Apparently Bing asked Jose Martin to meet me after Bing and I met, and there he appeared! Jose is “Vice President Human Resources, WW Group Studios” which means I couldnt meet someone with a better view of Studios hiring plans.
We started our conversation with the standard questions about my interest in games, my favorites, etc. and then I started in with some questions of my own. I asked what makes the difference between a good producer and a great producer and he said there were three areas where a great producer excels:
- Creative: He has a clear vision of the game he wants to make, he is confident in himself and his vision, and he is effective at communicating his vision to everyone on the team in all their different roles.
- Management: He is an effective project and people manager with the skills that enable him to lead his team to realize his vision and consistently produce high quality products on-time and on-budget.
- Business and people: He can readily distinguish between good ideas that are commercially viable and those that are not. He has a good sense of the market. He is a good leader–he selects outstanding team members and he motivates and helps each of them to great personal achievements.
Jose encouraged me to attend the next GDC and I mentioned that I was already planning to go as a panelist with the IGDA’s QoL group. He thought that was an excellent idea and a great way of opening doors and meeting more people in the industry. Jose asked me some more about my background and then offered to answer more question to see how he could help. I asked him how I should be directing my efforts so that I can start and build a career at EA in production with the long term goal of exec producer in mind. He said that he felt I was doing the right things already and to keep doing what I’m doing–he’s going to see what he can do on his end but he thinks it really just a matter of timing and being patient as the hiring cycles come around. Then he offered me some excellent tactical ideas to help me in my interviews and help me to gain some experience while I’m still interviewing:
- Leave material with my interviewers that provide solid evidence of my ability and experience in each of the three pillars, as they come up in the interview. Doing so demonstrates that I’m prepared, I’ve done my homework, and I have applicable, valuable experience.
- Ask the people I meet with what their biggest challenges are and what they wish they had more bandwidth to work on. The first question could potentially reveal areas I’m especially well equipped to help with and that would instantly turn me into an asset. The second question is more likely to highlight areas that are easier to address, but are more time intensive. With those I might find something I can volunteer to help with in order to get the experience and maybe to trade for mentoring. A lot of producers, for example, just never can find the time to play all the games they want to play as competitive research. I could help them out by doing the research for them and looking for the specific things they want to find. Like the top three original design innovations in each game, for example. I’ve been wanting a way to spend more time with the producers I’ve met so that I can learn from them but I hadn’t yet come up with a way to do it that would be a mutual benefit. This is perfect!
And that’s about the time my next surprise walked in: David De Martini. I said goodbye to Jose after a thoroughly informative meeting and I said hello to DeMar.