Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tips on Getting Gaming Industry/Art Jobs

How did you get your job at flowplay? I want to get into the gaming industry. Also, what do you do most of your time during your job?
I applied!!! Interpunkt got a job there first and we'd worked together for a publisher previously so she suggested I come in for an interview. She got her job there just by applying too, they'd put out a classified ad on craigslist. Of course, we both had the art skills required to back it up. But I think the thing that blew them away the most was our speed. We produced about 1000% faster (I'm NOT exaggerating) than the two artists they had working there already.
But I think the biggest factor is that I applied. Most artists NEVER apply for a job. Ever. Art jobs won't just fall into your lap, you have to go get them! It's just like any other job, like if you wanted to be a waiter, how would you get that job? You'd apply!
For entry level art jobs, the talent bar isn't always that high because at first you'll probably doing monkey work like pre production work (something like converting/cropping files, putting them in order, putting them into templates, exporting, for example). But you'd be surprised at how quickly your art skills will improve when you're feverishly working all day! During that time you get to learn their file structures, learn about the programs and skills involved, etc. Many people from low level jobs get converted into higher level jobs because one of the really time consuming/expensive/etc parts of a job is making sure the person you hire can start work as soon as possible. Even though I work for this game, for example, doesn't mean I could start immediately at another company, it'd probably take a few days for me to get the hang of how they do stuff over there, and that's me coming from an experienced position! Also, they're more likely to hire you if you can show that you're fast, timely, willing to correct your mistakes, easy to work with, etc!!! These are crucial! No one wants to promote a person that's a big jerk and a slacker!! One of my favorite people at work is this girl we have that will work on any part of the process with a smile on her face! She never tried to shove into the design stage at all (I hate that =__=), but her amazing work as an intern made us happy to have her work on design things! And she's VERY talented! Like I think she's a way better outfit makey person than me! And she's FAST! So she definitely has a future in the industry!
A lot of artists will either 1) not apply or 2) turn up their noses at what they see as monkey work. If you really want to work in the gaming industry, apply! Apply!!!
I know a lot of artists are really self conscious about their work but you have to shut your eyes and apply! I'm still really puke-filled about my own art!! That part of you will probably never leave! I know a guy with gallery showing in Milan and a lucrative career and he STILL feels all self conscious and mopey about his art! That will never end! So you can either be self-conscious about your art or be self-conscious with a job! A way that can help you is to have a friend that encourages you. Really, I find the best method is to have a person sit by me and help me fill out an application and then make sure I send it in.
As for what I do: I'm usually either
  • 1) doing monkey work still! That never ended for me! About half my time is that, really!
  • 2) doing an illustration
  • 3) editing stuff
  • 4) designing and then making little animals and animating them <— lately I'm doing mostly this + monkey editing
  • 5) designing an outfit
There are several stages of the production and design process, and I can do all of them because for a long time it was just me and interpunkt working on the art. But there are a few things only I can do (like the animal thing is pretty much all me). Not because of the ART skill involved but it's the TECHNOLOGY skill. Like I know how to make the little animal do so that it'll work with the game's code properly. And that's something I could have only learned on the job.
Hope this helps!

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