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)?
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?
“Who doesn’t want their brain punched in the face? Puzzlejuice makes the bizarre prospect a lot more fun than it sounds by combining aspects of Tetris and Boggle into one real pressure-cooker of a puzzler. Matching colored blocks and chaining letters to quickly clear the screen as red, turquoise, and yellow hell rains down from above adds a dizzying twist to a familiar formula — one that’s bound to titillate puzzle addicts and word nerds alike.”
Don’t. Even if you’re just getting started out in the freelance world, your time and energy are worth something. The prospect of having your work published, particularly if you’ve yet to sip from those glistening waters, can do crazy things to a new writer. It’s tempting to jump at any opportunity to have your work picked up by a publication – even a small one – regardless of whether you’re getting paid for it or not. Seeing your byline on a published article for the first time is exciting stuff. Period. The problem is the vast majority of websites in the video game world that actually take the time to publicly cast out nets to attract freelancers don’t want to pay you for your work. They’re looking to take advantage of your fine ability to churn out words in an intelligent and thoughtful manner by corrupting you and bending you to their own dark aims. Don’t let them.
After evil subterranean excursions in Badman, I was anxious to dig into What Did I Do To Deserve This, My Lord?! 2. It’s a rad sequel with some solid improvements. My full-page review is in the June issue on pg. 78. It was also a good issue for downloadable games. This month’s PSN Games review column covers the retro-tastic Mega Man 10, Greed Corp, Echoshift, and Super Pocket Tennis. You can find those write-ups on pg 90 and 91. The next issue should be out soon, and there’s more downloadable goodness to come.
I was late posting info on the April issue, but I’m back on the ball now. In addition to my regular two-page PSN game reviews column, the May 2010 issue of PlayStation: The Official Magazine also has a full-page review of Last Rebellion on pg. 84. As for this month’s downloadable gaming reviews (pages 88 and 89), I covered the marvelously charming Fret Nice, Vandal Hearts: Flames of Judgement, Assault Heroes, and Hustle Kings. Hey also, while I have your attention: hit up pages 52-55 for an entertaining feature on PS2 box art reviews by fellow freelance comrade Mitch Dyer.
So I saw this issue on the news stands en-route to PAX East but completely forgot about it in the chaos vortex that comes along with cramming over 50,000 geeks in a single building. In my PlayStation Network Games review column in the April 2010 issue of PTOM, I tackle Matt Hazard: Blood Bath and Beyond, Battle Fantasia, Puzzlegeddon, Polar Panic, and Frogger Returns. I also give my recommendations on PSOne downloads and game add-ons, so check out all that good stuff if you can. I already have the May 2010 issue in hand and will be posting about that shortly, as it has an extra piece I wrote in addition to my monthly PSN rundown.
I’m particularly excited to now have the April 2010 issue of Nintendo Power in-hand, because it features two large community pieces I wrote and am quite proud. First, there’s my community feature on pg. 92 about hip-hop artist Random (aka Mega Ran) who kicked off his musical career in the independent rap world and more recently has circulated in the nerdcore hip-hop scene. His two Mega Man themed albums are super fresh and he’s already got a track up on his site inspired by Mega Man 10. Also, I attended Blip Festival 2009 in December and was floored by the sheer level of badassitude on display. Great music made by some very interesting folks. My write-up of the event appears on pg 95. Bummed you missed the show? Don’t worry, because there’s a ton of videos and mp3s floating around from the event’s killer performances. The April issue also contains my reviews of Dawn of Heroes and Squishy Tank, both on DS.
Now that the Feb. 2010 issue of PlayStation: The Official Magazine is finally out, I supposed I can talk a bit about my new steady gig. I started doing some sporadic freelance work for PTOM last year with a few reviews and a feature that I was particularly excited about. After a brief lull for an issue or two, I’m happy to be back in the game. Not only that, I’m super stoked to be heading up the PlayStation Network Games section with a two-page spread of downloadable game reviews each month starting with the latest issue. My first installment tackles Braid, Star Trek: D-A-C, Peggle, Gravity Crash, Military Madness: Nectaris, and more. Stay tuned, because we’ve got some great stuff coming up in upcoming issues. Thanks!
The Dec. issue of PlayStation: The Official Magazine just hit the newsstands (a bit early), and it features three reviews I recently penned. I tackled Demon’s Souls, Half-Minute Hero, and Obscure: The Aftermath. They’re the first pieces I’ve written for the magazine but certainly not the last, since I have several others already slated for upcoming issues. I typically do a ton of online writing, which I enjoy, but seeing my work in a glossy print mag is indescribably exciting. In other news, interviews and research for the geek music book project are going smoothly. There’s a lot still to tackle, though I’m pleased to be making steady progress. I have some exciting new gigs that are in the process of panning out, and some additional print work on the way, including a review and multiple community pieces for Nintendo Power. It’s been a busy and awesome year so far. Let’s hope it keeps up. Cheers!