8. Register a Domain with Your Name: In this business, if you don't have an online portfolio, and unless you're Shigeru Miyamoto, you don't exist. This goes doubly true for artists. As such, you need visibility, and it starts with the URL associated with your name.
There are many places where you can register a domain (I use Dreamhost), but no matter what you choose, make sure it has your name on it. If it's already taken, use your name and specialty.
9. Make Trailers and Playthroughs: Once you have your portfolio piece ready, a good idea is to make a trailer for it. Why? Because at GDC you'll only have enough time to show recruiters one portfolio piece, and showing a well-made trailer can even the odds in your favor.
For artists, I can't recommend Sketchfab enough. It allows you to show your 3D models in the browser. Unfortunately, it doesn't allow animation cycles, so for those you'll have to rely on Youtube or Vimeo. This trailer helped me get the attention of companies during this year's GDC.
10. Get a Tablet and Make an Offline Version of Your Portfolio: I can't express this enough. Having a tablet is the best way of showing your portfolio to prospective companies. It doesn't have to be a $600 iPad, there are fantastic alternatives for $200 and even less, like the Kindle Fire HD.
However, this tablet will only be useful if you upload the contents of your portfolio to the tablet itself. This is because the Wi-Fi at GDC, and especially at the Career Center, is AWFUL. I saw many people who would struggle trying to load their portfolios while at the booth, only to have an awkward moment when it just wouldn't load. You don't want to be that person.
There are apps for Android and iOS that let you create an offline version of your portfolio. In addition, upload your screenshots and trailers to your tablet and check that they look good.
Really, you don't want to be that person.
11. Get a Vimeo Account: Or Youtube account, doesn't matter. If you're gonna be uploading trailers, you need to do it from your account. Same thing goes for your team projects: it's always better to upload them to your account.
12. Get Plane Tickets for the Whole Week: Even if you plan on getting the Expo pass, I can't recommend enough that you go there the whole week, even before. I say this because, surprisingly enough, most of the networking at GDC does not happen at the Career Center. It happens at the events like mixers, and if you get to San Francisco on Tuesday night, you'll miss a lot of that socializing.
That's all the advice I have for now. Getting your foot in the door, especially at an entry level position, is a difficult task, and this is a marathon, not a sprint. As such, if you prepare from now and emphasize your school work and personal projects toward a single goal, which is building your portfolio, you'll be at a better position than most people during next year's GDC.
Again, you're in the long haul for this. Build your portfolio, have fun, and hang in there. March 2, 2015 is coming, and we're already in April. What will you do with the time you have?
Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions. We're all in this together.
Words to live by