Saturday, April 30, 2011


I visited the NLGD Festival of Games in Utrecht the last two days. The showguide presented an impressive timetable which listed about 40 speakers, 16 one hour talks and 24 half hour talks, from the gaming and entertainment industry who were present to share their thoughts.

I did not hear all the speakers, I choose to hear and see the one hour talks, but of those I did see, two of these talks were really inspiring to me. Here is some thoughts of what I think the talks were about.

The first was a talk by Nicholas Francois from Unity.

Unity is a 3d game development tool company. I expected a technical talk but instead his talk he presented some of his ideas on production and I found they were really inspiring. Here's my interpretation of some things he talked about:

If you would like to improve your work and improve your productivity, try for a period of the day to unplug, for instance your internet connection or your headphones. With other words, Unplug, something Richard Williams also mentions in his book, the animators survival kit.
We are so easily distracted these days by all the tools available on your computer and iPhones, sounds familiar?, that being selective in them and unplug some for a period of time during the day will increase your focus and productivity. Create momentum.
Try it yourself, it’s amazing!

Another subject in his talk was about strategies. When you want to make something you talk about it and you create a strategy on how to get there, and you have meetings about it, who is going to do this, and what should he be doing etc... but you can also just do it. This is more the approach or philosophy of “ Fail early, fail often and learn from your mistakes”. Something Ed Catmull from pixar has said. Off course the learning part is the really important part.
True art is in the doing of it not having meetings about it.

The second talk I found really inspiring was Dan Winters’ from Activision/Blizzard.

His talk was about how to be succesfull in pitching your idea. He shared some of his own experiences, and gave tips on what to do and what not to do, like never quit, don’t stop until the whistle is blown, and the time is up in persuing your dreams. You will get a No, maybe many times, but that should never stop you from reaching your dreams. You believe in them, they are your dreams, so if someone gives you a No, that doesn't mean you should say No too.

Come prepared, be yourself and leave with a Bang! So they’ll remember you.

Read! Great advice I think. I think that Not reading is the same as not being able to read. Learn from what has been written.

Also one of the stories he shared was how he was present at the pitches of A Bug’s Life, pitched by John Lasseter, crawling on the floor to present his idea of how the audience should experience the story from the perspective of bugs and Finding Nemo, which was an hour and a half pitch by Andrew Stanton, pitching the whole story accompanied by sketches and color keys.

To me those are the kind of stories that make my braincels go excited and inspire me to focus more on the things I personally am persueing.

The journey is also the most interesting part. Have a dream, set a goal, create focus and momentum and work towards it, fail early, fail often , but never quit and learn from your mistakes. I’m sure that with time you will become succesfull in reaching that goal, and when you do, a new one will present it self for sure, and the whole proces can start again.

That about sums up my thoughts on looking back at two days of intensive listening at the festival of games 2011.

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