At the end of a long development project, like Papo & Yo or Silent Enemy, it often happens that people wish to explore other aspects of their talent. This week, our line producer, Charles-William (aka CW), is leaving Minority Media to take on new challenges. He joined Minority in the early days, when Papo & Yo was still just an idea. We thought you would enjoy what he has to say about his experience at Minority, so without further due, here’s CW. 🙂
How did you start working with Minority?
Before this opportunity came to be, I was at EA. There, I met Vander Caballero and Julien Barnoin. For a while, after leaving EA, I decided to explore an entirely new environment and went to work for the City of Montreal in IT systems development. But you always come back to your true love, and one day Vander texted me, asking me if I was interested in joining the cool new project he was working on. Shortly after that, I was sitting with Vander, Julien, and their associates at our sister company, Rezolution Pictures, and it immediately felt like we were a mutual fit. Those were exciting times!
What was your role during the making of Papo & Yo?
In a nutshell, my role as line producer was to make sure that we developed and shipped the game on time. I had to make sure that we had the right people for the right job with the right tools to do their best work. I also ensured that communication channels were always open within the team in order for us to be consistently aligned on a common goal; this is crucial as a producer. I was also responsible for ensuring that budgets were used as efficiently as possible.
What was the most rewarding challenge you took on while at Minority?
The ultimate challenge, for me, was to drive production of a game being developed by the start-up Minority was at the time. It was a great opportunity to start from scratch with an idea, building the right team around it, and then crafting it to maturity, until it was ripe for shipping. Of course, being a start-up, this also meant that we were building the company as we were developing the game, without access to the broad range of resources that more established developers have! It was all about coordinating talent and resources to get to that moment at 5 or 6 am, when it was time to press the button to ship the game. There’s nothing like it!
What is your most treasured memory from working with the team?
It’s extremely difficult to pick a specific memory, but I think that what I cherish most about being at Minority is feeling part of a family: it’s working with this small and closely knit team on a daily basis. It’s getting to know everyone, sharing sparks of creativity and motivating one another to put our hearts into what we do. Speaking of creativity, I don’t think I’ve seen as much creativity per square foot as what I’ve had the privilege of working with at this company!
Tell us about a funny anecdote!
[laughs] Oh man, another hard pick! One that comes to mind is the day that Vander, Yann Penno (our lead animator) and I went to IKEA. We had already started to recruit people, but we didn’t have desks for them to work on. So, we go to IKEA and place a huge order for about 13 people. It took us hours to get the three or four trolleys full of office appliances to the shipping area for delivery, and it was all hilarious clumsiness!
If you had one tip to give aspiring producers, what would it be?
In my humble opinion, you have to be curious by nature, because you have to keep abreast of what everyone in the team is working on. Naturally, you can’t be an expert at all those things, but you have to become the person that knows enough to bring all that talent together and orchestrate it. To borrow Vander’s expression, you have to be the glue that brings people together in order to help them and the team succeed. You need to be comfortable navigating uncertainty and having the bird’s eye view that leads the team’s efforts to their ultimate goal: to create a memorable experience for the player. Very often, you hardly notice when a producer does their work well, because everything runs smoothly when they do.
Anything else you would like to add?
Definitely! I’d like to thank everyone I got to work with. Thank you, Vander, Julien, Linda, Catherine, Christina and Ernie for your trust and for giving me the opportunity to help build a great game developer and a game that has touched so many people worldwide. I want to thank the entire Minority team for so many memorable moments and a chance to learn from everyone. Last but definitely not least, I want to thank the Sony Pub Fund and the Canada Media Fund for helping Minority materialize its vision of changing the way video games are experienced. The path that Minority has chosen is an extremely challenging one, but I firmly believe that this company will achieve even more than it originally set out to do.
Thank YOU, CW, for your passion and dedication to your team and to Minority’s vision, we wish you the very best in your new endeavors. Achievement: unlocked! 🙂