In the days before personal computers, Randy spent rainy days at the kitchen table with pastels, ink pens and watercolor, and sunny days wondering nearby hills with his dog. His mother was a musician and he used to lie under the piano as she played. She encouraged Randy to take piano lessons and later Randy picked up the trumpet and guitar. When Randy was 16, he traveled down to Los Angeles with an older friend to visit his mothers childhood friend at Paramount studios, where she was a regular on the western TV series Bonanza. With passes in hand signed by Lorne Greene, Randy and his friend had free rein to wonder around the exterior standing sets and the sound stages unescorted. If the course of Randy's life was just beginning to take form, this experience overwrote the tentative lines in bold indelible ink. After serving in the United States Coast Guard, Randy entered college to pursue the performing arts.
Randy studied music, theatre and filmmaking at Allen Hancock Community College home of the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, then transferred to California State University Chico, first to study television production, and then to study theatre production.
At CSUC, as Sound Designer and Sound Operator, Randy experimented with Quadraphonic sound for a production in the round of Bus Stop by William Inge, spending many all-nighters experimenting with a Moog modular synthesizer and a TEAC A-3340 4-track tape deck. Randy created light and stage design for A Midsummer Night's Dream in the round, where he covered the entire seating area and stage with fall leaves to create not only the sight, but also the smell of the trees. He created a symbolic light design for a theatre in the round production of The White Whore and the Bit Player by Tom Eyen. He directed the controversial Cowboy Mouth written by Sam Shepard and Patti Smith in the round. Randy's set design for the main stage production of The Devils by British dramatist John Whiting, was a multimedia affair, composed of multi-level platforms backed by three flown rear projection screens. Six 35mm carousel projectors, controlled by three punched paper tape readers created an impressionistic visual storyworld and set transitions. In addition, Randy created a 16mm film to express a dream sequence for the play. This film was front- projected from behind the audience with a carbon arc 16mm projector. Randy graduated from CSUC with a BA in Speech and Drama. Randy transferred to Humboldt State University for graduate work in film production, film theory and criticism, and film writing.
Out of money, Randy ended his graduate work and managed two movie theaters in Arcata, California. The owners of these two theatres also produced regional 16mm commercials, and before long Randy was lighting for their production company. The company hired a camera operator from a local television station. This camera operator turned out to be the station production manager, and he offered Randy a job as producer-director at KIEM-TV3 in Eureka, California. During his five-years at the station, Randy specialized in thirty-second story commercials featuring the city's talented thespians with movie-like lighting.
Randy left the Pacific Northwest in search of something different. There were a couple of years of stumbling around, working various odd jobs. For a short time, Randy produced half-hour infomercials, selling products such as miniature, working steam engines, robotic vacuum cleaners designed to look like a pet and glow-in-the-dark underwear. In 1994, Randy became a video specialist for the one-time gigantic adventure game producer-publisher Sierra On-Line.
At the time, Sierra was experimenting with the production of a live-action (full motion video) adventure game and was just finishing a blue screen production studio. For this game, the player controls a real actor in an impressionistic computer generated 3D story world. The game also featured several other professional actors in numerous cutscenes. Randy took the position Lighting-Camera, working under a director of photography, for Sierra's Phantasmagoria. Randy also edited the cutscenes for that game.
After Phantasmagoria wrapped, Randy immediately became the Director of Photography for Jane Jensen's second Gabriel Knight adventure game, The Beast Within, also a live-action game - the equivalent of shooting three blue screen feature-length films back-to-back and featured a cast of 60 actors. Randy also edited the cutscenes for the game.
Sierra decided to move away from live-action games and Randy became one of two sound designers for Sierra's adventure game Lighthouse. With the support of his managers, Randy began working on several games in a job that didn't have a name at the time, but is now titled Narrative Designer. While working on a space combat simulator based on the television show Babylon 5, Randy met his future wife, the successful writer, Christy Marx. Sierra On-Line imploded in 1999, and the struggling company canceled the Babylon 5 game and closed the Oakhurst, California studio where Randy and Christy worked.
For the next eight years, Randy and Christy worked as freelance series animation writers, computer game writers and book authors. Randy shot, edited, and produced the shoestring budget DVD production, Operation Nightscream, about an expedition, led by researcher John Freitas, to find and record proof of Bigfoot.
In 2007, Randy and Christy moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and became the story department for the MMOG start-up, Slipgate Ironworks, which grew to become developer and publisher Gazillion Entertainment. Their goal was to create a world in which no matter what players did, saw, heard, or read they were immersed in an evocative and internally consistent world with a sense of a story, born of conflict, that evolved towards some approaching resolution. As often happens in the video game industry, the MMOG project was canceled after several years of development.
Recently Randy worked as Narrative Designer on a hybrid hidden object-jewel board game for iWin.
Currently Randy is is freelancing and most recently consulted on a story-driven mobile app. He is always looking for new opportunities to bring innovative narrative design and writing to the world of videogames, and continues to seek opportunities to write and tell stories in other media as well.
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