Game Boy 013 – Rejection

“Game Boy” is a weekly column in which I write about being a game developer working in Montreal. You’ll find them all under this category, and it starts here.

About a month ago there was another game dev hashtag making the rounds, in this case, #ShareYourRejection (or rather, it wasn’t just tied to the games industry, but the examples I saw in my timeline were game dev-related).

I make no secret that it wasn’t an easy process for me to get a job in the games industry, once I decided I wanted to return to North America and work in games. I applied to countless companies — through their website — and would never hear anything back other than a confirmation of receipt, and then sometimes a notification that the position was filled, and that I would continue to be “considered” for future openings.

(There’s one company in particular — you can probably guess if you know my tastes in games — to which I applied for quite a few positions, with that type of response every time.)

Yes, at times it was feeling like nothing would happen, and that maybe my dream of working in games was a futile one. Despite that, I still left Tokyo without a job lined up, hoping that things would work out. My wife and I stayed at my parent’s home (in the province of New Brunswick) for just over a month while I continued to apply for positions — and at that point, I finally got some phone interviews happening.

How did I finally break through? I got so tired of applying through websites and nothing happening that I figured that I would need to try and get in touch with a recruiter directly, and that’s what I did. There was something that looked interesting at Eidos Montréal, and so I reached out to a friend who had ties to them, asking if he could get me the name of someone I could email directly. 

Following that first email, I got a reply that they’d be interested in talking to me, asking me what role I’d be interested in (they had a few they thought would fit my profile), and then I did a call with the recruiter, and then a call with the person who would become my manager.

The whole point of this post is to say that, yes, rejection happens, but if it’s something you really want and that you think you could really do, then you need to persevere and figure out ways to get through. And yes, getting in touch with a human being — instead of just a contact email or upload link on a website for your CV — has a much better chance of getting the attention of the company.

(Let me add that I did the same thing for Ubisoft, once I got laid off from Eidos Montréal, and that also worked out.)

I’m still a newbie in the industry — I’m at about 3 and a half years now, 2 and a half at Ubisoft, with a trajectory that went from Production Coordinator to Project Manager — but I’m always happy to share anything I can share with anyone who is also interested in doing the same. I have in fact already been contacted a few times by people asking me for advice, and I’m always happy to help out any way I can.

It’s maybe also worth noting that I did all of this once I was already in my 40s, and so it’s never too late. 

Disenchantment

I was pretty interested in watching this, even though I can’t say I’ve always been the biggest Groening follower. Sure, I liked the Simpsons back in the day, but haven’t watched any of it in over a decade (at least), and watched bits of Futurama here and there, and liked it enough, but that’s it. As for this, I’ve watched half of the episodes, and, well, I like it enough to watch more. It’s nothing amazing, it’s fun but not incredibly funny (although I absolutely love Elfo), but I find myself sometimes in the right mood to watch an episode, and do so. All this to say I like it fine — wow, what a noncommittal critique — and will watch all that’s there.

Death on the Nile

I have a gift, and that gift is that I tend to forget what happens in a film after watching it (OK, maybe it’s not a gift), which means that when I re-watch murder mysteries, I go in not knowing what the solution is, which was the case here. This is still an enjoyable film — I generally quite like films based on Agatha Christie novels (and quite enjoy her novels), and Peter Ustinov was my Poirot growing up. Great cast, great denouement, a fun time indeed.

Superman: The Movie

I was really looking forward to watching this movie, and wow, was I ever disappointed. The first mistake I did was to watch the 3+ hour version, which I didn’t remember was a thing — following its initial theatrical release, which was around 2 hours, they produced this version for its TV debut, and it seems to have become the de facto version. The main problem is that the first hour is so incredibly boring that it really took me out of it, and so when we finally get to spend time with Christopher Reeve — who still shines as both Clark Kent and Superman — I just didn’t really care anymore. The silly scenes with Luthor underground also made it that much more of a chore. Oh, and yes, the “rotate Earth to go back in time” is still beyond ridiculous, but that’s besides the point. I think a tight 90-minute version would be have been enjoyable to re-watch, but this 3-hour slog definitely wasn’t.

Alfred Hitchcock

On top of my year-based movie watching — I’m currently still in 1978 — I enjoy watching through other series of films as a Sunday night tradition. Following Bond and Indiana Jones, over the summer I decided to revisit a large chunk of Alfred Hitchcock’s work. I stuck to his color output (with the exception of Psycho of course), which starts in the late 40s. I’ve always been a big fan of his films — and his TV series, and even the Three Investigators book series that I loved as a kid — and it was really fun to do this, since I hadn’t re-watched most of them in probably a couple of decades. You’ll find below the full list of what I watched (and under this category).

Psycho

I kept this for my final Hitchcock film, and I’m glad I did. I don’t know if I’ve necessarily watched it many more times than his other films, but it’s certainly his most memorable film (on top of being the most popular), and so it was the one that I went in remembering the most about. I don’t have anything to add other than it’s still a fantastic film to take in, and still just as creepy. 

Family Plot

This was Hitchcock’s final film, and I didn’t have any particularly fond memories about it. Re-watching it, I feel pretty much the same way — it’s not horrible, but it’s not particularly good either, and I really dislike Bruce Dern’s character in this, with his over-the-top manic delivery. Wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone, but I still found it interesting to watch as part of this Hitchcock revisit.

Jack Ryan

As I wrote the other day after watching all of the old Jack Ryan movies, I was pretty excited to watch this series, and so it didn’t take me long to binge all eight episodes. Overall I quite enjoyed it, even though it’s certainly not without flaws. I do quite like that most of the show concerns itself with the “other” side of the equation — meaning, telling the story of the terrorists in a very fleshed out away, instead of the broad strokes we usually get in movies. And Krasinski as Ryan? The fact that we spend so much time with him (as opposed to 1 movie for all of the other characters, and 2 for Ford) does give him a certain advantage, and I think he plays him appropriately — it can be said that Ryan is a bland character, but his major characteristic is that he refuses to compromise on his principles, and we see that a lot here. I’m glad they went to TV to tell Jack Ryan stories, and hope we get another season. But man, the title opening is the blandest thing ever.