Ask The Freelance Dude #14 – Networking at Conventions


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I’m a soon-to-be college grad just starting to try his hand in the freelancing world. After being published on a handful of sites, I’ve managed to get a media pass to the PAX East convention in my hometown of Boston. It’s common knowledge that networking is a key to success for freelance journos, and conventions like these seem to be one of the best places to get started on making friends in the industry.

Could you shed some light on how to go about this whole networking process? Are there any particular do’s and don’ts that I should be aware of before walking up to complete strangers? I’ve got my personal business cards printed out and ready to be shared, so what can I do to get people to remember my name (without looking like a total weirdo)?

Signed,
Jeff D.

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Ask The Freelance Dude #13 – Reviews Reviews Reviews!


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Dear Freelance Dude,

As you eloquently explain in your blog, pitching feature ideas to editors is a great way of getting started as a freelance. This has proven to be effective to me, as I recently had my first feature pitch accepted – WOOT!

Much as I love desperately squeezing increasingly bizarre feature concepts from my noggin, only to be ignored or rejected by editors, I would dearly love to review games for well known gaming sites too. It seems that reviewing is the holy grail of games journalism, only possible for the most well known writers. Is this the case?

Signed,
Ian B.

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Backtracking: Bullet Witch (@OXM)


“With her naughty school librarian-meets-S&M demon huntress attire, Bayonetta may still be the most recent extreme femme fatale still fresh in everyone’s mind, but she’s had some formidable predecessors. Back in 2007, Atari’s Bullet Witch took a similar, less-successful route in the “epic drudge match between killer vixen and demonic hordes” category. While Bullet Witch’s blue-haired, huge machinegun-toting protagonist, Alicia, may fall in line some of the usual eye-rolling stereotypes — including a god-awful array of trashy DLC outfits — it’s the game’s general over-the-top delivery that’s I find most titillating.”

Check out the full article here at OXM.

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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Ask The Freelance Dude #11 – Review Copies and You


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I currently write for the gaming section of a UK student paper and I’m probably going to be that section’s editor in a few months. I was wondering who to contact about getting review code because in a publication that receives pre-release albums for the music section and preview screening invitations for the film section, the games content is lagging behind without any publisher contacts. We have a distribution of 5,000 copies all over the city of Norwich and 13 issues a year. I was wondering if the publication is big enough to receive review code and, if so, who to contact to get it.

Thanks,
Oliver B.

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Ask The Freelance Dude #10 – Landing Interviews


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I landed my first freelance job recently. Part of what I would like to include is an interview with someone in the videogame industry. What’s the best way to get a hold of someone and conduct an interview when you have no prior contact?

Signed,
Derek T.

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Ask The Freelance Dude #9 – Perilous Pitches?


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Dear Freelance Dude,

What are the repercussions of having a pitch rejected? Will getting a pitch rejection put you on “The List” of writers to ignore future pitches from, since there are a ton of other writers who can fill your place instead? Failure is a lot easier to cope with when there are future opportunities to try again! Also, are there any actions, outside of full-on disrespect and rudeness, that can jeopardize your relationship with a publication before it even starts? I don’t want to relocate to San Francisco in order to further my goal of becoming a games writer, only to find out that no one will take me because of something I did two years prior.

Thanks,
Andrew T.

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Ask The Freelance Dude #8 – Transitioning From Volunteer To Paying Gigs


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Dear Freelance Dude,

So I’ve been writing for an average sized gaming site for a few months now (we get around 10-20k hits a day now that the holiday season is over), and now I feel like I need to seek bigger and better opportunities, mainly because writing for this site doesn’t pay anything. I mean, sure, it gets me free games, and that is nice; but I want to pay bills with my writing.

Everywhere I look, all I ever seem to find are freelance jobs that want to pay as little as $2 per article or are simply volunteer jobs. I own every current gen system, aside from the 3DS, and will be getting a Vita on day one. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Signed,
GamerDadtheGreatPlus8

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Ask The Freelance Dude #7 – A Viable Career?


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Dear Freelance Dude,

With the current economic state in mind, do you think games journalism is (still) a viable career option?

Signed,
KnucklesSonic8

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Backtracking: Space Giraffe (@ OXM)


“It’s not often that a game’s splash screen is so alarmingly bizarre that it forces you to pause for a moment to consider whether or not it’s a good idea to proceed. Space Giraffe gets off to such a weird start that it makes you wonder if you’ve just been dosed with hallucinogens. You’re greeted with a swirling neon vortex punctuated with a fuzzed-out bobbing giraffe head, a child’s voice chanting repetitive gibberish, and high pitch electronic space blips — and that’s before you even start playing. While this love-it-or-hate-it retro space shooter made a splash with its over-the-top psychedelic freakiness, equally memorable is the controversy that surrounded its creator’s outspoken response to critic reviews and meager sales.”

Check out the full article here at Official Xbox Magazine.