Spoiler: it is totally possible, believe me.
This is not a post to say remote work is the sole possible future or anything like that. I leave those considerations to the ones who have a better understanding than me regarding social rights, creativity and in leading projects and companies.
I am not encouraging anyone to take any decision, just sharing my own experience hoping to start a nice discussion and to make new interesting connections. As prove of that, here there is my first and unique suggestion of the whole article: in your life and profession look ALWAYS for your #comfortzone™.
Who I am
I am a game designer and a computer scientist working for entertainment and videogames since 2007. I am a creative guy, probably as you reader. In the game industry it is getting harder and harder getting the right job in the place you want to live. I have talented colleagues which are constantly moving from town to town with all their stuff and family. Which is great, if you want to travel and build your career in great companies.
Anyway, not every person has the same needs. I need stability to be really creative, have the calm to analyze contexts, communicate effectively, improve my skills constantly, write down my book in Italian about game design (another spoiler, yes), and so on. I need my base of friends, I need my girlfriend and I need my city. This is my comfort zone, which is all I need to work well.
I choose Barcelona, the second capital of Spain, to be my city. Barcelona is full of great companies and I jumped to one from another during a while. After that I found myself sending cover letters, doing evaluation tests and, in general, get lost into the "find a job" loop. The answer was almost always a no, since my resume, as for the vast majority of game designers out there, has not the proper "completed projects" sequence. Which is normal, since if you look at statistics, almost 9 games over 10 get canceled during production and never see the light. In case of free to play situation is worst, because we are talking about services which can be shut down at any time. A situation in which, I am pretty sure, some of you readers are living right now.
After a while I started to think in another way, and just say to me: I am a game designer.
Simple as that.
I mean, the problem which I was trying to solve was: "get a job in the game industry". But my real problem was: "I need to create games because I am a game designer". So I just started doing it, studying more and more about it, publish small experiments and considerations. I started the Barcelona Game Design Meetup, to create new synergies and starting giving to the community. I stopped thinking in “get a job, ASAP!” and started to do the game designer. Also I considered programming skills I have and I was hiding in the name of title. After all this, which is very hard believe me, things started to move.
The way I have right now, which works for me but has issues as always, follows simple rules.
The good of my day job
Let’s get to the core of this article. Working remotely and as freelance has a lot of challenges, but in this text I just want to share the good part. The message I need to share is that creativity is strongly improved working half day on a project and half on another, because the rhythm of your job creates interesting chances.
Here there are my bullet pointed considerations:
All those things I shared happen to me, I know perfectly we are not all equals. I meet each month professionals which are in most cases very different from me. They give their best with a fixed position and title. They are effective when they stay during a long time just on one single project. All I want to say is that is totally possible to create great things by remote. And that it is possible to have multiple project at a time, if you are well organized with schedule.
As last thing, remember that few companies believe in that, so it is not easy to find clients. You need experience and you need to be able to communicate over a vast geography in order to increase your chances to find those “pioneers”. It is not easy at all, there are a lot of issues and challenges and it is completely possible that my mind can change into the future together with my needs. Any setting has issues and challenges, the point is to choose those you want to deal with.
Thank you for reading this,