Last April, Jory Prum, one of the most talented members of the videogame and sound-for-picture sound design community, passed away from complications as a result of a motorcycle accident. He was 41, a Fairfax, Calif., resident, and the story might have stopped there except for the efforts of his family and alma mater to carry on his legacy in a very personal way, by creating the Jory Prum Scholarship for Sounds That Redefine Normal.
Prum was a 1997 graduate of California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) Schools of Music and Film/Video, with a BFA emphasis on Music Technology and Experimental Sound. After a stint at Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, then a brief time at Disney, he moved north to the Bay Area and took a job at LucasArts in the videogame division, working on sound design for a range of projects, including Star Wars and Jurassic Park titles. From there, he opened his own studio in Marin County, studio.jory, and focused on interactive media, eventually contributing to more than 130 video game soundtracks, including the award-winning 2012 The Walking Dead Game. At the time of his passing, he was considered one of the industry’s finest in working with dialog in character animation.
Prum also found time to work in traditional film, developing sounds and editing on Lost in Translation and, most famously, the Oscar-winning short film For the Birds, directed by Ralph Eggleston at Pixar. “Jory was an exceptional talent,” Eggleston says. “He thought of sounds musically, and he had a real ability to bring life to character animation, which isn’t easy to do. We actually met at a live gig up in Marin County, and we bonded right away over his sense of musical timing and pace.”
“Jory was so full of energy and enthusiasm, and he developed the technical skills to make a creative career in interactive audio, regardless of the medium,” adds David Rosenboom, who became Dean of The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts in 1990 following an active (and still very active) career in electronic music composition, research and interactive instrument development. “When he passed away, the family approached us about offering an endowed scholarship in his memory. It would be our first in the program. So we went back and forth on the name with them, and I think it was the family that came up with ‘Sounds That Redefine Normal,’ which is a perfect tribute to Jory.”
The scholarship will be made available beginning in 2017 to students pursuing a BFA or MFA in the Music Technology and Experimental Sound programs. CalArts, a unique school north of Los Angeles that is dedicated to “all arts,” from dance to film to the coming virtual reality, will distribute the monies based on a student’s written application, pursuits and career goals.
Prum is survived by his parents, Sam and Leslye Prum. The family, school and friends have made significant contributions to launch the scholarship. To offer additional support, please contact CalArts.