LANDING A JOB IN GAMING
Marketing Research Was Not For Me
I finally landed a job at a marketing research film. I had enjoyed marketing research in school, so thought it would be great, but quickly learned this was not the part of the research that I liked. What I enjoyed was analyzing the data to come up with recommendations that would inform creative decisions. This was not that.
I had to call up the vendors that would randomly question people in malls and other places to ensure they were hitting their numbers. I entered that data in a computer and then called the next. That was it.
Now, I know everyone has to pay their dues, but I felt in my bones that this was not going to give me the creative outlet I wanted, at least for a long, long, long time, and I needed to get out to do something that did. It was the only job that I ever quit without giving a two-week notice. I was there for only 5 days and on Friday, I told them that I wouldn’t be returning. I figured it would only be a waste of both our time and money.
Hold Out For Something That Feeds Your Soul
I went back to working a restaurant job while I held out for something that would feed my creative soul and eventually, I got another interview at a place where I was initially passed over. I had emailed after they picked someone else, to tell them I felt they made a mistake passing on me, and to let me know if anything else came up.
The interview they called me for was for a role as assistant to the CEO. This was much more entry level than I was qualified for, but I didn’t care, I wanted to be there to work with major brands on high-level creative. The day of my interview I received another call to come in for an interview. This was confusing because I was already coming in, but I was informed it was for a different role, the role I was initially passed on. I didn’t leave the office before I was offered the job.
I made it.
Finally I was at a place I could really cut my teeth, and I did. My role would have me on some of the biggest gaming campaigns in the world. I would be working on projects with zombies, guns, cars, fighters, hot chicks, and more, all the overly masculine things that most twenty-something year old boys(?) would die to work on.
It was also integrated work, so that meant I would manage everything for a campaign including key art, production, websites, social media, animation, motion graphics, illustration, events, and more. I got to wear many hats including account manager, producer, strategist, and copywriter. I helped the team by writing pitch decks, taglines, commercial spots, and even came up with the names for a few major games, though I doubt anyone would actually remember that it was me.
Avoiding Rinse and Repeat Creative
After five and a half years, advertising for video games began to feel like rinse and repeat. We had companies come to us to help with their game launches and we were already working with their competitors. So both were paying us to help beat the other guy with the same tool belt. It was creatively soul sucking.
I also realized that if I stayed there any longer that I would become “the gaming guy,” and I never got into this business to be pigeonholed into one industry. I approached the owners and asked to work on anything else besides games and they agreed… as long as I brought the work in.
Using the skills I developed sending thousands of requests on LinkedIn trying to get a job, I started to reach out to people that were at brands that I wanted to work with.
With some persistence, I landed an NHL hockey team, a guitar company, and various other brands that I was passionate about. Since I was the one that knew the most about the companies and their industries, I also got to be more heavily involved in the creative process, directing various teams.
It became clear that new industries were not where the agency wanted to put their energy however, so I decided to move on.