Throwing the Hat in for PAX

Filling out the application for speaking at the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) on Higher Education in video games. Since the Boing Boing interview, I’ve had a strong desire to start a substantive debate of the roll of academics with the video games industry.

What sparked my desire to do this lecture came from a conversation I had while standing outside a GDC party for Steam/Valve. While talking to a man whom had at least 15 years in the industry, he really brought to light the disconnect between academia and the industry. We got on the education subject and snapped back by saying he preferred students from DigiPen and Fullsail because they do what they are told. I have a much different take on the situation as I consider students from these and other schools with much more respect than he did. I want to make sure there are enough students out there to prove me right and him completely wrong.

Here’s the text I used in applying for the PAX lecture. Obviously not set in stone, but I’d love your feedback as I start shaping this lecture in the next few months.

Title:
Making a Career in Video Games

One-Paragraph Description:
Are you looking for a job with a game studio, or a career in interactive media? Learn how to identify the styles in game development curricula and the tools to help you find the best education for more than a job, but a lifetime’s work in the gaming industry.

Is there anything else you think we [PAX staff] should know?
This lecture will provide tools and perspective for finding the right curriculum for the student. This entails a two part approach. First, a student needs to start figuring out what direction he or she wants to take. The second part is knowing what information to extract from potential institutions. From this foundation, attendants can make solid decisions on which schools are applicable to their educational goals. Potential undergraduate, graduate, and transfer students will all find this lecture helpful.

I include my credentials to represent my own personal expertise, but it does not illustrate endorsement by any current or former employers.

Credentials of Highlight:
* First recipient of a Bachelor of Fine Arts in New Media at Emerson College.
Created the first BFA New Media curriculum at Emerson College, Boston.
* Emerson College, Enrollment & Student Affairs
Created tools and content related to admissions and enrollment for duties related to being an admission counselor.

For more information about me, visit http://segonmedia.com/

Finding an Education in Interactive Media

Since my appearance on Boing Boing Video┬╣ I’ve been giving a lot more thought about how someone can find the right resources and tools to formulate a curriculum and career in video games. Frankly, it’s not very good. There are an assortment of issues that lead to a drought of resources in deciding an educational path. While the issue is more complicated, I’ve narrowed down the tag line to this statement:

Do you want a job or a career?

A lot of the talk and guidance about video game education is rooted in getting a job with a studio. Yes, being employed is apart of a career and one seeks an education to become employable. I’m not questioning this aspect. What concerns me is the debate is geared towards getting that one job. There isn’t talk about the sustainability for one to adapt though their life time in interactive media. Simply training for getting hired out of college, not as a practitioner of the field.

Part of this comes from the current venues of advice one can seek. Naturally one would look towards the veterans in the industry as cues for being successful. While this advice is very valuable, the material from them seems more about getting the job rather than forming a career. The veterans of this industry created careers in a way that can’t be duplicated; The industry is created now. The experiences of our veterans can’t be duplicated. I wish there were more long-term advice applicable to today, but right now one has to extrapolate how the experience of the vets can be made in current times, and how it can’t. This kind of nuance isn’t realized by a potential applicant from high school, nor is anyone pointing this out. The debate is stuck at ‘get a job,’ not ‘make a living.’

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