Ask The Freelance Dude #12 – Heading Out West


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I am a recent journalism graduate from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, looking to write for IGN, 1UP, and other gaming websites. I’ve written about video games for my college newspaper, and I’m looking to gain more experience by freelancing for a video game fan site. So my question to you is would I have a better chance with pitching stories or getting work from major gaming websites if I live in California? I’m just concerned that they won’t consider my work because I don’t live in CA. I’m thinking about moving to CA because I have relatives there and so I can network easier.

Signed,
Tom K.

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Dear Tom,

Do you have a computer? How about a high-speed Internet connection? Possess those two crucial things, and you can freelance from ANYWHERE. I live in a rural patch of New England on the East Coast – a galaxy far, far away fromSilicon Valley – and I freelance for a lot of different gaming outlets. I’m not alone. Quite a few successful freelancers in this industry are scattered around all over the place, fromNew York City,Boston, andChicago toVermont,Canada, and beyond.

There are certain advantages to living in or near a major city where there’s a lot of industry action. It’s easier to make it out to conventions, gain access to demo sessions, and visit studios for on-site interview coverage. But the good news is you can work around all of that and still work from home – unless “home” is some remote arctic base with creepy flesh-eating beasties running rampant.

As for whether or not you have a better chance of getting your pitches accepted, it matters very little where you’re pitching from. Unless your aim is to land a full-time on-site gig at once of the major gaming outlets, you don’t have to be on the West Coast. I’m out in the middle of nowhere, yet I’ve managed to build a decent living from a spare bedroom in my apartment. It’s totally doable. It takes a lot of time and effort, but you’d be facing the same struggles in CA as anywhere else.

Successful pitching boils down to the needs of the outlets you’re shooting for, the ideas you’re pitching, how you present them, and your writing ability. Well, that and a little luck. Most editors don’t care a hill of beans where you’re from. They care about how well you can write, what kind of ideas you bring to the table, and how good you are at following through and tackling assignments. I’d say see what you can do remotely before making a huge leap like a cross-country move.

Good luck!

Best,
The Freelance Dude

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Follow @nmeunier on Twitter for more writing advice, game industry commentary, and freelance shenanigans.

Have a writing, freelancing, or game journalism related question you’d like answered? No problem! Hop on over here for details on how to submit it to The Freelance Dude!

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