Student Profile: Nazer Lagrimas
Nazer Lagrimas felt the paternal push to be a doctor or an engineer, so he chose engineer—music engineer, that is. But when he got to Berklee he found himself constantly watching movies and playing video games. Deciding to combine his passions, Lagrimas switched his major to film scoring and is now president of Berklee's Video Game Music Club.
What does the Video Game Music Club do?
We talk about the industry, what's been released, like a new movie list. You really never know what kind of project you're going to work on, so we talk about everything. We usually have a topic of the week—maybe a kid who really loves sports games will talk for an hour about sports games and all the audio in them. We had a More than Just Game Audio presentation last spring, and I did one on video game addiction. We've had guest speakers come in, really big composers like Tommy Tallarico, who pretty much revolutionized video game audio. We've had guest speakers from local game companies, like Harmonix, which just released The Beatles: Rock Band. We've had kids from MIT's gaming areas speak.
We've also done at least two Learning Center forums per semester. They're for everyone. Over the summer I did a history of Nintendo, and this past spring there was the Video Game Music Demo Derby, where we had a panel of five of Boston's biggest video game composers and audio directors, people that actually hire the musicians. 12 of us got to submit one-minute demos, and they listened to them and gave us a critique on our work. That was so helpful for all of us, and we plan on doing it again.
Has there been a lot of interest?
The club started two years ago with a bunch of film scoring kids who came together. There were maybe one or two video game classes at the school, but they were MP&E classes, not in the Film Scoring Department. Two years later, it's just kind of exploded. Michael Sweet was just hired into the Film Scoring Department specifically to teach interactive audio and audio for video games. Everyone's always been interested, but now that the faculty is along with us, and there are classes, everybody is turning their heads. It just kind of snowballed, and now there are 270 kids in love with video games who want to make a career out of it. And the school is listening to us; it's been really supportive.
What about outside of Berklee?
We get a ton of outside interest, even on Gamasutra, a game job career site. They recently posted an article on North America's best game development cities, and on the Boston page they listed our school as one of the resources for making Boston one of the biggest.
Have you made connections in the video game industry while you've been here?
Tons. It's really blown my mind, especially going out to San Francisco in March for the Game Developers Conference. The last two years the Video Game Music Band, a group of seven of us, has been able to go out there and perform at the Game Audio Network Guild awards show. Hopefully we'll perform there again this coming year.
Also, in some of the video game classes that are coming up, we'll connect with other schools who have game development programs but not necessarily game audio programs. The teachers will hook us up with students, and we'll do sound for their projects.
- Michael Giacchino
- Jim Dooley
- Bear McCreary
- Thomas Newman
- Bernard Hermann