The video game industry has faced its share of challenges recently, with 2023 being particularly tough and the trend continuing into 2024.
Many talented individuals have found themselves searching for new opportunities.
If you’re passionate about working with game trailers, cinematics, and related video content, there’s a silver lining amidst these trying times.
Let’s dive into the world of game industry jobs that align with your skills and interests.
Full-Time vs. Freelance: Choosing Your Path
The first decision you’ll face is whether to pursue a full-time position or venture into freelancing. While full-time roles may seem more stable, they are not immune to the industry’s fluctuations. On the flip side, freelancing offers freedom but requires considerable effort to achieve financial stability. It’s a path filled with challenges, from finding consistent work to managing a business. Before taking the leap into freelancing, ensure you have a financial safety net.
The Freelance Landscape
For those intrigued by freelance work, I’ve shared insights on the indie game trailer scene, although it’s worth noting the landscape, especially on platforms like Twitter, has evolved. The visibility for promoting work has changed, impacting how creators share fan trailers and engage with game developers.
Focusing on Full-Time Positions
Most of you are likely seeking full-time opportunities, available in game trailer houses or within game publishers and developers that boast their own video departments. A great resource for finding these positions is the Bins and Bytes LinkedIn group, managed by Philip Roberts, Director of Cinematic Services at Crytek. This group is an excellent starting point for job listings related to game trailers and cinematics.
The Roles: From Capture to Cinematics
The game industry offers a variety of roles for those interested in trailers and video content. Capture artists work on grabbing gameplay footage, a crucial step in creating engaging trailers. Video editors then take this footage, crafting it into compelling narratives accompanied by music and graphics. Cinematic artists focus on creating in-game cinematics, requiring a keen eye for camera angles, lighting, and animation.
Skills and Tools of the Trade
A background in filmmaking, editing, cinematography, or photography will serve you well in these roles, alongside a deep understanding of video games. Familiarity with software like Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, Unreal Engine, or Unity is often essential.
Learn the Art of Making Trailers from an Expert
Derek Lieu is an experienced game trailer producer. He shares tutorials, essays, trailer reviews, and occasionally his own fan trailers.
Where to Look: Game Trailer Houses and Beyond
For those interested in game trailer houses, the Golden Trailer Awards Directory is a helpful resource, listing both movie and game trailer producers. Companies like AV Squad, BOND, and Buddha Jones are just a few examples of organizations that create dynamic game trailers, offering a range of opportunities for creative professionals.
For those interested in game trailer houses, Golden Trailer Awards Directory page, is a helpful resource, listing both movie and game trailer producers.
Don’t overlook game developers that house their own video departments. Names like Activision, Blizzard, and Naughty Dog are notable for their in-house teams, providing yet another avenue for those seeking to work on game trailers and cinematics.
Here are others that list jobs every now and then:
- AV Squad – Los Angeles, CA – Another movie trailer house known for making a lot of the most hard hitting action movie trailers as well as some of the most famous A24 horror movie trailers. I see less game trailer work out of them, but as far as I know they still have the department.
- BOND – Los Angeles, CA – Another movie trailer house with a gaming division, they did trailers for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Mortal Kombat 1, Gotham Knights, and a whole lot more!
- Buddha Jones – Los Angeles, CA – Buddha Jones is primarily a movie trailer houses, but they also do some fantastic game trailer work like for some Assassin Creed Games and the Outer Worlds 2 trailer parodying AAA game trailers.
- Create Advertising – Los Angeles, CA – another movie/game trailer hybrid house. They made trailers for Tekken 8, and lots of other trailers and TV spots for AAA games.
- Trailer Park/Mutiny – Los Angeles, CA – Trailer Park is one of the largest if not THE largest movie trailer houses, and they recently spun up a gaming division named Mutiny
- Altar Creative – Montreal, Canada – Their gameplay trailers are some of the most impressive in the industry. The cinematography and composition of their shots always impress and inspire me. Their founders used to work at Ubisoft and often work on their games like the various Assassin Creeds, but they have a VERY impressive portfolio. I look forward to every trailer they make.
- Big Thursday Creative – Hove, UK – A UK based game trailer house that worked on Need For Speed Unbound, and a bunch more including some indies.
- Evolve PR – Victoria, Canada – I have a bunch of friends who work here! They recently did trailers for Dave the Diver and they do lots of great work for indies. They’re fully remote and based in Canada.
- Fire Without Smoke – London, UK – a London based game trailer house that has lots and lots of impressive work for games like Dead Island 2, Far Cry 6, Ghostwire Tokyo as well as some indies like Rollerdrome and Little Nightmares.
- Gnet – Los Angeles, CA – Gnet is another big game trailer with an impressive reel including Elden Ring, Destiny 2, Call of Duty, Halo Infinite, and a lot more. They do a lot of multiplayer games, which require a robust capture team.
- Hammer Creative – Los Angeles, CA/Remote – voted as a great place to work at with very good upward mobility. They’re a hybrid work place with several staff who don’t live in Los Angeles. Though, if you’re joining the capture department you will likely have to be in Los Angeles. They’re exclusively a game trailer house who did work for Alan Wake II, Deathloop, The Callisto Protocol, and loads more.
- Layer Media – Redwood City, CA – Game trailer house in Northern California who seem to be the primary vendor for Humble Games’ Publishing division. They seem very indie focused, with some bigger budget stuff here and there.
- Maverick Media – London, UK – An agency that does a lot more than just game trailers. They also do live action trailers and spots, CG, key art and more in addition to gameplay trailers.
- Player One Trailers – Bellevue, WA – The only trailer house I know of in Washington state. Their work tends to be in the AA space with some indies too. They made the very impressive Pacific Drive campaign and their founder Gage Allen’s passion is capturing and creative narrative shorts in games (which he does via Player One Stories)
- Rez Creative – Montreal, Canada – They’ve done work for lots of big AAA games like Watch Dogs, Far Cry, Assassin’s Creed, as well as stuff like Dead by Daylight. They also do a wide breadth of stuff like CG, live-action, and more.
- The Trailer Farm – Brighton, UK – Another game trailer house in the UK, but in Brighton (get fish & chips while you’re there!). They do a mix of AAA like Borderlands 3, and gameplay trailers for indies and also cinematic trailers for games like Fall Guys, Death’s Door, and more.
As for game developers, the places I know to have their own video department include: Activision, Blizzard, PUBG Corporation, Bungie, Crytek, Naughty Dog, Riot Games, and Team17.
This is a non-exhaustive list of places that might be hiring folks who work in these niches of the games industry, but it should be a good start if you’re looking for work.
This exploration is just the beginning. The game industry is rich with opportunities for those passionate about trailers, cinematics, and video content. Whether you’re leaning towards a full-time role or considering the freelance route, there’s a place for your creativity and skills. Keep an eye on LinkedIn, join relevant groups, and don’t hesitate to reach out to companies that resonate with your career goals. Your next opportunity could be just around the corner.
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