Star Wars Celebration // MAY 29, 2022
In an engaging conversation, the panelists discussed their backgrounds, their work at ILMxLAB and more.
Of Immortal Vader at Star Wars: Tales from the Edge of the Galaxy, ILMxLAB is on a mission to push the boundaries of immersive entertainment with their award-winning experiences. To star wars Anaheim 2022 Celebration, Lucasfilm celebrated some of the women who strive to make ILMxLAB’s innovative stories come true with a special panel discussion.
Much like Rey’s rocky path from scavenger to Jedi, most adventures are never a straight walk. Emily Burch, Development Operations Engineer, worked in health insurance before finding her calling at ILMxLAB. Similarly, Associate Gameplay Engineer Rachel Radeztsky changed careers while she was in the middle of her graduate studies. “It was not an easy road,” Radeztsky said.
For Marissa Martinez-Hoadley, school was not something that topped the list. “I’m kind of this last generation where you might be like, ‘Computers? I’m not going into computers. I’m going to play guitar in a metal band!'” Martinez-Hoadley recalled. is It should be noted that she is currently headlining a metal band while also working in a heavily computerized role at ILMxLAB.)
Today, as Head of Quality Assurance at ILMxLAB, Martinez-Hoadley ensures that every project that comes out of the studio performs to a high standard and delivers true star wars fan experience. It’s a long process of planning which programs to test, from gameplay to coding.
“I’m very passionate about making sure our stuff works,” Martinez-Hoadley laughed. “I basically get paid to complain and report anything that’s wrong.”
So what happens when you want to make that transition to working in your dream industry? Karessa Bowens, Associate Experience Designer, says networking and a strong work ethic are key. “If you show up at your other job and people feel like you’re someone who wants to learn,” Bowens said, “sometimes that can really work in your favor by showing your work ethic. ” Another advice from Bowens: take up space. Go to any event organized by the industry and visit every discussion and networking event. You never know who you’ll run into.
Even if it takes several applications, don’t give up. Jenny Ely, production manager, says to keep applying for jobs that interest you, even if you don’t think you’ve checked all the boxes in the job description. “There are many statistics out there, especially about women and how they won’t apply for a job if they don’t feel like they haven’t met the 10 elements of a job description,” Ely said. “But the men will apply if they hit like four of them.”
Skills from all walks of life are easily transferable and you never know what the hiring manager is looking for. “Apply anyway,” Radeztsky suggested. “If your skills match even a little, apply anyway. What’s the worst they can say? No? Take a chance and it could be you.
Lucasfilm has a program called Get in the Door, which features many of the people who work for the company and their stories, as well as types of career paths within ILMxLAB. For more information and specific opportunities, check out the Get in the Door website as well as jobs available at ILMxLAB.
Photos by Kristen Bates.
Kristen Bates flies by the seat of her pants and does the best she can. Slow walker. Spends too much time on the Internet. Holder of a season ticket for the Boonta Eve Classic. Budding smuggler. Find her on the interwebs @kristenkbates.
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