I'm a freelance Community Manager with a life-long passion for computing and technology. With hospitality experience and over 5 years working freelance, I value human connection and collaboration above all else. Building communities can change lives, and I am determined to join a field that allows me to do it on a daily basis.
I'm deeply passionate about indie games and the people who make and play them. I've been able to establish myself in regional games community throughout the pandemic, and now I'm looking for my next adventure.
October 2020 - Present
The NI Game Dev Network is the community for everyone interested in making games in Northern Ireland, from accomplished studio heads to students just getting started in the industry. We facilitate regular events and networking opportunities for individuals within the community, and aim to help businesses here in NI collaborate for collective benefit.
I took over the daily operations of the NI Game Dev Network (NIGDN) in October 2020 in an attempt to re-energise the waning Northern Irish game dev community after months of no events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Consolidating and building off the success of the NI Game Devs discord server and the existing NIGDN Facebook Group, I organised the first virtual NI Game Awards, as well as the first virtual site for the Global Game Jam in Northern Ireland, in association with Farset Labs and Northern Ireland Screen. We also host regular informal events on the NIGDN Discord which have proven to be popular opportunities for hanging out and making social connections.
In NIGDN's first 6 months, our video content has been watched for over 300 hours, our discord membership has increased 170% (currently averaging 50 new members/month) and gained Discord Verification, and in the first 3 months of 2021, our Twitter had 119.2k impressions. In the time since taking over operations, I've established a core organising/steering team within the network, and we're currently working on establishing an organisation to help further our mission through event and program funding. We're also working on organising a range of events (both virtual and in-person) for throughout 2021 and beyond.
October 2020 - March 2021
In October 2020 - in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and before the creation of the 'new' NI Game Dev Network - I proposed moving the Northern Ireland Game Awards online, hosting it as a virtual event to be broadcast live via the internet in early 2021. Serving as a celebration of the industry's creativity and achievement over 2019 and 2020, the awards were pitched as an opportunity to uplift and enthuse a community that had seen little activity in over half a year. After discussions with Northern Ireland Screen and a number of local events organisers, we decided to host the awards live from Farset Labs in Belfast, with pre-recorded segments filmed in the offices of Hypixel Studios in Derry/Londonderry, highlighting the cross-country nature of the industry.
As the lead organiser and producer of the event, I organised the nomination and voting processes, formed a judging panel of 11 international experts, applied for funding and managed the budget, designed and ordered the awards, and booked hosts and guests, including planning a special orchestral performance with the Irish Video Game Orchestra and Ziggidybang Productions. As part of the 'new approach', I created a new brand identity for the NI Game Awards, and managed the promotion of the awards across social media and in the press. In addition, I was responsible for booking the filming venues, managing COVID-related health and safety, planning & implementing streaming logistics (including simulcasting across services), sourcing equipment, editing trailers and pre-recorded footage, shooting pieces to camera from our Derry location, and licensing music used throughout. As producer for the steam, I managed live production on the night of the awards, managing timings, scenes, and remote links for live guests, and ensuring everything looked and sounded as intended for the viewers.
The NI Game Awards are by far the largest project I've worked on, so I'm incredibly proud of the overwhelmingly positive reception from the community, both on the overall organisation and the event on the night. With 57 nominations listed from over 200 ballots, well over 5000 public votes cast, and 18000+ minutes watched, the NI Game Awards proved a massive success, kicking off a new era for the local games industry community, and even resulting in a number of publishers citing the awards as their source for discovering games made in Northern Ireland.
August 2020 - October 2020
In August 2020 I was approached by the organising team of the Northern Ireland Developer Conference to discuss their plans to bring NIDC online due to COVID-19, and to expand by hosting workshops, talks and other relevant content for kids (a demographic they had no experience running events for). Given the NI Raspberry Jam had, at this stage, been on hiatus for over 6 months, we decided to team up to bring the NI Raspberry Jam online for the first time as part of NIDC.
I served as the lead organiser for the NI Raspberry Jam content, which took the form of a half-day segment on the Saturday (1/6 of the conference's 3-day schedule). In this role, my main job was to act as a bridge between the otherwise independent Jam and NIDC teams, liaising back and forth, ensuring everyone was clear on the plans and responsibilities. I managed the scheduling for the event, putting together the overall structure and contacting potential speakers and guests. I planned the overall content of the event, preparing timings for NIDC's AV team, and coordinating with guests to ensure they were on-site at the NIDC Studio at the correct time for broadcast. I also prepared scripts, Q&A questions, and notes for our hosts, and interactive content for our audience.
The NI RaspJam @ NIDC was a great success for both the NI Raspberry Jam and the NI Developer Conference, with parents and kids alike praising the educational yet engaging content, and with NIDC attendees and organisers praising the successful move into a new demographic (with many of the professional NIDC attendees finding the content informative!).
June 2016 - Present
Trustee | March 2020 - Present
The Northern Ireland Raspberry Jam is a not for profit, unincorporated association with members, registered with The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland. In March 2020, I was elected onto the NI Raspberry Jam's Board of Trustees. Within this role, I assist in steering the NI Raspberry Jam organisation by helping in decision making, policy implementation, and event planning.
Youth Mentor | June 2016 - Present
For almost 5 years, I've volunteered as a Youth Mentor at the Northern Ireland Raspberry Jam, a programme of free, monthly, family-friendly events based in Belfast that have the purpose of providing access for young people and adults to activities and workshops in Computer Science, Electronic Engineering and related subjects. As a youth mentor, I've helped deliver 200+ hours of workshops to over 2100 young people. I've more recently moved into event management within the Jam, helping plan events in the lead-up, and serving as coordinator during a number of jams. I've also worked with the NI Raspberry Jam team to deliver sessions as part of Mozilla Festival (London, Oct 2019) and at CoderDojo Coolest Projects International (Dublin, May 2019).
Jan 2018 - Present
Whitepot Studios is a games development and creative media studio based in Northern Ireland making PC, Android, and iOS games using Unity. As a very active member of the Whitepot Studios discord community, I was asked in January of 2018 to join the team as a Community Admin to help run the rapidly expanding discord server. At the time of writing, the server hosts an active community with a total of 571 members. My roles include ensuring that spam & hate speech is removed, welcoming new members, recruitment, managing bots, and scheduling events and meetings.
Working with Whitepot studios has given me great experience in community management and advertising on social media. Outside of the discord community, I have helped in spearheading the creation of an online merchandise store, as well as assisting with the creation of their new website and testing new games.
Dec 2015 - Present
Created websites for multiple local SME's as well as providing IT support, online advertising and graphic design. As my first foray into business management, this was instrumental in helping me learn how to track and maintain daily business expenses and transactions, communicate regularly with clients and suppliers, organise meetings, track projects and meet deadlines.
As a result of doing freelance work, I have developed a keen eye for pixel-perfect design, a skill I use constantly in Website/Graphic design and Video Editing. I also developed an understanding of digital marketing basics, furthered by my participation in the WixEd (website design and search engine optimisation) and Google Digital Garage (digital advertising) training programs.
June 2017 - Sep 2017
Assisted WebToday with their website design projects during Summer 2016, working remotely with daily briefings when we could meet as per our timezones. I helped the team complete ongoing projects and work on existing designs where required, and also took on brand new clients and created their initial designs which went on to become their final production design.
"Caolan has been the backbone of the Whitepot Studios community Discord since its inception in 2017. His offer to moderate throughout the end of his school years whilst balancing his studies shows his ability to multitask and succeed in whatever he puts his mind to. He spearheaded several initiatives including scripting bespoke Discord bots, hosting game nights, and refining our Code of Conduct and ensuring the server was a warm, welcoming, and progressive space."
"His enthusiasm for our local Northern Ireland Game Development scene is unparalleled, as evidenced by heading up this years first-ever LIVE remote broadcast of the Northern Ireland Game Awards, and I know he can apply this same enthusiasm to any aspect of gaming & community building. I am tremendously proud to consider Caolan a very talented peer and could not speak more highly of him."
Vicky Potts - Founder, Whitepot Studios
+44 28207 88511
+44 78495 61487