Networking at Videogame Conferences and Events

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I was invited to speak about this and four other topics at the Kajaani University of Applied Sciences in Finland. This lecture explains the importance of attending conferences and the best way to get to them. The topics covered in part 1 are:
1.40 Game conferences
2.00 How to get to conferences
6.30 My own story
9.30 Volunteer
10.10 Cover an event as press
11.15 Bluff it till you make it
12.00 Preparing for a game conference
12.10 Step 1: Organize getting a hostel with friends and peers
13.15 Step 2: The basics
16.00 Step 3: Don't go camping
16.30 Step 4: Do your research
18.10 Step 5: Networking (randomly)

Topics covered in part 2 are:
0.00 Step 5: Network (randonmly) (continued)
1.00 Step 6: Fighting the conference dip
3.30 Step 7: In case you have a booth
4.30 Intermission
5.50 The Do's and Don'ts of networking, an autobiography
6.00 #1 Time your introductions
7.00 #2 Find a legitimate excuse to approach someone
9.00 #3 Don't take it personal
10.00 What about attending big game conventions?
13.00 Network your *ss off!
14.10 Start preparing for GDC Europe/Gamescom
15.00 Summary
17.00 Further reading

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Networking at Videogame Conferences and Events

  1. 1. #firstdayatschool Before I start A quick test
  2. 2. #firstdayatschool Before I start Did you buy: • A new game • Lunch at the school cantine • Beer or cigarettes
  3. 3. #firstdayatschool Let’s do some math
  4. 4. #firstdayatschool What’s the total amount? • 0-100 euros • 100-200 euros • 200-500 euros • 500+ euros
  5. 5. #conferences Preparing for conferences aka. “You don’t have to wear a suit to be taken seriously.”
  6. 6. #starttalkingalready Table of contents • Who am I • Getting into conferences • Optimal preparation for a conference • Handy tips & tricks • Summary • Questions?
  7. 7. #thatguy Who am I? This is a lecture by Vlad Micu Did freelance journalism, consulting, event management and research under own company VGVisionary.com Used to be the European editor of Gamesauce Magazine Wrote for many other international outlets including GMR magazine, Control Magazine, Bashers.nl, Gamert.nl, CriticalGamer.co.uk, XBLAFans.com, Game Mode Magazine And now went Indie since April 3rd to work on Snobli Run This slide’s design is inspired by Brandon Boyer @brandonnn
  8. 8. #gottagotoall #davidvsgoliath Conferences
  9. 9. #findyourgoldenticket How to get there • Volunteer • Cover it for a game website/outlet • Send in a proposal for a talk • Enter a game competition • Get a booth • Just pay Remember: you’re investing in yourself and your network
  10. 10. #letsmakeitpersonal Why do the first three at least once? Here’s my story
  11. 11. #lostalotofweight From passion
  12. 12. #bluffittillyoumakeit To career
  13. 13. #everyonediditonceintheirlife Volunteer Three words: behind the scenes
  14. 14. #youneedtoknowhowtowrite Cover an event as press “I guess if nothing else, being a part of the gaming press has allowed me to draw from a nearly unlimited well of knowledge and inspiration that I may have otherwise never had access to. “ – Chris Morris (Microsoft)
  15. 15. #theigfisastonethrowaway Bluff it till you make it Wish you were here - XOXO
  16. 16. #struggleforprofessionalism Preparing for a conference Don’t forget your utility belt!
  17. 17. #hostelsarefunandcheap Step 1: Organize getting a hostel with friends and peers
  18. 18. #firstdayatschool Step 2: The basics • Business cards • Your resume • Pack comfortable clothing/shoes that makes you look and feel good. Your elevator pitch • A demo/portfolio/trailer on your laptop/iPod/iPhone • Sleep Don’t forget your toothbrush
  19. 19. #dresstoimpress Dress like who you want to be
  20. 20. #dontbealurker Step 3: Don’t go camping A conference is not just about talks
  21. 21. #preparingishalfthework Step 4: Do your research • Who do you want to meet? • Why? • Plan meetings • Make a posse (I’ll tell you why later) • Stay flexible
  22. 22. #rememberkevinbacon Step 5: Network (randomly) • Learn to spot badges (without getting caught!) • Approach random people too! • Don’t be insecure, believe in yourself. They were in your shoes once! • Enjoy yourself. Odds are that random person knows someone who can help you.
  23. 23. #takeadeepbreath Step 6: Fighting the conference dip • You will feel overwhelmed • You will feel lonely • You will miss important talks/parties/stuff/people • You might have a lack of sleep and nutrition. • Fight that conference dip! There’s always day 2
  24. 24. #skullsoftheshogun (Step 7: In case you have a booth) “Big things to keep in mind – register early to get a good booth location, and keep in mind all ancillary expenses like equipment rental, shipping, promotional materials.” - Borut Pfeifer (Haunted Temple Studios)
  25. 25. #makingfriendsisfun Intermission Read this book
  26. 26. #learnedmylessonthehardway Do’s and Don’ts, an autobiography
  27. 27. #dontinterruptpeople #1 Time your introductions Centered dude is thinking: “WTF I was just about to close an important deal here!”
  28. 28. #stopstalkingtimschafer #2 Find a legitimate excuse to approach someone Don’t act like a fanboy
  29. 29. #itsnotyouitsthem #3 Don’t take it personal Some people simply are jerks
  30. 30. #thefunnelisnotalie But wait, what about a big game convention? • Of course! Why not? • Meet the press • Randomly meet big time AAA developers • Free market research • Watch the pro’s do it • Unlimited network opportunities
  31. 31. #wolfireisawesome Network your *ss off “While waiting in line just to get into E3, you may find yourself standing next to the principle engine programmer for the Halo team […]. Anyone you see holding a fancy looking camera is probably affiliated with a major gaming news site, so go say hello (I stalked as many as possible). […] Any afterparties you can find are networking bonus rounds.” - John Graham (Wolfire)
  32. 32. #thejaegerisreallycheapthere Start preparing for GDC Europe/Gamescom NOW
  33. 33. #doallthesethings Summary • Do your research • Make a list of goals • Find your golden ticket and start saving money • Have a posse (or two) • Get networking (like a boss) • Fight the conference dip! • Enjoy yourself • Avoid becoming a socially
  34. 34. #readitall References/Further Reading • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Most importantly: http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/492/the_gdc_survival_.php http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/446/faqs_for_college_students.php http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/784/winning_a_guide_to_finding_game_.php?pag http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/833/gdc_tips_for_.php http://www.gamecareerguide.com/news/27362/pregdc_career_pavilion_hints__.php http://blog.wolfire.com/2009/06/is-e3-useful-for-indie-developers/ http://www.wikihow.com/Network-at-a-Conference http://entrepreneurs.about.com/b/2009/03/13/top-10-conference-networking-tips.htm http://factoidz.com/how-to-get-a-press-pass-for-bloggers/ http://www.gdconf.com/attend/volunteer.html http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/295/so_you_want_to_be_a_games_.php http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/307/so_you_want_to_be_a_games_.php http://gafferongames.com/2009/02/15/how-to-prepare-a-talk-for-gdc/ http://www.willcocks.co.uk/Introductions.htm http://www.whattheydontteachyouatstanfordbusinessschool.com/work-a-conferencenotes.htm http://skullsoftheshogun.com/?p=394
  35. 35. #imlonely Contact me • I’m in ur campus, working in ur Gamelabz • Will be staying in the guest lecturer house at Talo 6 #F28. Look me up there in the evening and let’s play some beer pong. • Mail me at v.micu@vgvisionary.com • @vgvisionary • Website: www.vgvisionary.com

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