This is the third installment of a three part blog aimed at graduates and junior artists applying for a job in the Games Industry. In part one (available here) we covered the CV and covering letter. In part two (available here) we looked at Portfolio and Showreel, and finally we shall conclude this week with Web Presence and Social Media.
Web Presence & Social Media
Being 2015, of course you will be distributing all of your content via your own website. Many artists I have seen opt for DeviantArt or similar sites, as an alternative to a personal website. Strictly speaking there is nothing wrong with this, on some level it even makes sense as it takes far less work to maintain it. Nonetheless in my opinion it is not your best option and here’s why. DeviantArt as you will be aware has a LOT of art, the majority very very good art. I love looking at awesome art, as I’m sure you and any other employer you may be applying to does, and so if I see a thumbnail of something cool I’m going to click on it. Through no fault of your own I’m diverted away from your work and will no doubt fall down a rabbit hole of beautiful artwork. By sending me to DeviantArt you have just taken me to the place containing all of your competition. I am not in any way suggesting a boycott of DeviantArt, I love the site and if you are present on it then awesome, but it is not your best option for a portfolio. Use it for inspiration, the community and the C&C, however if want to grab my attention then be selfish with it, take me to a place that I can immerse myself in your art and your art alone, after all that is what you are trying to sell me.
Social media is probably one of the few points here that does not solely apply to artists but to anyone who actively participates in any industry’s public social media channels. Basically it boils down to this, DON’T BE A DICK! The amount of people who are either just entering or trying to break into an industry being dicks to others on public forums is astonishing to me. In the past year alone I have added about three or four people to my ‘do not hire’ list simply because of it. I have never met them, never seen any of their work and have obviously never worked with them, but if I see their name on an application it is immediately dismissed. All because of the way they have conducted themselves on social media. This may seem unfair but it is important to remember you are not just being hired on the strength of your work but the type of person you are and ultimately how easy you will be to work with. We all enjoy a good workplace environment and business owners & managers work very hard to instill this. Speak to any business owner and despite all the stresses and strains of running a company, you can be pretty certain that none of them get that dreaded Monday morning feeling, at least not in my experience anyway. And thus if you are viewed as a potential threat to that positive work atmosphere then it doesn’t matter how great your work is, you will not be brought on board for fear of disrupting it.
Lastly, and I’m sure this is common knowledge by now, but you will be Googled and your personal Facebook will be viewed if it pops up. You have two options at this point; either present yourself as a professional, reliable and sensible person or make your profile completely private. Personally I opt for the latter.
Breaking into a new industry, whether as a graduate or professional, is always an arduous task which involves dealing with rejection, no responses and massive amounts of frustration. There are two ways you can tackle it; you can bitch and moan about how special you are and how no one will give you what you deserve or you can, much like game development, persist through every challenge and iterate on your CV and portfolio making it better each time until you finally land the job you want. As a result you must be incredibly critical of yourself and your work. Ultimately no one owes you anything; it is up to you to demonstrate your value in order to secure the job you want.
I’ll finish off with one last example which I have been using to explain to students exactly what is going through my head as I review an application. Hopefully it’ll give you a little insight into what is happening on the other side of that email you sent. When looking through someone’s artwork, first and foremost I am looking to see whether this person has the particular set of skills that I require. More importantly I am asking myself “Is this work worth thousands of pounds per month?” and not only that but is it good enough for my company to see a return on that investment. So when reviewing your application and portfolio before sending it out try to keep those two questions in mind. Put yourself into the mindset of an employer and consider the question “Would I pay that amount of money for this work?”. If the answer is no then carry on iterating.
– Matt (CCO)