I know on alot of the ads they put as a requirement something like "2+ years of games/film experience or 1 shipped AAA title", etc., yet I still see people who I know don't fall under those (or other requirements sometimes) send emails. (Or so their posts say.)
Would it bug an AD (Or whoever handles the employment of artists) to see a bunch of people who don't fall into those requirements? I refrain from following through because I don't want to say outright "I haven't shipped any titles or worked in the industry but...", because I'd assume that's a major turn-off.
Should I be following those emails through? Is it worth the time, or not? Personal experiences? =\
Technically, working on an indi game from a hole in the wall like garagegames.com counts as experience. Chances are your work will be as good as flushed down the toilet with those projects, but you will get the experience needed.
I'm actually doing that right now...not the greatest feeling, but ... well its means to an end.
It doesn't count as a AAA title, but doing a Mod can help you get your feet in indie companies which in turn lets you get into bigger projects. There also are the mod teams that did so well they got in commercially with their mods (Counter strike anyone?) unfortunately those are rare indeed.
Just put yourself in the shoes of a AD. Would you like to get swamped in subpar applications? And I don't mean just the art, I mean, knowing what worked and what doesn't in 3D, knowing the limitations of game engines, knowing the limitations of the GUI. All that kind of stuff you can't really learn by drawing in your bedroom.
I looked at your work. It's very impressive! If you're doing that quality work, and you're still in your teens... then that's saying something! You're on a great path with your work.
As far as the work requirements: ultimately, your work will have to speak for you. Yes, it matters that you have proper training, but many people don't go that route, for whatever reason. I know a guy who only was a comic book inker's assistant, and he summoned the courage to show his work to someone at (the now defunct) Iguana Entertainment. The boss there liked his work, and gave him a chance to work there. He went on to working as the character/vehicle/prop designer for the upcoming Iron Man animated DVD (from Lion's Gate Films), and is also working as the vehicle/prop designer for the upcoming Wolverine & the X-Men cartoon, AND he's working as prop/background designer for the upcoming (yes, they've all not been released as of yet) Legion of Superheroes cartoon.
He just started out doing comics, then went to do 3D modeling and texturing, to 3D animating, then back to illustration and design work. You never know where you'll be starting, but you can be sure that one aspect of what you do can very well lead to another aspect of something else. It's all related. You can go in so many directions.
I know other people who keep their online portfolio updated, so they can regularly (like clockwork) send prospective employers their links. After months, and yes, maybe years, those prospective employers get to see how that person develops over time. It's a round-about way to develop some sort of loose 'relationship' with someone who can hire you one day.
There is simply not one single way to get into 'the business'. You just need to keep trying to work every angle you can. But, think about it... there are many people who have gone through all the various kinds of accredited schooling, and their quality is not the best and most innovative. But, there are people who (for whatever reason) didn't go through accredited schools, but these are some of the best illustrators/storyboard/concept guys out there.
This is when your work will speak for you. Show people your good and superior work, and that will impress people enough, and they will not focus on the fact that you didn't go to school for various things, or whatever else.
DISCLAIMER: You'll run into ignorant people who are secretaries, or assistants, or receptionists who will obstruct you path to contacting people who are in a position to hire you. You'll be blocked by people who simply don't want to take the 30 seconds just look at you work, so they might understand you're not one of the bazillion amateurs who are looking to get paid for their drawing hobbies. But, you have to keep trying. It's one of the things you simply must accept, and embrace about the business you're looking to be a part of.
But, there are people out there who are open to seeing good work. They're hungry to find good people with great talent.
Here's a suggestion (just one approach out of so many) on how you can approach getting work:
- Put together a website that showcases your work. Categorize your work properly, so you can show your great range of abilities. You can separately showcase your CONCEPT work from your STORYBOARD work, from your COMICS work, from your 3D MODELING work, etc.
- List the clients you've worked for. Be very concise.
- No matter how meager, put a link to your current resume. Update your resume with every new job.
- Include links to any job you've done for someone that's online somewhere.
- Place your contact information on your site.
On a regular basis (every month? every 3 months? depends on how much work - or how much new work - you have to show on your website), email Art & Creative Directors from the different companies with a very solid cover letter, including a link to you online portfolio. This is when you start to build those 'relationships' over time. You never know when someone is going to one day recognize how much you've improved over time. It might be something that would make them want to try you out with small jobs one day.
I'm not making this up. Everything I've written above has worked for various people. You just never know what is going to work.
There are so many other approaches, but this is only one.