Papa Niero is proudpants
Webmaster Dojo is an editorial column about my experiences in running a videogame site. If you enjoy this sort of diatribe, please suggest a topic for my next article in our super-cool new comments system below.
Saying goodbye to the people I loved working with is the worst thing, by far, I must do as Destructoid's publisher. Fortunately, most of them stay in the industry and we end up working together again anyway... and by "working" I mostly mean getting piss drunk at gaming event after-parties.
There is no other industry you want to be a part of. Unless you're in porn. Good job, spanky.
This video, which I presented at Outspark's PAX Panel (thanks for having me, Martine!), was to demonstrate that some of our ex-editors -- most of which were regular community members just like you -- were able to secure great positions in different parts of the industry with almost no prior experience other than their passion for gaming and their tenacity to blog. Is this what you wish, deep down in your heart, for your career to lead you? Get blogging, then son.
So where are they now? Watch this!
This is not unique to Destructoid at all. It's everyone's story. IGN's publisher, Peer Schneider, built Nintendojo.com as a college project in 1996 and was soon heckling his future employer on how crummy their editorial was compared to his work. Geoff Keighley of GameTrailers began his career with a site called GameSlice before being hired by GameSpot, where he brought over his "Behind The Games" editorial series that cemented his career. You think these guys just waltzed into interviews with journalism degrees? No way. They busted their asses day and night.
A question I'm frequently asked is whether or not a degree in journalism is important in securing a job in the games industry. My opinion falls somewhere between 'yeah, kinda' to 'not at all.' Get one if you have the means. I find it's only important when the guy holding your job application did -- that fucker will care. Self-made managers that interned their way up the ladder don't care. I am content to hire horny college kids, taxi dispatchers, tech support geeks, stay-at-home moms, mattress salesmen, and grandma's boys, as long as they shower sometimes and know their Slippy's from their Zitz's.
Here's my resume: I watched a fuckton of Mazinger Z growing up, collected Transfomers, and ran ridiculously nerdy video game clubs when I was a little kid. When I got older I wanted a cooler job and started a robot-themed video game site called Dtoid. Heard of it?
Make no mistake -- the people at the top of the gaming journalism industry are some of the most hard-working, self-driven people you will ever meet. In most cases I hear the same thing over and over: they worked for next to nothing or less before making it. Look at them now.
Most of us didn't earn a nickel during the early years
Hopeful young webmasters or aspiring freelance writers, my best advice is to sacrifice your pride and put in that time. Build those sites. Build those portfolios. I hope this video inspires you to not be afraid to ask for more help from your peers. Help build someone's portfolio if you can offer nothing else, and in return, be ready to offer them up to another business that has a seat ready for them. As this video consistently demonstrates, putting in the time to blog more than pays for itself in the long-term.
As Destructoid's founder, it's been bittersweet to see my kids come and go over my now-seven years in the business, but it's also a point of pride to see them all grown up slinging business cards with some of my favorite gaming company logos on them. Just two nights ago I got to drink with Nick Chester, our former editor-in-chief, as he helped launch Dance Central 3 across international markets and on a nationwide tour. Mr. Brutal was too busy to contribute to my damn little video project though (poke poke) but hopefully he'll be in the 10-year Destructoid documentary. What, you didn't see that coming? Of course we're doing that.
Nick Chester (right), former Dtoid EIC now works as a publicist at Harmonix. Sebastian Haley is GameBeat's Games Culture Editor and has written for a many proper magazines. I'm the goofball in the middle endorsing the Sailor Jerry lifestyle. These are stupid cool jobs, so start your own gaming career already, stupid! Get inspired! Be original and entertaining: there are countless video game dick jokes unwritten.
So who wants to come break their back for me?
Hate to be a tease, but Destructoid is not currently accepting new contributors at this moment. In the coming months we'll be looking for community bloggers that specialize in PC and Mobile to help us with a new fun project. We'll make an announcement on the home page when we're ready to talk about that.
Until then: If you're not already using your free Destructoid community blog to get your work in front of people, fire up a Tumblr and become an annoying bastard on Twitter until someone notices you. I think our site is a great place to get your foot in the door. We're grateful for the opportunity to do what we do, and hope to have more of these success stories in the future. Oh yeah, don't even get me started on the friends you'll make for a lifetime when you get your happy ass in the trenches ... but that's another story.
Want a job in the gaming industry? Blog, bitch.
A note from the Editor, Dale North:
I can't tell you how great it is to go out in the field and run into members of my extended family. Even though their career path has taken them in a different direction in the industry, it's like they never left when we see them again. Seeing each and every one of them brings about a strange combination of emotions. There's always that warm, familiar family feeling, and then there's pride. You want to see your family grow and succeed, right?
Being welcomed into Destructoid's family as a new contributor is no small thing. Each new member becomes a permanent part of this family. We also want these family members to succeed, no matter their goal. Some move on, growing from what we've taught them here. But others come in and stay forever. It's rare that we can officially bring contributors onto our core team, but it happened twice this year (congrats to Allistair and Tony)! I wish that opportunity were available to everyone, but as we're very small, tight-knit, independent company, that's not a reality. Yet.
For now, hit me up and work with us as a paid contributor. We're backed up with pitches, but we'll get to you!
If you can't work as an unpaid contributor…well, good luck. You've got to get your foot in somewhere for experience, and that's not easy in an industry where everyone wants to do what you're trying to do. We've been that place for many people in this industry, and we're happy to be that stepping stone for you. All of this said, don't ever get in a position where you feel like you're working and gaining nothing. Don't get into a place where you feel like you're being taken advantage of. Get in, learn, make your intentions clear, and then keep on moving toward where you hope to go.
But what about those that want to stay at Destructoid? I like to think that the people that really want to be part of the team will eventually be. I started with Destructoid in its earliest days. I worked to do whatever I could to help the members of my family succeed, working for a long time making next to nothing. And now I'm running the show! It's great to think that most of the people I've worked alongside with to build this family up are still here, working alongside me doing the very same thing, making a living in one of the rarest, most special gigs in the industry.
If you're interested in being a part of this industry, I think it's important to ask yourself what you're working toward. Are you in it for money? Fame? I think the people that stick around here want to be part of something bigger. Something special.