An Interview with Nikki Myers
Stories Through Sound is a blog featuring interviews by industry professionals across the audio and post production fields. This week, we're interviewing Nikki Myers.
Nikki Myers is an audio and VO designer at Epic Games currently working on Fortnite. She graduated with a B.A. in Film Studies and a B.A. in Music at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, as well as obtaining an M.F.A. in Sound Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design. With over a decade of audio design experience and over two decades as a musician, Nikki has provided audio work for a variety of media across her career - including film, television, animation, and live performance - before finding her home in video games.
What made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in audio?
It was actually a suggestion from a film professor I had in college. Playing piano was pretty much my primary hobby when I was growing up - I took lessons and played competitive piano from ages 8-18 and started writing my own music on the side when I was in high school. I also grew up playing video games and watching a lot of movies, so I developed an interest in the entertainment industry in general. I was in one of my intro classes in film school when my professor told me I had an ear for audio design and suggested that I look into film sound design as a career path. Of course, since then I've managed to squeeze my way into the games industry instead, but the film industry was where the seed was planted. (Thanks, Professor Linehan!)
What are some ways your Bachelors and/or Master’s degrees have impacted your career in sound?
I have a B.A. in Film Studies and a B.A. in Music, so both of those degrees helped me lay a foundation to build my career on, as well as giving me the opportunity to practice simultaneous critical watching and listening. After college, I went on to grad school for my M.F.A. in Sound Design, which was where I learned more specific techniques, workflows, and design approaches, not just in the film industry, but for the animation and video games industries as well. It was in grad school that I decided to specialize in dialogue and voiceover!
How did you get involved in the game audio industry?
After grad school, I was offered a job at Boss Key Productions to help out the audio team with VO recording, editing, and implementation for LawBreakers. The rest is history!
Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on?
I have to admit, I'm having a lot of fun working on Fortnite right now. :)
What are some of your favorite plugins or gear that you use on a regular basis?
Manipulator and Vocal Synth are a couple of my go-to fun plugins for voice design. You can also never go wrong with a good set of basics, so I have to give a shoutout to Fab Filter's Pro Bundle...or any of their bundles, for that matter. My DAW is Reaper, and I use Adobe Audition's spot healing tool and iZotope's RX suite all the time for vocal cleanup, particularly when dealing with mouth noises. For monitoring, I typically switch back and forth between my Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro cans for detailed listening and my Genelecs when listening to mixes. While I don't personally own a U-87, it's been the most consistently-used microphone for any voiceover project I've been involved with across my career, and it's god-tier. I do have a Rode NT2-A in my personal cabinet, though, and it has never failed me.
Are there any skills you wish you would have learned earlier on in your career?
As someone who works with voiceover talent on a regular basis, I sometimes have to fill in as the voice director on occasion. I was actually never taught specifically how to provide effective feedback to actors in the voiceover booth, so I had to build that skill on the job. I'm still working on getting better at directing to this day, but I think I do okay now!
What advice would you give to someone who’s thinking of going into the game audio field?
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