Monday, March 7, 2011

GDC is over.

My last day at GDC was fairly uneventful. I met a few more people. My contact asked us if we wanted to help volunteer for E3 which is in June. I told her I would, so that's set. E3 is less about business and more about new games coming out. Isn't not open to the public, so not everyone can attend.

Tonight was the last night to go out to clubs and network, but I was tired. So I just went home. Out of curiosity, I looked up craigslist in SF to see about people posting about GDC in terms of after party get togethers and what not. Oh my. I found 4 adds in the Personals section about it. All 4 were in the Men Seeking Men section. I didn't click on the posts. The titles alone frightened me. Well, it was San Francisco after all.

You know what? I looked up on the GDC website and it had listed all the companies that where hiring in the career pavilion. Well, if you click to expand, it gave the phone number and the email address of the HR person for each company so you could set up private interviews. Oh my God. What an idiot I am for missing that. I could have easily seen which of those companies were hiring writers, set up some interviews and talked directly to who I needed to. Man, I really blew it.

So as I continue the hunt, life gets a little more confusing. I had a Skype meeting with the Project Lead of the one game I'm writing for. They're still not paying us, but they want to reach an agreement with each of us to talk about what they'd be paying us if they were. Like I've said, I never thought I'd see any money out of this. But what if I did? What if this is actually my first big break into the biz? They quoted me a salary which is typical of experienced game designers, but astronomically large compared to what us lowly writers make selling novels along with pieces of our souls to publishers. By that, I mean, most published authors can't make enough money to support themselves. I mean, even authors that have books out, in stores, and on shelves, still struggle. So tonight, he quoted me a salary that was well above anything I could reasonably hope for as an author.

I know this will sound strange to any one reading this, but I felt uncomfortable being offered that much money. I'm a published author, but I've never published my fiction. And I don't have any industry experience. I'm a nobody, being offered more money that my dad made at the peak of his career at the start of mine. I don't know how to take that. Then a part of my realized this is all Monopoly money anyways until I actually have the check in my hands and it clears.

So I had assumed that if I got hired by a big company, I could keep telecommuting part time, like I'm doing, for this unfunded company. But what if the new company won't let me? I'm really kind of at a loss here. Do I stop looking for a job, hoping I start getting paid by the unfunded one, or do I keep looking for a paying job knowing that might cause me to bail on the first one? If I did leave this project, they'd have to rework a lot of stuff. It'd certainly set them back a bunch. And I don't want to do that to anyone.

I'm not in this for the money. I could care less about that. I don't bail on people. But I might never see any money out of this unfunded project. Is that worth turning down my dream(paying) job for? So yeah, it's pretty confusing knowing what to do. In either case, if this unfunded project ships, that will be a huge boost on my resume. I'd be able to claim over a year of game industry experience with one shipped title under my belt. That takes me from 1 of 200 candidates applying for the same job, down to 1 of 10. Much better odds of getting hired.

But what if this unfunded project does get funding, they pay us, and the game is ultimately successful? They were telling me tonight that this is just the beginning and that they want to keep making more games. And that they don't want to see me going anywhere.

As a side note. Networking with other writers at GDC might have been a waste of time in terms of getting hired. We're all competing with each other. But it did give me a better idea of who I'm competing against. I never met another writer that's obsessed with MMOs like I am. I know games in and out. I know players in and out. I know what players like, hate, and will tolerate. I know in-game culture. As an Anthropologist, I study behavior. As a writer, I study story and characters. As a game writer, I need to work some kinks out, but I'll be really, really good at it. Maybe I should be getting paid an astronomical salary. Time will tell.

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