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Published 1 year, 8 months ago

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Celebrating Women in VR: Q&A with Chloe Skew

So far this month, we’ve heard from StoryFile Camera and XR Lead Kate Wurzbacher, Polyarc Principal Artist Corinne Scrivens, Harmonix Music Systems VP of Creative Helen McWilliams, ARVORE Creative Director of Pixel Ripped Ana Ribeiro, and Sanzaru Games Head of Production Jenny Huang.

How did you get your start in the tech industry?

Chloe Skew: I had a sort of winding path to get into games. Starting as an Art History major in college, I knew that artistry and creativity were important to me, but I had no idea at that time there could be a place for me in games. I worked in law right out of college, but I didn’t see it as a long-term career path and I continued playing computer games and hoping for something that could be more fulfilling. I made a serious effort to go to as many networking events as possible with people in games and eventually managed to get a position at CAA in their video game department. At CAA, I learned a lot about the business of making games and how deals come together. He was searching for someone with a varied skill set to work as both a PR & Marketing Coordinator with then publisher 2K and be a potential face for the studio livestream and community-facing media.

Who’s your favorite figure from Women’s history?

To explain a little without going on for 50 pages including citations, she was a Renaissance painter who focused primarily on portraiture and had a successful career selling her own self-portraits. As a woman in a traditionally male field, pursuing her art, struggling with how she was perceived by others, I found her relatable even though she lived from 1532 to 1625. Her art demonstrates self-awareness and a level of subtle social commentary that I find admirable for the time.

How do you see yourself making history?

CS: I’ll be honest that when I think about my life and what I’m trying to accomplish, I don’t think about making history. I want to be a person who helps others, especially others who are up against obstacles outside of their control. I don’t always find the opportunity to do that in my work, but when I do get to chime in on something to help make it more positive and inclusive, or when I can go a little further to help someone out who needs it, I try to do that.

If you could give one piece of advice to a young girl considering a career in tech or the arts, what would it be and why?

It’s likely that you’ll be questioned, doubted, dismissed, or discouraged. It’s important that you can always go back to why you’re doing what you do and that it fulfills you on its own without the validation of others.

What concrete steps can people take to help make the tech industry a more inclusive and welcoming space?

CS: I think listening to each other and being patient is really important. I can only speak from my experience in the games industry, but knowing gamers and game developers, we’re all so passionate about what we play and how we make games, and with passion can come a certain impatience and an unintentional tendency to steamroll others who don’t agree. When there are people in the room who represent different backgrounds and points of view, taking a pause to ask them what they think and then actually listening can result in some really beautiful innovation.

How do you go about designing games for a diverse audience and ensuring representation of strong women characters in your own work? CS: As a producer, I see myself as more of a shepherd for the team and project, but I’m not a vision holder or the person calling the creative shots—I figure out when tasks should be done, but mostly not what those tasks are. That being said, one thing I love so much about Turtle Rock Studios is that anyone can have an idea and share creative suggestions or point out areas for improvement. In VR titles, like those we made for Oculus Quest, because of the need to show a body and hands and the time it takes to hook them up to perform a variety of actions, we’re a little limited in how we can vary the player’s identity. It needs to be a conscious effort.

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Mar 28, 2020 at 11:07

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