My first business trip feels like a complete success. I'm still working on the coverage, but what I've written so far has been pretty sharp. More important than the quality of the coverage is the quality of the experience and my ability to do some networking in the process.
I arrived at LAX shortly after 7pm, and after getting my luggage and taking a cab to the hotel, I figured I'd be late to dinner, but I was pretty much just in time. Took a cab to the restaurant, had a nice Italian dinner, and though I was too late to sit at the big table with most of the other writers, I was at a nearby table with a couple other latecomers and had some good conversation. Retired to the hotel room and thankfully found the WiFi to be competent -- and more importantly, free.
Woke up early on Wednesday morning. At 9am, we converged downstairs in one of the conference rooms at the Doubletree in Santa Monica for the Enemy Territory: Quake Wars event. I can't go into much detail at this point, but we played about four hours of the game and I interviewed one of the co-owners of id Software. I was hoping for a one-on-one interview to transcribe for the site, but it was with another writer, so it has just served as (very helpful) background information on the preview. That should go up tomorrow night, so look for that if you're interested.
I'd gotten the contact information of one of the guys I spoke with the night before, so I hit him up on AIM after the event. We had a few hours to kill before dinner, so we walked a few blocks to a classy outdoor mall area called the Third Street Promenade. Dinner was at an authentic Mexican restaurant, which meant lots of complicated dishes that I had no interest in. Better than the meal was where I sat -- right next to one of the higher-ups at one of the top Xbox-specific gaming sites. It wasn't intentional (I hadn't met him yet), but after we got to talking, I expressed an interest in freelance work and he said they could really use someone.
Thursday was a quick day. Woke up early, checked out, then we met in the lobby and headed over to Activision HQ to check out Spider-Man 3. Again, I can't say much (coverage starts going up on Thursday), but it was a short visit (under two hours). After that, it was off to the airport and back to Chicago. I got the contact information of a third writer from a larger website, so I'm going to be pursuing possible freelance opportunities with these contacts that I made. I've already started the process with the first two, and if those don't work out, I'll check with the third. I'm not looking to leave WP, but I need some paid work as soon as possible. My savings are drying up and student loan payments start in June.
Yeah, so it was a great trip all around. Travel wasn't bad, the hotel was excellent, and everyone was really nice, from the developers to the other writers. I'm hoping for more trips in the near future, but until then, I'll be finishing up this coverage, starting new assignments, and seeking out freelance opportunities wherever possible.