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Skills and Careers in the Game Industry
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How to Get a Job Making Video Games
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Assist the marketing department in designing their sales campaign for the product Attend trade shows and other events; meet with important clients if requested Verify that all necessary legal rights have been obtained for materials used in the game before it ships Make progress reports to the executive producer and senior executive staff Resolve creative or other conflicts within the team, with the assistance of HR when necessary Chair team meetings and schedule team events Take responsibility for morale and productivity
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Producer is not ordinarily an entry-level position
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On smaller projects such as Webbased games, it may be possible to become a producer if you can demonstrate you had some production experience in college or elsewhere
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A surprising amount of a producer s job is selling the game inside the publisher At a big publisher, with numerous projects going on at once, it can be hard to attract the attention of senior executives or a busy marketing department To get these people excited about a prospective game, the producer and designers will create documents, presentations, and even short films like TV advertisements for the product that the marketing and sales people will find enjoyable and memorable Using my experience as a video producer, I made several of these at Electronic Arts, which helped to secure funding for such products as Michelle Kwan Figure Skating
Executive Producer
An executive producer is typically responsible for an entire line of products Apart from playing the games that she is responsible for from time to time, and conveying her impressions back down the line, she has very little direct creative involvement with an individual game Executive producers handle the highest-level relationships in production: they maintain connections with marketing, public relations, sales, the legal department, and anyone else in other areas who might have any impact on the product Executive producers negotiate development contracts and license agreements, and they work with senior management to create the company s product plan
Executive producer is not an entry-level position
The only way to obtain it is by shipping successful products Even if you have already shipped other kinds of software, or made other entertainment products such as music or television shows, you are unlikely to be hired as an executive producer in the game industry; the nature of the
C H A P T E R
work is just too different (Several early efforts to import executive producers from other creative industries were expensive disasters)
A Day in the Life of a Producer
I ve been in the game industry for over a dozen years I m now working at Monolith Productions, a development studio in Kirkland, Washington, where I m currently managing a 25-person team working on three different first-person shooter (FPS) projects Most of my day is spent checking with my leads on various topics, writing e-mail or talking on the phone, reviewing design documents and writing management documentation for our publisher, and being immersed in that essential producer tool, Microsoft Project This particular day started with me sending an update to our terrific Sierra marketing and PR people about the upcoming milestone for one of our projects Then I talked with my QA lead and the programmers to make sure they re on schedule for our milestone to be delivered tomorrow A little later, it was time for some testing on the multiplayer FPS project While I love FPS games, I m actually not very good at them, so I m mostly cannon fodder for the rest of the team But it s important for me to participate, for many reasons Next up was working with our Lead Audio guy to fix a problem that was preventing me from recording audio in a training video we re making for our artists As I have some digital video experience, I ve taken over the task of recording our 3-D art training sessions After that, a brief moment to mourn my ripped pants leg, which I tore while crawling under the desk to set up the video recording equipment Oh well! After the recording session, I spent some time digitizing and editing the training video Then I worked on the Pre-Production milestone descriptions document for our next major project This was mostly revisions, since our schedule and budget had changed this week I reviewed a consulting contract for an artist we re going to hire next week Then I met with my database programmer for an update on our custom art asset tracking database project Next I reviewed the latest version of the design document for our newest project, with the design and art Leads I had some concerns that we wouldn t have time for all of the world art and level maps, so we talked about structuring the project in a more prioritized, flexible way Then I dealt with a small crisis, talking to our publisher about localization problems in Asia for the most recently shipped game This turned out to be a false alarm, just an installation error during localization testing Lastly, I spent some time updating my Microsoft Project files, checking for tasks that the team had completed and synchronizing that information back into Project At the end of the day, I had one last cup of coffee, said goodnight to the team, and headed home to my husband and daughters Another day closer to gold master! Ellen Guon Beeman, Producer, Monolith Productions Inc
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