So I figured I needed to jot down my thoughts on my opportunity from a week ago. I've had a chance to look back and even rewatch myself to see how I did. For those of you who don't know me well (probably all of you reading this), I don't get nervous when speaking. Sometime in my teenage years, I learned that if I was prepared on a subject, I could go on and on about it for quite a while. I'm sure it has something to do with the pride I take in learning a subject I enjoy about as well as it can be learned. When I study something out of interest, I cover everything until I become fully versed in it. The topic of game development is no different. I believe this to the point that I think I even know the industry better than *some* insiders. Not that I think I really know it alll; that's not it. It's just that because I have had the privilege of watching it from the outside for so long, that I get to see it from a different perspective than insiders. Insiders work on a project and stay locked up for years at a time. That's not to say that they have no knowledge of what goes on, but that it is possible to happen that way. So, without digging myself into a deeper hole, I will move onto the next topic.
My number one source of anxiety over my presentation had nothing to do with things I could control. I knew I could go on and on for hours on any topic relating to games, and I am also confident in my ability to speak. The only thing that cause me to grief over this was the thought that nobody would come and watch me. That would be the worst possible outcome. The thing that scared me was the fact that this was my "stepping out of the closet" experience, for lack of a better analogy. I have been working on my computer for many years now, and almost nobody I know in real life knows it, understands it, cares about it, etc. To then have nobody show up to actually listen to what I might have to say would just be another reason for me to stay hidden in my room until 3 am every night with no tangible feedback, just my friends from the internet (whom which I appreciate).
It's hard to live a double-life. Working man, problem solver, family man, church-goer, scout leader, etc, etc, etc. by day. Then by night, I am someone who is similar, yet different. During the day, I rarely mention what it is I do at night. For those that actually ask, and get to know me, I tell them. I am not embarassed about it. I do, however, make it a point to not be forthcoming to some people. In my presentation I told the story about the boy in my scout troop who went and told his mom, after I told them about PW. They think its cool. They all want to play it when its ready. Moms, on the other hand, don't seem to understand. This one in particular told her son that I probably could be making better use of my time. The next time he saw me, he made sure to let me know that his mom thought that I should be doing better things with my time. It's a very common reaction, and I am not just referring to the one about me working on my project. I mean the stance (and fear) against video games that comes into play. It is that that feeds the reactions I get. It's a complete lack of understanding that is really frustrating about it. It's like listening to people bitch and moan about politics. Talk about wasting time. No person I have ever heard whine about politics is a "doer." They know enough to have formed these arrogant opinions, but they do not know enough to do anything about it. *me* shakes his head.
So what does this have to do with the presentation? Well, you see, all this was built up on my shoulders. Here was an opportunity to not only share what I know with people who might care, but to also possibly explain why it is I do what I do to people who don't know or understand. In my mind, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I did not want to waste it. On the one hand, I wanted to get it all off my chest. It was my opportunity to justify what it is that I do, so I took it. On the other hand, I was there to share pertinent information for those seeking it. For anyone hoping for a great discussion on how to make games, and only that, I apologize for my indulgence. I had to take that time, which was about the first 35 minutes of my presentation (after looking back). I knew that I might not ever get the chance to speak again, so I decided to make sure I had a clean conscience when I was done. Hopefully, for those that did want to hear about games, I put in enough good information that they were sated.
When it was all over with, I was pleased. I wasn't nervous once I got there and saw people listening to the panel going on before mine. I knew that there would at least be a few people listening, and it turned out even better than I could have imagined. There was over 50 people there listening, which made me happy. Now at least 50 people heard what I had to say, and saw it in my eyes that I was serious. What a great feeling. A few asked some questions afterwards, and I felt that people benefitted from what I had to say and share. Also, thanks to my wife, I was able to record it on video. I spent a few days splitting it up and posting it on a few sites I frequent, and so far in 4 days, there has been at least 80 more people who have heard what I had to say. All in all, I don't think things could have been much better.
Regarding the venue itself, I was a bit disappointed, but I wasn't suprised. I hoped that I might be speaking in an auditorium, but it was in the same Hall that all the other events were going on in. Because of that, the sound on the videos is horrible. Oh well. Also, I never met face to face anyone that I had corresponded with to arrange me speaking. The event coordinator was nowhere to be seen. When I walked up to the will call and said I was a speaker, they literally said okay and handed my a badge that said speaker. They didn't check who I was, and they didn't care. For a first-time event in Utah, I can't say I am that suprised. I only hope that they get a little better in the future if they want to keep doing these events, and want to get more people there.
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