• Hot Topic: Gencon Indy and Industry Insiders

    by  • March 6, 2012 • News, People & Events • 6 Comments

    Gencon Indy. Gaming Mecca is the US, (or so the hype suggests.) This year, with a new interest in transperency, they have opened up discussion about their Industry Insider program. Which is awesome! When they opened the conversation on their forums, there was a great big beautiful display of support for women in the industry with lists and lists and lists of women who make, talk about, and organize games. It was, frankly, inspiring.

    However, instead of digging into those lists and doing the inviting from the lists and lists of suggestions that came up in their thread, they’ve opted to suggested Insiders suggest themselves. (You can go to this site for more information.) It makes a lot of sense, on a certain level. Not a lot of time spent searching for contact information for people who may not be interested.

    However, there is one little issue, not their fault exactly, but worth addressing here. Especially considering the nature of the discussion here at this site.

    Girls get told most of their lives that they should wait for boys to ask them to dance.

    Many women are socialized to feel they are not ‘good enough’ to self promote. Now, this is not a universal truth, I know plenty of women in the industry who have no problem telling you how awesome they are. (Myself, for example, I am damn awesome.) Gaming can be competitive, in a strange way, especially at the design level where a lot of big thinkers butt heads to be heard over the masses. This can further encourage some women to be certain they aren’t ‘good enough’ to qualify as ‘real designers’ or ‘legitimate bloggers’ or any other reason they ‘don’t’ qualify as in Insider so far as Gencon is concerned. As a result, there are plenty of highly qualified women in this industry who just won’t send that email saying ‘I am awesome, here are my awesome credits, you should be lucky to have me be awesome at your convention.’ (Though, you know, maybe you’d want to word it better.)

    So what’s the solution? I am big on solutions.

    If you are a woman1, send jeannette.legault@gencon.com an email. Show her your awesome credits. Tell her that Gencon would rock with you there. Resist the socialization that tells you that you should sit back and wait for the boy to invite you to dance. Go invite Gencon to dance with you instead.

    But how do you know if you qualify? Here. I’ll help.

    • Are you awesome? (Hint: the answer is probably yes.)
    • Do you organize play, on a national or even local scale? Do you get new people playing? Or help people find each other? You probably qualify.
    • Do you write games? Do you do it for love, for money, or for the ‘sake of the art’? Are they major sellers or have they only been seen by three gaming groups? You probably qualify.
    • Do you write for other people’s games? Do you edit? Layout? Create art? Do you freelance for money or trade? Deal with contracts, late payments, and self promotion? You probably qualify.
    • Do you blog? Are you kind of a big deal on a rpg discussion forum? Are you the queen of twitter debates? Do you utalize G+ in a way that makes ‘media gurus’ weep in the face your magnificence? Do you have the dulcet voice that keeps gamers coming back to your podcast again and again? Love, you probably qualify.

    Really. If you want to be at Gencon, and you even remotely fit any of these qualifications, or hell, don’t but have something better in mind? Send an email.

    What’s the worst that can happen? Peter is not going to show up at your cousins wedding and laugh at you publicity, telling your family what a loser you are. No one is going to post your request on the internet and invite gamers to come call you names. The very worst that can happen is that you get a polite ‘no’ from the staff. (Though, if you get a rude ‘no’ do let me know!)

    I can’t pitch myself. I won’t be able to do Gencon this year. So if you can’t do it for any other reason, do it for me, huh?

    1. in whatever lovely shade of woman you see yourself. No proof of concept needed.


    Filamena is a professional writer and game designer who isn't very good at writing bios. Having written for White Wolf, Catalyst, Green Ronin and a number of smaller table top games, she's been freelancing for several years. Interested in the indie game scene, Filamena also publishes independently with her life partner at Machine Age Productions. She's the mother of two (almost three) kids, an outspoken liberal and pro sex feminist.


    6 Responses to Hot Topic: Gencon Indy and Industry Insiders

    1. avatar
      March 6, 2012 at 22:08

      Makes me wish I could afford to go to Gencon. I’d at least send the email.

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      • avatar
        Ben Lehman
        March 6, 2012 at 23:10


        If you do get accepted as a GoH I bet we could fund raise for you to go.

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    2. avatar
      Jason Morningstar
      March 6, 2012 at 23:11

      I think the Guest of Honor “categories of expertise” are broad enough that anyone could make a credible case outside traditional “industry” roles. There’s a whole media and community category as well as space for “other”, which would be a good place to put stuff like translator, activist, Giulia Barbano, etc.

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      • avatar
        March 7, 2012 at 00:02

        It feels kinda odd to have a category of my own. Actually, I have been pondering this issue, and I might use it as blog fodder for a response to Filamena’s call.

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    3. avatar
      March 7, 2012 at 04:01

      I am super-sad to not be going this year, but my due date makes GenCon an impossibility. So I’ll join Filamena and encourage those who can go to apply early and often! There are so many awesome women in gaming doing insanely awesome things. We deserve to be represented!

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      • avatar
        Angela Craft
        March 7, 2012 at 14:07

        I was all set to nominate myself (because as Filamena says, the worst that could happen is they say no!), and then realized that GenCon is the same weekend as my best friend’s wedding. So looks like I’m with wundergeek and Filamena in cheering you all on from the sidelines!

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