Note: All of the pictures are of stuff I've been listening to recently--they have no real relevance to the actual content of the post.
Since putting the finishing touches on my demo and constructing my new website, I’ve been on an “e-mail blitz,” cold-calling every game company whose contact information I can get my hands on to get myself out there and nail down a gig.
It’s been an interesting experience. Hopping from one website to another, you get to see many business types and practices. For instance, I thought it would be relatively easy to go on a company’s website to find contact information and the name of the person whom it would be best to contact. Most companies have either a contact page or an e-mail address listed, but some you really have to dig for. I’m not talking about just industry giants like Capcom or Rockstar Games, either, which is a bit strange.
What I find most surprising, maybe, is that lack of information about the developing team, especially with smaller companies. Though it’s certainly not a deal breaker, I am more inclined to feel good vibes about a company that enjoys putting their talented staff out in the open on their website, even if there’s just a list without any fancy pictures or silly profiles. Maybe it’s a bit old-fashioned or something, but I expected it, maybe due in part to my old employer having a full staff listing on its website. Now, having every staff person’s e-mail address and work number up *did* bring in its fair share of unsolicited, zany calls and e-mails, so maybe that website isn’t the best model to follow; however, there is a happy medium to be found.
There are two other types of websites that I really like. First, you have the websites that look effing awesome. My favorite one so far has been the website for Untold Entertainment (hover over “About” to see the best part). Even though some of the links don’t work, I’m willing to look past the site’s flaws and am happy to hunt for the information I need.
Second, you have the websites that link to other developers that they like. Having the want and will to publish those links of apparent competitors says a lot about the company to me; it says that they’re interested in being part of the larger game community and that they exist not only for themselves—those are the kind of companies that I really want to write for and help succeed.
On the other side of the coin, you have the companies that scream “avoid” right off the bat.These companies are the highly corporatized online flash game developers and their siblings. You know immediately if the company of the website you’re looking at is of this mold, and if you’re like me, you feel a little dirty sending them your stuff. If I lose a gig for saying such a thing, by the way, so be it, but I have a sneaking suspicion that my cover letter about creating art won’t speak to these types. More likely they’re going to buy stock music, anyway.
Then there are the companies that post the disclaimer that if you send them a file it becomes their property. I really appreciate them being up front about such things and will only send them to my website instead of sending them my demo directly, but man… what a policy.
One website I ran across said on their contact page something to the effect of: “If you’re an audio designer, do not contact us for we have no need for you at the moment.” Hilarious. I really respected them for that—saves us both time.
So, the real question is, how do I streamline making quality contacts? Right now I’m using the Game Dev Map because it’s easy and bears much fruit, no matter if the fruit is sometimes poor in quality or fails to exist. Following links from other developers has been great, and I’ve been thinking about looking through Steam Greenlight… but outside of those options I’m not coming up with much. Luckily, I still have a ways to go before I exhaust the ideas that I do have, haha. If you have any suggestions, please don’t fail to enlighten me.
Now, I realize that the best way to make contacts is to network by meeting people in person or through forums. I’ve been decently active in a couple different forums, but I need to ramp activity up a bit because this isn’t GDC season, to say the least. As my friend reinforced to me the other day, people would much rather hire from the inside or those that exist just outside of the inside—making meaningful relationships within the industry will be my best bet not only to get a gig in general, but also to get in contact with those companies with whom I’d prefer to work.
This all being said, I’ve had a decent experience reaching out to people so far. Whenever I get an e-mail back from someone,it feels great, even if it’s just a simple reply. Knowing that someone has taken the time to read – or better yet, read and listen – is always great.
None of the e-mails I’ve gotten so far have bared wonderful news, but I’ve received a few compliments on my demo, some people have been interested in keeping in touch, and others have chatted with me for a bit. A large amount of special thanks goes out to these companies—without them,, I would be pretty downtrodden right now. Instead, I continue to have an eagerness to keep on keeping on, as they say.
‘til next time…!