It’s gatekeeping elitist narrow-minded BS of the worst sort to cowardly hint that a drive for diversity has caused the Industry Insider program to mysteriously lower its standards and result in a slate of lesser-known designers. And yet, many people are doing so, and some leaders in the industry are winking and elbow-nudging rather than taking a stand and calling BS.
So for the record, claiming diversity was only achieved by lowering standards in the program IS BULLSHIT. Of the highest order.
I was an Industry Insider once, with more than a decade of experience under my belt. Most of the other *PANELISTS* had no fucking clue who I was.
Next time someone makes that claim, I want to grill them about who the people who were in the program over the past decade were, and see how many of them are known, as compared to multiple salaried developers and managers…
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I don’t have it in me to go into what Prince’s music has meant to me and the impact it had in my life when was younger. I do have a story about how his music came up in a very unexpected way for me many years ago.
My favorite Prince song is “Baby, I’m a Star”. I first heard it while watching “Purple Rain”. It was a pretty emotional movie. Sure, the acting wasn’t the greatest, but it wasn’t full of actors. But boy, did that movie have heart.
When Prince & the Revolution played this song at the end, I heard it as a joyful expression of just playing music. The joy of music. Of performing. It was like everyone in the audience of that live recording was all in sync with Prince. Being a part of his joy. You can see it in this video.
So. I used to be a club DJ. Back in 1985, I was working in San Antonio. I was the DJ at the Hyatt, down on the Riverwalk. It was a slow night, in winter. Most of the customers around that time, were folks who worked in the bars, hotels, and restaurants on the River. It was super slow, as it was the downtime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and a ‘school night’ to boot.
Normally, I stuck to a lot of the regular Top 40 dance tunes, but also a lot of my fave funk/freestyle tunes like Debbie Deb, Shannon, Freestyle, Trinere, Sheila E, Dazz, Gap Bad. On those slower nights, I also mixed in Lena Lovich, Nina Hagen, King Creole & the Coconuts. As long as the bar was full of “river rats” aka the folks who worked in hospitality, I could play what I wanted. After all, they were spending LOTS of money on drinks.
Anyway, so that December night, there was a KISS concert in town. There were heaps of young women and teenage girls running around the area. Apparently, they were staying at the Hyatt, I think? A lot of women tried to come into the bar, but since they weren’t 21, they were turned away.
I was playing some tune and folks were dancing. Until these two ROCK GODS walked in. I quickly saw it wasn’t Gene Simmons nor Paul Stanley, which were the only two KISS people I knew on sight. They were taken to a table with some security dudes and groupies.
Of course, the whole crowd wanted me to start playing KISS music. I figured that was the last thing they would want to hear. And the only song I had from them was “Lick it Up”. Yuck.
I put on a long song and went over to talk to them. ‘Hey, I’m the DJ here and everyone wants to hear some KISS. I’d rather play what YOU want to hear, and I’ll make a dedication or some shit”.
One of the dudes, “BABY, I’M A STAR! PLAY THAT!”
I was so jazzed and excited. Except, you gotta slam that one in right. Remember, this is Ye Olde Vinyl Dayes, so I have to be super precise on how I put this one in, for a couple of reasons. First, it comes very quickly after I Would Die 4 U. Essentially, you have a downbeat to knock it in on Baby’s first note. When mixing vinyl, you have to have a precise touch for matching the beats, which 12″ dance singles are made for. You match the beats, adjusting so it’s seamless. (gods, I miss this). With this one? You basically have to have your finger ready in the exact place, to hit the exact beat of the song already playing. You “slam” it in there. BAM. The song just HITS you.
I don’t even remember what I was playing, but I was talking over a part of the music with the “hey folks, this one goes out to you from KISS” and then SLAMMED IT.
Hard and loud.
It wasn’t what the crowd expected. But they went wild. Like jumping up and down wild. And that one dude from KISS…came out and dance in the middle of it all. People weren’t trying to do the best moves. They weren’t trying to show off, hook up, or anything.
For those few minutes, people were simply dancing joyfully. The feeling of oneness between the DJ, the crowd, and the song is one I simply cannot describe. It’s a feeling I think that Prince would have loved.
It’s the time of year again, when I dust off the blog and post my NorWesCon schedule. I’ve got a pretty light year, with only 7 panels! Go me! I’m moderating most of them, so I really should email the panelists so we’re all on the same page regarding the discussion.
First, the non-panel things. We’ll have an OrcaCon table in the Club Table row. If you’re at NorWesCon, you can drop by and say hello. We’ll be handing out ribbons and promoting OrcaCon 2017. We’ll have a suite this year for #NachosBeerCon, which is really just having a quiet space to play games, eat nachos, and drink beer.
Now, on to the panel schedule!
Make a Gaming Night Recipe Book / 4:00 PM-5:00 PM – Cascade 12
A good thing to have for gaming nights is a recipe book with quick recipes that can be dished up away from the table, including good meals that are friendly to all participants and don’t get in the way of the evening’s games. For bonus nerd points you can give the recipes nerd themed names, which we’ll definitely be doing … because nerds.
Elizabeth Guizzetti (M), Lilith Whitewolf, Ogre Whiteside, SunnyJim Morgan, Donna Prior
Non-Traditional Gamers Speak / Fri 1:00 PM-2:00 PM – Evergreen 1&2
Come hear how gaming is and be an even more inclusive environment.
Donna Prior (M), J. F. High, Burton Gamble, Mickey Schulz
Video Games 101 / Sat 12:00 PM-1:00 PM – Cascade 5&6
FPS, MMO, RTS, MOBA… What do these acronyms mean? How do I select a console or platform that suits my needs? How do I manage my time and not miss dinner? How do I deal with harassment and trolls? What’s good etiquette for various online interactions? If you’ve asked any one of these questions or have similar queries, come ask our panel of experts.
Donna Prior (M), Elizabeth Sampat, Jonny Nero Action Hero, Annie Bellet, Burton Gamble
Internet & Real Life Trolls / Sat 4:00 PM-5:00 PM – Cascade 7&8
From Gamergaters to Rabid Puppies to the person who just doesn’t think that being “PC” is important… How does this affect the real people who are being subjected to mistreatment? What can we do take a stand against it? Should we and how should we?
Donna Prior (M), Mickey Schulz, Elizabeth Sampat, Rafeal Richardson
Is Fandom More Diverse & Accepting? / Sat 6:00 PM-7:00 PM – Cascade 7&8
The idea that fandom and SF/F is more accepting and diverse is often bandied around. Is that true? How do we move beyond the oppressive tropes? And what can we do to be aware of creating a truly accepting environment? How do we build inclusive communities?
Rafeal Richardson (M), Donna Prior, Brenna Clarke Gray, Sheye Anne Blaze
Geek Policing: Don’t Do It / Sun 1:00 PM-2:00 PM – Cascade 9
Geek policing and gate-keeping happens when someone evinces interest in something of the nerdy persuasion, and someone else starts quizzing them on it like nerddom is the Ivy League. It’s not okay. And we—all of us nerds of all races, genders, orientations, and ages—need to stop it. Period.
Donna Prior (M), Jeff Harris, Shubzilla, J. Rachel Edidin, Jonny Nero Action Hero
Star Wars: A (New) New Hope / Sun 3:00 PM-4:00 PM – Cascade 10
The Force Awakens came out last December, and fan passions are running deep. Was it a brilliant update that brought the saga to a new generation? Or a lens-flared fiasco of Jar-Jarian proportions? Either way, Disney is going all-in on all things Star Wars, so there’s much, much more on the way.
Donna Prior (M), Rafeal Richardson, Dee Wright, Jeremy Zimmerman, David Fooden
After reading a criticism regarding the IGDA Board of Directors selection for the four current openings, I remembered that I had meant to put my statement here on my blog. The criticism of the election was regarding the lack of diversity; there isn’t a single woman up for election. I am not sure how many women were nominated, but I did nominate myself. I am a firm believer in the saying, “Be the change you want to see”, so I took a stab at running for the board. Below is the statement I submitted. I also had two interviews via voice/phone, but ultimately was not selected.
My name is Donna Prior and I humbly submit my nomination for the IGDA Board of Directors. I have been in the game industry for 7 years working in Community Management for both digital and analog games. I have worked for independent studios such as Flying Lab Software and Heatwave Interactive, and also for AAA studios like SOE and Bioware. I am a frequent speaker at PAX, Gen Con, and other conventions presenting on community building, making safe and inclusive spaces, and mentoring.
My passion for community building is why I wish to foster the professional community within the IGDA. I have a deep love of transparency and supporting volunteers who dedicate their time and passion to game development.
With that in mind, these topics are my focus.
Community – Developers are beginning to see the value of strong communities, within the industry and their players. As a Community Management professional, I am able to bring feedback from Chapters, SIGs, and individuals to the Board.
Transparency – There is a gross misunderstanding of what the IGDA is and how it can support the developer community. We need more transparency to highlight the work of the IGDA and open up public feedback channels. Non-members should understand the work of the staff and the hundreds of volunteers running SIGs and Chapters. The reputation of the IGDA hasn’t always been positive, and showing the work of the IGDA regularly would be extremely helpful in underscoring the organization’s benefits.
Volunteers -. I’ve volunteered in the GDC Conference Associates program for four years, the last two as CA Staff. I manage the GM Volunteer program for Green Ronin Publishing and created my own volunteer-run games convention, OrcaCon. Volunteers are the backbone of the IGDA and there should be better recognition and support for what they do. We need to provide better training of chapters and SIGs leaders and make it easier for people to get involved. There are amazing people doing incredibly important work within the IGDA and we need to make sure they are valued.
In these things, I believe I am the best candidate. The IGDA needs Board Members who will listen: to advocate, to support, and to inspire. As a Community Manager, I know how to do this.
You can find me here:
Thank you for your consideration.
Founder IGDA Community Management SIG
GDC 2015 Community Management Summit Advisory Board
GDC Conference Associate
GDC Conference Associate Staff