The GDC Dilemma
Let's say you're at the Cannes film festival. You're looking at your schedule and you have two options. There's a panel discussion right down the hallway where you'll be able to see Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo Del Toro and David Gordon Green talk about the craft of movie making. Chances are there will be tons of up-and-coming directors in the audience asking them questions. Your other option is to take a meeting, where you'll get an early look at the trailer for Escape From Witch Mountain II. The choice seems simple, right? You go see the artists talk about their craft. Save the press stuff for later. But there's an increasing pressure to take meetings at GDC. Sit in on previews of games. To basically do the same kind of stuff you're going to be doing at E3. I understand where PR folks are coming from. GDC is a great opportunity to get your game covered.
But from where I'm coming from GDC is one of the rare opportunities to see gamemakers talk about their work and not have the discussion framed as a pitch. Here is where they come to talk about their art and their craft. For the most part they're not out to sell anything, except for maybe ideas. In years past I felt like I missed many opportunities to hear these ideas, because I was too busy taking meetings and handing out business cards. I swore I wouldn't make that same mistake again. So this year I've managed to run the PR gauntlet with only a couple of appointments. I didn't come out unscathed. And there's one (which I'll tell you about later) that was so sweet that I couldn't resist. Otherwise I'm a free man. We'll see how it works out. I hope what I come up with is interesting to you guys. I know, at the very least, it will be interesting to me.