I’ve had to hustle a lot to get into the games industry. Who I am kidding? I still am. I’ve been thinking a lot about this during these weeks of GDC-prep. Getting meetings has never been easy for me, I don’t just write to whoever I need a meeting with and say … “hey! let’s meet up at GDC” and get a positive answer. Nor has it been easy to get a hold of the right people to book meetings with. I’ve had to ask a lot of favors to get e-mails, telephone numbers and introductions. I have to work at it. I’ve built up a few relationships in the games industry and a lot of these are very dear to me. I believe that’s because I’ve made a very conscious decision to be as honest and true to myself and in my communication as I possibly can in all this hustling. True… I’ve lost myself several times along the way and I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve tapped in to the darker judgmental me a few times, too. My goal is to keep hustling but to treat people with respect, kindness and sincerity, because I believe they can work well together.
By hustling I think I mean walking into a room of people that you don’t know and selling … something … and not giving up at the first try. Approaching people via e-mail or in person and making them aware of what you are selling. This word gets a bad wrap sometimes, but if you’re attending conventions for your game, you need to learn how the hustle can work to your advantage.
Finding the hustler within myself hasn’t always been easy. I need to believe in who I am and have self respect when I’m selling because people react very differently to my pitches, approaches, conversation, appearance, age, gender and humor. I have met so many people who have been rude, been disgusted by me or refused to take me seriously, but it all becomes much more tolerable if you are fighting for something that you believe in and are comfortable in your own skin. It’s so much easier to shrug it off and move to the next “victim”. Asking for money is hard. And I fuck up all the time. I take it too far, or I say the wrong thing. And sometimes I laugh too loud and hard at something that was only mildly funny. Oh … I’ve totally sat in bars in San Francisco with my head buried in my hands having a martini and thinking (sometimes loudly) “why the HELL did I say that?”. Just last year I left a lunch event in tears because 2 people told me that what I do in the games industry is vile, 1 person I had just started doing some extra work for made it very clear that I was not welcome to talk to them, 2 people I was looking forward to seeing were definitely not pleased to meet me and another one insulted me in another way. To be fair, I think that after the first hour I was starting to feel pathetic and must have reeked of insecurity at one point. And right when I was about to leave, a person that I care about gave me a heartwarming hug that completely broke my defensive walls and I had to put on my sunglasses on my way to a pitch meeting, to hide my tears.