Recently, I’ve been getting questions from people about whether they’re eligible for admission based on their skillset, rather than on the basis of their previous experience. I’ve already gone on ad nauseum about the experience required (i.e., team work garnered as part of a degree, in industry or just through general studliness). I’m not going to rehash that any more than I just did.
No. The questions I’m getting now are different. Basically, they go like this:
“I’m a Producer (or QA person or Audio person). Is there a place for me in the program or do I have to be a programmer, designer or artist, as the application form implies?”
The answer to that isn’t a simple one, though you’d think it would be. Here’s as simple as I can make it:
Everyone in the program has to be able to contribute in a hands-on way to the development of a game, from start to finish. No one is going to play the role of Producer or Game Director from the start of the course to the end of it. Those roles and responsibilities will rotate, so everyone gets a chance to lead at some point.
That means there will be days, probably weeks, when you won’t be leading the team, no matter how good you might be at that. The question you have to answer is, “what will I do on the team when I’m not leading it?”
I don’t have a good answer to that question for people who “only” produce or “only” test or “only” generate sounds and produce music. That isn’t to say answers don’t exist – just that neither I nor anyone else has come up with the answers yet.
To be clear, I’m as annoyed by this as some applicants probably are (or will be). I think it’s a little nuts to turn away people who are Producers or Directors from a program designed to train Producers and Directors! Still, if 20 people are going to learn to lead, they all need the opportunity to lead – we can’t have two people learn to lead while the other 18 do the “real” work of making the game.
So, right now, I’d say if you’re “just” a Producer or master of some other non-hands-on, day-to-day skill, start thinking about what you’ll do on your non-leader days. Convince me that justifies your inclusion in the program. I don’t want to rule anything or anyone out, but someone who can’t contribute on a daily basis is going to have a rough time of it.