GameCareerGuide.com, Gamasutra's sister web site for game development students and other industry newcomers, has a new article called 'The GDC Survival Guide'
to help prepare first-time GDC attendees for their induction to the show.
Aspiring game developers who are about to launch on their first professional job search will find James Portnow's advice most fitting to their situation. Two of his tips include "Do your research" and "Skip the lectures," as this excerpt explains:
"Research companies you're interested in. On the GDC web site, there is a list of companies who will be at the show.
As an industry hopeful, you have an advantage when going to GDC. You can come armed with a ton of information about the people you will meet while they aren't going to know anything at all about you. The same is true for anyone whose name is currently on Mobygames and who wants to interview at the conference.
The more you know, the easier it will be to start conversations, and the easier it will be to avoid the pitfalls that come with them.
I once saw a student trying to convince a Sony rep why he should hire him. He was telling the man about how bad the most recent
EverQuest expansion was (a poor plan in the first place) and how he, the student, could have made it much better.
The Sony rep happened to be the lead designer for that expansion.
... I'm going to get flamed to high heaven for saying this, but my number one piece of advice for people who are not yet employed in the industry is this: Don't go to the talks.
The talks are fantastic. They're of the highest caliber. They're well thought out, clear, thorough -- but they involve you meeting no one.
When you're in the industry, the talks are an incredible resource that I encourage you to drink up, but right now they won't do you any good.
The good news is that the low-cost passes don't give you access to the session anyway."
For the complete list of tips for surviving your first GDC, read "The GDC Survival Guide"