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Shesau

Can I Make It with an Animation Degree?

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Shesau    122
I'll tack on another "Getting into the industry" thread for the sake of repetition. I've read several others on this forum and have had many questions answered that way, but there are a couple things that I'm still worried about. Upfront and outright, all I know about this field is what I've learned from the internet. I'm a 20 year old chica living in the midwest of USA (Missouri, to be specific) where opportunities for networking or internships are nill. My councilors have told me to route this problem by either doing summer volunteering (I have family in Austin and Houston near dev companies) or by contacting the makers of games that I enjoy for advice. Now, it seems to me that shifting through credits to track down the artists at BioWare and pester 'em about how to beef up my resume may come off as being stalkerish and bothersome. Am I wrong to think that? As it stands, I think I know what aspect of the project I want to get in to. Writing is my passion, and that would be my opted-for job. However, I understand that few dev companies hire full-time writers and job stability is one of my biggest concerns. I'm currently going to school to obtain a general education Associate's, and am enrolled in several art classes. I feel confident that I could make a living as a graphic artist with more training. ...Which brings me to the point. All the research I've done on the web has made me leery of schools offering degrees in "Game Design" and I'm hesitant to get something so specific in case things don't pan out. I recently spoke with a representative of Art Institute of Kansas City who told me that I should look into Animation. I've tried talking to career councilors to see if this would be a viable degree to get me into the game development field, but for the most part (I assume it's because there really isn't much of a market for it here) they really don't seem to know. So, please. I just want a straight answer. Is Animation something that I'll be able to apply to a job in game development, or should I opt for the more Game Design title after all?

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Tom Sloper    16063
Hey Chica O, you wrote:

Of course there are animation jobs in the game industry. Look, you've only scratched the surface in your game industry research. You need to add several sites to your repertoire:
GameCareerGuide.com
IGDA.org
Sloperama.com (my site)
Gamasutra (subscribe to the daily newsletter, and there's a jobs board there too)

And of course there's no game industry in Kansas. Use GameDevMap and GameIndustryMap (I have links to those, and many other game company research sites, on my site). After you finish college you'll have to move. "Location, location, location." You can always move back to Kansas later, and start your own company, after you've earned enough creds. See if there's an IGDA chapter in your area. If there isn't, start one.

But if you want to be a writer, not an animator, then you should get a writing degree. Join the writing SIG on IGDA, read the writing FAQs, and start doing it right.

And yeah, I wouldn't get stalkerish, but you can still network. Read my FAQs on how to network properly. Stop wondering, gather facts, and go from there.

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zer0wolf    1022
Just want to throw in a couple things on top of what Tom said.

There are actually two game companies in Missouri that I know of - Black Lantern Studios (which focuses on family friendly games) in Springfield and another that I think is in St. Louis. Of course though, in Austin there are a LOT of game companies, though.

Also, you don't need to track through the credits. Any game's company's website is going to have some kind of contact information. You just have to drop them an e-mail saying that you'll appreciate it if you can get some feedback on your portfolio. Chances are it'd be forwarded to the Art Director or some other Senior Artist and they'd take a look at it.

The need for good animators is definitely abundant throughout the industry. If writing is your passion though, then you should be studying it instead of animation.

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