How To Present at a Speaker Social
Who presents at DMG Speaker Socials?
Any person who is or would qualify as a Class A member, with a project related to interactive/immersive media art, computer or analog games is invited to present a 10-15 minute talk and/or demo at our monthly social. While we welcome and include cis men in our space, we serve, prioritize and centre the gender marginalized, and invite those whose identities fall within that spectrum to speak at our socials.
You don't have to have created a polished, released game - even a sketch of an idea is interesting and we'd love to hear about it. We are interested all kinds of media artworks, computer and digital games – whether you're in a technical or non-technical role, a producer or support person, focused on music or art or narrative. Maybe you're not working on a game at all, but a writer, artist, musician producing work that game makers would be interested in or inspired by. We want you!
What's it like to give a presentation at a DMG event?
All Speaker Socials happen at our headquarters located at 32 Lisgar Street (in the new Toronto Media Arts Centre) in Toronto. We have a workshop that seats up to 24, and a studio space for our members to work and hang out.
Arrive at least 15 minutes before the start of the social, and we'll get you all set up. If you need other specialized equipment, please let us know at least a day ahead of time.
The crowd is usually about 15-30 strong and a mix of independent game developers, designers, film and video artists, animators, people who work at small studios, freelancers, enthusiasts and more. A large proportion of the crowd comes from a non-technical background. The mood is casual, supportive, sociable and friendly.
Presentations should be roughly 20 minutes long (shorter if more than three people are presenting, longer if you need more time and we've made special arrangements). Having some kind of visual component - slides or a demo of your game - is ideal.
Our workshop is equipped with high-speed wi-fi and a projector with HDMI and Chromecast input. Check with the organizer ahead of time to make sure we have the dongle you need.
What should I talk about?
The following works pretty well as a format, but we invite you to break the "rules" and do what you like!
You, your background, and how you're involved with DMG if applicable
People want to know about you! What interests, skills, hobbies, and communities influence your work; why you're interested in games; what brought you to DMG (if you're a participant in a DMG program or new to the community). If your career path or area of study is related to games or influenced your project, say a few words about how you wound up there.
2. Project Background
Tell the story of your project and how it came to be.
- Where did the idea come from?
- Were you influenced by other related games or projects?
- What challenges did you meet along the way? Did the project change as it progressed?
- If you have any interesting anecdotes about the process, tell them!
Show us what you've got!
If your project is a game, play through a small part of it on screen, or throw up some screenshots, sketches or narrative maps. Point out the parts you're most proud of or interested in.
If you're presenting on a topic, take us through some visuals. Slides with minimal text and graphics/photos work best!
Ask the audience a question and get feedback on a problem you're struggling with
If you have future plans for growing or changing the project, talk about what they are. Looking for help or collaborators? Let people know.
We don't normally do a Q&A at the end of talks, but you're welcome to invite questions and discussion if you like.
You could ask for feedback about a specific aspect of your project. This could be about game design ("What isn't working about this?"), the interface ("How do I make the actions available to the player more clear?"), research ("Who's doing interesting work that I should check out?"), collaboration ("I'm looking for a sound designer…").
- Wherever you're at, it's good enough! Try to avoid self-deprecating phrases or apologizing for the state of your project (we know, it can be hard!). Assume that the audience is excited to hear what you have to say - they are. This sets a open and encouraging tone for everyone in the room who is working on a progress they might be shy about sharing.
- Your perspective is unique: Remember that there will be people in the audience who are less experienced than you — your work may be the motivation they need to make their first game or get involved with the community. You have skills and experience and interesting ideas - you never know who or what you might inspire.
- Allow the community to participate: Sharing the difficult parts of your process, the setbacks and failures, make your work relatable. And asking for feedback or help on a specific component lets the audience contribute and get involved in your project in small way that just might lead to a breakthrough. Be open to new ideas – it's a chance to build relationships and deepen your work.
- Use inclusive language: DMG strives to provide a space as free as possible from linguistic and physical/environmental barriers and aggressions. We ask that everyone part of this community, but especially workshop leaders and speakers at our events, be very intentional in their speech, aware of the words they use and the effect they may have on attendees, and humble when corrected or questioned. Read Avoiding Ableist Language.
If you would like to practice ahead of time or rehearse your talk, we would be happy to arrange for you to do so ahead of time.
A note about recording
We sometimes video and audio record speakers at our socials, with permission, and create edited videos and text transcripts of the presentations. We post these videos and articles on our members-only site. Please let us know if you would prefer we did not record your presentation, or if you would like to see it before it is made public.
We can provide you with the source for the video, and you are free to post and share it however you like.