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Old 09-05-2009, 09:25 AM   #1
bobkreut
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Hi,

I'm currently a surveyor looking to get back into the game industry. I've done a year of a game art and animation diploma program about 4 years ago, but tuition was too high to do the second year so I jumped into a QA job doing compliance testing on Xbox live for a year. I thought it'd be good to have a back up plan (you know *just in case* a crash happens in the entertainment sector) so I went back to school to pick up a trade. In this case, surveying. So I have a Diploma of Technology in Geomatics now and have been surveying for the last three years.

For work experience aside from QA, I have experience managing a pizza place doing scheduling\budgeting etc. for a year, I have a constant stream of freelance work offers to be an artist for Disney painting backgrounds for books, and I've been a surveyor in charge of an entire survey crew for an underground mine. This survey position involved meeting with clients, planning for the days,weeks, and months ahead, provided monthly cost reports and forecasts, and delegating work amongst crews. So even though from an outside view it may not seem like it, I've actually had a PM role for most of the work and schooling I've done.

I've never really left the thought of returning to the game industry and I've always kept up to date on the industry and read postmortems whenever they become available. I'm quite passionate about returning to the game industry and should be apparent by the fact that i'd be taking a 40-50% pay cut doing so. I've read (again) Tom's guide on Producing, Lesson 42, and I'm wondering if my experience would warrant an interview for an asst. producer or if I will be completely overlooked by the fact that my experience's title isn't Design or Business Management?
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Old 09-05-2009, 10:08 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobkreut View Post
I've read (again) Tom's guide on Producing, Lesson 42, and I'm wondering if my experience would warrant an interview for an asst. producer or if I will be completely overlooked by the fact that my experience's title isn't Design or Business Management?
The main problem is that producers need current experience in the game industry. Many assistant producers move up from QA, for example.
Another article of mine you should read is the Switching Careers article - http://www.sloperama.com/advice/lesson41.htm - it talks about the applicability of non-game experience.
It's not hopeless -- you just need to go for it, the right way.
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PLEASE do not use this website's PM feature to contact me.
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:16 AM   #3
Monkeh
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I've done a year of land survey myself - here are some thoughts:

Surveyors are part of just about every step of the building process. You're there at the start to find property markers and set traverse points, you're there at the end to get final measurements, and you're there for just about every step between.

This gives you good insight on how a large process works every step of the way. Definitely emphasize this knowledge, as game development is usually a very large process, and you can draw parallels between production and surveying this way.

Also, compliance testing can be some of the most tedious testing work out there, and it requires you to be very diligent and be able to understand those awkwardly worded test requirements.

If I were you, I would definitely go for a QA position again. Your previous experience will help you there, as potential employers will know you don't have a pie-in-the-sky expectation for what game testing is. After that, take point, be very responsible and offer to do extra work, especially managerial or spreadsheet-related work.

You'll probably move into an asst producer quickly with that plan.

Last edited by Monkeh : 09-05-2009 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:17 AM   #4
bobkreut
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Hey thanks for replying to my post so quickly Tom. I really appreciate it.

The articles I've been reading and the chats I've had with people in the industry echo the advice you're giving, and that's to get back into the industry any way, and then concentrate on moving around once inside.

Another big point that got tossed around (for those people also reading this thread for becoming an asst. producer, but currently in another field) was how important networking is. If your name gets recognized, even if they don't fully remember who you are, it goes a lot farther than just an empty name on a CV.

So thanks again for telling me "It's not hopeless", Tom.
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Old 09-05-2009, 11:39 AM   #5
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Monkeh: Thanks very much for your reply. I never would have thought I'd find another person on these boards that has Surveying experience as well.

The parallels you draw between the two professions are very helpful for me and it's very nice to hearing from someone who knows about both surveying and compliance testing. The plan suggested seems like the right course to take so thanks again for your insight.

-Bk
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:51 AM   #6
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Glad to help!
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Old 09-09-2009, 09:00 PM   #7
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To be honest, you wont get a job as an associate producer with your current skills.

Associate producers are pretty much the assistant of the producer, some companies use different names for it, but at the end you are an assistan. Your producer will expect alot from you and sadly you dont seem to have the necessary skills to fulfill your job.

Managing a video game production is not like managing a pizza place. You need to learn how to be a leader and how to manage a team of programmers and artists full of egos. There is alot of psychology involved behind this. Basic skills include; scheduling (learning Microsoft project would help. Asset management, programs like alien brain an others would help.

You will need many other skills that come from a business environment such as doing capacity plan, risk management, creating a project management plan (not always). Production methodologies such as the boring waterfall and all that fun lingo. Managing q/a.... god, the list is long and im tired heh.

Being an associate producer is a hard job and everyday is a new problem ... i think of a producer as a conflict resolution leader!! everyday is something new and you need to keep your cool.

Well, that's all i got for now. Study hard, read lots of books and play lots of games and you will succeed
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Old 09-10-2009, 04:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozz69eyes View Post
To be honest, you wont get a job as an associate producer with your current skills.

Associate producers are pretty much the assistant of the producer, some companies use different names for it, but at the end you are an assistan. Your producer will expect alot from you and sadly you dont seem to have the necessary skills to fulfill your job.
I disagree.

Quote:
For work experience aside from QA, I have experience managing a pizza place doing scheduling\budgeting etc. for a year, I have a constant stream of freelance work offers to be an artist for Disney painting backgrounds for books, and I've been a surveyor in charge of an entire survey crew for an underground mine. This survey position involved meeting with clients, planning for the days,weeks, and months ahead, provided monthly cost reports and forecasts, and delegating work amongst crews. So even though from an outside view it may not seem like it, I've actually had a PM role for most of the work and schooling I've done.
You really think that non of the above are transferable to a producer like role?
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Old 09-10-2009, 09:35 AM   #9
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I bit my lip because it seems like Bob is already on the right path.
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Old 09-12-2009, 01:48 PM   #10
Ozz69eyes
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I disagree.



You really think that non of the above are transferable to a producer like role?
Im sure they are some experience is better than no experience.

Still, there is more to being a producer than dealing with people.

I do believe he has what it takes to begin as an assistant. But there is more to be learned, such as production methodologies, quality assurance methods and so on

Cheer up! and good luck!
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