Friday March 9
Friday was a spectacular day! First we went to the Laguna College of Art and Design
to see what the Masters program there is like. It’s a nice, small school with plenty of space for the students to work in. While I don’t think grad school is for me, it would be a nice place to go for anyone else.
After that we headed down to Laguna beach for lunch! It’s only about ten-fifteen minutes away from the art school, so you could eat at the beach every day if you wanted to. I took a couple pictures while at the beach.
Yup, I even took a picture of me. When I was in high school I took a ton of that kind of picture of me, since my camera has a rotating display that can point in any angle it makes it easy! I can see myself while I take the picture. It’s such a cool camera! Silly grin is silly. Bad picture is bad.
BUT! After lunch came the AMAZING part! We went to Carbine Game Studios which is owned by NCSoft. Carbine is working on a game called WildStar and it is SO COOL! It’s beautiful, creative, and I want to play it so badly! You have no idea how amazing and wonderful it is! Go check it out! The in-game stuff looks just like the concept art, and it’s so beautiful! I really don’t have the words to describe it.
While at Carbine we got to wander around and see how everything works and is developed, which is more than we really got to do at any other studio. It was really neat to get to talk to the workers as they worked and watch them play around as they work. Working at a place like that would be so cool. They gave us a lot of advice, all of it really good and beneficial. I took more notes there than I did any place else. They told us about how a lot of them got their jobs because friend of theirs got hired and then recommended them, and then they would bring along their other friend.
After wandering around they took us into a cool “secret” room and showed us the trailer for the game. Then they talked to us about portfolio stuff and how to get a job. First off, networking! It’s super important! Start at the bottom and work your way up. Don’t go emailing the people at the top first, they’re way to busy to pay attention to you and already get a lot of attention themselves. Start out with the lower level. Comment on their work, compliment it, work towards being friends. They will love the attention and be very willing to help you out. Short emails are better. Once you establish a good relationship with someone and they like your work they can help you get a job. Jobs at studios are often filled before they’re listed online because people in the studio suggest people they know. Make networking part of your job.
For portfolio and job application stuff they were very particular about how your cover letter should have the name of the place you’re applying to in the letter. If you have the wrong business in there they won’t look at your stuff at all. You would think that that is common sense, but apparently it happens a lot. You should tailor your resume and cover letter to the place you’re applying to. Research the company, and put in some time to make some work that is tailored to that place. This shows that you are smart. Highlight what you do in your free time that’s related to art. Also, make sure your links work. In the cover letter you should sound excited about the job, whether or not you actually are. You can also be creative in your cover letter. You also need an online portfolio somewhere.
For your online portfolio you need to make it as clear and easy to use as possible. They will know in ten seconds whether or not they want to hire you by looking at it. So, the fewer clicks the better. They need to see your drive in the portfolio, it should say a lot about you. Only put your 5-10 best pieces in the portfolio. You can have more to see elsewhere. Be honest and show them that you can see the flaws in your work when they ask to see more, tell them that your portfolio is your best work and that the rest isn’t quite as good. They like it when you can tell what’s wrong in a piece. They are looking for people who are creative! If you are applying for a concept design type of position, then you should show a variety of art styles. Concept design is all about ideas. Illustration is more about finished quality work. Act like where you are applying to is your #1 place.
They also gave some advice on how to be better artists. They told us to never do work in a vacuum. You need to put yourself in a creative environment! Go and talk to people you don’t usually talk to. Ask questions! Learn how to do things! You should be harsh on yourself and honestly seek out real world feedback. The key to success is to know what sucks. Fix it. Learn to see the flaws in your own work. Always strive to do better. Also, if you’re working in a video game studio environment like that then you shouldn’t get to attached to your work because it will often get changed and is seldom one single person’s work.
Afterwards they gave us posters signed by the entire crew! So awesome!
So, Carbine was way cool to visit. I loved it and it was super helpful! We took a little bit longer there than originally planned, and then there was rush hour traffic on the way back to Pasadena. We stopped at the Norton Simon museum for about an hour. Since it was a special art night the entry was free and it was packed with people. I sat out for part of it, I had developed a headache. Then we returned to the hotel one last time to sleep.