Here’s why we think Nicole is swell…
Adrian Murphy, Senior Producer: To put it quite simply, everybody loves Nicole. Everything she does, she approaches with such a refreshing and happy attitude that even the most quiet or reserved people find themselves cracking a smile and laughing along when in her presence. That’s not to say she is just a good people person. Associate Producers are regularly asked to jump around and handle a diverse array of tasks across the entire studio, and Nicole is able to jump right in, get the lay of the land, and quickly whip things into an organized and effective plan without really bothering anyone, which is quite frankly amazing. (Try making a plan that everyone is happy with and you’ll know what I mean). No detail goes unseen and no question unanswered when you work with Nicole. She even keeps me on my toes on the rare occasions when I forget something! (And she relishes the opportunity…)
At the end of the day, we think Nicole is swell because she is hardworking, smart, and easy to get along with, but what truly makes her shine is that her enthusiasm for her work is worn loud and proud on her sleeve. That reminds us all that we get to spend every day doing something we love for a living, which can be all too easy to forget in the day-to-day craziness.
Your title is Associate Producer. What does that mean?
Nicole Sandoval: I am a FACILITATOR. I solve problems, unblock people, and basically do my best to make it easier for the development team to make this game. More specifically, I work with the Programming and VO departments, so my job varies between the two departments. Programmers are really self-sufficient, so the best thing I can do is help keep interruptions to a minimum. Usually that means fielding programmer bugs, making sure there is enough info in the bug, that it goes to the right person, and more importantly that it’s actually a programmer bug. For VO, it’s all about moving information—getting information from the Narrative team, moving it along to the VO team, and then from VO to the other various departments that need it.
What games have you worked on?
NS: This is my first real game job. Although I did have an internship in California where I worked on Jillian Michaels’ Fitness Ultimatum 2011—not nearly the same as working on a BioShock game.
Describe Life at Irrational in three words or less.
NS: Full of surprises.
What is your favorite game of all time?
NS: I have a few favorites, but The Suffering is one that always comes to mind first. I love being scared, and that game scared the shit out of me. I would play in the dark and get so scared that I would run into my roommate Charisma’s room and hop onto her bed just to shake it off.
What is your favorite movie?
NS: This is a harder one to answer than the game one. I would have to go with 1968’s Night of the Living Dead. I remember watching it with my grandmother when I was little, the both of us covering our eyes and squealing. It was awesome.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
NS: I do SPFX makeup. It’s a really time-consuming and expensive hobby but I love it. Since I’ve moved out here, I haven’t had too many opportunities to make people up like I did in L.A., so if you come to a party at my house and “fall asleep,” beware—you might be walking home with a new face in the morning.
How long have you been doing SPFX makeup?
NS: Eleven years. I went to an acting school in L.A., and that’s when I realized I didn’t really want to do that forever (a school full of actors will do that to you). That is where I met Scott Ramp; he was the makeup teacher there. He asked if I wanted to work with his team during Halloween and do monster makeup. I of course said YES and have been a proud member of the Scream Team since. In L.A. I lived down the street from his shop, and so I would spend a lot of my free time with him doing awesome photo shoots all around town. The best was when we did a HUGE zombie photo shoot in Old Town Pasadena. We had been up all morning, he and I, making up eight actors, and then we took them into Old Town and just started shooting away (pictures, of course!). After a long day, everyone was starving so we just packed up and headed to the nearest restaurant/bar with our school of zombies and asked to be seated. It was awesome.
Tell your favorite story about life at Irrational.
NS: Mustache March. That whole month was pretty awesome. The studio had decided to hold a mustache contest and raise money for the American Cancer Society. People could “sponsor” a ‘stache. When I saw my name on the nominee list, I was totally down. The rules were pretty simple: either you grew a mustache, or if you couldn’t, you wore a mustache. But if you were wearing one, you HAD to wear it all day every day, from the moment you walked in the door to the moment you left. I was mainly painting mine on, minus a few days where I made a couple from fake hair. I wore a different one every day and I took the rules very seriously. I would put on the ‘stache at home and go about my day—if I went to get coffee or lunch outside the office, the ‘stache stayed on. Needless to say, I got some pretty strange looks and surprisingly even a few compliments. Steve Ellmore would even come check my face every morning to make sure I was sticking to the rules. At the end of the month, they had a big shaving party and awarded trophies. I won “MOST MAGNIFICENT MUSTACHE,” my trophy is almost as tall as I am and I still have it on my desk. It’s like my landmark—can’t find me? Look for the trophy.