- Role: Producer & Virtual Reality Developer
- Location: Brisbane, Australia
Wise words from Mitchell Manganaro!
QRM: Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do in the games industry?
Mitchell: I have been working with Virtual Reality for over half a decade and lead the way to launch Earthlight: Lunar Hub, the first multi-user VR experience for Discovery Centres in Victoria, Australia in 2018. I started out as Junior Designer on Earthlight, which eventually lead me to manage the release of Earthlight: Lunar Hub.
Throughout my career (so far) I have been a designer, project manager, and mentor for developers in the VR space. I've also spent time mentoring school students, supporting foundations like Make-A-Wish, helping run GCAP Loading and organising Unreal Engine community meet ups.
I just tell people I'm a Producer & Virtual Reality Developer, it sums up a lot of my career nicely.
QRM: What about the games industry excites and inspires you?
Mitchell: The one thing I truly love about the industry, is when you see members of the public have an emotional response to a project you've worked on.
It is honestly the most humbling and inspiring experiences when people turn to you after playing it and say that you've helped make their dreams a reality.
Even the unspoken responses, where you see the smile on their face, or their eyes light up over experiences you've help shape. Just knowing that I've impacted someone in a positive way makes it all worth it.
QRM: What about the games industry frustrates or disappoints you? What are the challenges you’re currently facing in the industry?
Mitchell: I've had a lot of time off this year to heal from my burn out, and learn to appropriately support my mental health. This hasn't been the easiest of journeys, especially when you see a lot of Australian studios shutting their doors and many talented devs being made redundant, and I can't help but feel for everyone in this process.
The journey is rough for all of us, but we always find a way forward, together. Even if it is two steps forward, one step back most of the time.
QRM: If you could make one roadblock magically disappear from the games industry, what would you choose and why?
Mitchell: In all honesty, more support from the federal government is always going to be a roadblock that I wish we could have magically fixed.
I'll go broader than that, I would remove the fear of not knowing, ensuring that we aren't constantly driven forward by fear of the unknown (whether this be work, contracts, projects etc) pushing ourselves harder just to know we can complete a project/land a client/keep the studio open.
QRM: What message would you give to allies—both individuals and companies—who want to know how to support marginalised people better?
Mitchell: Take time to listen to individual journeys, you'll find that change starts with people who have the power, and taking time to slow down to listen. Let their voices be heard.
QRM: What message would you give to marginalised people who are working in games or would like to work in games?
Mitchell: Honestly, I'd love to just link to the final scene from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, there is a quote that (for me) that I find incredibly inspiring:
'...And when I feel alone, like no one understands what I’m going through, I remember my friends who get it. I never thought I’d be able to do any of this stuff, but I can. Anyone can wear the mask. You could wear the mask. If you didn’t know that before, I hope you do now...' - Miles Morales
We're stronger together, seek out the support networks in the industry.
QRM: If people want to find and support you and your work, how can they do that?