Archive for August, 2011

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Prepare your Experience@Singapore

2011/08/23

I have been receiving a lot of E-Mails lately regarding Experience@Singapore. It seems that ContactSingapore chose another round of candidates for their programme just recently! Congratulations to everyone that was chosen, this is going to be one of the most exciting experiences of your life.

Of course now you wonder: How should I prepare for this whole thing? I made a FAQ-list for this that I will try to answer as detailed as possible. Please keep in mind that I have attended the programme last year and that the organisation can change details. If your are not sure that the information is up-to-date, don’t hestitate to write an email to ContactSingapore, they are very helpful with any questions you might have.

Experience@Singapore Digital Media Inofficial Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I get there?
A:  Flights to Singapore are provided by several airlines. I chose EMIRATES and booked my flight via swoodoo.com, which I can absolutely recommend. ContactSingapore is going to pay half of your flight-costs, keep that in mind when booking.

Q: What about the costs/money?
A: ContactSingapore is going to cover half of your costs for flight and accommodation, as well as a welcome-dinner and a farewell-dinner. You are going to receive the cover on your first day in cash (Singapore-Dollars). That means you don’t actually have to bring that much cash to exchange in the first place. How much exactly is, of course, up to your own estimation, it depends on how much you want to go shopping there and how long you would like to stay after the programme. Food and transportation is not expensive at all. Please get the most recent exchange-rate here: http://www.xe.com

Q: Do I need a visa?
A: No, you can enter Singapore without a visa. You are going to get a form in the plane which you have to fill out (length of stay, name etc…). You drop that off at the airport-customs and that’s that. But make sure to bring your passport! I recommend checking immediately if yours is still valid. If not, have it renewed as soon as possible.

Q: How/What was the hotel?
A: I don’t know for sure if you are going to stay at the same hotel we were, but if that’s the case, I can promise it’s wonderful. Check it out here: http://www.galleryhotel.com.sg/
You are going to share your room with one other candidate of the programe, which is really great. Because really, after a day in Singapore you can’t just go to sleep. You have to TALK IT OUT! 🙂
You don’t have to bring a hairdryer or towels or even shampoo, everything is available in the rooms. The staff is super-nice and helpful, too. And don’t forget to check out the pool.

Q: What kind of vaccination is recommended?
A: Whenever you travel to a foreign continent it’s useful to check out the recommended vaccinations:
Check it out here: http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/travel/asia/singapore.shtml

Q: Do I have to bring anything special?
A: Here’s a list of things I never regretted bringing with me:

  • Passport copies
  • mosquito repellent
  • sun protection cream
  • first-aid kit
  • Diary/notebook
  • Netbook for blogging
  • photocamera
  • printed out flight info, ContactSingapore Info-Sheet, list of participants
  • credit card

List of things I regretted ever buying and bringing:

  • Electric socket adapter
Q: Should I bring my portfolio?
A:  Yes. If you have the time and money, invest in a print-portfolio, if not, bring digital examples of your work or a showreel. You will get the chance to show your work to the professionals who can give you very valueable constructive criticism. Don’t forget to bring contact-cards and your CV, too!
Q: Can I stay in Singapore after the programme is over?
A: Definitely. I still regret not staying longer. If I had the chance, I’d at least stay another week, to visit Malaysia and get the full experience. You can book your room at the gallery hotel or stay in one of the youth hostels.
Q: It’s pretty warm there, right?
A: Yup. It’s warm. And moist. And tropical. BUT inside every building they have the airconditioning going like crazy. Don’t forget a jacket or shawl to wear inside, or you have a high chance to get a cold. Also, concerning clothes: One day you are going to visit  Temples and perhaps a Mosque, make sure to dress appropriately for that.
Q: Is bringing a laptop a must?
A: No, not at all. I brought a small netbook because I planned on blogging anyway.
Q: Do we have to write a diary/blog?
A: No, you don’t have to. Last year I was the only one who did it, and I did it more for personal reasons. But you can give ContactSingapore the link to your blog, if you write one. They are very grateful for everybody who does it. There is even a small competition: One for picture-taking and one for blogging. Last year I won the blogging competition (because I was the only one, haha) and my dear friend Martin won the photo-competition with his amazing pictures. 🙂
Q: Do you have  a bit of free time for shopping and hanging around?
A: Yes you do. Although not A LOT. Sometimes we had like 30 minutes to stroll around the area we were visiting. But in the evening we ALWAYS went out to eat and have cocktails together, which is free time. But I highly recommend staying longer after the programme, since the schedule is really really tight.
Q: Do you have to dress properly for the interviews with the companies?
A: You are going to have company-presentations, not interviews per se. Sometimes you will have the chance to show your portfolio, but there isn’t an interview-situation, because you don’t really have the time. This week in Singapore gives you the opportunity to get to know some companies, the lifestyle, the working-morals, simply an overview on the worklife in Singapore. You won’t actually get hired from the spot.
As for the clothes: Be casual. It’s really warm and you have to run around the city all day, so leave the high-heels and Blazers at home. Of course it’s up to you to make an impression. I’d go with casual but semi-professional attire (nothing tooooo short or deep decolleté).
Q: Do you receive an kind of job-offer after the programme?
A: You never know, but since you don’t actually APPLY to the companies you visit, I’d say no. You will trade contact cards with influental people, get to know them personally and you can use that in your application later, which is definitely a big plus. But don’t stress yourself over any job-related things. Get to know the companies, fall in love with Singapore and apply as soon as you are back home. 🙂
Q: What companies are we going to visit?
A: You will get the information soon from ContactSingapore! It’s recommended to research the companies beforehand, so you know if they have any open positions and what exactly they do.
One last word on the companies: Don’t be afraid of them! 🙂 They are all very very nice people who act very casual with you and are happy to answer your questions. In fact, we had a nice chat with the guys from LucasArts over a cup of coffee. 🙂
If you have any other questions, please just drop me an email: mail@marionkapferer.de
I will try to answer everything, since I know how exciting this whole phase is. I was so nervous, I could barely sleep, when I first got the notice that I was a candidate.
I wish everybody who is in this year’s programme all the best and a lot of fun. I’d be happy to hear about your experience, maybe you will make a blog yourselves?
Best regards,
Marion
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New Portfolio Website

2011/08/09

There’s no use in giving yourself very good advice without following it, right? : )

So here it is: My re-designed portfolio website: http://www.marionkapferer.de

It’s pretty different from my previous portfolio (although I really liked the layout of that one…), but I kept the general theme of the teal crystal ball. (Those spheres that keep reappearing are a reference to “Maerlyn’s Rainbow“, for those who are interested in my nerdy tendencies.)

There are a few points, or, you might even call them “guidelines”, I considered making my new website. They generally apply to any portfolio, some more, some less. Feel free to review them as a checklist when making your own portfolio site.

  • A black background makes the colors of the artwork pop more and look best. White and shades of grey also work, but others, like crimson or dark blue may have unplanned effects on paintings or renderings.
  • An easy navigation without sub-pages to click on will save my potential employer time. Time he or she could use to reply positively to my application. ; )
  • Clearly marked links make navigating easier. I know, I know, rollovers are SO 2002, but I like them. I guess I’m old…
  • Keeping the “About” page as professional as possible and as personal as required. I didn’t add a photo this time, since I also want to apply in countries where adding a photo DISQUALIFIES you as a candidate. Be careful!
  • I put a very short version of my CV with the most relevant information on the “About” page, giving a futher link to my (also re-designed) full CV in german and english. This way, potential employers can see instantly if I fit their job-requirements (years of experience, programs I work with, games I’ve worked on, my age, my education, previous employers, degree. ) and can download the PDF if needed.
  • On the “Contact” page, I didn’t put every last link and username on every forum on the internet I troll am active on. I only linked the ones, that are relevant for getting me a job, or, at least, giving a positive image of myself. ; ) Don’t link to your facebook if you tend to post drunk-as-hell-statuses every now and then.
  • I made a copyright statement on the frontpage: This of course won’t actually protect your work from somebody who plans to steal it, but at least it makes clear that you are aware of your rights and will not tolerate any stealing.
  • As for the portfolio-page itself: I made bigger thumbnails than before, but not GIANT ones. In some cases I wanted to put some text on them, so I made sure there’s enough space for that.
  • Some “Project Pages” show a lot of pictures (when the project is more relevant or bigger), some only show one (when it’s just one illustration, for example).
  • I only put a very small selection of my work online. Over the last few days, I did many reviews on my selected images, deleting more and more, to make sure I only have things in my portfolio that represent my skills and that I can stand looking at.
  • I didn’t put all my 3D-Work online yet, simply because I still have to chose the renderings. But for every 3D-Asset I’m going to do: A full shaded, lit rendering/ a wireframe / concept art  (if there is one)/animation video (if there is one). ALWAYS show wireframes. <– Mantra
  • Overall I tried to keep it very simple, clear and easily accessable. I like pages that are a bit playful or even extravagant flash-pages, if they are done right. But since my page has the purpose of landing me a job in the near future (knock-on-wood), I decided on a simple look and feel.
If you want, you can post your own portfolio-site in a comment to this post, I’m really interested in seeing how other artists did their websites. : )
Thanks for reading!