How To Get Into Gaming: An Interview With Lucy James

Name: Lucy James

Degree: Psychology

Current job title: Video games journalist/ presenter

Current workplace: Freelance (working with Ginx TV, Sky, Guardian)

Career/long term goal: Staff writer or video producer for Gamespot (the world’s largest source of video game reviews, news and previews etc.) or  working at Rooster Teeth (a multi-channel network specialising in live action animation)

What made you pick this job?

I wouldn’t say that I picked it exactly; it’s more like I fell into it! I lived in a house of people who didn’t really care about games but they’re such a big part of my life that I took to rambling about them on the internet. I really wanted to be able to do something I love every day. My internship at GameSpot  opened up a lot of doors, as the games industry is mostly run on networking! Ginx approached me at an event for the game ‘Sleeping Dogs’, and asked me to do a screen test based on some of my YouTube work with GameSpot and hey presto, once it was done they offered me the job of lead presenter!

How did you get to your position? 

As I mentioned it was all down to my GameSpot internship. In terms of getting the job at GameSpot I’m actually a massive fan of a YouTube series on ITN and ended up tweeting them because of a YouTube blooper that was used in my Psychology lectures. I got a reply to that tweet and ended up being a bit cheeky and asking for an internship. The guy I spoke to eventually ended up moving jobs to GameSpot and passed on my CV, I aced the interview and got the job! So I guess I got it by being very pro-active!

It was the most fun and interesting month of life, I really found out how the company and the industry worked there. I was treated as an equal rather than a lackey and given real independence and autonomy. I got to pick the games I wanted to cover, got taken to the big annual video game conference, E3 and had my own independent projects to work on. Most importantly I was told who the important people were, so they made sure I got the right connections.

What skills do you feel are the most important in your chosen line of work?

Networking is definitely the most important. Gaming is a pretty insular business so I make sure that I make and keep important contacts as much as possible! Listening to editorial feedback, knowledge of how to present and be good on camera makes a big difference. Also learning how to do good voiceovers, and learning how to properly use a semi colon!

How is your job developing these skills? 

I’m adapting as I go along, but everything I learn and do is based on a love of games. Freelance work has taught me via a steep learning curve as I’ve immediately been working with very senior team members with no guarantee of success! The ex presenter in my position was eventually weeded out for not knowing enough about games; it’s most important for me to keep improving my knowledge in such a fast paced and changing industry. So I’d say it’s a kind of extreme pressure that’s developing my skills more than anything!

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far in your working life and how did you overcome it?

As a freelancer it’s definitely the sheer amount of rejection in the early days. Also, internet blogging is can be tough because of the anonymous aspect of internet comments, which can be negative. Since I got the presenter job actually I’ve been sent screenshots of myself every week by ‘creeps’, which is probably just as bad! Laughing about it helps, as does having a close group of friends where I work!

Are you happy with the direction the job’s taking you?

I’m really happy with the direction I’m going; TV opens a lot of doors even though I’d eventually like to be more editorial. I’ve now got a lot of experience, a well rounded CV and lots of connections. I’ve working with Ginx a lot at the moment, which is fantastic. Although they aren’t as big as say, Eurogamer or IGN, I’m definitely well on my way to bigger and better things!

And finally, do you have any last advice for students and graduates reading this article?

Think about what you want to do and forge a path. I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t blog on video games in 2nd year. You really do have to have as many things on your CV as you can though, as there thousands of other grads in your position.

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