Portfolios at Conventions (GDC)

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  1. #1
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    Portfolios at Conventions (GDC)

    Has anyone looked for employment at GDC or a at a convention in general before? I'm trying to figure out what to put in my portfolio. For example, how long will they look at it, do the pieces need to be related, do they like to see finished designs or early development stuff as well? Any advice would be appreciated, I'm still trying to break in and hopefully something will come up at GDC. thanks!

    Last edited by ethmro; March 4th, 2014 at 05:47 PM.
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  3. #2
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    It really depends on the company. Some like to see a pragmatic portfolio which conforms to their specific style, other will appreciate a more artistic flair. But it also depends on who you talk to; chatting with a lead artist or art director is way more valuable than talking to HR people.

    Some want to see as much process work as possible, some only want finished pieces. However no one is gonna complain if your presentation is sound and you emphasize the right things. Some guidelines you can't go wrong with:

    • Trim it down. No fluff, only high quality work. If there's process sketches etc., put several on a page and give them a context that makes sense next to your highly finished work.
    • Have several pieces with the same theme/setting/world. For example, do an environment mood painting, then do tightly drawn call outs of architectural elements etc. Your design iteration, the decisions you've made should be logically presented and easily readable.
    • CLEAN presentation. Big images, and don't put other crap on there like character bios or what have you.
    • Show your work on an iPad/tablet. Paintings look better on an illuminated screen, and this way you can easily carry multiple portfolios tailored to specific companies. Also lets you easily bring up sketches and supplementary work if prompted.


    Some advice for GDC specifically; get as many portfolio reviews done as early as possible, preferably Wednesday morning. Any art director is gonna be tired and grumpy after doing reviews for 6 hours, and definitely don't wait for Friday - that's when students show up and it gets crowded as balls.

    How long they spend depends on the situation and how much they like the work. Generally you get about 10 minutes if there's a line. And remember, great advice/connections can appear from anywhere. Sure you're gonna stand in line for 2 hrs to get critiqued by Sparth, but don't forget to look at the less obvious/famous people as well. Judging from the floor plan it looks like the Career Pavilion is smaller this year with less companies, so you might have to get creative.

    In the end, people are typically super nice so relax and enjoy yourself.

    Last but not least, there are excellent portfolio talks up on the GDC Vault, some of which are free. Hear all this from the horse's mouth.

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  5. #3
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    I'm not entirely sure to what degree all the information applies to GDC, but the artorder blog (www.theartorder.com)by a Wizards of the coast art director has some great posts about preparing for portfolio reviews at conventions.

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