Convention Season is in full swing again as the GAMA trade show just passed. CMON Expo is coming up in May with Origins and UK Games Expo in June. I will definitely be attending Gen Con and possibly other conventions this year also. As I read GAMA news and watch some overview videos, it got me to thinking: where do game industry freelancers gather?
GAMA Trade Show is focused on retailers and publishers, with quite a few media personalities covering the event. Origins has a Trade Day, but that again is retailers and publishers. Gen Con has the Industry Insider Program which offers sessions and workshops for game industry professionals, but that focuses mostly on designers, writers, and artists. You don’t seen many sessions or workshops on graphic design, layout, editing, proofreading, or other lower in the credits positions. There are the Diana Jones Awards, an informal gathering of RPG industry professionals, and I have attended that over the years.
Conventions are the best places to build relationships and have business meetings with publishers. I highly recommend being involved and attending conventions as a freelancer. But, where do freelancers go to enhance their craft as professionals? Where can freelancers share tips and tricks on tools they are using, share best practices for managing their financial records, discuss project management, socialize among peers, and encourage each other?
As a freelancer you work with creative teams, but you often manage your freelancing business elements as an individual. Most of us freelancers are working from our homes for multiple publishers, and it is a very solo work life. Much of freelancing in the game industry stems from those relationships you have built on your own, one person at a time. I am thankful for the friends and business partners I have built in the game industry. I am curious: can we do more? Could freelancers find a place to gather regularly and share? Could we find a way to build each other and network, like publishers and retailers do?
What do you think? Do game industry freelancers have enough camaraderie and professional interactions at conventions that exist now, or do we need to reach out to each other to increase our craft and help with the ever-expanding game hobby? Where could that place or event be?