As you may know, the last 10 months of my life have not been easy. Laid off from my full-time job with no prospects last August, I struggled to get back on my feet and figure out what I was doing next with my career. With a wildly-varying array of skills and not a huge amount of practical experience in entry-level jobs, I had a difficult time trying to get in the door anywhere - Los Angeles is not an easy town to be a jack-of-all-trades in.
I had short-lived gigs writing or doing odd jobs, but most of them didn't pay. I tried to make my own projects happen, but they all kept falling apart. All the while, I hunted for steady work as my unemployment fund got thinner and thinner. When one particularly terrible job fell to pieces, I happened upon a job listing on the website for Telltale Games - A favorite game company of mine since 2005 or 2006 and the creators of last year's universally-acclaimed Walking Dead episodic game series...
The position was way out of my league experience-wise, but I just wanted to try and get a conversation started with one of my dream employers. So I decided to put together a, shall we say, non-traditional application. It was a crazy week of learning how to program a point-n-click adventure game, create 16-bit artwork, and writing a couple hundred lines of dialogue, but in the end I had a finished product hopefully like nothing they had ever seen before. I sent it at the end of the week via UPS and waited... And waited...
As tends to happen with Stirpe Luck, my application got caught up in the flurry of activity during the Game Developers Conference happening in San Francisco and so it got lost for over a month, unseen. Finally, I sent an email to check in and see if anyone had ever seen it, and I got a really nice phone call in return asking if I was interested in doing a test for a job on their Cinematic Team. (I'm not sure I've ever answered "Yes" so fast in my life.)
To make a long story of interviews and cinematic tests short... On June 7th, 2013 , I was officially accepted a job as a Cinematic/Setup Artist at Telltale Games and I could not be more ecstatic.
Moving up to San Rafael from Los Angeles is going to be scary, and I'm really nervous, because Los Angeles has been my home for the last 6 years (Shockingly it's almost the longest time I've ever lived in one place), but I feel like now is also the right time for a new adventure. My Los Angeles friends have all been so amazing and I'm going to miss each and every one of you - I'm sure I'll be back frequently to visit. My amazing housemates have especially made living in Burbank a fantastic experience; the people that keep me inspired and have been there for me at my lowest moments. As I've begun to share this news with people, I've been so touched at the outpouring of support and love that I've been getting as I get ready to start this new chapter in my career.
The crazy support of my family has been a life-saver for me. As rough as things got, they always believed in me and always pushed me to keep going. The joy in both of my parents' voices when I got to call them and tell them about the Telltale job felt like reliving the victory all over again. My dad is going to be flying out to LA the weekend I move to help me stuff all my crap into my car and drive up north... That'll be a really fun adventure too!
Basically in a nutshell, I'm nervous as heck about this, but also incredibly excited. It's been a while since I've had an adventure of this magnitude, and I think it's time.
I actually found a note on my computer recently, written sometime when I was a freshman or sophomore in college, titled Eric's Dream Companies to Work For. The unordered list went as follows:
- Double Fine
- Telltale Games
- DreamWorks Animation
- Warner Bros. Animation
Who would've thought that my path would lead me right back to that list?
And now, in closing, a song to sum up the excitement I feel about my upcoming adventure. I hope you've had your shots, video game industry, because you're about to get an infusion of Stirpe.