This is just a very quick post about the Tabletop Mentorship Program, a scheme run by the wonderful Mike Belsole and Grace Kendall over the last couple of years or so. The idea is that they connect people who do just about anything within the games industry, or who want to, from game design to illustration to podcasting or reviewing, with more experienced members of the community who can help them take their next steps. A mentoring period is over three months, during which the mentor and mentee agree to meet (via an online call of some sort) at least six times, for at least half an hour each time.
After discussing the scheme with a couple of friends, I signed up as a mentor for the January run of the scheme. I must admit that I was somewhat nervous, as I am still close to the bottom of the industry ladder, and wasn't sure how much I could offer, but reassured by the friends, and the information on the scheme's website, I gave it a go.
I was matched with a designer who was working on their first "serious" design (they had tinkered with others, but not got far with them), and we hit it off well on a personal level, and over the three months it was great to see the designer preparing their game and pitch for showing to publishers. They were well motivated and, I think, just needed a little reassurance on a few things and some pointers based on at least some experience of interacting with publishers, which I do have a bit of.
Overall, I found my first time as a mentor to be a really enjoyable experience. My mentee claims I was helpful, and I felt that I learned a lot from the process as well. The scheme also has great support through a Discord server, through which you can get help, advice, or just chat, plus there are regular talks on YouTube (some streamed live, some recorded), interactive discussions, and social meetups.
Applications are now open for the next round of mentorships (which will be the last for this year as the organisers will then be working on restructuring the scheme to be a long-term prospect), and I have already signed up again. If you think you could offer something as a mentor (if you have any experience in any games business related activity, there is a good chance you can!), or would like to find a mentor for yourself (or both, in fact!), it's well worth looking on their website to find out more. Applications for this round are only open until 17th May, so there isn't a lot of time.