Johannes Naukkarinen is a former student of Tampere University of Applied Sciences. He studied in the Music Production study path under Media and Arts degree. Nowadays Naukkarinen works as a freelance producer providing the whole package of creating music. He does music for different artists and works in collaboration with record companies. He also works under his own stage name KIRO as a touring DJ playing mostly club and house music. One of his achievements is the song Profeetat – Eyo that is the best-known song from his production. He has also worked with Nelli Matula and several other artists.

Naukkarinen’s family has always been musical, his father playing in a band and mother singing the choir, and he got his first guitar when he was 8 years old. When Naukkarinen turned 12, he bought his first own guitar and has played in a few bands during his teenage years. After turning 18 and being able to go out to the clubs and listen to the music played there Naukkarinen realized that he wanted to start producing music himself. He just wanted to see where this path would take him and started to work as a producer challenging himself.

“The balance between your contacts and your skills and what you can offer is crucial.”

For Naukkarinen music is everything, it is his life. If he is not working on a project from a client, he does his own music. Sometimes he can just sit at home and create music, even write three or four new songs within a week. Then there are times that he does not do anything music related for a week. One of the best things about working as a freelancer is the freedom, you work when you want to. Naukkarinen might have gigs from two to ten in a month and at least one client.

“The fact is that the jump from a student into a professional starts from yourself.”

Most of his clients come through his connection to Rähinä Records. Naukkarinen got his chance when they needed a producer and he had the confidence to say that he could do it. For the past two years, he has gotten good contacts and widened his client base. The circles are quite small in Finland so knowing a couple of the main people helps in the long run to get to know others as well. It starts to work out once you get to show what you are made of and have the right people notice it.

For Naukkarinen TAMK has offered a good and supportive community to help him in his career. According to him, the professional and qualified teachers together with the likeminded fellow students taught him a lot. The feedback you get from people that surround you is important when you are still honing your skills. With the teachers experience and knowledge and new ideas from other students you already have a good environment to grow as a professional. There are also many good opportunities offered by the university for the students to get out there and experience different things and collaborate with new people. In addition, the mandatory practical training is a good chance to gain contacts. By showing interest and being driven in the work that you are doing you can reach the next step in your career.

“I ended up coming to TAMK because it was the only place that offered also a creative side to music production, not just the technical side.”

Video works of TAMK´s first year fine art students took part in Speculum Artium / DigitalBigScreen- video festival in Slovenia 14.-16.9.  - Barbara Jazbec´s video Mind´s eye won the 2. prize!

Speculum Artium is one of the biggest art and science festivals in Slovenia. The 9th festival is held in Delavski Dom Trbovlje which is the central cultural institution in the municipality of Trbovlje, Slovenia.  Inside Speculum Artium there is an International video festival called DIGITALBIGSCREEN. The DigitalBigScreen festival enables video screening on a big, cinematographic screen, offering a completely different context to the usual ones at projections of artistic videos (room projectors, TV-screens).
Thirty-five authors from around the globe responded to the international call by sending in 42 video works. The expert board consisting of Marko Glavač M.F.A., Zoran Poznič M.F.A., Andrej Uduč and Špela Pavli M.A., have chosen seventeen authors who had qualified into the competitive selection. 

The video works from TAMK were created during the courses of Moving Image study module.

Barbara Jazbec, Mind´s eye

“The story of Skábma is based on the Sámi mythology of The Celestial Hunt. The Celestial Bull Reindeer, Sarvvis, has been hunted through the ages by the Sons of Kalla from the constellation of Orion. If the hunters succeed in killing Sarvvis, the world will die. In the game, a young Sámi child, Áilu, gets mixed up with this endless hunt and accidentally initiates the end of the world.“

Students have been working hard over the summer with various projects and internships. One project in focus is project Skábma – Polar Night, originally titled “Kaamos.” A project which began during a game minor module in 2015, has now been developed into a fully-fledged project. The initial project was too big for the students to finish and they were unable to reach their goals. However, everything has a silver lining. Red Stage Entertainment then picked up the project several years later and are now working with some of the original creators.

Skábma is a 3D low-poly game developed in Unity. The team of 12 currently consists of animators, concept artists, a programmer, a director, level designer a producer and a writer. As well as people working on the music and SFX side of things. Producer/writer Marjaana Auranen is of Sámi descent to help make the game feel as authentic as possible.

Now that the project is taken more seriously, many changes were made to the original concept. Research is being done to make the game as accurate as possible. Such as researching the Sámi people and the way they live. Accurate environments have been created also, largely based on Lapland.

They have been working on the game since early June and work separately from TAMK and they were eventually funded to get the project going. Their main goal is to finish a demo to then promote to potential investors. The deadline to finish the demo was at the end of September, with the potential of producing the game further.

Concept art for the game

Fourth year interactive media students, Waltteri Lahti and Jerina Kivistö, spoke on behalf of the group to give me an insight to what they get up to during their time there. They are two of the creators of the original demo from 2015 and are now doing their practical training at the company.

Kivistö is a 2D artist who comes up with the concept ideas for the game. Her job is to start the process of a character design as well as some environmental aspects for the game using Photoshop. When creating a character or creature, she thinks in detail as to how it will work visually and realistically. She then takes the idea to the producer or director who then decides whether it needs changes or if it works. Most times she will go back and develop her concept idea before approval, a 3D modeller will then develop the idea further from her designs.

“How do I take those designs, and make them not stereotypical.” - Kivistö

Lahti is the games 3D artist who works on creating the 3D models working in Blender, but also works with the animations of the game including rigging the characters. His main aspirations for the project were to develop his animation skills, as this is what he enjoys most. However he has had to focus more on 3D modelling due to the commitments in the project.

"It's been fun and challenging but most of all really rewarding experience to work on this game." - Lahti

This project is a prime example of what students can achieve during their studies here in TAMK. Old projects from modules which do not reach their goals are never a waste of time. They can be built and worked on in the future leading to future job opportunities for the students. I am looking forward to trying out the demo when it is finally released.

You can look up Red Stage Entertainment at the following address for further updates and other projects! 

Alisa Komendova, a third year Interactive Media student at TAMK, originally from Czech Republic moved to Finland back in 2005. Nowadays she already has marketing and PR/communication experience thanks to her Bachelor degree in International business. She has also been working as a freelance photographer since 2007 and has just started branching out into the world of video production.
It was the combination of all these skills and interests that led to the internship.

Komendova did her internship at Dreamloop Games, a video game development company located in Tampere, Finland. She joined the team at the position of a marketing assistant / media content creator. The company wanted to reach its audience with a series of behind-the-scenes videos and introduce the team, creating a relaxed and friendly relationship with the customers.

Komendova met the CEO and CMO of Dreamloop Games at one of the monthly IGDA meetings in Tampere. Mutual friends introduced them and after a brief chat with them it turned out that, she had all the skills they were looking for. As Komendova already had a bachelor degree in business, she was familiar with the business side and did not need much introduction into that part. The second side of her role was a cinematographer and an editor that she was just starting to focus on study- and profession-wise. Komendova was with Dreamloop Games for almost a year.

My internship at Dreamloop Games was a perfect opportunity to refresh some older knowledge and practice some new skills.

IGDA is short for International Game Developers Association and they have headquarters in multiple countries, including in Finland. The chapter of this association that is located in Finland was founded in 2002 in order to support the game industry on a national level. Many game companies located all over Finland are a part of this society and take part in the events held by IGDA. The local activities brought to us by IGDA Finland Hubs are independent parts of IGDA. Their aim is to work with the local game developers and help them collaborate, connect and create a sensible environment for them to work in. The Hubs that are located in the bigger cities of Finland are committed to hold free gatherings monthly or so that anyone who is interested can attend including students looking for internships or connections.

Komendova has worked in the media field since 2006, as a freelance journalist and later a freelance photographer, so the Interactive Media degree was quite interesting for her. However, she was first accepted to the International Business degree. During the first year there, she considered re-applying for the Media degree, but later came to a decision to continue her business studies as she found value in the knowledge and skills. After graduating in 2013, Komendova applied for the new Fine Art study path, but didn’t feel like it was her place already during the entrance exams. The following year, she applied for Interactive Media and was accepted. Now she can combine her business knowledge with her media skills and experience to shape her professional future to suit her best.

I think it really teaches you to work independently, to continuously develop your skills and to grow professionally, to search for new professional connections.

The best part of any TAMK degree must be the mandatory practical training. It really makes you consider what it is that you would like to do in the future, what skills you have to offer. Komendova’s internship at Dreamloop Games helped her to build a solid body of work for her video portfolio bringing in other cinematography and editing jobs. It introduced her to a completely new business segment - video game development. In addition, you can shape your studies to your needs, to focus on your talents and your strengths.

Moreover, as I still have the second half of my practical training ahead, it will bring even more experience and networks to my professional life.