Hi Gaby

When you asked me how a high school student could get a job without any previous experience, I didn't have an answer for you.

But now I have an idea. Let's see you what you think of it. ;)

So, the best way to get a job is through connections. As the saying goes, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." This is more important than your resume.

And the thing is, now, you have a connection. Me. I can't get you a job at a fast food chain, but I'm in the game industry now, as of about three years ago. And I've helped three friends break into the game industry since - two programmers and one designer.

But who says you actually want to work in the game industry? You like playing games, but you never said you wanted to make them. Sure. But do you want to be flipping burgers or serving people coffee, either? The only reason to aim for those kind of jobs is to help you realize how much they suck and get you motivated to go to college or something so you can try to aim higher.

One of your goals is to be an artist. That's awesome. I want to be an artist too. As far as making a living as an artist, there are at least three routes that I know of. One is to be artist making installation art for art galleries and getting money from grants and such. Another is to make lots of paintings or sculptures or whatever, and try to sell them at art shows and craft fairs and such. Since moving to San Francisco, I've met one of each kind of person, totally coincidentally. Pretty cool.

But the third way is to make art for video games. I know a lot of game artists. If you're not into the kind of art that galleries or collectors or tourists would want to buy, being a game artist is probably the best way to keep a steady paycheck as an artist. And I know you like playing games. That's always a plus.

So maybe you're considering the possibility of being a game artist. Maybe it's worth exploring. But how could you even start? I mean, you probably don't have the skills that a game company is looking for, at least not yet. You haven't learned them yet.

There are a few options. One is that you could try to find an unpaid internship at a game company. If you have some skills, there might be a company that would be willing to let you learn on the job, in exchange for whatever little you could contribute. That's where a lot of people start, just to get that first bit of experience on their resume.

But you might not even have the skills yet to interest a game company in letting you work for free, let alone for money. So what do you do? Simple - just start learning and practicing and improving your skills on your own time. Simple, but not easy. Still, you don't have to do it alone. You can find people to collaborate with online - maybe someone with more experience would be willing to let you help out with a small project they're just doing for fun. It's a big internet out there. If you can find a handful of like-minded people at the same school, and maybe get some guidance from an artist who's actually in the game industry, so much the better. I had something like that going in Seattle, except for game designers instead of game artists, and we were all out of school, but it's the same idea.

I'm not a game artist. But there are still some ways that I can help you, if you so choose. I can get you connected with an actual game artist who's willing to be your mentor - I don't know who that would be, yet, but I can find someone. For example, here's a female game artist who lives in San Francisco. I don't know her, but she was at the Global Game Jam here in January, and maybe she'd be willing to help you out, or at least talk to you a bit and answer some questions. If that's what you want, I'll see what I can do.

Or, I can let you do some art for one of my projects. I'm always up for collaborating with artists, and I get a lot of fulfillment from helping people to achieve goals they are truly passionate about. Since leaving Seattle, I've missed my volunteer teaching at PSCS, and I'd be willing to start again with you, if you want it. You can learn the process of making art for games through simple projects with me. A taste of freelance work, or remote collaboration - working from home is what artists tend to do. You can start here.

I'm your connection now.
If you want my help - well, you have my email address. :)

Oh, and here's the game I was talking about: The Love Letter
This one may be more to your liking, though: Flydrill


Neddy said...

Hi Alex,

Well I actually have been looking around for your email and can't find it. Please message me I have a proposal which I think you may be interested it.


axcho said...

Hi, you can find my email on one of the Find Me links on the right.