The Media Molecule studio director on how she got into the game industry, and how you can too
Siobhan Reddy has been in the game industry for over a decade now, working at Perfect Entertainment and Criterion before co-founding LittleBigPlanet developer Media Molecule, where she holds the role of studio director.
In our new regular series of interviews on breaking into games, we speak to Reddy on how she got into the industry, and what advice she has to help you get that job in games.
How did you first get into the game industry?
I created a CV outlining my experience, which was pretty varied as I was a very active teenager and I gave that to Aardvark Swift, they found me a job.
What did you study before getting into games (If anything), and how did this help you?
I didn’t go to university. I was lucky enough to be exposed to a family business from my early teens and worked with my parents. I had a hunger to try new things and so then learnt how to make a fanzine, which then led to me working at a record store/label in Sydney, mainly inputting information about collectible records into a database. With help from a teacher I learnt how to make short films, this then led to me working at a very cool web design company before coming to the UK.
What was the most important lesson you learned early on?
Working hard and making a difference with your work is crucial. There is a lot to learn and you have to self-educate to keep up. Being a useless producer is the worst, and I know I have been one at times.
Are there any mistakes you made early on in your career that you can now advise people against?
I think most of the mistakes that I have made have been when I haven’t had my priorities right. Earlier in my career we used to cane it to get the games out on time and people and their personal lives really suffered. As I got older I realised that wasn’t healthy, respectful or generally the way to go. We need to offer people creative places to work and they therefore have to be flexible and not negative spaces.
Have you ended up where you intended to be when you first entered the game industry?
I didn’t have an end goal for the game industry, but the younger me would have been very happy with what I am doing, as from a young age I wanted to be making/involved with making stuff that I liked with people that I like. So I feel incredibly really lucky to be working at Media Molecule with the best people on stuff I love making.
What would you say are the key skills aspiring developers need to get a job in games and get noticed? And how can they acquire these?
It’s a really difficult question as there are so many young people applying for jobs. The entry level is high, and so it’s important that people have the ability to demonstrate their skills. Having a great show reel/portfolio, having examples of games that they have made. You do have to stand out, so that means nailing your colours to the mast and showing off!
Is there anything you'd like to add about getting a job in games?
The game industry is *filled* to the brim with different types of people. There have been a few times I have been disillusioned by the whole thing, but it’s the people that make it so special. There isn’t a cookie cutter for a game developer which is why it’s so hard to give a certain answer to people when they ask how to get in. You might not think there are people like you in the industry, but it’s like music, you will find your band. Just dive in.