Here’s another look inside the offices of A2m. This week we meet Levon Louis.
What’s your job at A2M?
Team Lead Sound Designer and the Audio Director for WET.
What other games have you worked on, and in what role?
Before coming to A2M, I was working as the Audio Director and supervising sound designer for Silent Hill V and The Golden Compass; and before that I had worked on games including Transformers, TNA: Impact, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks, PGR, Crackdown, Axis & Allies, Big Mutha Truckers, Amped and others in various roles to support sound design, voice production, and/or music for those games.
What is the best part about working in audio? The worst part?
The best part of working in audio, or games in general, is that each day brings new challenges; and the worst part is that each day brings new challenges.
How did you get into the industry? Do you have any tips for breaking in?
I fell in. About ten years ago I was producing dance music from home, and also making beats for a private label hip-hop studio in Houston. Microsoft picked up some of that music for early Xbox games like Amped. The more I learned about game audio, the more it interested me (old school C-64 gamer here), so I kept pushing forward with it by cutting my teeth on small projects for little or no money until it made sense to go after bigger contracts. Several years and girlfriends later, companies began asking for my work on a larger scale and more permanent basis, and I began working “in-house.” There I found the video game production environment to be a lot of fun so I have stuck with it. For those looking to break in, there is no magic bullet… just be persistent, be yourself, and practice your chops!
Your work experience includes experience in the music industry. Do you think that’s a good stepping ground for people interested in working in audio for the games industry?
It was for me, because game developers were already licensing my music. Otherwise I am not sure that music is the best background for game audio unless you are looking to focus on only the musical aspect. Audio is a huge part of the presentation of today’s games and the next generation of audio developers must be savvy with 3D sound effects design, sound-to-picture mixing, voice production, music, and most importantly how they work together. I was fortunate enough to have a musical background, but also to partner early with a Hollywood sound designer to learn that side of things.
What was it like working in the studio with George Clinton and Yao Ming at the same time?
To be accurate, they were never in the studio at the same time for “We want the Dunk…”, but working with celebrities is almost always fun and I have met some cool characters for sure.
What would you say is your personal favorite game of all time?
There are so many choices, and so many ways to choose a favorite… Galaga for old-school arcade action, Space Ace for art and vision, World of Warcraft had my attention for a good long while, and Skate 2 has it right now…
What games are you looking forward to?
Zombie Apocalypse, Assassins’ Creed 2, and anything new that pushes in creative directions.
What makes you get out of bed in the morning?
Coffee, and the promise of breakfast to follow. That and getting one step closer to my goals in life.
Worst job you’ve ever had?
I was unloading trucks for daily cash at a warehouse in Texas at age 24 and one day the truck was filled with those singing fish. Every box we moved set off a few of the fish inside so within minutes at least a hundred fish were singing, yea, that sucked.
Any other hobbies and interests? What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I spend time with friends and family; I listen to, write, and produce new music (the current project is called Mushroom Lounge) and I record sounds pretty much anywhere I travel. Sometimes I hit the skatepark with my Hammerhead Hosoi, and during the down times when there are quiet moments I read books, reference books mostly. Right now I am reading the Encyclopedia Geographic cover to cover along with Dreams from my Father by Barack Obama, which is way better than I expected.