Voices grew from the need to better prepare up-and-coming professionals who want to grow their work and public profiles.

Perrin Kaplan, a principal at Zebra Partners and one of the organizers, told GamesBeat that the goal is to train a greater breadth of diverse talent and voices to talk at conferences about the global gaming business. The training focuses on professional and personal development in public speaking, writing and profile management, media training, and more.

“This is a great program started by a group of us and supported by a few companies,” said Kaplan, who was also the former head of marketing at Nintendo of America. “We realized that the same group of us gets asked to speak at every event. We want others to take our places. They can learn to represent themselves and the industry.”

Qualified participants must be working on some aspect of game development and identify as belonging to an underrepresented group in virtual reality, augmented reality, or games. The applicants can include artists, designer, engineers, writers, and others essential in creating great games. Shipping at least one title is preferred.

Above: Amplifying New Voices

Image Credit: Amplifying New Voices

“Speaking at conferences has always been a dream of mine, with GDC as the ultimate career bucket list item,” said Veronica Peshterianu, a game producer at System Era Softworks. “Attending ANV not only gave me the toolkit I needed to pursue that goal but also showed me that I have the experience and skills to do it. Learning from industry leaders while connecting with a new network of fascinating, diverse game developers was the absolute highlight of my time at GDC.”

Volunteer executives will provide both mentorship and training to the incoming professionals. This years’ speaker coaches will be announced in early January. The finalists receive a complimentary GDC badge and stipend toward accommodations and travel. About five or six students train under each coach.

Past students have gained great confidence in their professional careers, and many stay in close touch with mentors and classmates as they continue to grow. Many have now spoken at various events, such as GDC, PAX Dev, Montreal Comicon, Unite Europe, and many more. Nominations will close on December 18.

Besides Kaplan, the organizers include Caryl Shaw, Meggan Scavio, Ebony Peay, Paula Cuneo, Robin Hunicke, and Sibel Sunar.

“We have to infuse the industry with new voices because the industry changes every single day,” Kaplan said. “We want to inspire people to become speakers.”