Kate Taylor – Activision Talk

For notes on today’s talk, see Lectures/Crits/Talks book, green tab labelled Kate Taylor, pages 78 – 80.

Today we had an interesting talk from Kate Taylor, who works for Activision and formerly worked with Codemasters. It was really useful to have someone in who has a first-hand experience in the industry and how she managed to get into the industry itself.
Her portfolio, Kowono was really good to look at in terms of how to set out a good site for yourself. There are mostly images with barely any text supporting it, just a little description. Maybe this is something to think about when I come to reshuffling my site later on in the year. 

One of the main points that Kate mentioned which I hadn’t thought about much, was the idea that you are always going to be learning whichever job you end up in. She learnt everything on the job and continues to learn daily. This makes me feel better about leaving university as over the couple of years that I have been on this course, I have been constantly learning every day and I don’t seem to have fully realised this but if I continue this attitude after uni, who knows where it will lead me. It has now motivated me to try and learn new skills as I go along in this project and in my future career plans. This will help me to improve current skills as well as make new ones which will help improve my portfolio as well as inspire me to learn more.

Another point that she made was about how having short briefs and deadlines can be really handy to help speed up your creative process and concept quickly. This is definitely something that I feel I need to focus on doing more of in order to improve my concept skills, maybe I could look for some prompts online and from there concept lots of different designs in 24 hours or something similar to challenge myself.

Motion graphics within concepts has also proven to be something that is being used more often now than just sketches for prototyping and concepts. I don’t know much at all about the idea of motion graphics so it could be a good idea to try and look into some tutorials to see what I can come up with. It could really help me to improve my skillset as well as make my work quite diverse; it could be something that stands my work out from other people and this is something that I could easily work on as a side project. 

When she came to speak to us in the studio after her talk, she answered a lot of our questions about working in the industry which was useful and refreshing. It helped set our minds at ease and really made me think about how I use my time with projects.
She made a valuable point that online presence is key, so making sure that your LinkedIn account is up to date and relevant, you have a portfolio site to show off your work but also bring to interviews, as well as social media in general. I feel that my LinkedIn is fairly good however, it’s not very ‘games’ specific as I don’t have much work experience. My skills from my previous jobs, however, could be applied to the games industry in some cases; I should work on this over Christmas to make sure it is up to date and relevant.
I may also think about using my twitter account to post work as well as use my Instagram.  

Overall, the talk from Kate Taylor was really informative and helped me, as well as others, have an idea of what sorts of things we could do to potentially increase our chances of getting employed after university. She was also very encouraging when we spoke of how we don’t feel our skills would be up to scratch. Kate mentioned about learning as you go again as well as saying having more than one skill is good, especially if you learn to improve those skills over time; nothing comes to you immediately. This has inspired me to think more about what I would like to improve and what new skills I could try to learn too. Maybe I will look into this over the next few weeks, or certainly, once we hand in as then I will have a lot more spare time to focus my energy into something new.  

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