Who's Got Next?

Who's Got Next?

In his penultimate article of Press Released, Sean Sands gives his personal advice on how to get a job writing about videogames.

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Fantastic advice, Sean. I know the Escapist is going to miss you.

Awesome article. Hope your future endeavors bring you just as much success!

So what's next for Mr. Sands, I wonder?

Sad to see you go, one of my favorites.

What are you going to do next? Be a journalist on more important issues? Or work someplace else?

Everything's changing!
Natalie Portman in a Jane Austen movie with zombies.
Max getting banned and now this?

Best of luck in your future.

I hope it really is the penultimate.

paketep:
I hope it really is the penultimate.

Yeah, there's one more on the go right?

BlueInkAlchemist:
Fantastic advice, Sean. I know the Escapist is going to miss you.

Agreed.

Take care, and good luck in what you wish to do!

*salute, sheds a manly tear*

Goodbye, soldier.

Why do people keep leaving (Except for better offers somewhere else)? In the last year, we've lost, what, 3 people? Arg!

Either way, best of luck to you.

Goodbye Mr. Sands.
And thanks for all the great articles.

I'm sad to see you go, always loved (most of) your articles.

Oh, and as soon as I have the Dutch gameindustry in my pocket, I'm your man.

Deleric:

paketep:
I hope it really is the penultimate.

Yeah, there's one more on the go right?

Yes. 2nd to last.

Thanks for the well wishes.

Goodbye Mr.Sands, you will trully be missed by the people that acually notice who wrote X article.

But what are you going to do now, why leave this wonderful place called the Escapist for this is one of the greenest pastures out there.

Thanks for the tips

My dream job has always been becoming a video game writer. It combines my two favorite hobbies and I feel I should use this advice.

We will miss you.

Great advice! Im sure some of the tips there work on all of lifes oppertunites! Its all about confidence, shame i dont have much.. il just take your advice and pretend to be made of win till i succeed!

As someone transitioning from wisher to writer (Plug! Here's my weekly blog: Pixel Poppers) I found this article very uplifting.

Thank you, Sean, for this and for all the other quality articles of yours I've had the pleasure to read.

Great title. ;) I think my quarter is in line there. Not sure if it's next...

Best of luck in what comes next!

Since I graduated in May I've been looking into what it takes to get into games journalism and writing. Been part of the Video Game Journos Network, asked questions and spoke my naive mind to experienced writers, and have read articles here and in other places. I even got to meet Bill Kunkel at VGXPO and spoke with some Escapist staff at GameX! Covering those places also let me know that I have a lot of what it takes to be a good writer in this industry.

I've found that the problem is the industry itself, and I felt a bit tickled at your last few paragraphs. I'm sick of games hype, I'm sick of your typical news, and I'm sick of everyone complaining about how they don't bother reading game reviews (it's reached the point that I don't even know who DOES read them). The market is flooded with journalists, sure. Be it clever writers like those on Destructoid or The Escapist or the typical pumping out of Joystiq, 1Up, GameSpot or IGN, news is everywhere.

It's critics that the games industry is missing. I feel people like Yahtzee and Shamus Young here on The Escapist are great starts, in fact I love all the columnists on this site. However, it's not a strong enough push. I want to start a movement to cast aside what we know of games writing and have actual intelligent, thoughtful criticism on the games industry. No more of this "10/10" crap, or the vomitorium that is the Spike VGA's. People that have an understanding of game design and can point out all things good and bad about a game.

The problem is, I don't know how to make that push. I've gotten some stuff published, but nowhere noticeable. I could try and put out my own site, but I'd need help from people that have a similar mentality on games analysis even if we don't always see eye to eye, and, oh yeah, does the Internet really need another gaming website?!

Nonetheless, this was very inspirational to read, as at the very end it felt like it was speaking to all the thoughts I've been having. Now I just need to get to it somehow.

So thanks for writing to us all, thanks for this week's edition and good luck in your future endeavors. You will be missed.

Wonderful article. I plan to take your advice.

Ccesarano, I think you and I would be of like mind on the topic. Even where I have not always succeeded, my goal in everything I have written has been to challenge people. Sometimes those people were in the industry, sometimes it was the reader and on occasion it was even my peers. I could not have done this for 10 years if I didn't have that kind of freedom and opportunity.

The best I can say is stick with it. You seem like the kind of guy I want to see writing on the industry. Stick your foot in every door you can, and if they manage to close the door get a battering ram.

Wait wait, this poses the question, did Sean phone in to the guys at The Escapist too?
That's... NINJA!
I should've so done that...

ccesarano:
snip

I say great post. As for the thoughts on how to break the 10/10 or the soundbyte audience? Well you can't. However you can however innovate and emulate methods that will encourage the audience to watch the critic hear them speak rather than look at the score.

I think the best example to explain this would be the legendary critics: Siskel and Ebert.

They had the thumb system but the real magic came from their duet which is what made them famous and innovative.

You are also right that many older gamers understand that video games are a commercial product and reviews and news are more endorsements and advertising than actual criticism especially when we live in the cult of exceptionalism where marketers will only advertise the good points.

Critics who acknowledge this but often have a hard time getting a proper footing unless the format is popular like Moviebob and Yahtzee. However the best way to success is to keep at it even if you aren't being paid for it because you build a portfolio.

Though I should not be distraught but the reiteration of how hard the video game journalism business, I feel I am.

However I appreciate the honesty and depth of your advice and that you've somewhat planted a seed that we may cull and nurture.

May the winds take you soaring new heights Mr. Sands.

Sean Sands:
Ccesarano, I think you and I would be of like mind on the topic. Even where I have not always succeeded, my goal in everything I have written has been to challenge people. Sometimes those people were in the industry, sometimes it was the reader and on occasion it was even my peers. I could not have done this for 10 years if I didn't have that kind of freedom and opportunity.

The best I can say is stick with it. You seem like the kind of guy I want to see writing on the industry. Stick your foot in every door you can, and if they manage to close the door get a battering ram.

Well, the first thing to do is always establish contacts, so don't be surprised if I send a message or e-mail at some point. Especially since I'm looking to start a Podcast soon (first step to an entire website focusing on critique and analysis) and need people that are of like mind, but not necessarily of like opinion. Which brings me to...

I think the best example to explain this would be the legendary critics: Siskel and Ebert.

They had the thumb system but the real magic came from their duet which is what made them famous and innovative.

This is certainly true, and there were plenty of times where they had disagreed.

This is all going to be roundabout in a way, but keep with me as I try to get to the related point.

My mom likes Jack Black, and considering the style of Brutal Legend I wanted to try and garner her interest in it. So I recorded the X-Play special on our DVR to show it to her. However, when I sat down to view it with her I started to feel embarrased. The humor and writing is for a very limited audience, and not even every gamer is going to be interested in it. More so, the presentation of the game confused my mother even more.

Since then I've wondered how you could make a show focusing on games while also appealing to a broader audience. I've always felt a website or show with a segment on the latest mainstream media buzz (Hot Coffee and Mass Effect) could do well, while also providing advice and insights into games for children and such.

Yet what really got my mind ticking one day was watching Top Gear on TV with my Dad. I don't know anything about cars and only look at them as a tool to go from here to there. My old man, on the other hand, loves them. Top Gear is presented in a way that anyone can enjoy because the Hosts are humorous people, they are all passionate about cars so there's plenty for your car-fanatic to love, but there's also a lot of contests and trials they go on that are off the wall and enjoyable to everyone. At the same time, each has their own preference so they are always disagreeing with each other.

I'd love to catch such a spirit if I were to do a video games show, where the hosts are what draws people in rather than the games themselves. Their commentary and expertise would appeal to gamers, sure, but the appeal to mainstream could be in the different things they do together that tie into gaming (after watching the preview of Game Damage's new pilot, that looks like it has a few great ideas, but who knows if they would appeal to a mainstream audience. Still, it's a positive direction).

But that's far, far down the line of ambitions. Still, it's something I'd love to see and even work on because it wouldn't be trying to market or convince non-gamers to join in, but more educating them on what is out there, who it is intended for and what kinds of materials they'd be able to enjoy.

Plus, gamers that disagree with each other just covers a variety of bases. No two people are alike, and having nothing but people that agree with you is boring.

 

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