Connections Becoming Mentors and Friends
Growing up you’re taught not to talk to strangers but then you’re told to make friends. These two things always seemed to clash in my mind. I was a very social kid that grew up into an extrovert. As an extrovert I enjoy meeting new people, hanging out with friends and for the most part don’t mind talking to random people. Networking has always seemed to be a super power of mine. Because of this “super power” I met one of my friends Ryan Costello.
Our story began like most. Girl goes to comic convention (C2E2), gets ditched by the “friend” who I came with while wearing a black Mary Marvel costume (see Shazam the movie for reference or pick up a comic). Before being ditched I am introduced by my former friend to a Canadian company titled Blind Ferret Entertainment. A company known for online comics, cartoons, Board Game and Comic Book Bento plus advertising. Basically, all the things I love in life. Thanks to Mary Marvel’s boots my feet were sore, and I began a conversation at the Ferret’s booth with Lar (Artist) and Stone (Warehouse). Stone figured out quickly that my feet were hurting and invited me to sit down at their booth. I agreed and began lots of funny conversations. Lar offered me cookies he received from a fan. I was worried they might be poisoned or something so politely declined. Eventually another guy came to the booth and introduced himself as Ryan Costello aka the guy who’s chair I stole.
We started talking and thanks to my job at the time Fujifilm we realized that we could be helpful to each other. So, over the year I helped with random convention booth graphics and opinions on different projects Ryan was working on. I loved board games but didn’t play RPGs or any heavy Eurogames. I was a good test subject for many ideas because of this. Eventually we just became friends and moved from e-mails to Facebook Messages about comics, movies, board games and more! I even traveled to Montreal to go to Blind Ferret and meet Ryan’s amazing family.
Thanks to him I found a way to break into an industry I’d always loved: Table Top Games. Only side effect of this spike in borderline obsession with gaming again was the money I spent expanding my game collection. At times I worried if my fiancé Jessa would leave me over my spending habits. I had been designing games for myself and family members since I was little but now, I had a chance to do some graphic design for Blind Ferret and Legendary Games. Ryan introduced me to various company connections he had met through curating for Board Game Bento. Some connections became friends, others became jobs and some became mentors as I developed my first game Nut Stash.
Ryan has been the most helpful mentor a person could have asked for. With every idea I had I was able to bounce it off of him. As far as designing a game went he had tons of helpful suggestions since he had done it himself for Blind Ferret. For the business end he was able to point me towards helpful Facebook groups and books. Thankfully, I was able to return the favor and help him with projects, prototyping and general hobby questions. He is one of the major reasons I have been able to go into this industry as a young female and actually know what I’m talking about.
The amazing part is all it took was talking at a Comic Book convention and being myself. Plus, the graphic design degree may have helped get me through the door. Now I continue to see Ryan at Board Game Conventions like GenCon and PAX: Unplugged each year as well as message each other on our creative ideas. Having a person who shares an interest like creating board games really has made a difference. I hope to some day help another person as much as Ryan has helped me.
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