There are a lot of people out there trying to get into the industry of gaming, mostly, in the form of hard work: Journalists write blog posts, early game designers might download modding tools to mod games for their first designs, etc. Though I realized today, and I really mean TODAY, that in order for me and for those of you who try to get into the career of gaming, we need to learn how to NETWORK.
So, why network and connect with other people? The answeris pretty simple: This is the start of your INVOLVEMENT with the industry, and what better way to do so than to talk to people who are ACTUALLY IN the industry itself.
Usually, many of us ask "how do we get started?", "Where do we start?" well, it starts off with a simple research; find out where there is a gathering of developers, like GDC (Game Developers Conference) or IGDA (International Game Developers Association) and simply attend the meeting. IT'S THAT EASY! Once you're there, talk to some of the people involved in the industry; if you don't know how, here's something to start the conversation.
HELLO, MY NAME IS _______________, I'm interested in becoming a ________________ FOR THE INDUSTRY OF GAMING, DO YOU HAVE ANY POINTERS ON HOW I SHOULD START?
After that introduction all you have to do is LISTEN. Ask questions if you have some ofcourse, but do your research first! DO NOT just go up to a random developer, let's say, a game designer and ask what a PORTFOLIO is; and if you're looking to be a designer and you don't know how to present, let alone know what a PORTFOLIO is, then that means you're not doing your research.
I attended a meeting with the IGDA recently, and I started similarly like those who had passion for the industry: I had written numerous articles on blog sites, some on websites, and even newspapers and magazines, even attended major events such as E3 and PAX. I even went beyond and got myself an education in marketing, hoping that I would get somewhere with it. I didn't feel that i was gettng anywhere with what I've accomplished, because of the fact that I WASN'T RECOGNIZED BY THE INDUSTRY. I was at the right path, that's true, but all I've been doing was knocking on the door, but the key to opening it lies with NETWORKING.
Think of it this way, if you want to start building you're career in the industry, you must build a foundation for support agreed? But nobody starts with a ready built foundation. Think of NETWORKING as YOUR BRICKS for your FOUNDATION: THE MORE NETWORK YOU GATHER, THE STRONGER THE FOUNDATION YOU CREATE, thus having somewhere to ACTUALLY start. AND TRUST ME, IT IS HARD BUT! IT IS SIMPLE.
Upon my arrival at the gathering, I introduced myself, and I won't mention names, to the "lady who wrote THE BOOK" I introduced myself the way I wrote above. Suddenly I found myself in front of "The JOURNALIST MENTOR". He gave pointers on how to get started and where I should get started. I was soon introduced to the "NETWORKER" she simply said to submit a resume to her and her team will SEND IT OUT TO EXPAND MY NETWORK. I was also introduced to the "GATHERER OF GAMERS" who invited me to attend a party promoting a game to further expand my network in the industry.
So how effective is NETWORKING? 30 minutes into the start of the conference, I was introducing myself to various people who have worked for the industry; 30 minutes later, I found myself being given opportunities to submit a resume for a potential foothold on the industry, expand my writing so I can submit it to a newsletter to gain recognition, write frequent under the supervision of a "MENTOR" and got invited to a promotional party to meet more developers to further increase my network in the industry.
All I can say right now that NETWORKING is not only the key to opening the doors toward the industry, but it SOLIDIFIES your FOUNDATION and INCREASES YOUR CHANCES to actually GET IN the gaming world.
Oh, did I mention, I met two people who were interested to give me information for an interview for becoming a potential PR/MARKETING? and yes, all this in 30 minutes. and I would like to thank IGDA for giving me that opportunity.