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Interested in a Video Game Designer Career? 4 Tips for Success as a Freelancer

Modern man with headphones sitting at the desk and working on computer.
If you are interested in working for yourself, you may decide to go freelance in your career. This means you work on contracts with studios, rather than as an employee of the studio itself. Many people prefer freelancing because of the scheduling flexibility, choice, and lifestyle. There are sacrifices in terms of job stability, benefits, and paying your own taxes – but for a lot of people, the pros outweigh the cons. If this sounds like you, read on for some tips to make sure your freelance design career is successful and as enjoyable as you imagined.

1. Your Portfolio is your Calling Card in a Video Game Designer Career

When you venture out on your own to find clients, you’ll need to show them what you’re capable of. If you’ve already made some games, include them in the portfolio, starting with your best work. Use images, video, prototypes, and anything else you have that you think is relevant. Include any level design or modding experience you have. Links and downloads are helpful, to allow people to play through your levels. It’s great to show that you can document your process of creation as well. Documents that detail your design will allow recruiters to see how you work.

Man talking to a young blonde woman at the cafe.When meeting with recruiters, proof of the work you can do will increase your chances of a contract

2. A Video Game Designer Career Requires Serious Time Management

Working on projects in a freelance video game designer career presents the challenge of running your own schedule. Time management is essential for productivity. A technique that many people use when working independently is the Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique uses 25 minute chunks to work on focused tasks, followed by short breaks. After 4 of these intervals, or pomodoros, a longer break is taken before starting over. A timer is used to stay on track – in fact, the technique is named after a tomato-shaped kitchen timer (pomodoro means tomato in Italian).

3. Be Wary of Distractions when Freelancing after a Game Design Program

Distractions are the mortal enemy of a freelancer. If you work alone as opposed to in a co-working space, the threat is even more real. Social media networks are major time-drainers, and they are accessible from all of your devices, so it’s important to cut off access. It’s understandable that after video game design courses you may also be easily distracted during design research, as it’s easy to fall down an information rabbit hole. Multiple apps allow you to filter out social media and other distractions while you’re focusing on work, so you can choose one that works best for you. Turning off your phone ringer and email notifications is also helpful during your designated work hours.

Man working with multiple electronic devices. Distractions should be monitored when freelancing to ensure productivity

4. Networking Skills Make for a Great Freelance Video Game Designer Career

Networking is a major investment in your professional life. As a new game designer, this is one of the most effective ways you can find work. Online communities and social networks may already be a place where you are meeting people, as many game design students are already involved in forums, sharing work online, and are comfortable on many platforms. Gaming conventions and events are great places to meet others as well. Professional organizations like the Entertainment Software Association of Canada and the International Game Developers Association can also help you stay connected to the rest of the industry in Canada.

Are you interested in a game design program?

Contact Oxford College for more information!

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