FNE Film Meets Games: Q&A with Teodora Migdalovici, #TheAlternativeSchool Founder & Marius Radu, Good Game Industry’s Co-founder

    Teodora Migdalovici and Marius Radu Teodora Migdalovici and Marius Radu credit: #TheAlternativeSchool

    BUCHAREST: In the light of the recently launched event on The Future of Gaming, dedicated to marketers and ad agencies aiming to cooperate with the gaming world, FNE spoke with its organisers, Teodora Migdalovici, founder of #TheAlternativeSchool and Marius Radu, the co-founder of Good Game Industry.

    Central and Eastern Europe is one of the most important locations for global games developers and studios, and artists in the region are increasingly working for both film and games and in more recent times, with PR & creative agencies. FNE looks at how these sectors of the entertainment & business industries are converging and why this trend is important for their future development.

    FNE: What have been your main missions and strategic projects to impact the Romanian creative industry so far?The Future Of Gaming, credit: #TheAlternativeSchool

    Teodora Migdalovici: Probably the most important one was the coaching of the Romanian creative industry to aim higher, compete and eventually win big in international competitions, such as Cannes Lions, as early as 2005. Back then Romania rarely had delegates at relevant global events, let alone work to be awarded. Beyond 1-on-1 consultancy talks and high quality trainings delivered for creative agencies, clients and production houses, the most successful, impactful platform to date remains #TheAlternativeSchool, a star nursery educational platform feeding the industry with well-trained, internationally exposed junior-seniors. Eighteen years later, our alumni have permeated all levels of the industry with a different mindset, literally changing the landscape and the ambitions of the companies they work for.

    As important as shaping the mentality of the local creative industry from a marginal one, with zero interest to play in the big league in early 2000, to a first class winning industry a decade later & counting, was the lobby for Romanian talent abroad, not despite its identity, but precisely because of it. So in the past 18 years we’ve created countless campaigns to celebrate Romanian talent abroad. The creative spirit was a strong part of our identity and very few knew about it, in the global landscape. Besides #TheAlternativeSchool programmes or jury nominations for Romanian creatives in high level global competitions, #LadiesFirst magazine, celebrating abroad remarkable creative female talent, was part of the successful lobby strategy.

    In the early 2000, as an Eastern European mingling in international contexts, one could hear all kinds of nasty clichés about her identity, delivered by Westerners who very often had never been in the region, let alone in contact with its brightest minds. Most of their ideas were shaped and filtered by sensationalist media and taken out of context. It felt like a personal duty to change the perception about my country and put an identity-related equality sign between Romania, creativity and talent. 

    FNE: What big projects is the company currently working on?

    Teodora Migdalovici: Pioneering was always part of our DNA, hence the event on The Future of Gaming, which paved the way for 2024. In the quest for a well-educated creative industry beyond the predictable & expected, we will reshape our Spring Semester training and Young Lions competitions aligning them to the high quality Gamevertising-related universe.

    Including brand narratives in games is a wish of every brand steward out there, but it’s easier said than done. People are escaping into games from their immediate realities in the same way they are doing it when they go to the cinema or binge-watching Disney Plus, and it's truly an art form to game-tegrate a brand’s tone of voice and deliver the same level of entertainment to the audiences. KFC, Wendy’s, Carrefour, Burberry or Greenpeace proved it can be done beautifully. Beyond the school’s briefs & international game-fluent speakers, alongside our partners from Good Game industry – the Romanian proven-expertise company in the field, we plan to deliver dedicated training for all companies interested in expanding their influence into this appealing territory.

    Teodora Migdalovici, credit: #TheAlternativeSchoolFNE: What can you tell us about your recent event The Future of Gaming, which took place on 14 December in Bucharest?

    Teodora Migdalovici: To our great joy, the hype of the topic and the content led to a sold out venue, with top level creatives, clients, gamers and influencers attending, for an evening where at least five other major industry related functions took place across Bucharest. Their presence and most importantly, their feedback, was a refreshing reward. My presentation packed with internationally awarded case studies inspired by Entertainment Lions for Gaming debunked clichés about the power of Games to successfully accommodate brand narratives from very different categories – banking, FMCG, luxury, healthy eating habits or environment. Lessons that ad industry should learn from gaming, especially the ones related to the way we build healthy relationships with our audiences to consolidate genuine passion-driven communities, were also on the list. Toma Nicolau & Marius Radu, Good Game Industry co-founders, highlighted the results of their most successful campaigns built creatively with exclusively represented gamefluencers and first class Romanian pop icons. The launching of the 20.000 subjects research on the Romanian gamers universe conducted by Good Game Industry shed light on the profile, age, gender, number of people playing a given game, offering marketers a valuable navigation tool into this otherwise uncharted territory. The event was spiced up by the indie studio Moon Hound. Their creatives replicated some of the guests’ silhouettes in 3d, in order to integrate them naturally in a game they are about to launch next year.

    FNE: Film and games convergence is a hot topic now. How can the local Gaming industry become a leading voice for contemporary Romania abroad?

    Marius Radu: Annually there are more than 300 millions US dollars that are generated by the gaming studios in Romania, obviously way more than the music and films combined. And the potential is way bigger, of course.

    There is a pool of creative talents that works in the industry, from art directors, designers to animation experts with years and years of experience. All of them work to triple AAA games that are played by millions of gamers around the world. I would like to point out the Assassin's Creed series which is developed in Romania, and we've all seen the visuals, the video and the music from the game which are, sometimes, even more impressive than a film. The games can be a very good opportunity for Romania to show its creative side.

    FNE: How do you see the development of the relationship between the film and gaming industries?

    Marius Radu: In the next few years we will be seeing more and more films adapted from games. The trend is ongoing right now with titles such as The Witcher, The Last of Us or Super Mario. The recipe is too good to be ignored by film companies: they can see which game is popular by sales and by viewing hours on the video games streaming platforms such as Twitch or Youtube, they can research within the game's community and then they can activate the already formed fan base. Moreover, companies such as Sony or Warner have both film and gaming studios so they have everything "in the house".

    Marius Radu, credit: Good Game IndustryFNE: Which were Good Game Industry top 3 projects where the gaming and the film worlds beautifully collided?

    Marius Radu: The most important project that we have done are the Riot Games League of Legends' documentary about the Romanian community. It took us 11 months to film, edit and get ready for the public. For us, essentially a gaming communication agency, it was a titanic work, but totally worth it. It was very well received by the community, especially after we launched it at the National Opera in a special sold out premiere event.

    Also, we've been creating various promotion campaigns for Garena's Free Fire world famous game, which includes some videos that required celebrities, a professional film set and crew and all. I will mention here the most famous Romanian stand-up comedian Free Fire video series, appreciated by both stand-up fans and gamers. For another project we had to celebrate the launch of the collaboration between Free Fire and La Casa de Papel/Money Heist Netlfix's film series with a special video. Our scenario plot was around "robbing a bank" from downtown Bucharest and for this we worked with a professional film crew, but also we involved among the actors some of our exclusively represented gaming influencers. The fact that we own Saga Space, a production studio, helped a lot in the process. All in all, it was a good experience for us and a great success for the game.

    FNE: Good Game Industry worked already with big names, such as Garena / Free Fire and Riot Games / League of Legends. What’s the international player you would love to develop projects for in the year to come?

    Marius Radu: We have strong knowledge on games such as Fortnite or Minecraft and those still have a potential to grow next year. Should I mention here exclusively represented gamefluencers fluent in those platforms, each with a powerful community? I should. Of course, everyone is waiting for Grand Theft Auto 6, probably available in 2025 and we are ready to play its tune on the same great-results & entertaining-driven frequency.

    About Teodora Migdalovici:

    She is an international public speaker, creativity consultant and cultural lobbyist having attended, since 2000, major worldwide events related to the marketing and the communication industry, with remarkable results. She is also a brand therapist, an awarded author, a personal branding strategist and the founder of The Alternative School for Creative Thinking, one of the League of Legends GOOD GAME Industry Launch - ROMANIAN Opera, credit: #TheAlternativeSchoolmost successful Creative MBAs in Eastern Europe, with Gold Lions in the portfolio. The brands she cared for very often ended up in the first position, while her career enjoyed wide recognition: European Excellence Award, Stevie Award, Brand Leadership Award, Cannes Lions – Most Passionate Lions Ambassador – Silver, Private Diplomacy Award, Dragan Sakan Award for impacting the Eastern European Creativity & Foreign Diplomacy Award – Media.

    About Marius Radu:

    With a career background at Electronic Sports League, the world's largest E-sports company, working closely with various partners around Europe developing local markets and events, after coming back in the country and becoming an entrepreneur, Marius has been involved in the most notable game-related events in Romania – Bucharest Gaming Week, Comicon or The Future of Gaming. Since 2020, alongside Toma Nicolau and Lorena Schadi, he's been the co-founder of Good Gaming Industry, a creativity driven studio specialised in gamevertising, influencer marketing, video production & events. Their company nowadays represents exclusively more than 21 gamefluencers, covering a passionate fandom of more than 2 million players. Ana Dumbrava – the 4 times CS GO female world champion and Andrei "Odoamne '' Pascu, the League of Legends European champion are included in the Good Game Industry’ stellar talents portfolio. In the past 3 years they delivered performance driven campaigns for brands operating in banking, FMCG, Telco & entertainment.