Some Networking Ideas
Nice forum, Scott. I have actually set up phpBB a few times for friends I host websites for. I am presently in the process of creating a forum interface in Flash. The initial backend is CODE:NEO with MySQL, but I will probably port it to PHP, as well. Have you ever seen a message board done in Flash? I think I might have something original with that. So I want to work at EA! I infer that you already do. I recently moved to the Orlando area, which puts me close to Maitland where the Tiburon division is located, yes? What exactly does it take to get in?
Getting a gig with EA (or any game company for that matter) is all about networking. There is a surplus of talented people interested in working at EA. One of the best ways you can stand out from the crowd is by having relationships with a bunch of people that work there. First you have to meet them and make a favorable impression and then you have to stay fresh in their memory long enough for them to think of you when their team has its next opening for someone of your skill and interest.
Here are some ideas on how to get started on meeting people at EA:
Attend the meetings of your local IGDA chapter and say hi to as many people as you can. Ask them for advice about what career path to take, what they like/dislike about the industry, how they got into the industry, who else you should talk to, etc. DO NOT ask them for a job…as someone else I met put it quite well, you dont want to put them in a position to say no to you…you just want to be visible and well thought of. If you do a good job, they will think of you when there is an opening. After all, you are asking for advice about how to break in.
Make a list of you favorite games of all time. Look up the credits on Mobygames. Try to find emails for all the people on the team and email them telling them how much you loved their game and asking them about what it was like to make it. Mention you are trying to learn how to become a badass producer/programmer/etc. and you are just getting started and trying to learn all you can about the industry and how everything works.
Talk to everyone in the industry, not just people at EA. Everyone has something interesting and helpful to share with you about their experience and perspective. And the more friends you have in the industry the more people that might introduce you to someone new or a new opportunity.
Read. The more you know about the industry–the more sincere enthusiasm you demonstrate to the people you are talking to, the better your chances. My blog is a good place to start–if you read through the archives youll find that I document a lot of conversations and sources for reading materials that will give you a real leg up.
Finally, have fun with the process. It can be easy to get caught up in all the work it takes to break in so make sure your not just meeting people to get a job. Meet people because you want to learn and its really fun to hear about how that cool game was made. If you are diligent in making your journey fun as well as effective, you will go much further. And you will have fun.
Updated on October 10th, 2013
Removed the link to Dave’s email, I figure he doesn’t want to keep hearing from people through this page nor be exposed to more spam.