Last night, my cousin sent me a link.
It was for a job opening at Night School Studio, the independent developers of Oxenfree and a tie-in app game for the show Mr. Robot.
They’re looking for writers and my cousin thought of me.
She digitally nudged me to apply and I laughed it off.
Night School Studio was looking for people “experienced in shipping narrative driven content, passionate about stories across all mediums, familiar with the game development process, excellent at communicating narrative principles, great at listening, and quick on your feet.” They required a resume and a polished sample of narrative work, highlighting screenplays, teleplays, plays, or interactive game scripts as their preferred sample submissions.
As I read, only one thing went through my dismissive mind.
There is no way I could get this job.
I have never worked on the development side of video games in my life. I have “shipped” narrative driven content in the form of years-old short stories on a (mostly secret) Tumblr blog. I guess I’m passionate about stories across all mediums, but even then I second-guess myself because others are clearly more passionate. I can discuss narrative principles but I’m not necessarily excellent at it. People say I’m a great listener, but I’ve never considered my listening skills to be hire-worthy. And lastly, I am only theoretically quick on my feet.
Considering all of this, I approached my partner with the idea. What I hoped I’d get was a laugh about the impracticality of it all and a “of course you shouldn’t apply.” Instead, they also nudged me to try it out.
Then some other friends responded to my cousin’s digital nudge with their own digital nudges. Clearly everyone around me wasn’t thinking clearly.
Like I said, there is no way I could get this job.
I got to work and pitched my co-workers on the idea. They all shared the same sentiment.
I have a tendency to talk myself out of things. I lack confidence and I don’t consider myself as talented and worthy as many others seem to think I am. So when someone approaches me with something like this and give me a “Why not?”, my brain proceeds to produce thousands of reasons why not.
I don’t know when this change happened because I wasn’t always like this. I used to shoot for the stars regularly. When I had even less experience in related fields. I would email authors and developers, mainly hoping for some sort of personalized response and nothing more, but dreaming about potentially getting a job out of it in some way. Or a mentor. Or some sort of sage advice that would carry me through the rough times in life.
I did it because I believed in underdogs. I believed in impossible stories and thought I could one day look back at that one perfect email that set me down my life’s path.
Did I grow up? Did I realize that was naive? Did I become cynical through some stressful life and job experiences? I don’t know.
What I do know is that when I watch videos of game development, specifically the 2 Player Productions ongoing documentary series going behind the scenes with game dev studio Double Fine (Broken Age, Psychonauts), a spark ignites within myself that tells me “this is what I should do.” I know that the few years I’ve worked within the games industry, as a journalist and as a marketing friend for Black Shell Media, were some of the most personally enriching times of my life. I know that videogames and storytelling have always been passions of mine… so… why not?
I’ll let myself dream again but I’ll be realistic about it all. And I’m scared that even if I was offered something, I’d still want to say no. Because it would mean so much more than just getting a dream job, it would mean leaving the comfort I’ve found in my town, it would mean going long distance with my partner after having to do that for years already.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
It’s time to dream again. I’ll face those other things later. I’ll just let this ignite my creative passions for a little bit and see what comes of it. I can’t reject myself before trying all the time. I need to try. I need to write. I need to be that kid again before I just talk myself out of everything in life and never go down fulfilling paths ever again.
Just thought I’d share this moment with y’all, just in case this does prove to be a turning point in my life and like I was totally down on myself and we can all look back and laugh. Or this might just be a moment lost to time that never gets revisited and I end up being an accountant. Who knows.