Production Intern Blog
The most difficult and ironic problem with breaking into the game industry right out of school is the lack of experience. This is ironic because experience requirements for a job posting, immediately disqualifies you for the job. This is especially true for Producers, simply because almost every Producer or Producer related position requires multiple years of industry experience.
You’re probably thinking “Who cares! What nut right out of school wants to be a Producer?” Well, this nut. And I get a lot of people saying those words, or something similar, to me on a fairly regular basis. I get it, I am insane, but that doesn’t eliminate the fact that I have no experience to break into the industry with.
Well, I didn’t at least. Thanks to Paul Culp here at Cinematics I have the opportunity to be a Production Intern. Something I had never even heard of, but Paul says it with such confidence I am sure he didn’t make it up just to make me feel better…
A little about myself. My name is Nathanael Horton, currently a senior at The Art Institute of Portland for Game Art and Design. I have about 4 months till I graduate. My aspiration, as previously mentioned, is to be a Producer in some 3D media. I have a rather varied background, I went to accelerated high-school specializing in science and technology and now I attend art school; I have also done a lot communications and leadership training outside of school.
I didn’t know what to expect when I first came to Cinematics, I was stealing myself for coffee making and what was to certainly be my new donut delivery service; but from day 1 Paul made sure I had industry relevant work for me do. He challenged me to do some things I had never done before, especially in a professional capacity. I always receive the feedback I needed to get my work done right. I defiantly feel like I am part of the team and that the work I do is important enough that if I didn’t do it, someone else would have to, which means I am being useful!
My major challenge at Cinematics so far has been some assumptions I picked up while in school, the first being that everyone uses Gantt charts to plot schedules and asset lists. I actually have extensive experience creating and managing Gantt charts, and I never expected it would hinder me. Once I sat down to create a schedule at Cinematics (my very first assignment) I was confused to find all Cinematics schedules and time lines in spreadsheets. Of course, it makes sense now that I think about it, Gantt charts really are overly complicated for many different tasks, and sticking with one type of file system is better than changing between spreadsheets and Gantt charts. Of course, having not opened a spreadsheet in years, it took me some time to get familiar with building an easily read and maintained schedule or database. I am still figuring out the formatting Cinematics likes to use, but I am learning fast.
I have been exposed to several programs here at Cinematics I hadn’t delved too deeply into before. Programs like 3D Studio Max, I myself was trained in Maya, so having this chance to work in Max and learn where it is more efficient than Maya has been great. I’ve also been exposed to different uses for some of the same programs I have used in the past, such as After Effects. I have also gotten to use many programs I am familiar with, but those are never as interesting.
For the weeks I have been here at Cinematics I have had a chance to dip my hands into many facets of project management and production. I have created file structures, archived art work, created a contractor database, created storyboard templates, researched and archived reference art, documented some processes, documented project overviews, cleaned up some rough artwork and created project schedules. And I even have my own desk, I think that is the coolest part, It is certainly what I brag the most about.
I couldn’t have asked for a better place for an internship. They even let me come into the office as much as my schedule allows; even though I spend a good bit of my time hovering around Paul and Bryan like a creepy hobo waiting for them to drop scraps (aka: work I can handle for them).
Bryan Provencher has also been tremendously helpful. He is always willing to explain to me how Cinematics handles things, how clients may take certain things on the schedule, and he never verbalizes how stupid any of my questions are! He has helped me get familiar with Max and some FX in After Effects. He even pointed me to some really good project management related videos online.
Overall, this is the best industry related opportunity I have had, and I look forward to continued work with Cinemantics.