Monday, December 17, 2012

Developing a business plan (short term)

One of the big requests of Professional Practice was to plan out a business plan leading up to graduation and beyond.

The aim was to develop a schedule and an organized approach to reach our goals. The purpose of this to better prepare myself to enter the professional industry after graduation.
Developing an organized schedule in order to reach my goal can be really beneficial on many ways. Often times I've found myself working and working, but I did not know what I was aiming for on the end. I did not have an end goal. This affects your focus and you are constantly thinking about your final desination. Having an organized schedule makes you more aware of what you are doing. This way you maintain focus and you can also keep track of your progress.
Having a schedule with deadlines is also a good practice to mimic an actual professional situation. When working in the industry you always work for deadlines. You have to be swift and produce good work at the same time. By developing a business plan I can practice and earn experience regarding deadlines.

6 month business plan:

8 month business plan: 

June – September 

This period will consist mostly of job hunting and working actively to always better my portfolio and skills. Attending networking events will be at least as crucial as before.

Networking: meet-up (June or July – date undecided yet)
GDC Europe (13th – 14th August, Cologne, Germany)
Eurogamer Expo (26th – 29th September, London)
and others as they are announced.

Applications will be sent out to the following companies:

Blizzard Entertainment
Bethesda Softworks/ZeniMax
Blitz Game Studios
Electronic Arts
Turbine Games
Guerilla Games

Main priority will be on companies that work on RPG/fantasy themed games as my portfolio mostly will be tailored to that genre. Along the way, I will have created hard surface models as well so I can apply to a bigger variety of game studios.
All of this will highly depend on the contacts I make throughout the February – May period as well. Throughout my networking I may find work opportunities that could change my plans. The goal is to immediately find a job after the SS2 hand in to start acquiring professional experience.

June – July:

This period will mainly focus on getting a job. I will approach my main targets (Blizzard, Bethesda, Bioware etc.). If no appropriate response comes, I will attempt to get into somewhat smaller companies (Turbine, Guerilla Games etc.).
I plan on entering a bigger competition on Polycount to get more exposure. If my initial applications don’t get me a job, a good performance at such a competition could do the trick. It will be good practice as well and I will constantly work and improve myself.

August – September: 

Plans vary in terms of results achieved throughout June-July.

Plan A: if I manage to obtain a job I will focus on fitting in as quickly as possible. Focus will be on performance to stabilize my position. New recruits can easily find themselves out the door. This is especially true for internships as it is very hard to obtain a full-time offer after it finishes.
Building a good relationship with my colleagues would be a top priority as it is important to keep in mind that I’m not just an employee, who keeps creating assets, but I am also a team player and need to blend in to my work environment. Good contacts might lead to my recommendation as a permanent Environment Artist.

Plan B: If I won’t be able to obtain a full-time position or internship, I will undertake freelance projects. I will possibly turn to my new contacts, which I made throughout the networking events attended. Also, there are numerous websites offering freelance work (e.g. Polycount, etc.).
I will also examine my failed attempts on acquiring a full-time position/internship. Based on the results, I will set up new study and working sessions to amend the issues.
I will consult my industry contacts on advice on how to improve my portfolio.
The main goal is to, eventually acquire a full-time position, but if that does not happen until August, I will undertake freelance projects. At the same time I will focus to fill in the missing gaps to achieve my initial purpose. Freelancing would be a good way to obtain experience and of course to manage living costs, but the plan to get into the gaming industry will stay intact the entire time, no matter the outcome.

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