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How on Earth to Get Started???

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Anonymous

I am most interested in working for an established gaming publisher. I've never before worked in the gaming industry and am wondering what credentials one must typically meet for consideration. (Any personal stories of how you got your own foot in the door are welcome. :D)

BTW, I'm not necessarily looking to develop a game, so much as I'm interested in being involved in the design (artwork) aspect.

Thank you,

Jenk

Anonymous
How on Earth to Get Started???

It sounds like you are asking about computer game development. As for board gaming, the only credentials required are a passion for games and, if possible, some artistic skills. If you could, please clarify what class of game you are asking about. If you _are_ asking about board games, please forgive me. We get alot of computer game questions and this is not the place to discuss them (BOARD game designers forums). Thanks : )

Silverdragon0

Anonymous
Sorry...

My apologies for not being clear. :( I am interested in board/ card game design.

Thank you,

Jenk

hpox
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
How on Earth to Get Started???

It's alright Jenk, Welcome to the bgdf!

Believe it or not, we often get people looking for computer design advice!!? That's where the confusion comes from. Not from you.

http://www.bgdf.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=5919#5919

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
How on Earth to Get Started???

Good question. Are you interested more in the illustration side of things or the graphic design side?

I'm sure one way you can do it is the standard way to get jobs in either of those fields: build up a portfolio and contact the companies directly.

Another way you should be able to get your foot in the door (or at least noticed) if you're an illustrator of some kind is to produce artwork (probably gratis or nearly-so) for prototypes that are being submitted to publishers. This will both get the fruits of your labor in front of some of the right eyes, and might result in a sale of the artwork if the game sells. While it's most common for a publisher to scrap any existing graphic design (though there are exceptions -- I know Michael Schact produces at least some of his own artwork and design and the publisher uses it for the final design), good illustrations that really fit the game would be a much easier sale.

Mind you this will only work with folks who are likely to be able to sell their designs. :)

-- Matthew

Anonymous
Thank You...

...for the advice, FastLearner.

I am interested more in the illustration side of things, as I'm one to like more hands-on control over my medium. :)

I know that with most magazine publishers, it's best to approach them with a letter stating your article idea(s), strategy for composing it, and your bio. Do game publishers also expect more of an introduction to be made in writing? (I know that many, if not most, magazine publishers refuse cold-calls outright.)

Thanks,

Jenk

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
How on Earth to Get Started???

I've not promoted my design skills to a game company, but I suspect a few polite emails will give you tons of information.

Oh, and if you're interested in illustrating for roleplaying games, the "Freelance" forums over at http://www.rpg.net are a key place that rpg publishers look at online illustration portfolios (artists post samples, give advice to each other, etc. -- really a great group).

-- Matthew

Anonymous
How on Earth to Get Started???

As a game publisher I don't reject cold calls right out. I may not be able to use your talents right away, but I like to keep a file of people I can go to in a pinch on a project.

I suggest contacting the game designers/companies you want to work for and submit them a vita/portfolio. You can also hang out on the boards here and offer your services. Matt made a good point earlier. If you are willing to work on prototypes or other material for gratis work, or maybe smaller payments, then you can get your foot in the door. Once you do that you can then submit your work for other companies.

I personally recommend setting yourself up as a freelance illustrator and not try and get on with one particular company at first. Freelancing gives you flexibility to work on a multitude of projects in different mediums and with different designers. This will help build your portfolio. Freelancing is not as steady as the real job, but it's what most artists I know (and work with) do.

Just my two pence.
- Geoff

PS - send me an e-mail if you want to send me your portfolio. I'm always looking for illustrators and have several board game, RPGs, and card game ideas that are in the early enough stages that art hasn't been done yet.

Anonymous
How on Earth to Get Started???

Thank you again, Everyone, for all of the advice. (This newbie sure can use it! :wink:)

One final question that I can think of for now: How much freelance work should be offered gratis before one begins charging a fee?

Thank you,

Jenk

FastLearner
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
How on Earth to Get Started???

As much as you have to in order to build up your portfolio, and as little as you possibly can.

-- Matthew

Anonymous
How on Earth to Get Started???

This is kind of important actually.

IF you are doing ANY work for which you receive NO recompense whatsoever...

Whoever you did that work for does not actually own any rights to it.

That's correct... the work remains YOURS. Any contract in which there is a transfer of ownership, or 'rights' requires that there be "a consideration" on both sides of the contract.

No recompense - no consideration.

If this is a magazine article, it won't cause the publisher any problems until they decide to put out a compendium (25 years of Dragon, for instance) as you can still republish, or re-sell, that article to another publisher. When its a game, only an extremely stupid publisher will use your work without paying you at least $1 for it.

You might want to be sure that anyone your working with understands these legalities... it will help to preserve both personal and business relationships. :)
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