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K4nkur0u

Networking for Beginners

7 posts in this topic

A common piece of advice people give me to get a job at an established studio is to network. I never want to feel like "that guy" who runs around and sucks up to people only to give them his business card. I have a few questions that I think could help many others:

How do you network? Is is wrong to just talk to random people and say "what do you do"? How exactly does one meet friends in the industry?

Obviously GDC and E3 are the two giant gatherings. What are other events, meetups or even websites people can visit to network?

At a GDC or E3, what type of networking is most effective? Who should we talk to? Should we hang out in the career section or traverse the floors?

Any other advice would be helpful. I'm not coming from an "advance my career" standpoint, I would like to make industry friends to chat with/bounce ideas off of/see what's happening on the other side of the fence. Thanks!
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[quote name='K4nkur0u' timestamp='1344903740' post='4969258']
1. I have a few questions that I think could help many others:
2. How do you network?
3. Is is wrong to just talk to random people and say "what do you do"?
4. How exactly does one meet friends in the industry?
5. Obviously GDC and E3 are the two giant gatherings. What are other events, meetups or even websites people can visit to network?
6. At a GDC or E3, what type of networking is most effective?
7. Who should we talk to?
8. Should we hang out in the career section
9. or traverse the floors?
[/quote]

1. Yes, these are great questions, and because we want to help others, they're already answered in the FAQs. You can get to the FAQs by backing out to the Breaking In forum page -- the link is at upper right.
2. Answered in FAQs.
3. Yes. See the FAQs.
4. Answered in FAQs.
5. Answered in FAQs.
6. Answered in FAQs.
7. Anybody who's willing to talk.
8. Yes.
9. Yes.
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One point that is not covered in the FAQ, is that you don't use business cards that way.


Business cards are currency. You generally give a card to get a card. Offer to exchange cards, don't just beg for one. Chances are the card you give will be thrown out unless they asked for it, but in exchange you get their card that means "you may contact me with more details."

It is generally most polite to ask "Would you like to exchange business cards?", rather than "My I have one of your cards?".
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[quote name='frob' timestamp='1344916545' post='4969306']
One point that is not covered in the FAQ, is that you don't use business cards that way.


Business cards are currency. You generally give a card to get a card. Offer to exchange cards, don't just beg for one. Chances are the card you give will be thrown out unless they asked for it, but in exchange you get their card that means "you may contact me with more details."

It is generally most polite to ask "Would you like to exchange business cards?", rather than "My I have one of your cards?".
[/quote]

The FAQ does talk about business cards. It says, "To GET a business card, all you have to do is to GIVE a business card."
The way I do it is I just pull one out of my pocket and offer it while conversing with the person.
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[quote name='K4nkur0u' timestamp='1344903740' post='4969258']
Obviously GDC and E3 are the two giant gatherings. What are other events, meetups or even websites people can visit to network?
[/quote]
There's DICE, but you may not be able to attend, and Gamescon (Germany) which I've never been to unfortunately.
The real "deal" for me is these "recruitment missions" which occur pretty much randomly all over the globe. In the last 12 months, I've seen 3 local studios go to three different cities worldwide. Basically, they "speed-dated" people they would like to draft.
Without actually establishing this as any form of benchmark, I've seen about 3% of the candidates hired on these events.

I've also seen local organizations (IGDA for example) make "portfolio nights" where artists essentially had but a few minutes to convince representatives of a studio to hire them (4 or 5 studios were present, 2 representatives each, and they were sitting and waiting for you to sell your pitch).
I was in a position where we needed good 3d artists at that time. So what we did is we contacted a few of the best candidates we had speed dated, and invited them in our studio. Then, we hired two of them.

I personally don't hand over my business cards much. I do this with clients or people from the industry. I generally tend to give everyone else the "HR@studioname.com" reply instead, but I may be missing on something...
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[quote name='Orymus3' timestamp='1344948904' post='4969438']
I personally don't hand over my business cards much. I do this with clients or people from the industry. I generally tend to give everyone else the "HR@studioname.com" reply instead, but I may be missing on something...
[/quote]

True, not everyone at a game event is there to network, and not everyone who's there to network is interested in talking to noobs. If you're an aspirant and you run into someone like Orymus, who apparently doesn't want wannabes contacting him at his job, then be polite, and after the conversation concludes, go exchange cards with someone else.
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[quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1344951807' post='4969455']
and not everyone who's there to network is interested in talking to noobs.
[/quote][quote name='Tom Sloper' timestamp='1344951807' post='4969455']
like Orymus, who apparently doesn't want wannabes contacting him at his job
[/quote]

I think this specifically applies to when I'm on a mission for my studio. As you can see, I'm fairly friendly over Gamedev though (plus I was a noob not too long ago).
However, I didn't get in through networking, so this may be why my opinion of it may not be on par with yours.

When I re-read the F.A.Q.s regarding networking, I think I'm missing the point as well. Once you have collected the cards, you wait, and drop a line hoping to showcase your portfolio? I can think of more aggressive strategies to get in... but maybe my area is not representative of the industry in general.

[quote name='K4nkur0u' timestamp='1344903740' post='4969258']
Any other advice would be helpful. I'm not coming from an "advance my career" standpoint, I would like to make industry friends to chat with/bounce ideas off of/see what's happening on the other side of the fence. Thanks!
[/quote]
I think you can do this here :)
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[quote name='Orymus3' timestamp='1344975382' post='4969590']
1. I didn't get in through networking, so this may be why my opinion of it may not be on par with yours.
2. When I re-read the F.A.Q.s regarding networking, I think I'm missing the point as well. Once you have collected the cards, you wait, and drop a line hoping to showcase your portfolio? I can think of more aggressive strategies to get in...
[/quote]

1. I didn't either. Networking is primarily useful for freelancers and entrepreneurs. Networking isn't going to get a noob "in." But it is going to educate him about how to get in.

2. So can I. I described the least-objectionable kind of attention a game biz pro can tolerate from noobs to whom he's foolishly given his card. In advising noobs on how to network, I also keep in mind guys like myself and how we hate running into some yakety noob who won't shut up and just goes on and on about his situation. When I meet a noob who says hello, hands me a card, and asks me something that gets me yakking on about some favorite bugaboo of my own, then I come away thinking, "my, what a smart young fellow!" And he learned something.
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