There's something about meeting people in an MMO like WoW that forges connections. Maybe it's because we all share a common interest in the game. Maybe it's because so many of us share other common interests -- for instance, many players show at least a passing fancy for fantasy and sci-fi -- or come from age groups who see connecting with others via the internet as a perfectly natural, desirable phenomenon.
At any rate, this week's 15 Minutes of Fame brings us the tale of a player who built on her WoW connections to forge an entirely new career. From WoW-playing freelance writer to WoW-playing voice-over artist, Candace McCarty (aka Coriánder of Moon Guard [US-A]) knows first-hand the power and depth of resources wielded by WoW's massive player community. Read how she got from Career A to Career B with a little help and inspiration from her WoW friends.
Main character Coriánder, draenei shaman -- "Wait, that's not my main! There's my paladin Teleri and my mage Namarie ... I can't choose!"
Realm Moon Guard (US-A)
15 Minutes of Fame: Let's start back at the very beginning ... What's your background in writing and voice-over work?
Candace McCarty: Both of them were complete accidents. I started writing in 1999 when some friends and I started a newsletter for the gothic/industrial music scene in southern Florida. That steamrolled into becoming a freelance writer. I stuck to health and beauty until 2006, when I started to blog about video games.
As far as voice-over goes, I have always been a bit of a ham. I was messing around one day when a guy I knew said, "You should do my radio commercial." My first reaction was a "What?" until I realized I could do something with this! It wasn't until 2007 when I met some professional voice-over artists that I really started to work on it as a career and went through some extra training and mentorship.
What about gaming? How long have you played World of Warcraft?
I've been playing World of Warcraft on and off since about a month after it released. I'm definitely what you would call a gamer. I've been playing video games since the Nintendo Entertainment System. I'm a big fan of fantasy MMORPGs. Along with WoW, I also have Rift, Lord of the Rings Online, Forsaken World and Minecraft.
So there you were, working as a health and beauty writer ... And then you started blogging and podcasting, is that right?
Yeap! Believe it or not, it happened in World of Warcraft. These two dudes I was gaming with at the time were on Ventrilo with me and said, "Hey, we're doing a podcast about WoW. You have a good voice; you should do something with us." I didn't know what a podcast was at that time, but I did know about blogging then. I sort of threw myself into the entire world of new media at that point. It was a good way to get my name out there, and it also was a ton of fun.
Where did the voice-over work come in?
Voice-over work didn't take off until 2007. That's when things got serious. It was just for fun until then, because I didn't think I could actually make a career out of it. It took until 2009 to really get my feet wet and start getting a steady stream of paying jobs.
And how did the whole machinima thing factor into the mix?
That would be Oxhorn. He and I became friends quite some time ago, and he asked me to do a voice for Inventing Swear Words 4. After that, Kam from Chronicle of the Annoying Quest found out I did a mean draenei impression and asked me to voice Vlada in season 2 and also the very annoying Steffie.
But they weren't the first! An artist named Erruno asked me to voice a character in his machinima, which was the first one I ever did. It was so much fun, I wanted to keep doing it! So if someone said, "Hey, can you voice a character for me?" then I said, "Sure!" As time went on and I started to work on voice-over seriously, I still worked with personal friends who made machinima, but focus changed a little bit over the years.
I believe Oxhorn is responsible for that by proxy. Thanks to Inventing Swear Words 4, a professional voice-over artist found me on Twitter and started to talk with me about taking things a little more serious. I had a lot of help through him and learned the ropes of a new voice-over artist. Later, I met my husband, who is a former radio DJ and does commercial voice-over work sometimes. He really helped me get into the business and introduced me to the right people.
Let's talk about all the synergies between your various types of work. What role do you see your gaming in WoW as having played in all of this?
I'd say WoW is partially responsible for what I do now! Is WoW responsible for it? Not really. The people who played WoW with me and the people I met through the various WoW communities are certainly responsible for helping me out. I have a roster of people who I met through WoW or different WoW communities and each of them taught me something, introduced me to someone or helped me in some way. It constantly amazes me the talented and awesome people I meet while playing games -- I've had similar experiences in LotRO as well.
Where's your focus today?
Focus has shifted a little. Especially over the past six months. Voice-over is still in high gear. I just finished working with an independent company on a video game, and I am currently working on a feature-length animation due out later this year. I'm also doing a lot of commercial work, which pays the bills.
However, writing has taken a back seat, and writing about video games has completely stopped. I was approached with an opportunity last year to go into business with a friend and create a community for modern fantasy fans. It's become a lot bigger than any of us expected, and I had to make a decision on what I would enjoy more and what would benefit my family and me more in the long run. I chose the business over freelance writing. So now I'm just playing video games for fun again (and having a blast with that!)
Catch Candace at her personal website, the Green Dragon Inn podcast, or @CandaceMC2 on Twitter.
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with these players, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Aron "Nog" Eisenberg to an Olympic medalist and a quadriplegic raider. Know someone else we should feature? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.