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Two recent college grads with major's in Applied Computer Graphics. This blog has been created to show off works in progress, while hopefully receiving feedback from fellow digital artists.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Obligatory GDC Experience and Portfolio Post

Author of Post: Captain Rara

I had the glorious stupendous amazing wonderful opportunity of being a Conference Associate again this year at GDC, Game Developers Conference. It was my second year as a CA, so I found myself a bit more mentally prepared. Last year, as a firstie, I did more panicking than actually having a good time. This year was an AMAZING experience. Aside from the obviousness of making new friends, I had the the chance to meet Tim Schafer. Tim FREAKING Schafer.

My job as a CA is to wander the conference halls and make sure everything runs smoothly. We're the people in the back of the session that wave our hands wildly to make sure the speaker knows that his time is nearly up or the people who so politely ask to scan your badge before entering a session.

So, I had made it a point to work the Double Fine Production's Session "Creative Panic: How Agility Turned Terror in Triumph". Prior to the beginning of the session, each CA has to prep the speakers. Although I'm just reminding them to repeat questions and ask if they'd like to be reminded on time, it was an opportunity to speak to Tim Schafer (and get his autograph)!

The signed Meta Card for Secret of Monkey Island.

As cool as an autograph is the best part of meeting "The Schafer " happened after the session came to end. Sean, another CA who was also a big fan of Double Fine Productions, had been talking to Lee Petty [Art Director and creator of Stacking at Double Fine]. When in his brilliance, asked if  Lee Petty would fulfill a childhood fantasy of letting us have a tour of the studio. And much to our surprise said yes.

He. Said. YES

I don't think my writing can express the insane amount of fangirling that suddenly went through my head. :fangasm:

... Anyways, that led to trading business cards with both Brad Muir ( the mind behind Trenched  Iron Brigade) and Lee Petty. All in all, it was a pretty awesome moment. Most people who know me could probably tell you that I'm a Double Fine fangirl. Therefore, the awesomeness of this moment isn't really being justified. You really just had to be there...

So, I left the Double Fine Session pretty happy with myself. Got some business cards from a production house I'd love to work for, my meta card had been signed by Tim, and I'd managed to get myself invited to a tour at Double Fine.

Which why it's pretty depressing to think about how my sudden joy intake was dissolved by one simple sentence.

"Your work is very student like."

Prior to attending GDC, I had applied to a studio that had rejected me. I'm not unfamilar to the feeling of be rejected, so I took the rejection letter in stride and wished them well on their future endeavors. However, it had been known to me that this particular studio was going to be at GDC. Well, GDC Play to be specific. 

With this knowledge, I had made it a point to visit this studio's booth and wish them luck. Upon seeing their booth, I was mildly surprised to see that the person at their booth was the person who had sent me a rejection letter [ His badge told me his name, so I knew.].  

The conversation went as follows:

"Your [Insert Name]?" I ask. He nods his head in an affirmative manner as I continue with "I'm Rachel Levine".

"Oh! You're Rachel. I remember your work, it was very student like." 

End of conversation. 

I kid you not. 

There are two different kinds of criticism. This was the latter of them, destructive criticism. I get that I'm a recent grad, my work isn't going to be quite up to yours. However, there was nothing kind nor informative about this statement. 

This was harsh, blunt, and just down right cruel. 

So picking up my shattered pride, I walked back to the CA Lounge with a horrible sad cloud over my head. I found a couch there where I attempted to sleep the horrible depression away, but when Miss Jolly decided to show up I ended up just sobbing on her shoulder.

Later, I took my portfolio over to Activision, who basically told me the same thing. But there was a difference between Activision and the person who shall not be named. Activision provided a constructive critique. What I could do to improve, what I should do if I'd actually like to apply to them, and not to give up. It was a morale boost even if it wasn't what I really wanted to hear.

So, I got over the petty words. 
Other interesting moments at GDC included watching the PonyCorn session, dinner shennanigans[which I shall not be getting into], the ridic parties, and tons of new members to the CA Family.
[[For those who don't know what PonyCorns is you can click [Here] and I shall redirect you to quite possible one of the best games on the market.] Created by a five year old and her dad at a Game Jam event, it's literally a point and click adventure about a unicorn that poops marshmallows and rainbows. Whatever money is donated to the game actually goes towards the young girl's college fund. So, I'm all for helping these guys out.]
Friday was my tour with Double Fine. And it was probably one of the greatest things to ever happen to me. I can't exactly talk about the workings of the company or anything I saw, NDA and all that. But I will say that Double Fine Productions is by far one of the most creative inducing studios I've ever seen. 

The picture that proves I was there!
And that pretty much covers most of my GDC experience. Well, I mean the interesting parts. There were tons of other things that happened, but my overall experience was probably defined by these few things described.

I wish I had more pictures to post, but phone was like NO.

So I leave you, dear readers, with an updated portfolio. Of course, my portfolio makes no sense to me at this point. So, my most recent work for a couple of mobile games can be found on my Behance Page.

Which can be found  ↴
            It's mah Behance Profile!

Till next time!