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2D/ 3D Artists in Melbourne.... do be careful!

Posted by animator on Sun, 09/05/04 - 3:25 AM

Hello all, I?m not sure anyone?s actually posted some of this info here but here goes. To all those aspiring to get into the games industry in Melbourne, be it in 2D or 3D art, be wary. There?re a lot of dodgy practises going on. Sure, working in the games development industry sounds like a dream job for some, but some companies here are a real nightmare. The companies here are small, and the people they need are not much, and yet there are A LOT of people trying to get into the industry. Some game companies have even placed bogus job ads on their website, asking applicants to send their work to ?em. Why? So they can get FREE ideas for their own work! Most can?t even be bothered to send a ?sorry? email to you (their excuse being too many applicants). Now, you can agree or disagree, it doesn?t matter, but what matters is that people are aware of some of the things I?m about to say. You learn a lot about a games company, just by looking at their website. Those that boasts of how great their games, or company, are doing, usually it?s the opposite that?s happening. Now, the same thing might not happen to you, but here are some of the experiences I?ve encountered:
a)Company: Act 3 (or whatever act it?s calling itself), their 3D speaks for itself. Be careful of what you send. Never heard of them before, never again after.
b)Company: Tantalus Interactive, Be careful of the ?sloth?, this guy dresses like no other. If you get an interview with this guy, make sure not to bring all your work, ?cause he?ll just copy it all into his computer as part of the ?interview process?. Make sure you know what games they make (ie. Gameboy) and set your folios towards that direction.
c)Company: Blue Tongue Software. Now, again set your work towards what they are developing. If you don?t hear from them in 2 weeks, forget it. Don?t send the SAME demo reel to them otherwise you?ll get an email telling you not to send stuff to them for A YEAR! (Remember the ?Soup Nazi? episode in Seinfeld? Well, this is the games version of that).
d)Company: IRGURUS. During the 1st interview, the artist guys are great and you can relate to them. Problem is you?ll have to attend a 2nd interview which is conducted by one of the bosses. One of them happens to be a former lawyer and he?ll use his ?lawyer? tactics on you, putting you on trial (punt not intended). From the way he talks, he?ll tell you if he likes you or not. When he puts you down, make sure you can take it and make a swift reply.

There?re other companies you can apply as well, but they are so secretive, there?s nothing much on their websites to show you how their games look like. For those that are new or are wondering how to get into the industry, here are some tips (been said before) that might help.
a) When creating a demo reel, only send your best stuff, running time: approx. 2-3 minutes. NO MORE!
b) NO flying logos! If you really want the company to see your logo, make sure it?s only for a few seconds MAX!!
c) NO SPACE SCENES! (unless they request for it!) In the 3D world, spaceships, planets are the easiest to do.
d) NO ?under construction?! If it?s not finished, don?t send it. A good demo reel takes months to prepare.
e) Don?t use other people?s work. (If there were others helping you to make your reel, DO mention it ?cause it shows you can work in a team).
It?s a nice industry, but like others is being spoiled by scumbags taking advantage of other?s hard work. Hope all this info could help someone out and good luck!!

Submitted by CombatWombat on Sun, 09/05/04 - 8:14 AM Permalink

Considering that an interview process might take an hour or two of employees' time, that's probably $100-200 worth of effort to interview you. Perhaps they interview 10 people for the supposedly fictional positions. We're talking $1k/2k worth of money here, and I think I'm being fairly conservative in my estimate. Now they also presumably are after the ideas for a particular project. Let's be generous here and say they have a 1 in 100 chance of finding art that would suit what they're after. At least they might stand a chance of making a small profit if they bought tatts tickets with that money...

I think your comments on what to send to a company are valuable, in fact I'd encourage you to remove some company names to further focus upon the helpful and non-libel-suit-inducing elements of your post ;->



Submitted by Daemin on Sun, 09/05/04 - 10:27 PM Permalink

Like I said before, there are many people in the world that come up with the exactly same ideas at different times without knowing of each other's thoughts. It's called coincidence.

Submitted by unknownuser2 on Sun, 09/05/04 - 10:52 PM Permalink

if you had a paticular liking to a company and you wanted to work there..then

1) of course youd jimmy your folio to suit their style, hell id even ask them what they specifically want to see.

2) be prepared to do as they command, + more to show initiative.

Obviously your a bit disgruntled animator, but ive got one question regarding your accusations, why on earth would a games company waste time and money setting up interviews for the purpose of stealing hopefulls "ideas", when there are millions of ideas on the net, at the click of a button?
you make it sound as if they did this on purpose, which i highly doubt was the case.

With bluetoungue, replying to you and asking you to "not send stuff for a year" was probably more a case of "we already have this, how about creating a new reel so we can see any advancements youve made"

Again if you think that they are just stealing your ideas for free - a reel doesnt give source files, which goes back to what i said earlier - it doesnt make any sense as there are libraries of complete 3d models available for download on the net.

If you see designs that a games company has taken from you and copied into a game - then i guess you have a point there - but i highly doubt thats the case.

I agree with all of the points you made about creating a reel tho [:)]

Submitted by Blitz on Mon, 10/05/04 - 2:58 AM Permalink

I'm interested in your perspective of IRGurus, and what these "lawyer tactics" entail.
I don't see why the boss of a company shouldn't take some major interest in new employees. If i was going to be paying someone several thousand dollars a year i'd want to know who they were...
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by animator on Tue, 11/05/04 - 6:00 AM Permalink

Hi all, when I put up my comments last time, I was expecting some harsh replies! Like I said, it might not happen to you but at least more people are aware of what some companies are capable of doing (that's why I gave names). I'm sure there's a lot of hard working folks in those Co. I mentioned but I hope no one would have to go through what I did too. But as for interviews, it's a 2 way channel. People don't work 8 hours straight a day with no rest, even at my work I'd have time to surf the net, have lunch, etc...and still get paid. I think a lot of people would be surprised as to how many high end IT specialists are paid lotsa $$$ just doing their own thing. That's where the interview comes in, where both parties are free to meetup. As long as you're on time or earlier, there should be mutual respect from both sides and I got that from those that are fellow artists themselves, which is great. But unfortunately, it's the bosses that hire you, and the ones I mentioned just took advantage of the situation (ie. I'm the boss so .....). They don't know about the work involved and they go through the interview simply by looking at your CV and making comments/ criticism on it. You done your homework, they didn't.
No, no one literally takes someone's idea and use it.... they edit it, change a few things...but it's the initial spark that sets things going...that's what I mean. Remember, you have to send in your stuff first, which they would then decide if you get an interview or not. If you do get an interview, they're interested in how you made the reel, etc. But throughout all these stages, there's no obligations on their part to even pay you a cent so a small email telling you "sorry" would be nice to make up for the effort you've put in should you not be selected. At least people know what happened to their application. So...that's why job ads are always there all the time.
Yeah, after some of those interviews I was angry..... but I'm so over it now. Looking back at myself it was quite funny. But the intention here was to let people know what can happen cause you don't learn this by looking at their websites! Good luck all! [:)]

Submitted by Red 5 on Tue, 11/05/04 - 9:26 AM Permalink

animator, I think you may have perceived too much from your experiences.

First off I agree that you (or anyone) deserves at the minimum a simple "thankyou" email for submitting a resume/portfolio whether they have a job advertised or not, it's common decency. On the other hand, take it all in your stride if you don't get a reply, never give up and turn any anger into a positive to drive you on further.

Secondly I don't believe any dev's intentionally advertise jobs as a means to get ideas for games etc.

Regarding your interviews with the "bosses", surely you must realise that senior management or the CEO will correspond with the relevant department (lead artist/progammer) and discuss your work before asking you in for a second interview. They would have already made up their minds concerning your abilities/skills. The second interview is to find out more about you as a person, to see if you'll fit in to their working environment.

I'm guessing you feel better about getting this stuff off your chest but honestly, it's not the way to go about it.
If you really want to work in the games industry it's not wise to alienate yourself from the relatively few developers there in Melbourne who may be your only hope.

Submitted by animator on Tue, 11/05/04 - 8:05 PM Permalink

Hi Red 5, you've raised good points here, thanks.It can be a delicate issue, and like you said you don't wish to remove your chances of working in the games line. I'm sure a lot out there have had the same experiences, but also because of this, they remain quiet.
I'm lucky in a way cause I can work in another IT line, so it's not the only choice I have. What I wrote is to let others know there're people out there who'd experience the same thing. In a way, it's a wake up call to those companies who're still behaving like what I mentioned.
Not ALL companies place bogus jobs, some don't even mention about jobs at all. If what I wrote was interpreted as every company doing this, then I apologise. [:)]
As for ideas, it could be anything (ie. a particular item, atmosphere, drawing style, artworks, special fx)not just 3D objects. On top of that, it's also to let them know the standard of work that's out there. There's lots of advantages.
The CEO part, well one time...during the 2nd interview the boss didn't even know what I was there for, and after searching and finally finding my CV from the artists desk, went through and made unprofessional comments which was not related to what I was applying for. I didn't drive all the way to be interrogated. But then, you can't expect everyone to behave professionally.
So to applicants who don't know what to expect, apply as normal but just be careful.

Submitted by animator on Tue, 11/05/04 - 8:10 PM Permalink

And Marty, where's my spelling mistakes? I'd like to know. But anyway, you should be at primary school, not here!

Submitted by unknownuser2 on Tue, 11/05/04 - 10:22 PM Permalink

okay okay, no need to get personal im sure, marty's in his 30's i think so is well past the primary school age.

But one thing, do paragraph your messages!! dang man its like a chore having to read through a solid block of text.

I personally still have a gripe about your claims about getting ideas / level of work / styles etc from local newbs, hunting for jobs - any business person with half a brain would never go through so much effort / time and money in conducting such interviews if all they wanted to do was get this kind of knowledge.

having the internet, is basically a few clicks away from doing all the idea hunting they need, and would provide a far better and broader perspective on the talent and whats happening now - im sorry but i just cant believe that at all.

Definately how your perceiving your experiences i think animator - with that one at least.

You said up there that " theres no obligation on their part to pay you a cent... " but they have spent hundreds possibly thousands of dollars into interviewing possible candidates, taking time away from development to conduct them, so yes while they arent paying you money - they are giving up the most precious resource of all in our industry - time.

Submitted by Blitz on Tue, 11/05/04 - 11:13 PM Permalink

Perhaps the CEO was testing your personality to see if you were a gutless "yes man" or to see if you were brave enough to tell your boss when he's wrong about something. Just a thought :P
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by animator on Wed, 12/05/04 - 1:31 AM Permalink

Hey there, Marty... truly sorry about that remark. Thought you were one of those kids just out for some sarcasm. My apologies.

HazarD, Blitz...good points mentioned. In some instances, the higher you are in management, the less physical work you have (allocated to the people under you). Apart from the occasional client meetings and group dev. meetups, there's a lot of time if you plan ahead.

The ones that interviewed me I gather are those that go around looking at their people's work (making comments, changes)or whatever. The actual work's not done by them. They will still get paid no matter what they do. Now, I'm not saying everyone's like this in upper management, just some of the ones I mentioned in my first post.

One example from my "ideas" query: This guy actually copied my work from cd, without asking for permission first! Only after the process he then mentioned it's part of the "interview" criteria.

It's good to test the knowledge of applicants, yes, but it could have been done in a more professional manner. If you can't even show the applicant you can prepare for an interview, then what gives you the right to interrogate the person instead? This is about the 2nd interview with the bosses, not the artists. In fact, I was very happy with the artists' interview.

Everyone's going to have different experiences, some could turn around and say, well.... he/ she wasn't like that!.... Sometimes it can also depend on luck, timing and mood. My point from the very begining was to highlight the matter to everyone here.

Catcha later.

Submitted by palantir on Wed, 12/05/04 - 9:17 AM Permalink

Hey animator ? thanks for your insights, its always good to get other peoples perspective on things. However, I?m afraid that I also have to disagree on your ideas about developers stealing concepts and work. I kind of went overboard (again) with this post, but I just needed to sort this stuff out myself. (Sorry about the length guys ? I?ve actually cut out a couple of paragraphs, also![:p]).

First and foremost I want to say that I?m an industry newbie, so my opinions really aren?t worth all that much! (That?s just for later when people point out that I?m wrong!).

I just think that when someone sends out reels or demo code to game developers, or posts content online, in the hope of finding work, it is just assumed that said content is in the public domain and no longer really belongs to you ? you certainly created it and deserve all credit for the work, but I think it just goes without saying that you no longer have control of that content. If it?s so valuable to you that you don?t want anyone stealing it, the last thing you would do is put it online or give it to developers!

In a recent job interview, the developer made sure they clearly stated that any work I give them on my demo disc is legally theirs ? not that they would use it, it was just as a precaution, because the last thing they want is to get sued! I didn?t have a problem with this as all the content on the disc I made specifically for the purpose of finding employment. Was this the wrong thing to do? I don?t think so, but I may be wrong.

It?s different for me though because my work is still pretty crappy ? I know for a fact no one would want to steal it! [:D]

But seriously, why would a developer steal work/concepts from an industry newbie, when they have their own *cough* highly paid *cough* professional artists working for them? It kind of sounds like you?re being a bit paranoid, animator?

Oh yeah, and interview/interrogation ? what?s the difference? [:)]

quote:Originally posted by animator:
One example from my "ideas" query: This guy actually copied my work from cd, without asking for permission first!

Yeah, and? I don?t see the problem. I mean if you were to have an online portfolio, would you get upset whenever someone downloaded something off it? If you don?t want people to copy stuff off your folio, then don?t put that content on there in the first place!

Like I said though, this is all just my opinion. I suppose it would also be different for an experienced developer with professional work to show (which would probably be copywrite protected anyway) and an amateur. But if someone in the know could respond, I/we would love to know:

What are the legal rights to content in portfolios?

Submitted by souri on Wed, 12/05/04 - 9:17 PM Permalink

quote:Originally posted by palantir
But seriously, why would a developer steal work/concepts from an industry newbie, when they have their own *cough* highly paid *cough* professional artists working for them

I had a similar discussion with a friend about employers taking advantage of applicants, specifically companies that give applying programmers tasks or real problems that the company needs solving and will use. The answer was similar to yours - it says something about the professionalism of the employees there if the company has to use help from job applicants off the street..

Submitted by CombatWombat on Wed, 12/05/04 - 11:10 PM Permalink

As I understand it, Palantir, in Australia anything you produce you automatically have copyright over it, assuming you've not signed your rights away through something horrible like an employment contract ;)

I suspect that what the developer you were talking to was saying was that the media on which your work was on was now legally their property? Otherwise you would not legally be able to take a copy to the next interview you went to.

When you place something on line, you don't relinquish your copyright over it, but I agree, if you don't want it ripped off, don't put it online :)

Submitted by animator on Fri, 14/05/04 - 7:50 AM Permalink

Hi all, when I first started this thread, I really didn?t think it?ll generate such a discussion like this!

I thought, well, some would read it and take precautions while others would think ?Whatever, man?.. Just because you didn?t make it?? If I had someone telling me all this before I go for the interviews, it would have been really helpful to me. In any case, everyone's got their own opinion.

The aim was to highlight the situation and those responsible for it. It?s something everyone would have to experience themselves to know what it?s like.
Now, a lot of people are saying ?Why on earth would they do something like this? Putting out bogus ads just to get ideas?. What a load of [?.!]?

Don?t underestimate the influence of a demo reel. It tells the viewer many things. What works and what doesn?t, how good their skills are (3D/ 2D), their thinking process, what?s popular to create, their influences, what?s in fashion/ trends etc. In many ways, it?s like getting people to take part in a survey.

A lot of people are thinking only the basic level here, which is, taking someone?s work and using it as their own. It goes much deeper than this. Think of this like watching a movie for the first time. You don?t know if it?s good or bad, but since you have not seen it before, it?s new and exciting. After you?ve seen it, you will make your judgement. If it?s good, you?ll wait for the DVD and if it?s not, you?ll tell all your friends how it sucked.

But either way, as a creative person, you?re already generating your own ideas from this, what was cool (i.e. the special effects, the look and motion of the characters, the atmosphere it was set in).

From what you liked, you?d probably add something more to give your version a stronger appeal than what you?ve seen, so it?s better.

For example, Person B watches Person A build their house with straws and Person B realise that?s not good enough so Person B build another house with sticks. You are Person C, and after watching the 2, realise both are not good enough so you build yours with bricks. Your brain is the storage unit, you might not need the info you see now, but down the road, in future games, you might. These are the ideas I?m talking about, from observing others? work.

Yes, you can click away and get models from the internet. But the ones I?ve seen that are free, well they look like block models plus if you do use it, you have to mention the author as well. For the more detailed models, you have to pay. And yes, there are lots of personal websites with free downloadable reels. But unless you have Fastweb, you have to wait for a long time to download plus you have to search for the info. Generally, people want things done and done ASAP!

As for a reel, well?.it?s free. People make the effort to send it to you! You just have to watch it. Good, you might replay it later. Bad, a few seconds later it?s in the rubbish bin. It doesn?t cost the company too much trouble to put an ad on their website. The rewards exceed their effort in doing this.

It?s very much a ?window shoppers? industry, meaning?.. lots of looking, very little buying. It?s getting to be like that all round the world but like all things, there?s always going to be people that will exploit the market.

My experience at Tantalus was such a case. The guy was just interested in what ?other? works I had brought to show him and whether he could keep it. Basically throughout the interview, I felt there was no intention on hiring as he kept asking me what he could copy instead of what I could contribute to the company. After he put my CD into the pc, he skipped the asking bit! After the interview, he said to give him a call in a week and when I did, it was then to call after 6 months time as one of their Gameboy games have just gone gold. I think everyone knows what happened next.

What should have been made clear at the very beginning was the truth, which is, he just wants to see my work and the company wasn?t hiring. I would not have bothered to go all the way to the city if that was the case.

When I first started in this industry, I had a head the size of a melon! It was like ?Wow, I got in! Straight out of Uni and into an animation company! But as the months went by, it was not as fun as the ad implies. Late nights and some weekends, changes to the animation (always in the last minute!), synchronising with v/o, etc. I guess the best part was actually seeing everything put together (my magnum opus) so it was worth it.

Okay, I?ve been at this for a long time now. I?ve highlighted the negative aspects of some companies in my first post so it?s only fair I include the positive ones now.

a) Bullant Studios: Not hiring at the moment but the Art Director took the time to go through my reel commenting on my strength/ weaknesses and what I could have done to improve the scenes. Much appreciated.

b) AMH: Send an email saying they liked it but required someone with many years of games dev experience right now (a bit of a paradox cause work=experience). But thoughtful nevertheless.

c) Torus: Send a formal letter that they liked it and on hold till further work comes their way (it?s a nice way of the ?sorry? letter I think!).

Oh, and interview/ interrogation? I think interview works more like an exam (tests your wits) while interrogation is more aggressive, insulting you if need be (just watch the news).
Okay, I can go for dinner (YAWN). You can all wake up now.