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MAKING IT HUGE IN VIDEO GAMES

Memoirs of Composer Chance Thomas

Chapter 5 - Sneak Peek Excerpt

GAME MUSIC GRAMMY 

I pushed my way into the crowded nightclub. A mobile DJ booth was pulsing over in the corner. Red and blue lights flickered from the ceiling, tickling a small dance floor. Music industry insiders were everywhere. 

Suddenly, I spotted the man I’d come to see.

Chatting with a group of record execs was C. Michael Greene, Chief Executive Officer of the Recording Academy, otherwise known as the Grammy guy. I wasted no time getting next to him. 

I introduced myself as a new member of the Recording Academy, and mentioned that I composed music for video games. He nodded, but seemed disinterested and distracted, his eyes darting around the room. I pressed on, posing the question I’d driven to San Francisco to ask, “Is it possible to have a new Grammy Award category for video game music?” 

His eye-wandering stopped, and he looked down at me – straight down his long, thin, slightly crinkled nose, “You mean like Pac Man and Donkey Kong?” 

“No, not really,” I answered. “More like live orchestra, layered voices, classical guitar, and ethnic soloists. Sort of like what you’re hearing right now.”

Prior to our conversation, I’d arranged with the DJ to spin up a copy of my Quest For Glory V original soundtrack. The first song was already sweeping across the room when I mentioned the new category.  

I continued, “This is my latest video game score.” Greene cocked his head toward the ceiling and began listening intently. Cigarette smoke drifted upward, dancing hazy circles around the lights, but his eyes were fixed far away. I could see the concentration on his face, lips pursed, eyebrows furrowed, an outdated paradigm shifting in real time.

Finally, he turned to me and said, “You may be on to something here. Get in touch with our VP of Awards, Diane Theriot. Show her what you’ve got. I’ll tell her you’re calling. Let’s see where this goes.”  

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Diane Theriot was the epitome of hard-earned, effortless class. Picture the congenial charm of Oprah Winfrey with the seasoned wisdom of a diplomat. Not a perfect description, but that's pretty close.  

As I entered Diane’s dazzling corner office, she rose up quickly, stepped out from behind her desk, and extended a warm greeting. Dressed in a well-tailored business suit, she carried herself with an ease few could manage, even in their favorite sweats.  

We soon relaxed into unhurried small talk. I don't think I'd ever felt such natural affinity from a top executive. At length Diane addressed the purpose of my visit. “I understand you would like to discuss a new Grammy Award category to honor music from video games? Please tell me what I ought to know about this.”  

My presentation was locked and loaded. Game on.