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Survey of the Video Game Industry
The Los Angeles Film School
Current events will impact your work one way or another.
Know what they are. Strive to understand the world and use
that understanding to make your games more interesting,
accurate, insightful or challenging. A myopic world view limits
Most jobs are filled internally – through friends or
friends of friends.
LAFS Game Production Facebook group
Networking at GDC
How to Network at a Conference - Rated E
Go to GDC!
March 2-March 6, 2015
Moscone Center, San
Go to E3!
June 16-18, 2015
Go to IndieCade!
October 9-12, 2014
Go to GDC Next!
November 3-4, 2014
Los Angeles Convention
Promo Code GDCN14EX
LA Games Conference (Los Angeles)
ComicCon (San Diego)
Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) (San Antonio)
Serious Play Conference (Los Angeles)
ACM SIGgraph Conference on Motion In
Games (Los Angeles)
SXSW Gaming Expo (Austin)
Electronic Entertainment Expo
G4 Icons Episode #27: History of E3
Blacks in Gaming
Women in Gaming International (WIGI)
Great networking opportunities
Looks great on your resume
Advice From An Intern
It’s a small world, after all
Don’t go for a big splash
Fixers, not moaners
Don’t watch TV during working hours
Open yourself to opportunities
There’s more to life than videogames
Global Game Jam
Global Game Jam 2013 Keynote (11:43)
Monetizing Indie Games
Portals – Share of ad revenue
Many, many others!
iOS, Android – Direct sales
WiiWare, PSN, XBLA – Direct sales
Web self-publish – 100% of ad revenue
How to Get a Job in Video Games -
Gaming Jobs - Tips from the Game
Read Job Listings Regularly
What qualifications are needed
What portfolio pieces / software is
You can find many jobs through
specialty job search sites.
And, yes, Craigs List
You really should know this:
Questions and answers
A completely viable way to get your foot in the
door in a games company.
But be aware that not all companies have a
path to dev from QA.
Look Beyond Indie and AAA
Be Open Minded
All games are valid games to work on. You can
learn just as much working on an advergame for
cats as you can on the latest bazillion $ mega‐title.
Each title shipped is one step closer to your
ultimate goal of dream‐game awesomeness.
If an advergame for cats is your dream‐game, then congratulations, you’re going
to achieve your dreams much quicker than most. Also think of the LOLcat
opportunities during user testing! People get PAID for doing this!
Digital Artist Management
Recruiters Don’t Get YOU Jobs
They’re paid by companies to fill
They’re paid by those companies
based on a percentage of your
They often hear of job openings that
aren’t listed on job sites
When Are Recruiters Useful?
> $55,000 / year
(Producers, but not APs)
When you have specific skills
The following material is the opinion of the instructor based
on his years of experience as a hiring manager and resume
reader. These opinions may not reflect the stated policy of
LAFS or its professional career counselors.
Permanent e-mail address (Hotmail,
Gmail, Yahoo, etc.)
Reverse chronological order
List skills (software tools,
programming languages, etc.)
Link to your portfolio site
Spell-check and proofread your
List of every game you’ve worked on
Reverse order (newest first)
One-page rule: early career ONLY
Additional Sections as you get older
Exhibitions and Competitions
Minimum of three people who know
you professionally and who will
vouch for you
Bosses better than co-workers
Co-workers are fine
Keep this list up to date throughout
Proofread Your Resume!
Everyone loves creativity by
“You can customise your
character with scaring.”
“To scare your character, press
DELETE! Trololol!” laugh the
developers at your job
List your hobbies
Include a picture of yourself
Include a career objective
Include so much detail that you lose
Create a Portfolio Site!
Softography w/ pictures / screenshots
Your portfolio is only as good as the worst piece
of work in it.
If in doubt, leave it out.
Create a portfolio website to showcase
Share your content with potential employers.
That’s how communities work.
Trust me: No‐one is going to steal content from your
mailed portfolio, and good practice belongs to
everyone. Stealing the work of others is the mark of
an amateur. No professional would ever stoop that
low. For shame!
If your work takes
longer to load than it
does to view, you’re
Including your own.
If your demo reel uses an obscure codec
and can’t be viewed by a developer, do
NOT reply the following:
It works fine on my PC
I thought a cutting edge technology
company would have been able to
overcome a minor issue like that
What's a codec?
Most developers work in shared spaces and
Even Leads & Managers.
Keep the volume on your demoreel
And try not to assume that everyone <3s
Be inclusive: Don’t assume the developer reviewing your portfolio is
Avoid: Porn elves. Undressed or under‐dressed women. Unfeasibly large or gravity defying
breasts (on anyone).Brutalized or dehumanized women with sexual overtones. Any and all
over‐used, limiting and frankly borderline racist stereotypes of criminal men from non- white
racial backgrounds including triads, yakuza, mafia, bloods or crips (especially if they are
also rappers), insurgents and/or terrorists, middle‐class British villains as voiced by Alan
Rickman, working class British villains as voiced by Jason Statham, French mimes as
voiced by no‐one, impoverished Mexican villagers with strong regional accents and
apparent limited access to grooming products, education or any kind of empowerment.
All of the above still applies if the characters are in zombie form.
A good rule of thumb for selecting work for
your portfolio is this:
“If someone who didn’t know me saw this
work, would they think I was a serial
If an applicant’s portfolio is bad enough,
developers will save the work to a GALLERIE
When they need cheering up they will gather
round to look at it and laugh.
Do NOT be that applicant.
Know where you’re aiming your efforts at any
given time. Ideally it should be here.
But you should aim here if you are nearing the job interview stage.
Especially as your interviewer may not have a degree.
Some of us are waaaaaay older than game degrees, or didn’t want or need a degree to get
where we are today. And that’s OK!
If you’re aiming here, that means you don’t know
enough about the industry to get a job later. And
you’re probably just trying to pass.
Manage Your Public Profile
Prospective employers will Google you. What will they find?
While it is not possible to completely control your Google
results, you can help yourself by keeping your personal and
professional life separate. Use privacy settings on your
Facebook pages and picture tags by friends, and keep your
Twitter trail professional or make it anonymous.
Never use your personal social network profile as a portfolio:
No‐one wants to trawl through embarrassing nightclub photos of
you while searching for your work.
Contacting An Employer
To: Recruitment @ A Games Studio
CC: Every games studio in the nation
Subject: I love what your company does, and am
a perfect fit for your studio.
ORLY? I feel *so special*
Contacting An Employer
Do you really want this as your identifier for
Get a professional-looking email address!
“Dear Sir or Madam,
I’m a recent graduate and am very keen on getting a job
in the games, animation, visual effects, pre‐visualization
or web industries...”
Signed by reject #732
Target each application to that job only:
CV / resume
“...im willing to provide my services to improve the animation
You do realize this implies you think you’re better with 0 years of
experience than they are with ∞ years?
That’s not just ignorant. It’s downright insulting.
And grammatically wrong, too.
The above remains true even if you were “kidding” and was posted on your
social network site. Because prospective employers can see that too unless
you’ve set your privacy settings accordingly. Well? Have you?
At a job interview, remember that you’re being
interviewed by a professional <insert discipline here>,
not a professional interviewer.
You can distract them from any awkward moments
with shiny work!*
* This does work. “I’ve brought my sketchbooks,
would you like to see them?” is like baubles to
“What is your greatest weakness??”
“I haven’t got any”
“I am a perfectionist”
“From your perspective, I guess it’s the fact that I don’t
have much work experience. But let me tell you about the
projects I have worked on in and outside of college...”
Don’t Badmouth Anyone
There is only about 1 degree of separation
between pretty much all game developers,
It will come back to bite you. Even **years**
down the line.
Interview The Company
You should be interviewing the employer as much as
they are interviewing you.
Learn to tell a good employer from a bad one.
All games companies have good times and bad
times. The trick is to work out the differences
between “Bad times” and “Bad employer”.
This is easier with hindsight.
More Interview Tips
Learn about the company first
Don’t arrive late or too early. If you are late, call.
Talk about things of interest to the interviewer
Use questions to talk about your strengths and past
Find out what’s the next step
Write a “thank you” letter (or email) afterwards
Watch a Job Seeker Interview with Game-
Maker Turbine (14:03)
Social Security & other taxes (“withholding”) paid by employer
Some level of benefits:
○ Health Insurance
○ Retirement Plan
○ Profit Sharing
○ Paid Holidays
○ Vacation Days
○ Sick Leave
○ Employee Discounts / Free Games
Company contracts with Temp
You are employee of Temp Agency
Temp Agency pays your SS & taxes
Generally no benefits until
assignment becomes long-term
Independent Contractor (Vendor)
All terms negotiated up front
You must pay your own SS & taxes
There is no shame in freelancing.
As long as you’re working on games, you’re a game
developer. Even if you’re an impoverished freelance,
outsource or indie dev who isn’t exactly living the dream
right now. You’re still one of us and we <3 you.
Always be thinking about your next
Always have your resume up to date
Always have some money saved up
The practice or policy of making no more than a token effort
Token QA practice.
Does NOT belong in game development practice ANY kind.
Do not aim to do the minimal required. Aim to exceed
Is not a “lifestyle choice” when working in
Body odor is NOT a viable way of keeping
managers away from your desk*.
* No matter how tempting that can be during crunch.