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Meet Karrie Shirou of Strangely Compelling Multimedia (SCMedia) in West LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karrie Shirou.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I went to Harvey Mudd College for Engineering but quickly learned that I didn’t see myself going into a lab or government or other traditional engineering work. I stuck it out and got my degree, worrying if I was wasting my time and my parents’ money in doing so.

I was constantly writing stories growing up, so I applied for jobs in entertainment and video games (alongside more traditional jobs). I ended up working in business/IT consulting for a few years until I finally found a single game company to take a chance on me. I hadn’t heard of the company or their game, and it was an unpaid internship offer, but I decided to take the chance and deal with the fallout later.

That company ended up being Riot Games, creators of League of Legends, the most-played PC game in the world. I become a producer and writer there, and also hosted the first world championship on-camera. Since then, I’ve gone on to produce, market, and launch some of the top independent games and many titles from the Japanese market.

The best part of my story is how the dots all connected looking back. Game development is software development, something my engineering degree did end up laying the foundation for.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not always been a smooth road.

I was lucky enough to join Riot Games, but that came after years and years (and hundreds) of rejected applications. Working numerous corporate jobs made me realize how much I valued smaller teams and independent work. It’s all a big discovery process to figure out what type of work I find satisfying and what environments I enjoy the most.

Strangely Compelling Multimedia (SCMedia) – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My company, Strangely Compelling Multimedia, is a marketing, PR, localization, and production company that specializes in video games and Japanese entertainment. We’ve helped bring numerous Japanese games to the western market, including localization for Guilty Gear Xrd and production/publishing for BlazBlue Cross Tag Battle.

We’ve helped launch over 50 independent titles, including Kerbal Space Program (console), Axiom Verge, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, and Terra Battle 2. You can always find us building out events and fan experiences at all the big shows around the US, like the Super Saiyan Showdown and PAX booths. We’ll be on-stage translating for legendary Japanese creators too.

We’re best at injecting authenticity into our productions. We know the products and we know the fans, be it for an obscure anime or the deep-rooted fighting game community. Entertainment fans, in particular, are the best at sniffing out cut-and-paste marketing and efforts where the fan experience and community are not really understood. We bridge that gap by being fans ourselves and thus knowing where to go to speak and engage with the audience directly.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
My criteria for success are;
(1) My personal happiness
(2) The opportunities I get to pursue

#1 is the reason I switched into the entertainment industry in the first place. If I’m not enjoying myself, and if I’m not producing situations in which everyone’s having a good time (both staff and audience included), then I know I need to move on. Life’s too short to not choose happiness, and that “selfish” goal has led me to a job that I love and a lifestyle that truly makes me happy.

#2 is a measure of progress. Am I taking on bigger projects, am I able to open doors closed to me previously? Do I get to work on games and titles that I truly love? Do I get to do the job I want to do, or am I settling for what’s available? The more I work, the more choices I get to have, and the more availability there is for me to try new things or focus my work in specific directions.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Drew Lastname; Stephanie Lindgren

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