Inside the Games: 2K’s Dawn Burnell

2K Games

The Game Reviews: We are here with Dawn Burnell , the Marketing Coordinator at 2K Games and Sports. Can you tell us a little bit about your job, and what a coordinator does?

Dawn Burnell: A coordinator can do a lot of different things. In my position, I am seeing a lot of what the marketing career path has to offer. I help out PR, our Community Manager, and Senior VP of Marketing. I basically make sure that many things that no one else has enough time to do, get done.

TGR: Can you tell us a little bit about where you come from and how you got into the industry?

DB: I have a degree in chemistry from UC Davis, but realized that it wasn’t the industry I wanted to stay with. I was trying to figure out how I could get into one of my loves, which is video games. I’ve played since the Nintendo came out, and am a child of the video game era.

I contacted a few people I knew, that had started doing some freelance reviews for the fan sites. Even though there was no pay, I reviewed them, and posted the reviews, to build a good portfolio. I also started a GameSpot blog, which got me listed on the front page of GameSpot. One of my friends in the industry was the Community Manager at 2K Games, Elizabeth Tobey. She let me know about an opening at 2K for the Marketing Coordinator position. I came in and really adored the company. I was a little bit leery of being on the publishing end, because I am dating a developer, and there is that love/hate relationship to deal with.

TGR: Most definitely.

DB: 2K is a really, really good place. The people there are really awesome and really dedicated to making the games the best that they can be.

TGR: Excellent.

DB: When I interviewed, they were looking for someone who had a lot of good skills, but not necessarily anything really specialized. That was exactly what I needed, because I needed to learn.

TGR: What would you recommend to somebody to get into the industry?

DB: I would recommend making sure that you are doing something for free, that shows what you want to do when you are in the industry. If you want to program video games, start doing all of the little game competitions that are out there. There are 24-hour ones, and 48-hour opportunities. Just get out there, and find some other people to work with. Show your code, art, and music. Whatever it is that you want to do, show it off. In my case, it was that I know I could write and talk about video games. So I was writing about video games and blogging about trends in the industry, to show that I could keep up with what was going on, in an intelligent fashion.

You should practice what you want to do and show it out there in the public sphere. You also want to contact anybody who you know in the industry and really work that. You want to make sure that people know that you are interested in getting into the industry. When an opportunity comes up, be ready to take it. You go on the interview and you show your best stuff.

StarCraft

TGR: Awesome, very cool. What is your favorite game of all time — and it cannot be one from the company that you work with or you have worked on.

DB: My favorite game of all time is Starcraft by Blizzard.

TGR: Okay.

DB: That was really the first multiplayer game that I got into. I spent way too many hours on that game when I should have been doing homework in college. It is my favorite game of all time, hands down. I cannot wait for Starcraft II to come out.

TGR: Very cool. Do you have a favorite system?

DB: No, not really. I mean if I had to choose one, I would probably choose my PC because that is what I have been playing on since I was five years old on the Commodore 64. But I do not think that one should really choose a favorite system. Each system has stuff that it could offer and that is really interesting. There is really no point in choosing a system that is favorite of all time. If I had to tell which system I played the most right now, it is the Xbox 360. That has a lot to do with the library that it has and the Xbox Live Arcade, with the ability to download the arcade games.

TGR: Right on, well thank you very much.

DB: Sure.

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