Ask The Freelance Dude #17 – Writing on Spec


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I’m a student and games editor for our university newspaper. Being a student, my loan is covering me and allowing me put time into my degree and other hobbies. I’ve secured interviews with some big names and am planning to write some features. My goal is for these to be of a good enough standard to get paid for the writing. Yet, I’m going to write these regardless of whether a publication agrees to pay me for it. Can I pitch a feature I have already completed/ partially completed? How would I go about doing so?

Signed,
Marcus B.

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Dyad: The Tale of a Man and his Machine (@Polygon)


Holy crap guys! My first article for Polygon. Super stoked! I interviewed Shawn McGrath, the awesome dude behind Dyad, and worked up this massive feature that digs deep into the game and the crazy DIY machine he build from scratch to show it a trade shows. I strapped into the thing myself way back at PAX East 2011, and it left an impression on me, to say the least. Really glad I was able to travel through time and work up this mega feature.

Scope it out right here at Polygon!

Ask The Freelance Dude #16 – Pitching Reviews


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Dear Freelance Dude,

You’ve talked about reviews, but I’m curious about how pitching reviews differs from pitching features.  For instance, do you need to find a way to secure your own copy of a game or does the outlet you’re writing for take care of that? And how does the approach of pitching reviews differ from other pitches?  You wouldn’t pitch a review to a features editor when there’s a reviews editor on staff, so how would you best make the transition from one editor to another?
 
Signed,
Derek T.

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Ask The Freelance Dude #15 – The Luck Factor


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Dear Freelance Dude,

I’ve seen a number of folks comment on how luck played a role in their obtaining a paying gig as a games journalist. Do you see luck as a big factor that plays into a person’s success in this field, or are there other variables that have greater importance?

Signed
KnucklesSonic8

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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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My PAX East 2011 Coverage Roundup

I love going to PAX East. Walking amongst so many fellow nerdfolk for three days is both refreshing and exhausting, but it’s always a good time. This year I covered the convention for GameSpy, and during my many travels and appointments, I was able to check out some awesome games and meet some great folks. Here’s a round-up of a bunch of my PAX East-related coverage from the past week. I’m still working on a few other pieces that’ll be published in the next week or so, but this is the bulk of it.

Mega-PAX East Roundup Feature @ GameSpy [Read it here]
I explored many facets of the convention and glob it all together in this massive feature that touches on a wide range of topics and events throughout the show.

PAX EAst 2011: Indie Gaming Extravaganza [Read it here]
There were so many awesome indie games out on display at PAX East that it was hard to catch them all. I spent a lot of time running around to check them out, and here’s a write-up highlighting some of the best I stumbled across.

Portal 2 Preview [Read it here]
The first Portal was awesome. Portal 2 is going to be 400 percent more awesome. I saw the first 6 hilarious minutes of the game at PAX East and also sat down for a lengthy interview with one of the games main writers. Here’s my impressions and rundown of the preview. My interview will be going up soon.

Gears of War 3 Multiplayer Hands-On [Read it here]
I spent some pew-pew time with GoW 3’s multiplayer beta. Good times. GameSpy Editor Will Tuttle grills me about the hot details in this Interrogation Room preview piece.

There are a few other PAX East related things still in the pipeline, so stay tunes.

Indie Spotlight #1: Drinking from the Fire Hose


Folks who frequent my little cubby hole on the net here know I’m borderline obsessed with the indie gaming scene in all its various shapes and forms. I’m excited to announce the launch of my new monthly column for GameSpy that explores the indie gaming world and highlights interesting developers. My first installment covers indie startup studio Fire Hose Games and their awesome upcoming debut Slam Bolt Scrappers. Also, the team just announced the game is going to be a PSN exclusive and is expected to launch in early 2011. Here’s a blurb from my column and a link below:

“As far as ringing endorsements go, it’s hard to ignore a game that’s been enthusiastically described by wide-eyed passersby as “kind of like Tetris, except with a bunch of flying dudes trying to beat the crap out of one another.” While huge, elaborate booths trumpeting hot AAA titles drew large crowds at this year’s inaugural Penny Arcade Expo East, a constant rotation of eager players also lined up on the show floor to check out an early demo for Slam Bolt Scrappers, the debut project by independent Boston studio Fire Hose Games. Very few who sauntered over to the meager booth had even heard of the small studio — but by the end of the weekend’s festivities, a growing buzz about this curious and colorful little indie brawler had infiltrated the farthest reaches of the convention center.”

Check out the full column here at GameSpy.