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Author Topic: Getting a Job at a RPG Company (Looking for recommendations)  (Read 4956 times)
Escova12
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« on: February 28, 2012, 07:43:57 PM »

Hi all,

   I am an avid, long time gamer. For a while now, I have been realizing that I would like to make rpg creation, promotion, and such an actual profession. I have researched a number of small scale RPG companies in my area, but I wanted to put forward this post to see if anyone had any ideas about how to come about making a "cold" application like this.

Background: I have a large number of personal rpg works that I have put together, and just recently sent out my first collection to be copyrighted. I plan on using some collection of my works as a portfolio to show potential employers, but I don't know if I should include this portfolio in my initial email application, or if I should mention that I have one and wait for them to ask me to see it.

All thoughts, suggestions, constructive criticism, and feedback are appreciated.
Thanks
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Hans Chung-Otterson
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Posts: 54


« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2012, 09:04:06 PM »

I really shouldn't post, as I couldn't tell you what to do. But here's a hunch: have you published or self-published any games? Are these copyrighted games out there? Are folks playing them?
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2012, 04:06:49 AM »

Advice on getting hired runs counter to the purpose of the site. Not a big deal, I'm sure, but you should be aware that you'll get ideologically coloured advice here on matters like this. Also, I'll say it so it's out of the way: rpgs are not a serious culture industry, there are not many people for whom it's even a serious sideline job. Don't rely on your passion for a fringe hobby as a serious career move.

My advice to you is: self-publish, self-publish and self-publish. Specifically, don't expect anybody else to publish the stuff you've created. RPG publishers, whether small or large, have their own business strategies and creative goals in an extremely competitive and money-short environment. Nine times in ten they're passionate roleplayers themselves, and they have clear ideas of what they want to do. Such a person won't decide to publish your game when they can be paying somebody to write the game they want to make. Not unless your game is the most amazing thing they've ever seen - and that is hardly likely.

For the above reason I think that your best bet in working your way into the rpg field is to show the world your chops. Forget worrying about your copyright, nobody's going to steal a newb's work in a marginal cultural field - and as I often say, if your work is good enough to steal (something that's been true for perhaps three rpgs in the history of the form, if that), then you've already overcome 95% of the challenges in this thing, so no need to worry about anything. Your priority is to prove to the world that you have that rare combination of style, insight and discipline that it takes to capture the imaginations of roleplayers, who each and every one are already artists in their own right. Once you make some name for yourself and prove that you can bring out projects, then if you want you can take a job with one of the few rpg companies that can pay their people. They'll be interested once they've seen what you've got, and they'll thus be able to judge whether you're professional in attitude and compatible with their creative goals.
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Escova12
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« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2012, 10:39:24 AM »

I should clarify a little bit. I'm not looking to work for a gaming company so my personal homebrews can be published. As others mentioned, self-publishing is the key to that. I'm looking to get involved in the creative projects that rpg making companies are working on (in a professional sense).

Note: This may be the wrong area to post this thread. If so, please let me know a better place to put it.
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Pelgrane
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Posts: 135


« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2012, 07:47:20 AM »

I should clarify a little bit. I'm not looking to work for a gaming company so my personal homebrews can be published. As others mentioned, self-publishing is the key to that. I'm looking to get involved in the creative projects that rpg making companies are working on (in a professional sense).

Note: This may be the wrong area to post this thread. If so, please let me know a better place to put it.

Paradoxically, your best approach would be to succesfully self-publish a game.
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Finarvyn
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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2012, 01:52:02 PM »

I have a regular job but have been published and have my name on a few RPG materials. The thought of designing games for a living has crossed my mind, but I don't think that many folks actually make enough money doing this to quit their regular job so I haven't really tried to make a career out of it. Yet.

A couple of thoughts come to mind.
1. Self-publish. Write stuff and get it played by people. Don't worry about making money on it, worry about getting people interested. Free PDF products and/or POD are a great way to get started. Once you build a name, you become more valuable.
2. Participate in playtests. When you playtest someone else's product, and if you provide detailed feedback, you get your name "out there" where companies might be interested in what you can offer. I've playtested rules systems and modules and have gotten "inside" looks at products well before they have been published, but most of this stuff is non-paid.
3. Participate in gaming boards. Like this one. Offer ideas and comments and let people get to know who you are. Be polite and helpful. Remember that your goal is to be noticed in a good way.

Like most things in this world, you have to "do your time" before you get noticed. Remember that you want to have value to someone so that they will want your services, and it's not just about desire.
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Marv (Finarvyn)
Sorcerer * Dresden Files RPG * Amber Diceless
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OD&D Player since 1975
Elizabeth
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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 11:03:46 AM »

Hi Escova!

I wanted pretty much the same thing you wanted, seven or eight years ago. I eventually got my current, awesome job making games full time at a company I love while having the freedom to do my own design stuff in my spare time. I did this by self-publishing games.

I made a blog post a while back about how to "break in" to the game development industry that more than a few people have found usefuló perhaps you will too.

http://elizabethsampat.com/sex-lies-and-game-development/
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Devon Oratz
Member

Posts: 75


« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2012, 12:20:35 PM »

If you're asking how to get employed as an EMPLOYEE, I have no idea and I wish I did. Most publishers are too small to hire many employees, except for WotC; for them you'll need a lot of cache, and they'll probably fire you any way. On Christmas.

Mostly, they prefer to use freelancers, for tax purposes. If you want to be a FREELANCER, like me, that's definitely more within your reach.

A couple of thoughts come to mind.
1. Self-publish. Write stuff and get it played by people. Don't worry about making money on it, worry about getting people interested. Free PDF products and/or POD are a great way to get started. Once you build a name, you become more valuable.
2. Participate in playtests. When you playtest someone else's product, and if you provide detailed feedback, you get your name "out there" where companies might be interested in what you can offer. I've playtested rules systems and modules and have gotten "inside" looks at products well before they have been published, but most of this stuff is non-paid.
3. Participate in gaming boards. Like this one. Offer ideas and comments and let people get to know who you are. Be polite and helpful. Remember that your goal is to be noticed in a good way.

Like most things in this world, you have to "do your time" before you get noticed. Remember that you want to have value to someone so that they will want your services, and it's not just about desire.

In fact, I managed to get a job as a freelancer for Shadowrun without doing any of these things! Although from my experience the third one, especially, can't hurt!

Seriously though, I think there's one step that's most important and that for some reason people are the most hesitant to take. Here goes.

1. Ask

Okay, what I did is I wrote up a whole proposal on spec (for a full campaign book, which I spent years playtesting) and then submitted it, meticulously following their on-site submission guidelines, with the full understanding they'd probably reject it out of hand, and sent it in to them. I made it clear that I didn't just want to write this for them; it was my life's dream to write ANYTHING for Shadowrun, anything at all. They rejected it out of hand, like I expected, but the line developer was impressed enough by my writing to offer me a spot in the freelancer pool. The rest, I guess, is history?

Seriously, though, the hardest part, the part I struggled the most with, was just getting up the guts to ACTUALLY ASK TO WORK FOR THEM. So that is the part I recommend the most strongly. You won't know if you don't try.
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Finarvyn
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2012, 06:21:46 AM »

I made a blog post a while back about how to "break in" to the game development industry that more than a few people have found usefuló perhaps you will too.

http://elizabethsampat.com/sex-lies-and-game-development/
Nice blog post, Elizabeth. I have several female gamers in my group. While none of them have expressed interest in game design, they all love to play and seem frustrated that so many games are aimed at the males of the world. I adjust my GM style in the hopes that I offer the kinds of adventures they want to play, but it's nice to see more women in the design part of the process. :-)
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Marv (Finarvyn)
Sorcerer * Dresden Files RPG * Amber Diceless
Forge Member since 2004
OD&D Player since 1975
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