If I had been asked 15 years ago “where do you see yourself working in the future?”,
I would not have expected the answer to be, “working as an Assistant Producer for an indie games studio in Manchester”. Working for MySpace would have been more believable!
Games were always just something that kept me entertained when I was younger. I spent hours playing Time Crisis, Crash Bandicoot and Mortal Kombat and as much as I enjoyed these experiences, working in games was never really something that crossed my mind. Which is crazy! the UK had such a huge and celebrated games industry, employing 1000's of people across all aspects of game development and production. I was certainly never told that by my careers adviser.
Before joining the team, I worked in a variety of co-ordinator roles which included, project managing food festivals and art exhibitions to managing various digital meetups and business development events in and around Manchester.
I was first introduced to Fabrik Games through my role as the Events Coordinator at The Sharp Project, where my aim was to deliver a calendar of events that benefited the creative community. This included hosting regular well-being events for all tenants, monthly code clubs for young developers like Coderdojo and engaging and collaborating with creative communities around Manchester like VR Manchester, North West PlayTesters and the MCR Film Production Co-op.
It was surreal that this industry was reaching out to me for my skills and experience.
I reacted to the offer asking myself a few different questions:
“What is happening here?”
“Can I transfer my skills into the games industry?”
I had never experienced just being approached with an opportunity like this before. My experiences of job hunting were simply, spending hours tirelessly scrolling through job sites into the early mornings hoping that the perfect job would just appear.
The first 6 months...
I attended over 30 events from sunny Develop in Brighton, networking at Northern Exposure in Newcastle to assisting in the organisation of the North West Playtesters event in Manchester. As well as getting to know people I have also used these events as an effective recruitment tool which has resulted in the studio hiring 3 new members of staff.
One thing that really surprised me was that this industry really knows how to throw a party! coming from a background of working for charities and social enterprises the idea of a free bar was only but a myth to me.
A big aim for the studio was to get more involved in supporting education. I made it one of my aims to build up relationships with neighbouring universities straightaway. Through this work, this has enabled us to assist in preparing students for working within studios. This consists of mentoring students on briefs that are set by our leadership team within the studio.
The biggest challenge by far and one of the roles I have taken on is trying to communicate the studio's culture in a way that really sets us apart from other game studios. Fabrik has always prided itself on its collaborative strength, and entrepreneurial ethos. An example of this was the team coming together to work on the rebrand of Fabrik Games. It was a great experience to co-ordinate the rebrand in conjunction with celebrating Fabrik’s 5th Birthday. This was a great example of that ethos at its best.
I have faced several challenges over the last 6 months ranging from; understanding new pipelines, new technology and how it is implemented from start to finish. My game dev encyclopaedia is growing day by day and the team always have time to mentor me through any barriers I might be facing. This blog was actually their idea!
I have been overwhelmed by how welcoming everyone has made feel and I can't wait to see what's next for Fabrik Games.
Thank you all for reading.
Siwan Owen – Assistant Producer