You heard us right! Soft Chaos has welcomed an intern until the end of August. His name is Ryan, and he's a fantastic animator and artist with game design chops to boot!
When we made this decision, we were as surprised as anyone. We just turned a year old in May. We're a very new business, and we learn so much everyday.
But, this awesome local initiative called "Diversité en jeu" specifically aims to help students from underrepresented populations in games get an internship! Thanks to them and to a program called "Accueillez un stagiaire", we were able to fund an internship for Ryan.
Ryan had already had an offer from another studio when we interviewed with him, but he told us that he was looking for something a little different if he could find it. It turned out that that was us.
Now, internships, although an amazing opportunity for students to gain experience, are notoriously, cartoonishly exploitative in many industries. It's a well-known stereotype. The stereotypical intern often has poor working conditions and is given the horrible or very boring jobs that other people don't want to do. I don't know the actual stats on this, to be honest, but I'm betting that's still the case for many.
That's not what Soft Chaos is about. We started Soft Chaos as a cooperative and wrote our bylaws in such a way that we wouldn't only be relying on our own consciences and good behaviour to behave ethically. Our collaborators and guest artists receive either the same or a better pay rate than we do. (I say "or better", because as co-founders at the start of our second year of business, we are still doing unpaid hours).
For Ryan, we also wanted to build an internship that would be a useful, positive experience for him. We talked to him about where he hopes to wind up in games (he's an art director in the making) and have given him personal development hours to use as he wishes, whether that's a personal project, taking care of his health, or doing research in the form of playing all the videogames.
Ryan can also choose whether or not he wants to sit in on our meetings of any kind, including the biz dev ones, and he has a choice about which projects he wants to contribute to (with one base project).
As our cooperative develops, hopefully, we can keep learning more best practices about how to share our knowledge and welcome people to the design space.
So far, we're so impressed with Ryan and delighted to have him around!
(P.S. It's my spouse Tom's birthday today! Happy birthday, Tom! Ask Mark Hamill to wish him a happy birthday on Twitter for me, will you?)