Music tech grad joins Sony at Insomniac Games as a sound designer

After graduating from the Department of Music in 2017, Music Technology alumni Tyler Hoffman had high hopes of pursuing a career as a sound designer for film and video games. With an eager spirit, Hoffman applied and was accepted to the University of Southern California's MFA program in Film and Television Production in Winter 2020.

"I thought USC would be a great catalyst for having a reason to be closer to the film/ game industry while learning from the best and using outstanding equipment and facilities," said Hoffman. "I went out to USC in April 2019 for their graduate acceptance day to meet faculty and (possible) future peers. I fell in love and definitely wanted to go at this point."

Like many students taking their first steps toward entering the industry, Hoffman wanted to find an internship opportunity between semesters. However, for most internships at game/movie studios, student status is typically required to be considered. An opportunity at Sony in San Diego for a sound design intern led Tyler to apply in late August.

"You could tell right from the start Tyler was bound for success," said Assistant Professor of Composition and Theory Jonathan Anderson. "From when he integrated his dance-activated Dance Dance Revolution game controller for designing sound worlds in my Interactive Electronic Music class, to later mentoring him on his successfully funded Undergraduate Research Grant for developing an interactive music harmonization software program called SmartHarmony, I saw firsthand his passion for sound and technology."

Tyler received a call in early October saying the candidates were pared down to a few people. To advance in the selection process he had to take a sound design test.

"I was floored with excitement and was sent a 26 second clip of their Spider-Man game to perform a sound design test that was due on Halloween," explained Hoffman. "I took my time designing, recording and editing sounds to fit and be perfect; all while documenting my approach to recording and designing certain sounds."

Three hours later Tyler received a call from Sony Recruiting asking if he was interested in a more permanent position.

"The following day I received a lot of information on the position and we continued forward with the process. Sony flew me out to Insomniac Games in Burbank for an in-person interview. We all hit it off and I had a great time. Not too long after I was offered the position!" explained Hoffman.

Tyler was asked to come on board as an associate sound designer as part of Sony Interactive Entertainment's PDSG (Product Development Service Group) Sound team on-site at Sony's newly acquired Insomniac Games location. He began in early January 2020. As of July 2020, Tyler was brought onto the Insomniac Games sound department as a full-time fixed-term associate sound designer with the hopes of continuing at Insomniac for a long time to come.

"His hard work at Wayne State paid off, leading to his internship and job at Yessian Music, and eventually his position at Sony, and we couldn't be prouder," said Anderson. "I said a final goodbye to USC, as in the end the outcome was better. If I hadn't applied for graduate school, I wouldn't have been able to apply for the internship which turned into my dream job, said Hoffman. "My mentor at USC encouraged me to take this opportunity as she wants this for her students after they graduate.

"So, for everyone that has helped me get to where I am now - Thank you!"

Da'Stanza Murphy, CFPCA Information Officer

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