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Just released a high-quality visual novel, how can I use it to secure a job?


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#1 crimsonnight   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:17 AM

Hello all!

 

I'm very frustrated at the moment and I'd really appreciate some advice. I left my job in IT to finish off my visual novel in the hopes it'd secure me a place in the industry. Now I'm very happy with the final product (trailer) and I'm also happy to report it's being well-received (example) - I've been applying like mad to major and indie studios for around a month now and haven't really gotten anywhere. I send a modified cover letter to every studio I come across as well as my CV, following up roles I'm particularly interested in with a phone call - so I feel like I'm doing everything I can yet I'm not getting any further than I was a few years ago.

The two things I'm thinking are that employers aren't taking the time to actually look at my portfolio and that I need to think of other methods apart from just sending round my CV/portfolio. Any advice at all would be greatly appreciated, thanks so much!

 

*EDIT* I'm ultimately aiming for a producer/designer role but will take anything just to get my foot in the door!


Edited by crimsonnight, 21 October 2013 - 08:13 AM.


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#2 ShadowFlar3   Members   -  Reputation: 1258

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:30 AM

So all of that visual novel was done by you? Or did you just do the story and directing?

 

Where was the material on reception? Is it just the Youtube comments?

 

One thought, have you met anyone in the local game industry in person? Maybe you could participate in game jams or whatever game development-related events they have where you live and try to make friends and network while learning even more about the industry.

 

The producer/designer positions are very hard to get into from outside. Usually you need an addon skill such as programming, modeling or music composing which you use to enter a company before climbing the ranks to that position.


Edited by ShadowFlar3, 21 October 2013 - 07:37 AM.


#3 crimsonnight   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:45 AM

I got a couple of artists and a music producer on board to help turn my story into a visual novel; so I wrote, coded and ofc produced/developed the whole thing.

 

Nope, the second link is to an actual YouTube review smile.png

 

Well I went to the Eurogamer Expo a few weeks ago with the novel on my tablet, and potential employers seemed very impressed which is awesome (felt like my hard work had paid off). They all said they'd pass my details onto the relevant teams and a couple said they could definitely get me interviews. Now I've been following these leads up for a few weeks now but as more time passes the less confident I'm feeling about them.

I'm not aware of any other events in the UK where I'd have the chance to network with potential employers?

 

What would you recommend? I've mainly been applying for junior/intern positions in both design and producer roles as well as QA

 

Oh and thanks for replying smile.png


Edited by crimsonnight, 21 October 2013 - 07:52 AM.


#4 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10149

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 07:52 AM


1. I left my job in IT (which I loathed)

2. to finish off my visual novel in the hopes it'd secure me a place in the industry.

3.  I've been applying like mad to major and indie studios for around a month now

4. The two things I'm thinking are that employers aren't taking the time to actually look at my portfolio

5. and that I need to think of other methods apart from just sending round my CV/portfolio.

 

1. You are shooting yourself in the foot when you say things like that, especially in writing in a public forum where former and prospective employers can see it. You don't want to burn bridges behind you or badmouth previous jobs.

2. So you made one portfolio piece and you thought that would be a shoo-in?  Not very realistic thinking.

3. One month? Big deal. You frustrate much too easily. By the way, how many "stupid tricks" have you committed in the course of your job search? See this forum's FAQs - FAQ #24.

4. Employers look at the portfolio only if you pass through their filters.  (I wrote a column about HR filters on the IGDA website, but the website was recently redesigned and the column isn't online at present. The FAQs have a link to the old URL.  Until such time as the columns are reinstated or I host it on my site, you can use the wayback machine website to see the old column.) So it may not be a case of "bad employers" or "lazy employers" - it may be a case of "bad resume" or other problem with you (like you're not local, for instance).

5. Yes, you probably do. Read FAQ 27.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#5 crimsonnight   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 08:08 AM

1. Fair point, obviously I wouldn't say that in an interview but thought this was an informal/casual environment (I have now removed this from my initial post)

2. Nope, been designing/releasing games/digital content from around the age of 12, these can be found on my previous site http://crimsonnight.com/

3. Totally reasonable comment, I just want to make sure I'm doing everything I can to accomplish my goal during this period - there have been numerous periods throughout the last few years where I have strenuously applied for jobs within the industry

    I've just skimmed through FAQ #24 and obviously quite a lot of those points are subjective but I would hope I have avoided them!

4. I've got no idea, but again, I would hope my resume passes through any filters

5. I've read that FAQ - the only thing I don't have is a degree, but I was told by professors at the time that I knew half the course already and it wouldn't be beneficial to me - obviously I could enrol in a 3-year course now but would be concerned that I could reach my goal faster without spending that time


Edited by crimsonnight, 21 October 2013 - 08:27 AM.


#6 cardinal   Members   -  Reputation: 902

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:31 AM


*EDIT* I'm ultimately aiming for a producer/designer role but will take anything just to get my foot in the door!

 

So what job are you actually applying for? Does your cover letter/CV make it clear? I would think if it didn't that would be a quick way to have it filtered out. If you're applying for entry level you definitely still want to specify the job title you are applying for, rather than throwing shit at a wall to see what sticks.

 

Also, producer/designer roles aren't exactly plentiful and they don't pop up all the time as the people that have worked their way up into those positions don't really give them up too quickly without being promoted.



#7 crimsonnight   Members   -  Reputation: 108

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 06:31 AM

Good advice! I've mainly been applying for junior/intern positions in both design and producer roles as well as QA - I'm pretty sure my CV makes it clear, there's a link in the first post if you wouldn't mind double-checking it for me?



#8 cardinal   Members   -  Reputation: 902

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:10 PM

Just a few suggestions:

 

-Remove links/references to games that infringe on copyrights. Including the zelda fan game linked in your cover letter. You can really only sell yourself based on your legal and/or original games.

 

-Your resumé and cover letter are too long. Be concise. Your employment history doesn't really have anything related to game design on it. This section should be for relevant work experience. If you don't have any feel free to include the most recent and most relevant only, and be concise about what your roles and responsibilities were, they don't need to know every task you performed.

 

-Your software and skills section is all the way at the bottom of your resumé, below the section about being trained in first aid and being a fire marshal. If I'm an HR person, I'm giving up before getting to your actual skills.

 

-The Always the Same Blue Sky logo at the end of the resumé is awkward to me. Why is it there?

 

 

 

In total your resumé probably should only be one page long, 2 including the cover letter, and the cover letter doesn't need to take up the whole page. Think of ways to sell yourself succinctly as possible, and then link to your portfolio and personal websites for more in depth descriptions.

 

 

In reference to your website, your games section has a lot of games to play with, but no screenshots or videos. It's likely no one hiring you will download your games unless you've already made it deep into the hiring process and they need to differentiate between you and another candidate. Have a quick way for them to get a taste of your work.

 

 

Lastly, one month is a short amount of time. QA is usually hired en masse at certain points during the year. So trying to get a job outside of those points is more difficult. As I said before Production/Design roles aren't generally entry level. There aren't really junior designer positions for the most part although things such as level designer are generally more junior. If a company was hiring externally for these positions they would probably advertise them on their websites and/or use a headhunter.

 

It took me 5 months to get a job after graduation, and even then it was only because I had a friend already working there refer me for a job. Knowing someone is the easiest way in, so keep in contact with old friends who share your interests.






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