@sherl0ckh0mie, 24 – FUNDED

Abby Sherlock’s very first memory of gaming is playing Galaga with her dad. And, as they say, the rest is history! Now, this JBL Quantum Grant winner is pursuing her master’s degree at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, having recently finished her undergraduate degrees in film, acting, media and communications at the University of California, San Diego.

As she continues her studies, she is focused on production in USC’s Interactive Media program. She has also spent time interning at Wizards of the Coast, Nerdist, Geek & Sundry, and NZXT and has worked as a community coordinator at Tespa-Blizzard. AND, that’s not all! She also hosts esports events (most recently for the Overwatch League’s Vancouver Titans) and streams as much as her schedule allows! You can find her on Twitch as @sherl0ckh0mie and via @abby_sherlock on Instagram and Twitter.

What is your dream in gaming and/or esports? 

My dream job is to be a voiceover producer/director at an AAA games studio, bridging the gap between theatre, performance, and games. On the side, I adore hosting and being on camera myself. So, between both of those, it’s the perfect mix.

How will this award from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? 

Besides being an audio-focused person myself and in desperate need of a new headset, this grant will help alleviate part of the financial pressure of being a full-time student while working part-time for my school during this upcoming semester.

What does being a 1,000 Dreams Fund – JBL Quantum Grant recipient mean to you? 

As I head into my last year of schooling and the thesis year of my graduate program, this grant means less daily stress so I can focus more on my studies. It also means joining a network of awesome women in so many different places doing great things! As someone who identities with other marginalized communities — as a woman, plus-sized, and neurodivergent — it shows visibility for others in the space and that they are safe and accepted.

Women are underrepresented in gaming and esports. What can we do to change this? 

There are two answers within this question.

  1. We must first get women to stay in the industry through things like promotions and pay transparency — ensuring that women are paid equally for the same work as their male coworkers. There are other factors that hit women more, including caretaking roles. But, the workplace must ultimately serve as a positive place where advancement is possible and encouraged.
  2. To encourage more women to join the industry, we must create paths of visibility and showcase women as prominent members and players in this space. This is vital for younger individuals to see potential paths and role models.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way? 

From having ideas stolen in meetings and later presented by male coworkers, to getting random passes at events, to getting screamed at in online competitive matches, it can really be overwhelming when harassment comes in at all sides.

But, I am extremely lucky to also have friends outside of the games community who often bring me back to earth and balance my fears or worries. My family is deeply supportive of my career and, even though they are on the other side of the country, they often tune into streams or events I host.

What advice do you have for women who want to work in the gaming or esports industry? 

There are a couple of courses of action that are fundamental for career progression within games and esports.

  • Have a community of peers who identify similarly to you. This gives you a real network of folks who act as sounding boards when you need to double-check your gut feelings.
  • Apply to roles and positions even if you don’t feel like you are qualified enough! Studies show women apply to less jobs than their male counterparts even if they hit much of the criteria. You might not get a “yes,” but it’s not a “no” forever!
  • Find trustworthy mentors and sponsors who can champion and advocate for your work.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals? 

I am a huge fan of timelines! Giving myself specific dates and enforcing them keeps me on track and helps me know what is coming down the pipeline so I have time to prepare. I love production software and different ways of project management; I think it’s interesting! I also have people in my life who keep me updated and we tell each other when we have tasks due! Knowing someone else is rooting for me to get it done puts some extra fire in my step.