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“Arts & the Video Game Industry”

Creative Circles Forum Logo

February 24, 2016
7:00pm – 9:00pm

Hosted at
The Colony Theatre
555 N Third St, Burbank, CA 91502

 Moderated By:
Scott Pitchford

With Panelists:
Timothy Ford
Peter Wyse
Rod Parong
Chris Mitchell
William Novak


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Experts and educators will take you inside the exciting world of gaming to explore the many career avenues in the video game industry, how students can develop the necessary skills for these jobs, and where this growing platform of the entertainment industry is heading for the future!

Join us for our this one hour thought provoking conversation, followed by a hosted wine and cheese reception.

Tickets are available at the door beginning at 6:30pm!

General Admission: $20
Current Community Members: $10

BUSD High School Students FREE with Student ID thanks to the generosity of a Disney VoluntEARS Community Fund grant
Current Circle of Champions Members receive complimentary tickets as a benefit of their membership.

Contact Saundra Montijo to reserve your BUSD Student ticket or Circle of Champions tickets at

Learn More About our Moderator:

SPScott Pitchford
Director of Research & Client Consulting
Nielsen Games

Scott Pitchford is the Director of Research & Client Consulting for Nielsen Games (a division of The Nielsen Company). The Games division provides both primary custom research and syndicated services for the video game industry; including publishers, first party manufacturers, developers and agencies/advertisers.  The team manages the video game vertical for Nielsen globally and has a deep knowledge of both consumers and the industry, including consumer behavior, traditional and mobile gaming, software, peripherals and hardware, and emerging trends in the category. One of Pitchford’s specific areas of focus is managing Nielsen’s Video Game Tracking service, a marketplace assessment tool that allows video game publishers to monitor the competitive mind share of all types of video game consumers for upcoming and recently released titles.

Pitchford has over 15 years in entertainment research, with 10 years specific to the gaming industry.  Prior to Nielsen Games he was Senior Analyst, Global Consumer Research for Vivendi Universal Games, handling all phases of qualitative studies (moderating focus groups, conducting user tests) and quantitative studies, for the marketing and playtesting initiatives of various video game releases.

In his spare time, Pitchford is a gamer himself, a dedicated Seminole alumni, and enjoys traveling with his wife and two sons.

Learn More About our Panelists:

TFTimothy Ford
Lead Software Engineer, Gameplay
Blizzard Entertainment

Timothy Ford is a lead software engineer for Overwatch, Blizzard Entertainment’s highly-stylized team-based multiplayer game set on a near-future earth, featuring a diverse cast of extraordinary characters embroiled in an epic, globe-spanning conflict. Ford is responsible for the team of engineers who write the game simulation, animation, and user interface. Alongside his team, Ford works in all aspects of gameplay code.

Ford joined Blizzard Entertainment in 2009 as a senior gameplay engineer. Before joining the company, he served as the lead AI and animation programmer on the popular Medal of Honor series. Ford has invested a tremendous amount of time researching technology solutions to make game development more efficient and fun, and reaps the rewards of that research at Blizzard Entertainment.

When he isn’t working, Timothy spends most of his free time with his wife, son, and daughter. He also enjoys watching movies and loves UCLA and Green Bay Packer football.


PWPeter Wyse
Vice President, Group General Manager – Production & Development
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment

Peter oversees multiple studios for Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment: Monolith Productions, NetherRealm Studios, Rocksteady Studios, and WB Games Montréal. In addition, he’s also responsible for the publishing teams that handle Localization, Quality Assurance, and Production.

During his time at Warner Bros., he has led production of their most successful games such as “Batman: Arkham City,” “Mortal Kombat,” “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor,” “Injustice: Gods Among Us,” and “Scribblenauts.”

Prior to his current role, Peter has over 25 years’ experience working in production and creative development with 19 years focused in the gaming industry. Peter worked at Atari on “Unreal Tournament 2004”, and produced some of Disney Interactive’s most successful console games which included “A Bug’s Life”, “Toy Story 2” and “Kingdom Hearts.”


RPRod Parong
Principal Artist
Insomniac Games

Rod Parong is a Principal Artist at Insomniac Games’s Burbank (Calif.) studio. He creates high-quality, AAA content for environments and cinematics, ranging from natural landscapes to cityscapes.  Rod also manages outsourcing. During his time at Insomniac, Rod has worked on the award-winning Sunset Overdrive, developing the faction-themed bases, cinematic scenes, and main player’s apartment base. The game received several nominations for its vibrant art style and direction.

Rod is credited with more than 25 titles from Insomniac Games and Novalogic Inc., including series from Ratchet & Clank, Resistance 2 & 3, and Delta Force: Blackhawk Down.  In his free time, Rod enjoys spending time with his wife, being schooled by his son in video games, and developing his daughter’s artistic talents. He is an active volunteer with his church’s youth ministry where he enjoys serving as a summer camp counselor.


CMChris Mitchell
Digital Media Teacher
David Starr Jordan Middle School

Chris Mitchell teaches the Digital Media classes at David Starr Jordan Middle School in Burbank. This is his second year running the Jordan CougarLAB where students can explore a wide variety of digital media fields including computer graphics, video production, digital music, animation, motion graphics, coding, and game design as well as help produce the school yearbook and segments for the school video show, CougarVISION.

Prior to coming to Jordan, Mitchell worked at Luther Burbank Middle School in Burbank for 25 years, starting as a Social Studies teacher and then moving into teaching Digital Media classes including web design, graphics, and video production. He has taught evening ROP classes for high school and adult students, summer GATE Technology classes, and after school computer enrichment programs for Video Production and Game Design.

Chris got his first taste of game design in 9th grade, when he learned the BASIC programming language and was able to use it to program a football game on a TRS80 computer. He was an Economics Major at Occidental College and returned there to get his teaching credential. He has also enjoyed taking Graphic Design classes at Art Center in Pasadena to update his skills.


WNWilliam Novak
Chair of Game Art and Design
Woodbury University

William Novak, known professionally as simply “Novak,” is the Chair of the Department of Game Art & Design at Woodbury University.

Novak has been designing and developing award-winning video games for 29 years, creating branded properties and original IPs for many game publishers, including Sony, Nintendo, Electronic Arts, Sega of America, Nokia, Fox Interactive, Virgin Interactive, Simon and Schuster, the Haley Miranda Group, and Toyota/Scion. He started making games in 1982 as an assembly language programmer and designer at Sega’s Coin-Op division during the Golden Age of the Video Arcade and has been publishing games regularly ever since. While Project Designer at Mattel Toys, Novak received the Creative Excellence Award and also attained Mattel’s highest honor, receiving two Chairman’s Awards for his game design of Nintendo’s “Super Glove Ball” and for designing the interface used by the world’s first interactive TV show, Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future. Before his immersion in all things digital, Novak was a central figure in San Francisco’s emerging punk rock scene. He founded two independent record labels, Dumb Records and Nth Degree, and produced underground hit records for the most notorious first wave of SF bands such as The Nuns, Crime, The Readymades and The Survivors. Novak’s undergraduate studies focused on avant-garde electronic art and music composition. He was the studio assistant of the 20th century’s most influential composer and thinker, John Cage. He regularly gave lecture/demonstrations in local high schools with early synthesizer pioneer, Robert Moog, and produced many new music concerts for visiting experimental composers and artists, including Philip Glass, Alvin Lucier, Frederic Rzewski, Kenneth Gaburo, David Behrman, and Merce Cunningham. Novak is currently designing a casual iPad game with a focus on inventing state-of-the-art gameplay interfaces that fully exploit Apple’s touchscreen.


Burbank Arts for All Foundation hosts these forums to bring together our community in support of the arts, arts education and creative innovation in Burbank.

Become a Circle of Champions member of the Burbank Arts for All Foundation and receive complimentary tickets to future Creative Circles Forum membership events!

Burbank Arts for All Foundation’s mission is to ensure every student in Burbank public schools receives a quality arts education as part of their core curriculum.



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