The games industry plays host to a colourful cast of diverse individuals, from designers and presenters to directors and writers.
The skills to pull off these roles, however, are complex and differing, with each position requiring mastery in its field.
In the lead up to International Women's Day - taking place on March 8th, 2020 - PocketGamer.biz is spotlighting a number of women from the games industry under our Jobs in Games series, every day this week.
Each profile will bring along a certain set of expertise, a different background, and a wealth of knowledge to be shared with all. Most importantly, for women looking to join the industry, there'll be some key information on how to get started, and key bits of advice for making the jump into games.
Today we are speaking to Kitfox Games communications director Victoria Tran regarding her time at the Canadian indie studio, and how taking a chance without any prior experience in the industry led her to the position.
PocketGamer.biz: Can you tell us about your current role and what it entails?
Victoria Tran: I'm the communications director at Kitfox Games, an indie studio in Montreal, Canada. It's hard to say exactly what I do on a daily basis, but I handle marketing, PR, social media, community development, events, emails, influencers, communications strategy, some business development, invoices, etcetera. On top of this, I also handle a bit of the internal book-keeping too, because someone needs to do it!
I hit a point where I decided to just Google and email random people in fields I was interested in joiningVictoria Tran
Being in a studio of only nine means there's never a lack of tasks to do, but it does mean it's difficult to answers questions like these.
How did you first get into games and how did you progress into the role?
Whew. Following a mental breakdown on the floor of a bathroom (shout out to post-grad existential angst yeah!), I hit a point where I decided to just Google and email random people in fields I was interested in joining. Many did not get back to me, but one did!
Brie Code (CEO and creative director of Tru Luv) responded, and honestly it was just the fact she was so nice to a complete stranger with zero games experience, or any idea of what she was doing, that gave me the confidence to just try and apply for a job in games.
During university, I worked two jobs in marketing to get by, so I ended up having a bit of experience in that field. So, I took my chances, applied to a bunch (and I stress, a bunch) of game jobs before one finally got back to me.
Is it something you ever imagined yourself doing?
Nope. I originally was in university for healthcare PR, so my parents are clearly disappointed in me now (just joking - they are generally supportive at this point, if somewhat confused at what I do).
What did you study (if anything) to get your role? What courses would you advise for aspiring professionals in the area?
I didn't! I mean, I majored in sociology with double concentrations in communications and the social studies of medicine. The cool thing is that the studies have helped me in my role a lot - whether that's sociology helping me to figure out how to manage large groups of people or medicine in marketing.
Do you think marketing a game is hard? Try figuring out how to get people to actually take their flu shot and wash their hands.
Anyway, for any aspiring professionals, I'd say this: have some tangible experience. Look, everyone applying for games loves video games. That isn't special. But have you actually done anything in your field? If you want to be a writer, have you written something outside of a classroom?
If you want to be a community manager, are you actively a moderator somewhere or learning how to market a game? I don't think there's a specific course. What we need to see is that you have the drive to do something, rather than just talk about it.
What part of your role do you find most fulfilling?
Interacting with the community. I know, very cheesy and very typical but it's true. I'm in a position where I get to see the worst takes, yet a position where I get to hear and read all the personal, heartfelt messages people send us. For that, I'm super grateful. Also, I'm probably biased, but I think the Kitfox community is pretty cute, sweet and smart. I love them!
What we need to see is that you have the drive to do something, rather than just talk about it.Victoria Tran
What do you find are the most common misconceptions, public or professional, about women working games?
That we don't know what people are saying about us behind closed doors.
What are the biggest difficulties you have encountered since joining the industry?
Being extremely hesitant to take on certain meetings/go to certain parties because it feels like I'd be in danger, probably.
Is there anything about the job/industry you wish you would have known when first joining?
No one cares that you've never played [insert popular game title]. You can still succeed in the industry even if you've never played those games, and it doesn't make you any less of a game developer.
What do you think needs to happen over the next few years to help push diversity in the industry further?
A lot, probably. What I will say is that signal boosting is good and appreciated, however we need more than just a massive chain of tweets shouting us all out.
Buy the games we make! Fund initiatives that help marginalised genders further their careers. Give career advancement but also retainment. Provide us positions of power, and not in a glass cliff sort of situation.
PocketGamer.biz will be releasing a new profile every day this week to celebrate International Women's Day 2020. You can keep up-to-date with them all here.