One of the most popular events at the East Coast Game Conference returns! We will host the Career Lounge and portfolio critique sessions in its own private room this year during both days of the conference. This is where professionals in the games industry will participate in open floor, informal, and collaborative session discussions on day-to-day operations in their prospective fields.
For the Critiques
Things will be a little different this year as our portfolio critique area will consist of small groups of 4 together to go through each persons “best” piece from your portfolio and the pros will critique it in front of the group. This way you can see each other’s work and learn as you listen through each critique. The session will run for 30 minutes for each group. This part of the Career Lounge was so popular we added in more great industry professionals to help evaluate and elevate your portfolio.
For the Roundtables
The setting is still very casual with bean bag chairs and cubes. The sessions will be at separate times from the critique sessions. The roundtable is a general discussion giving the opportunity for attendees to ask more questions, so you’ll get a good understanding of the industry. They’ll talk on how they got into the industry, tips & tricks, developing a marketable portfolio, and things not to do!
2016 Career Lounge Speakers
Eric Peterson | Former President and CEO of Vicious Cycle Software, Inc.
Eric is the former President and CEO of Vicious Cycle Software, Inc., has been in the game industry since 1996 and shipped over 20 games in his career. Along with his industry experience Eric also brings his academic training as an artist with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland and prior to co-founding Vicious Cycle, he was an Art Director at MicroProse/Hasbro Interactive in Chapel Hill. Eric was responsible for business development, day-to-day operations, and served as the company liaison to numerous publishers, licensors, contractors and vendors. His passion and dedication for developing games along with his entrepreneurial spirit fueled a successful company for 16 years in the Triangle.
James Cowgill | Manager of Digital Media Services | MedStar Health SiTEL
James Cowgill has been developing entertainment and serious games for more than 16 years and a pioneer in applying game technology and design principles to military, law enforcement and health care training applications.
Before leading the Digital Media Services team at SiTEL, James held a variety of leadership positions including Director of Serious Games, Producer, Lead Game Designer and QA Manager at Centerline Digital, Interactive Magic, Turbine Entertainment, Timeline Entertainment, Virtual Heroes, and Atomic Games.
James’ current efforts center on creating training tools to support the full spectrum of clinical training – from mobile application task trainers to high-fidelity VR experiences integrated into live action simulation.
Craig Stevenson | Interactive Software Designer | MedStar SiTEL
Craig Stevenson has served as Interactive Software Designer at MedStar SiTEL since 2010. His focus is on creating educational healthcare games and training simulations that create a real world positive impact. Keeping one foot in entertainment games, Craig is the design/marketing/social media half of PixelBot Games a Washington, DC based indie game studio working on their first commercial title on its way to Steam Greenlight.
Dorothy Ann Phoenix | Designer and Programmer | Cloudy Heaven Games
Dorothy Ann Phoenix has been an avid gamer and unabashed nerd since before entering preschool. As a child, she routinely battled alien terrorists, squashed belligerent turtles and evil mushrooms, tamed seven-headed dragons and shield-eating blobs, captured the world heavyweight championship, dropkicked Shredder in the head, and mastered the fine arts of sorcery and swordplay, all the while maintaining a successful academic career back in the “real world” (pfft!). When not studying or saving the pixelated world, she often created instruction manuals for her own games, and several times attempted to recreate the Mushroom Kingdom in her grandmother’s living room (lack of funding and insufficient plumbing sadly grounded the project).
Dorothy holds bachelor’s degrees in Computer Science/East Asian Studies (joint degree) and Game and Simulation Programming, from MIT and Devry University, respectively. In 2008 she participated in a student internship at the ADL Co-Lab, where she worked on a SCORM-compliant, Flash-based ballistics training game for the United States Army Field Artillery School. For five years, she worked as an IT Specialist at IBM, and then for a startup as a test engineer.
Currently, Dorothy designs and programs video games as the owner of Cloudy Heaven Games. She released her first game in December 2014, and is currently working on the next game. She hopes to someday randomly fall into a manhole in the street and finally find the Mushroom Kingdom (but not that glitch water world, she’s not a good swimmer).
Rellik Nissassa | Creative Director
Rellik Nissassa (Rell-Lick Niss-Sass-Uh) has been a musician, producer, composer, writer and creative director for over 13 years working on projects ranging from brand management, website design, creative marketing, composing video game soundtracks and working as a creative lead for multiple indie game developers.
Through his years of experience in a variety of creative fields, Rellik has mastered the Do-s and Don’t-s of the how to Network as Professional in any Industry. And, after attending the ECGC for the Fifth time now, he’s found his Niche and a very successful strategy of How to Network in the Gaming Industry WHILE still be genuine and not just begging for a job.
“Learning the hard way is a difficult and sometimes painfully embarrassing process, especially when you’re surrounded by the pros that you respect in this field. However, learning from someone else’s successes and failures is an invaluable way to not only learn, but to find your dream job and become the respected and polished expert who carries your name, your company, and this industry into a greater future.” – Rellik Nissassa
Jeff Winstead | Commercial Artist
Commercial artist Jeff Winstead is the creator of The Alternate, a digital comic book series published through Comixology. He is the brand artist for Lonerider Brewing Company, where he designs and illustrates all things beer. An alumni of the Savannah College of Art & Design, Jeff has experience in a ridiculously wide variety of industries and has worked on licensed properties for clients including DC Comics, Lucasfilm, the Walt Disney Company, and the LPGA. He is currently partnering with DAILYPINT STUDIOS, creating storyboards and concept art for an upcoming animated film.
Eric Roth | Co-Founder DAILYPINT STUDIOS
Eric Roth is a seasoned veteran in the film industry with more than 15 years of experience in visual effects and animation. Through his work at Industrial Light + Magic, Digital Domain, ESC, Sony Imageworks, and Dreamworks Animation, he has developed a trained eye for engaging composition and beautifully integrated lighting. Eric is an accomplished match move and layout artist, compositor and lighter, having worked on such films as Star Wars: Episode II, Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions, Men in Black II, Constantine and many more. For the last 11 years, he worked at Dreamworks Animation as a lead lighter and compositor on such films as Kung Fu Panda, Shrek Forever After, Madagascar 2 & 3, Puss in Boots, and How to Train your Dragon 2. Today, he runs his own animation, motion capture and VFX studio with partner and fellow artist, Will Clay, bringing top quality services and access to their extensive resource network to the Raleigh-Durham area.
William Clay |Co-Founder of DAILYPINT STUDIOS
Animation | Motion Capture | VFX
William Clay is a seasoned veteran in the broadcast, film, and game industries with more than 20 years of experience in animation, motion capture, and visual effects. Through his work at Ubisoft, Industrial Light + Magic, Quietman, Omation Animation Studio, and as a consultant, he has brought camera, character, creature, and vfx performances to life for gameplay, cinematics, commercials, and film production through technique and artistry. Will is an accomplished animator, technical director, director, and vfx artist, having worked on such properties as Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, HULK, Terminator, Harry Potter, Men in Black, Barnyard, Ghost Recon, Rainbow Six, Splinter Cell, Disney, Sony, GE, SNL, Dairy Queen, Cheetos, Huggies, Oral-B, and many more. For the last three years, he consulted for game developers, vfx studios, and craft breweries fueling his passion for performance driven experiences and storytelling on such properties as Breach & Clear: Deadline, Firefly Online, ASOM motion ride, and Lonerider Brewing. Today, he runs his own animation, motion capture, and VFX studio with partner and fellow artist, Eric Roth, bringing top quality services and access to their extensive resource network to the Raleigh-Durham area.
Chris Devens | Environment Artist at Insomniac Games
Chris Devens had been in the game industry for the last 6 years. Chris started in QA at Epic games and eventually worked as a contract environment artist on Fortnite. He has been working as an Environment Artist at Insomniac Games for the last 3 years. In that time, he has shipped Ratchet and Clank: Into the Nexus, and Sunset Overdrive. He has also been working on Insomniac’s upcoming titles Ratchet and Clank for the PS4 and Edge of Nowhere for Oculus VR.
James Trevett | Senior Lead Artist |Level and Environment Art
James Trevett is currently working on The Division as Lead Level Artist at Ubisoft Red Storm. James got his start in games by building multilayer levels for Bungie’s Myth series with a small mod team. This led the way to an art position at a small start up, or two, before joining Red Storm as an Level Artist. During his time at Red Storm he has worked as a Level Artist, Technical Director and Lead Level artist on numerous titles. James specializes in level composition and the odd environment asset, always striving to push the limits of technology with art and design.
David Schultz | Environment Artist | Red Storm Entertainment
I first learned digital art in 2004 as an Intern at a small studio in Asheville, NC. I struggled to find work as Freelance Commercial Artist, and I had to reevaluate what I wanted to do. I have always loved video games and the thought of creating worlds, so at that point, I decided to commit myself to learning how to become an Environment Artist in the Video Game Industry. I have now been in this industry for eight years: first with Vicious Cycle Software, then at Funcom,and I am now at Red Storm Entertainment. I have worked on a broad range of titles such as: The Division,The Secret World , Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon , Ben 10 Omniverse ,and Eat Lead.
Jonathan Peedin | Senior UI/UX Designer | Boss Key
Jonathan Peedin has worked in the game industry since 1997 in roles ranging from UI Artist to Art Director on everything from small-scale projects to large-scale, award-winning AAA titles. His first game was the original Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six in the role of Art Lead. His current role as Sr. UX Designer at Boss Key Productions, Inc. has him working with an incredible team of talented veteran developers on the exciting new first-person shooter LawBreakers, which is set for release later this year. Jonathan has also served as an Adjunct Professor at East Carolina University’s School of Art and Design and has even taught Game Art and Design at the high school level.