How to get a scholarship to GDC from GaymerX…

Applications for the GaymerX GDC Scholarship Program for 2020 will open up on October 14th, 2019. This year, GaymerX will award 15 Core + Summits level GDC passes to scholarship recipients.

In addition to passes to Game Developers Conference, last year’s program included a meet and greet with other program participants and GaymerX staff and a Mixer hosted by GaymerX where program participants could meet other LGBTQIA+ industry folks. The program gave participants an opportunity to develop professional skills at the conference and network with other game developers. We also offer our scholarship recipients support after the event. We promote crowdfunding campaigns, tweet out about new games our scholars have released, and provide a direct line to GaymerX’s staff and volunteer network.

The selection process involves a committee of 3-7 volunteer staff members from GaymerX who each read every single application. We look through every portfolio website, we read every resume, and –whenever we can– we play the games applicants have created or worked on. Last year this took us about 3 weeks. Of the 117 applications to the program last year, only 10 were chosen. Those odds may not sound great, but we’re giving out more scholarships this year and there are a few ways you can make your application stand out.

Here are my 4 tips for being selected for the GaymerX GDC Scholarship Program.

1. You have to apply.

This may seem obvious, but I’ve had folks tell me that they didn’t think their work was good enough to apply or they hadn’t been in the industry long enough to have a chance. Even if you think that your odds are low, apply anyway! We’ve had scholarship recipients tell us that never in a million years did they think their application would be chosen. From personal experience I can tell you, that’s imposter syndrome talking, folks!

We select applicants with a huge range of experience, from students, to professors. From people developing their first game to people working on their 20th. There’s no cutoff in our selection guidelines for how good someone’s work has to be or how many years worth of experience they have.

The reason we offer this scholarship every year is to give people opportunities to get jobs in the games industry and to improve their professional skills. Your imperfect game, that 3D modeling project that you think could be better, and your first try at branching storytelling are all things that could get your application selected.

2. Your personal statement definitely matters.

When we ask the question “Why would you like to be selected for the GaymerX GDC Scholarship Program?” we read the answers very carefully. The answer is often one of the deciding factors as to whether a person’s application goes on the acceptance list or the waitlist. Your passion, your life experience, your interests and concerns matter to us! We really want to know why going to GDC is important to you.

Tell us a story from your life. Explain how you want to make videogames (or tabletop games) better. Tell us about how you’re working to improve LGBTQIA+ visibility and representation in games. Write in your five year plan if you like, or how you want to market your newest game. Go ahead and tell us that you want to find a well-paying job at a studio. Use this space to tell us about your perspective, your goals, your unique and subjective view of the industry. It’s all valid and it’s all important to us.

3. We want to see your work!

If you have finished games out there in the world, we want to see them! I’ll play them! I’ll even pay for them in a lot of cases. Show us where they are and at least one of us (probably me) will spend some time with your creations.

We’re not judging your skill or hunting for bugs. We’re looking for your point of view in games. A creative idea, an original mechanic, an engaging story, or sometimes just really really good art will sway us to choose a particular person. Also, you should let us know what you think your best work or your favorite project is. That really helps us get to know you as a candidate.

“But what if I don’t make games…” That’s cool, too! If you write about games or work in advocacy in games, show us what you do! Just because you haven’t made a video game, doesn’t mean we don’t want to bring you to GDC. If your professional or academic life revolves around videogames, you still qualify to receive a scholarship. GDC has advocacy, education, and other programming tracks that aren’t just for game designers!

4. Make. It. QUEER!

I don’t know if you knew this… but GaymerX is an LGBTQIA+ organization. Pursuant to our Mission Statement, we give preference to LGBTQIA+ applicants. But it doesn’t end there, we really like to see people striving to make games even more queer! If you have queer characters in your games, tell stories of queer experiences, write about queer interpretations of videogames, you should really showcase that in your application.

“But what if I’m straight and cisgender? Could I still be selected?” Yes, it’s possible! If you work specifically in the advancement and support of LGBTQIA+ people and culture in games you may still qualify to receive a scholarship.

LGBTQIA+ representation in games matters and we love to see our applicants who are working toward a world where putting queer characters in games is normal and expected.

Bonus Tip! Apply for Multiple Programs!

Every year GDC sponsors multiple programs like this, each with their own selection criteria. Your chances of receiving a scholarship are better if you apply to all the programs available to you. There’s also the low income pass lottery and the conference associates program. Find out more and find the right programs for you here:

A couple more things…

Hopefully, these tips give you the greatest chance of receiving a scholarship to GDC. So get your portfolios ready, update your resumes, and start thinking about why you’d like to be a part of the GaymerX Scholarship program. Applications will open up at midnight, pacific time on October 14th. Watch our twitter for links and reminders to apply.

I want to stress that transgender individuals, nonbinary folx, women, people of color, agender, asexual, aromantic, people with disabilities, neurodiverse people, and all individuals at intersections of these identities are strongly urged to apply for the scholarship.

If you have questions or need help with the GaymerX GDC Scholarship application, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info [at] gaymerx [dot] org.