Producer’s Log: Jimmy Nguyen


Producer’s Log: Jimmy Nguyen

In celebration of Level Up co-founder and President Jimmy Nguyen’s birthday this year, the team is sharing some of their favorite event stories, lessons learned, and how much of an impact he’s made in our lives. Most of us received our first taste of event production by being part of a Level Up event and what we saw was the end result from months of planning come to life. Before any tournament match can play, before any stream match is seen, before you can register for the event or even have a venue to play in, Jimmy created a place for everyone to play, learn, and help others grow. 

In addition to his technical talents, he built the Level Up company through years of business development with popular brands in the video game and entertainment industry such as Capcom, Red Bull, SEGA, Arc System Works, Warner Bros., Nintendo, and many more. Creating ideas and fun spaces for gamers to enjoy the works of their favorite video game companies in conventions, streams, tournaments, or online gaming, Jimmy is there to ensure everyone has a great time.


Level Up Team


“The great physicist Albert Einstein once said that “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge”. In that regard, Jimmy Nguyen embodies the true spirit of a great teacher. Jimmy is the mentor of many of us here at LevelUp, from production work to logistics or even some spiritual advice, Jimmy is quite the sage. His work ethic is admirable and is something I strive towards emulating in my own work. Having worked with Jimmy at LevelUp these past years has really motivated me to elevate my craft and expand my knowledge on production and cultivated a more creative mindset. 

Throughout many events we’ve worked on, he taught something new to us. At Red Bull Conquest he taught us how to fundamentally frame the perfect shot, at Anime Ascension he taught us how to properly monitor audio feed in a live production, while still being able to add additional elements to the stream on the fly, which I have since emulated on my own streams during WNF. Every event with Jimmy is a new learning lesson and after every event is another opportunity to apply that lesson into creative ways. Working these events with Jimmy has inspired me to pursue a career in film production and broadcasting and really has awoken true creative expression and knowledge within myself. Simply put, without Jimmy Nguyen giving me the opportunity to flourish my talents at LevelUp, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Jimmy is a great mentor, boss, and friend. On this Birthday, I wish him great health and success in all his endeavors, professionally and in life.” 

– Patrick ‘WickedHaiku’ Boone  / Level Up League Ops & Graphic Designer


“Geez, where do I start?

I’ve come a long way since that one extremely awkward stream back when WNF had a small stint at Valle’s garage in the middle of the Super Arcade era.

Even though I’ve started at WNF, I wouldn’t have been able to make WNF as great as it was without Jimmy. He’s taught me basically everything I know in the world of production, and helped me grow both professionally and personally.

You might not know him very well, but he truly is one of the unsung heroes of the FGC. When he took me under his wing, he got to show me a whole world of production that not a lot of people get to see, let alone understand. He’s spearheaded so many productions: Red Bull, HyperX, Capcom… you might be surprised to learn about all the projects that he’s played a major part in.

Remember when I started spinning tunes at WNF? Inspired from Jimmy.

Remember Anime Ascension? Jimmy was the man behind the event.

And remember when Beautifuldude was sent to the shadow realm? Jimmy managed to belt that photoshop out while managing to run the rest of the show.

Remember Electric Cancel, when we had to put Qudans and Jimmy Tran off stream to keep the bracket moving, but still managed to stream their match with that old school camera footage? Jimmy’s idea.

btw, Jimmy was holding a fully extended tripod up to get that footage for y’all

Remember Texas Showdown 2018 when the crowd started going nuts during MenaRD’s run in SFV Top 8? That was Jimmy’s idea, and that was him setting that up while we were still running the stream. He was carrying both the mic AND the camera during that grand finals!

And on top of that, he still makes the time to help me. He goes above and beyond your average mentor. He’s incredibly patient to teach me everything and help me figure out what I need to know to make the stream work. And on top of that, he’s helped me change from McAwkward Kiyobi way back then to who I am now, and even then he still continues to help me grow as a person.

The Guilty Gear Strive Launch Event that happened just recently has been my biggest involvement so far. I used to be just someone who can set up a stream setup and run OBS very well, but this event was the culmination of all my learning from Jimmy. He was still the primary driving force in making it happen, but it was my first time helping with the planning of the event, too. Even though I was involved, in the grand scheme of things, in only a small part of it, Jimmy, BlixterWonka, and I worked together to bring you what we hope to have been an awesome show for fans and beginners alike.

If the FGC showed me one thing, it’s that it’s about constantly growing and improving yourself. And Jimmy carries that value in everything he does, and in every team member that’s fortunate enough to be a part of his projects, or as a mentor, or as a friend.”

– Romy ‘Kiyobi’ Abad / Level Up Technical Director 

“When Jimmy and I reconnected during the Street Fighter IV craze of 2009, he started asking the important questions right away. “I like what you’re doing for the community, but where do you see this going? What’s your plan?” At the time I was only thinking about training the next generation of players and where it goes from there. I wasn’t prepared to answer his questions so he proposed to have a meetup to discuss some ideas. From that instance I knew he had good intentions because we both had passions from the old school arcade scene with an amazing opportunity to engage the modern FGC. He thought the best approach to align our vision was to ‘Level Up’ the community.

This is the kind of person Jimmy is, a person that embraces your talents and helps you achieve your full potential. Did I understand this yet? No way. Jimmy’s mentorship started before we became official business partners and it’s unfortunate it took me much longer to understand what was happening as I look back. While I was networking with the new SoCal scene I was still too focused on the gaming side, Jimmy was designing what the Level Up brand is. Who are we? What do we do exactly? Why do we do it and everything that gives us purpose. Basic fundamentals in business requires you to answer those questions where Jimmy worked extremely hard for us to understand what it takes to build a business and still does. 

Think outside the box, from out of your comfort zone, and don’t be intimidated from trying new things. Some additional insight from Jimmy to help motivate our team and widen our range. We produced many types of showcases because of this including weddings, Ted Talks, hip hop video Q&A sessions, consulting, and other non-gaming presentations. Showing that we are more than capable of producing other projects early on gave our team confidence in producing projects we never thought we would work with. 

Jimmy is the executive producer of Level Up events and continues to practice better planning, communication, execution with the team which showcases quality in all his projects. Most recently he led the team to produce Battle of the Partners for HyperX, Arc System Works Official Guilty Gear Strive Launch Event, and currently the Capcom Pro Tour 2021 which were carefully planned months in advance. He wears many hats from conceptualizing, graphics, business relations, building the technical flow, teaching the team how to execute new builds, and the list goes on. 

I am incredibly thankful for everything Jimmy has done for me, our team, our partners, and talent teams over the years. I owe many successes and continuous growth from years of mentorship by Jimmy in business and in my personal life. I wish him a very Happy Birthday and cheers to many more years of building a scene for everyone.”

– Alex ‘CaliPower’ Valle / Level Up Co-founder

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