Hi Scott, I came across your site while looking at the EA Academy site (actually I was examining the guidelines for loopholes to get in as an intern). I gotta say that it was pretty smart of you to start this site–talk about a great way to get noticed by the company! Anyways, I recently graduated from Vancouver Film School as an animator. I would love to get a job at EA in animation (whether it be as a mocap operator or clean up artist, etc) but am finding it incredibly difficult. As they say, one of the best ways to get your foot in the door is as an intern, however my school does not qualify for the Coop programs at EA Canada (since it is a private school) and you need to be an American to get into the USA EA Academy. So far, I’ve just been trying to submit my demo tape in hopes of landing some sort of interview (I’m going again tomorrow!) and even though I do know at least two people who work for EA BlackBox and EA Canada, so far, it hasnt seemed to help much. Anyways, I was just wondering if you had any insight as to breaking into EA as an animator. I noticed your great advice on emailing people with credits on your favorite EA games. Also, do you think it is worth a shot sending my demo to EA Redwood, or EALA even though I am a Canadian citizen (getting a visa to work in the USA is incredibly difficult unless you are some sort of genius!)? Thanks and sorry for this rambling post!
Lindsay, Unless you are an animating genius and it clearly shows in your demo, I suggest you go through the side door rather than the front. You do need to have a solid resume and demo, but having them wont really open doors as much as not having them will close them. I have a feeling building relationships with 10 lead animators at EA and other companies will teach you more and expose you to more opportunities than sending your demo out to 1,000 different companies would. Not that that will be easy, but just like working hard is a more reliable way to earn money than buying lottery tickets, I think youll find networking is something you can build on over time.
Another way I have been able to meet new people has been through volunteering for the IGDA and contributing time on a whitepaper. I got the chance to help out, learn a ton, and leverage a great excuse to call just about anyone in the industry up for a research/informational interview.
Theres really no secret to how to get into the game business. You need skills and you need to know the right people. If you have the skills work on the people!
P.S. It cant hurt to send you resume and demo to place in the US…it just may not prove to be the most effective use of your time. If you have enough time to network and send out your demo everywhere, by all means go for it. But if you had to choose, spending more time on networking is probably the better bet–and a lot more fun to boot.
Updated on October 10th, 2013
Removed the link to Lindsay’s email, I figure she doesn’t want to keep hearing from people through this page nor be exposed to more spam.