GDC 2017 - Now What?

To say that I am sad that I will not be able to attend the GDC conference this year in San Francisco is a major understatement. It is without a doubt the premiere conference for the whole of the Game Development community. In addition to the bright lights and amazing tech it provides the years best opportunity to meet and network with fellow developers from around the world. It's a veritable Disneyland for Nerds, without a doubt the happiest place on earth for anyone interested in games. 

I know many recent graduates and students will be attending GDC for their first time. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of the conference. 

  • Your goal above all else is to make friends. Making friends will eventually lead you to the job you seek.
  • Treat every encounter you have as a potential mini interview. 
  • Be open and available. Talk to everyone everywhere. The area around the Moscone will be crawling with Game Devs. Restaurants, hotels, parks and bars will provide the best networking you could hope for.
  • Attend as many parties as you possibly can. Great networking happens here. 
  • That said, mind your P's and Q's. Your reputation is at stake. You don't want to be the drunk guy everyone is talking about the next day. 
  • Have a plan ready for how you want to meet people. What is your pitch? How do you plan to introduce yourself? 
  • Bring plenty of business cards, resumes and portfolio access. Be ready to talk about your craft.
  • Make sure you always say hello and introduce yourself to the people around you at sessions.
  • Don't be blindsided by the bells and whistles of the conference, go to the web site and study the expo floor in advance so you know who will be there and have a plan for how you will approach them. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes and be prepared to be on your feet a lot. Comfortable clothing too, however, don't be a slob. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression. 
  • Know who you are talking to. Recruiters, Developers and Artists tend to speak different languages. 
  • Ask questions! This does not make you look stupid, in fact just the opposite. Just make sure you do your research first. 
  • Knowledge is power.
  • Meeting and talking with people doesn't always have to focus on game speak, find the common ground to kick things off. We all love the same music, books, films etc.
  • The people you meet? Follow them on Twitter. Made a really solid connection? Follow them on Linkedin as well.
  • Know when to leave the conversation. Beware of body language both theirs and yours. 
  • Establish a reputation for yourself as a person that should be taken seriously. A good team player and a good communicator.
  • Be memorable, you will need to follow up with the people you meet after the conference, you want them to remember who you are when you email them. 
  • GET INVOLVED! You have to engage with the conference for it to engage back with you.

More than anything else have fun. The more fun you are having the more fun you can spread. Get involved and be nice. Everyone of the people you meet has also  attended their first GDC so don't be intimidated. The majority of the game community has a benevolence that is second to none. You will learn a lot and do not have to pretend that you know everything in order to make friends. Remember why you are there. You paid a lot of money to attend and it's important that you take full advantage of the experience. 

Have questions about accomplishing these tips? That's why I am here. Hit me up and we can chat. I would love to hear your tips as well. What did I leave out. Feel free to drop me a note.