Building Your Experience

Christian Guthrie

 

You spend years in the world of academia, it’s a torrent of self growth coupled with learning from your mistakes. Today, let’s look into the job market and review the steps that put me on the path to doing what I love: game writing.

Now, before we get to how an opportunity like this came to fruition, let’s discuss the trials and tribulations along the way. After graduating with an associate’s degree in Communications and New Media, it was time to see what opportunities a college education could bring.

Months passed. There were countless job websites that kept bringing back diminishing returns; there simply wasn’t a huge demand for game writers in Maine. Not to mention, the job markets in this state are not competitive. There’s not enough incentive (or interest) in hiring young talent. While discouraging, this lead to a hobby that would never have crossed my mind in a million years: writing books.

Luckily, the cover- and logo-design aspect of creating a book was taken care of. I knew design and was itching to write something down, and to include more written content in my portfolio. While there was a lot of trial and error, deadlines, and marketing, it turned out that self-publishing is easy. With my first short story, “Soot,” released digitally, production began on the next book: Bootleg Therapy. During this time, I had managed to find a job in retail which at least made me a steady income, and a steady income meant California, and California meant video game jobs.

About a few months later, fatigue started to set in. How can an individual get experience in the field they love when there isn’t a demand for it? One night, out of curiosity, I decided—one last time—to at least try to find something in Maine. Lo and behold, on Craigslist there was a job posting. A company was looking for associate game writers. After a lot of nail-biting and a written submission, they replied, informing me, “You’re on board. Expect your first assignment soon.” No portfolio or résumé submission, just a contract and a signature.

There was a lot of uncertainty in searching for a job. I had so much anxiety about not getting the experience, starting with even less in California, and ultimately losing my way due to such a niché job.

If there’s any lesson to be gained from reading this article, it’s this: if you can’t find an opportunity right off the bat, find hobbies that supplement your dream. Because you never know when you’ll stumble upon the chance of a lifetime.

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