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GDC 2011 - a first time look from an expo pass point of view

A day to day conceptual thought process on GDC 2011, from the expo pass point of view....

Michael Grimes, Blogger

March 1, 2011

6 Min Read

A literal autobiography would have to be written to truly understand where I'm coming from with my verbage, but initially I would like to start out with a simple Hello. You, the reader, are going to be taken on a mental journey from beginning to end of how I got to where I am now, and how it all would be significant in the end for my life, and yours specifically....yet I digress....my name is Mike, and I'm 34 yo and currently attending a well-reknown place of academia studying production leadership. I'm finally ascertaining my master's degree, yet previously I was a scholar of Ceramics; an ESL teacher in South Korea, a server at an Irish bar ran by a Chinese man, and a scholar of game art and design in an online school.....all of these career paths have eventually led me to the point in which I am now....about to step into my first GDC in the "heart" of San Francisco.....

First Impressions-DAY ONE

Right now, the group of students that I have came to San Francisco with have trapsed around this small portion of San Francisco....known as the Soho district with a deep intent on understanding its layout, social non-conformities, and food vendors near and far...in other words...we landed, got here, and have gotten lost for 3 hours trying to find the convention center which according to the new Windows 7 phone has four entrances.....well, it may...but its not ideally located on a map of any sort on the general map that was provided with the phone.....So, our first night wasn't that much of a successful rendezvous, but we did make it with 4 days left to spare and a ton of discussions and "hopefully" networking to do.

As I am sitting in my room surrounded by a cohort of goonies of all shapes and sizes, I am hoping that today's festivities provides an ample amount of knowledge, yet as I am an older student attending my first GDC, here is a small conceptual thought process I will be adhering to when entering into any form of discussion while amongst my industry colleagues.

Knowledge is key, in any shape and size, from any purveyor or soliciter. I am reluctant at this early morning to jump right into the social hierarchy of the gate keepers of our industry due to lack of knowledge on "WHAT" to talk about, but understanding how people function in our society you would assume that the type of person that would appear are either one of the following: students, developers, head-hunters, recruiters, development teams, or fanboys.

The majority of people here are seeking some form of career, albeit they are fresh-faced 20 somethings, or distingushed befuddled game masters of MUDS and MUSHES, but the key point to recognize is that everyone is here at GDC for the main purpose of networking, which is great to a certain extent. Networking will only lead us so far, I mean how far will we be able to get other than to ascertain a slew of business cards and possible pen-pals? Is there a chance that one of the developers will "truly" get to know us as individuals, understand our passion and skill set for their company, or is this opportunity that we all had to throw down a pretty penny effortlessly leading to more disdain and confusion on how to break into the industry? Hrm....at this point in time, I'm exceptionally optimistic as I have travelled from one coast to the next in the hopes that things will reveal themselves to be open-ended and opportunistic...but we will see.

Over the past month within my Leadership and Team Dynamics course at my current place of academia, I was informed to eagerly stand out amongst the crowd as being an individual that can provide as well as gain knowledge. The advice we received throughout the last month has been to eagerly ask the right questions, at the right time....so my advice at this early morning is to go into this situation with the intent of gaining as much knowledge as possible and to find out the questions you are seeking. As a student of Production Leadership, I personally will be focusing on the theory behind my thesis and how developers within the industry are addressing this issue, in my own opinion it pretty much saves me the time and effort in having to literally thwart the myriad of fanboys that will be crowding booth after booth.....BUT, that's my concept of the attendees that will be within the expo floor event; serious job seekers and fanboys would initially be the focal point of the group of people we as game students/developers/dreamers will see...but where are the interesting people.....hrm...

My second area of thought that I'll be focusing on are asking the right questions, at the right time.....when going into an experience as such one would have to role reverse the given scenario, as these individuals that are working the booths aren't necessarily going to be having fun...they are there because they want to share their wealth of knowledge, yet as well they would be seeking out individuals within the conduit of the interested parties; hopefully finding the golden tickets amongst the vast sea of weary onlookers and fanboys...so when approaching them, think of what they are going through....ask them only relevant questions other than fanboy melodrama....its not such a good thing in the end when dealing with people to just literally stand there and tell them how much you enjoy their studio, their new game, and how they deal with things overall in the grand scope of the industry.....SHOW them you have something to offer.....because if you dont', then the ones that can will shine, and you are more or less still considered to be a fanboy.

The third area of thought I'll be focusing on within today's events is to seriously just be myself, and laugh a lot. I have a few friends that are going to be in attendance that I've never met before, but hopefully I'll be able to meet them with a vigorous and friendly demeanor. I have been studying game design for the past 5-10 years, and am aiming at something bigger than I have ever aimed at before, I love games and within my heart and passion for the overall industry I am tired of "playing" the part of a developer/designer/fanboy.....I'm ready to be an active part of the industry. How much more time will it take before I'm recognized for my efforts......today, we'll see.

(To Be Continued)

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