Meet the Team, Part 1: Our 5 Voice Actors

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Cammie Middleton is an accomplished stage and screen actor, voice-over artist, jazz and blues vocalist, and stand-up comedian. She's worked with Brunette Games for more than a year, with credits in both Jam City's Wild Things: Animal Adventures and Pride & Prejudice: Jane Austen Solitaire by Super Gaming. She's actually an old friend of Brunette Games founder Lisa Brunette; the two go waaaay back.

Fun Fact: They once caravanned from the Midwest to the Florida Keys with a crew of friends and two VWs... the Bug broke down on the way there, necessitating a trip to an Atlanta junkyard, and the Bus stalled out on the way back. It was resurrected with the help of a Greek fisherman, who painted the hub caps gold!

What Cammie Loves About Voice Acting

I love that I get to create a whole world of characters from my very own soul. Characters that are vibrant and polarizing. I get to go work in a special playground, my imaginative heart.

Read Cammie Middleton's bio.

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A highly experienced game industry voice actor, Andy Mack's worked with Brunette Games for more than a year as well, with voice-over credits in three different games: Uken's newly released Ava's Manor: A Solitaire Story, Pride & Prejudice: Jane Austen Solitaire by Super Gaming, and Wild Things: Animal Adventures, a Jam City title. Players love Andy's utterances for the dog character in Ava's Manor, Marlowe, so much that they rank the dog as their top favorite, just under main character Ava!

Fun Fact: Andy and Lisa have credits in many of the same hidden-object puzzle adventure games published through Big Fish.

What Andy Loves About Voice Acting

I love VO because it’s a cathartic form of playtime and allows players to connect more with a game and its world. It gives me the opportunity to be other people, creatures, monsters, and everything else I got in trouble for in school.

Read Andy Mack's bio.

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New to the Brunette Games team, Ernest White II writes, produces, and stars in Fly Brother, a debut travel docu-series airing on PBS in the United States and CreateTV worldwide.

Fun Fact: Ernest is also an old friend of Lisa Brunette; the two met around the, um... turn of the millennia when attending grad school for creative writing at University of Miami. They've been writing buddies ever since. "I've enjoyed watching Ernest's written storytelling branch into multimedia projects," says Lisa, "and we're thrilled to get his silky voice into our clients' games." 

What Ernest Loves About Voice Acting

I love connecting with people through my voice. I love engaging the listener, surprising the listener, seducing the listener, pleasing the listener. I get joy out of knowing that people enjoy my voice. That's what makes it fun.

Read Ernest White's bio.

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Also new to the team, Nicole Perez comes from the interesting world of Chicago comedy theater, voice over, and teaching and has made a career by striking a balance in all of them. Her improv theater background guides her voice over sessions to be experimental and open to discovering something unique in projects. She's a fan of learning and narrating complicated medical jargon.
 
Fun fact: Nicole's first live-announcing job was for an awards ceremony for a multi-networking marketing company. She remained behind the curtain for most of it unless she poured tea. It had that "great-and-powerful Oz" feeling, but was really just 5-foot, 3-inch-tall Nicole standing in a corner.

What Nicole Loves About Voice Acting

I love voiceover because no matter the script, you can find a story and a character in anything. If it isn't stated in the script, I get to cook up the world inside my mind and let the mic do the rest. I love exploring characters on mic because I can be inside their mind, as their consciousness. The joy of this even comes to having this moment in commercial copy. It may be an ad about toothpaste, but really... like a good drama... it's always more than just about the toothpaste. 

Read Nicole Perez's bio.

Marqui VO

Also new to the team but certainly not new to game VO, Marqui Maresca is a pro at bringing characters to life that you’ll really care for. You’ll find her voice in the smash hit game franchise Angry Birds, cawing and screaming as the character Silver in the game release Angry Birds Evolution. If you fancy yourself a bit more of the mid-evil game play, you’ll run into her again, as the voice for Sultana from the game that was awarded “Best Family MMO of the Decade” by Massively, Wizard 101.

Fun Fact: Some of Marqui’s favorite performance moments include flying through the air as a stunt swing dancer for the Trace Adkins music video Honky Tonk Badonkadonk and rapping on the MTV sketch comedy Scratch and Burn.

What Marqui Loves About Voice Acting

I love the process of developing a character’s voice. By the time a voice-over artist comes in to work, the writers and graphic designers have already put so much time and consideration into carefully crafting these complex characters. It’s such an honor to be trusted with one of the final phases of the character creation process. There’s nothing like voicing a character for the first time in a room with the creative team and the moment everyone smiles and say…. yep that’s it!

Read Marqui Maresca's bio.


End-of-Year Charitable Giving at Brunette Games

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As a St. Louis, Missouri-based company, we feel it's important to support our local community. Besides our membership in the Mid-County Chamber of Commerce, we've committed to hiring local talent, volunteering as mentors to students in writing and game design, and supporting the St. Louis Game Development Co-Op. We've also identified two local entities as recipients of our end-of-year charitable contributions: The Backstoppers and Saint Louis University.

During this year of pandemic and strife, no sacrifice stands out to us more than that of our emergency responders. They're the angels who rush in where others fear to tread. When they end up sacrificing their lives for the cause, it's only right that we step in to help their surviving families.

Earlier this year, our headquarters building, which is also a home residence for half our writing team, was threatened by fire. Nothing eased our panic more than the rapid, effective response of not one firefighting unit but seven, as the response came without hesitation from surrounding towns. The blaze was squelched quickly, and thankfully, no one was hurt. But four families lost their homes during an already difficult time.

While the firefighters in our crisis situation suffered no damages of their own, emergency responders in St. Louis this year have suffered heavy losses. In every case, the Backstoppers swooped in to help their families, just as the organization has done every year since 1959. How it helps:

The BackStoppers supports families of fallen heroes by paying off all debt, providing health and dental insurance, reimbursing for out-of-pocket medical expenses, covering tuition and educational costs from day care through university, and assisting with miscellaneous extraordinary expenses.

The Backstoppers currently supports approximately 80 families with 70 dependent children. The organization:

  • Has supported over 170 families since its inception
  • Provides roughly $2 million in assistance annually
  • Has a program expense ratio average of 81% over the last six years

Here's just one example of the families helped by The Backstoppers. This August, an armed gunman ordered a couple out of their home and barricaded himself inside. Responding to the call, Officer Tamarris Bohannon and his partner were shot, Bohannon fatally wounded. Officer Bohannon was 29 years old and left behind a wife and three young children.

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Officer Tamarris Bohannon.

It was a dramatic event, as police talked with the gunman through the night and finally stormed into the house early the next morning, taking the shooter, Thomas Kinworthy, into custody. He's since been charged with first-degree murder, among other charges.

Brunette Games is proud to support a worthy organization making a real difference to families whose own sacrifice deserves recognition.

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We have strong ties to Saint Louis University. First, it's our founder's alma mater - basically the place where Lisa Brunette first honed her writing chops. Says Lisa:

"If it weren't for the brilliant, compassionate professors who fostered my love of writing, I might not be where I am today."

Second, it's the current collegiate home of Brunette Games Writer/Editor Amanda VanNierop, who's working toward degrees in both English and Political Science while simultaneously managing to create new characters and stories for five released games and counting. Amanda was drawn to SLU because she felt at home on campus. She says:

"I love the English department at SLU. Every professor I've met is passionate about literature, and the department itself goes above and beyond in providing opportunities for their students—that's how I learned about the open position at Brunette Games earlier this year."

In thinking about our donation to SLU, we wanted to honor the role of the English department in shaping minds and touching hearts. Studies show that connecting to fictional worlds and the characters who inhabit them can breed empathy. So while we have a self interest in a program that produces writing talent, we also see English departments as key to a better world. 

Lisa worked her way through SLU on a combination of scholarships, paid jobs and internships, and student loans, and Amanda is doing the same. Neither had the luxury of a free ride. As a team who understands the struggle some go through just to obtain a college education, we wanted to support students with financial need as well.

Our contribution to SLU is specifically designated for two funds:

  1. The English Department Development Fund
  2. Saint Louis University Financial Need Scholarship

 We're all proud to help SLU provide its transformative Jesuit education, conduct cutting-edge research, supply compassionate health care, and perform mission-focused service.

Happy holidays to all our clients and friends, and may the new year bring you peace and good fortune.


Brunette Games Nominated for a 'Business of the Year' Award - Vote Now!

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Brunette Games has been nominated for the Business of the Year Award sponsored by our Mid-County Chamber of Commerce, of which we are a member. About the award:

Established in 2011, the Chamber Business of the Year Award is an award that recognizes a Chamber business who demonstrated an exceptional contribution to their industry or community within the past year. Nominated businesses should be a model business, with a reputation of excellence in one or more of the following areas: Industry Achievement, Revenue Growth, Outstanding Customer Service, Innovative products and services, creative marketing endeavors, and community involvement.

We're honored to receive the nomination and proud of our Chamber membership. Through a very difficult year for many small, local businesses, we've been impressed by the communal spirit, innovation, and unflagging entrepreneurship of our fellow Chamber members as they've weathered lengthy lockdowns and a host of new processes and procedures during the pandemic.

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We're also proud to support St. Louis as a place for game industry jobs and of our role in providing valuable employment locally, as cited in our nomination letter:

Brunette Games has [nearly] doubled its revenue in the last year and hired local students from Webster University and St. Louis University. The opportunity to get experience in the exceedingly lucrative game industry is a huge opportunity for local students.

You can VOTE for Brunette Games by December 9. Wish us luck!


Brunette Games Founder Lisa Brunette Named 'Top Influencer' in Game Industry

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Our head honcho here at Brunette Games was recently named a 'top influencer' in the game industry by UserWise. Lisa Brunette was included in a roundup of experts, along with the likes of Rovio lead designer Harshal Karvande and industry vet Lloyd Melnick. "Gaming experts know it takes business, math and engineering skills to make a great game," writes author Mike Moran, "but the real pros have made the industry into an art form." 

A couple of corrections to the piece: She hadn't quite logged 30 years (more like 15) in her career by the time Nintendo drew her to the game industry, and that was in 2009, not 2007. If those two things were true, she'd be positively ancient today, which she isn't, although she's certainly logged enough experience to be considered a veteran game professional. Moran highlights a longtime trajectory in interactive writing and design, beginning with a science exhibit back in the late 90s and culminating in the narrative-focused work we do now at Brunette Games.

"It's an honor to be included," says Lisa. "Especially as the only woman of eight to be named as influencer." It's a distinction Moran highlights:

She has game-writing credits on hundreds of titles (not to mention a trilogy of novels) and has been leading the way for women in a male-saturated world for years. 

Read the full article over at UserWise.