Games Animation alumni, Helen Andrzejowska and Ellie Brown, were invited to University Centre Rotherham (UCR) to talk to current students about their journey from Rotherham College students, to founders and directors of their own games studio, Ocean Spark Studios.
Helen and Ellie provided an informative presentation, discussing the opportunities and challenges of starting a career within the games industry. They provided an insight into how the Yorkshire region is becoming a hotspot for pop-up games studios and gave advice to students on how to forge relationships with these companies in the early stages of their education and career.
Helen said, “Get your best work out there by showcasing it on online portfolio platforms and make sure to show the breadth of your skills and your proficiency in different software. It’s really important to become confident with two or three key pieces of software, that will show you are a diverse candidate to any games studio.”
“Also be prepared to accept criticism and grow from any constructive feedback you are given. To begin with, it can be difficult to accept but it makes you better at what you’re able to create in the long-run.”
Helen and Ellie also gave useful advice to students on how to develop relationships with games studios and how to have the best chance of gaining work experience. Ellie said, “it can be difficult to break into bigger games studios and publishers as they have a lot of confidential work going on prior to the launch of a new game, so you have a better chance with smaller sized games studios; but fortunately there are lots of these on our doorstep.
“Smaller games studios often have limited desk and computer space, so it’s important to make yourself stand-out to be in with the best chance of them offering you work experience. Be personable and take the time to do your background research of each company you’re contacting.”
Declan Garner is currently a Level 3 Games Animation student studying at Rotherham College, and plans to continue his studies in Games Design at UCR. He said, “It was a really informative chat, being realistic about the games industry without casting a dark shadow over our ambitions.
“Ellie and Helen have both been in our position so they know how it feels, but they have gone on to achieve amazing things and I feel inspired that we can do the same.”
Martin Deshayes-McCourt, Games Animation tutor at Rotherham College, said the talk from Helen and Ellie was “really inspiring showing what can be done”, all from humble beginnings at Rotherham College. Martin added that “What Helen and Ellie have achieved has been done through sheer hard-work and determination, but they always make time to come back to Rotherham College to support the current students.”