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  • Writer's pictureR Cipolletta

e40: Wednesday Tuition

Sebastian O. 25.11.20

Personal Statement Workshop

Audience Profile:

During the lecture, some emphasis was placed on understanding your desired audience and tailoring your Personal Statement toward the reactions you want to achieve from them. This left me very pensive as honestly I don't have a specific ambition right now. My immediate goals for the future involve resting up, developing my skillset, and focussing on the quality of my work over any final given job. This is a new stance for me, so it's a little alien to think about and I wasn't immediately sure on how to approaching it in the context of this task.

Having stewed on it for a bit, I think a generalist Artist Statement, summarising me as a person and my passions as opposed to gunning for a job offer, is more appropriate here as it gives me some flexibility for the future. No use tailoring it to (for example) be a blog writer, if in six months I'm going to regret not aiming for a career in, say, animation.

Ultimately, my goal is to spark interest in anyone who reads about me and my personal ambitions and processes to inspire either a steady or freelance job, a single commission, or even just a new portfolio follower. Doing it this way, I'm less likely to get an abundance of job offers, but much more likely that if an offer comes it will be my dream job (even in an area I had never considered) as opposed to a filler job that will ultimately leave me unhappy. I am satisfied with the pro/con trade off.


Overall I really liked the workshop and found it very helpful. Most of my thoughts are summarised neatly in the notes bellow, and I was able to draft this statement paragraph (also bellow) from both this lesson and the accompanying guideline, provided by the university. I ultimately chose to centre it around my development this year as I felt that it would be a disservice to my skillset to try and water down everything in my portfolio into the 150 word limit.

Though I may elect to shuffle it around before submissions, for now I am very happy with my choice and excited to see these words representing me on the Degree Show.

MA Degree Show Personal Statement:

(148 words)

I am a BA Games Design graduate from MDX and have spent this year on the MA Games course at Norwich University of the Arts focussing on the advancement of my passion for narrative design. Having previously specialised in writing and level design, I have now extended my skillset into concept art in order to fully embody a change that I would like to see in our industry – one that involves a much higher emphasis on the integration of the theories of storytelling, psychology, and real-world, strategic puzzle placement, especially for use in the indie development scene.

I have a vested personal interest in the survival horror genre, finding that it is the perfect avenue to explore my ambitions. I have spent the last academic year conducting research into the theory and technical application of the uncanny valley and terror storytelling as potential improvements to existing industry tropes.

R Cipolletta



  • A first impression and profile look at who you are

  • “Introducing yourself on your terms”

  • Avoid clichés

  • Start with the profile of the ideal audience member and tailor your writing toward that person

  • Active steps to getting those specific people to see your degree show page is important!

  • Artist statement vs personal statement

  • Word count is flexible, but today working on a shorter statement so we can build on it. Usually the context determines the length (eg. CV is short and focussed on encouraging the person to keep reading). Artist statement is more practice-focussed (w historical and technique context) so there is more room for words. MA showcase is what you want it to be – whether it’s artist or personal statement.


Opening Line

  • A definitive statement which projects confidence and ownership of your practice/discipline.

  • ^^ start with "I am"

  • Avoid use of the work 'student' as it takes away your ownership of the skillset and hides you away from criticism. If you are not confident say things like "I aspire" or "I am working toward"... etc

I am a Narrative Designer, specialising in concept art, writing, and level design.


What can you do?

  • Part 1: Design Skills and Processes -

Digital painting, concept generation, storyboarding, drawing/sketching - blog writing, analytical/critique writing, research-based writing - puzzle design, level mapping

  • Part 2: Making Skills and Techniques - (software)

Procreate, (learning) Photoshop, (learning) Clip Studio - Microsoft Office, Trello - Unity, C#

  • Part 3: Transferrable Skills - important in work but not related to discipline (eg teamwork, organisation)

Project management, organisation, task distribution, interpersonal relations, presenting/pitching


Why do you do it?

  • Up to 5 things you are interested in - in terms of practice and research interests (eg. stylistic & aesthetic interests, themes & issues & contextual beats in your work)

  • Be specific! not just "nature"

  • How does the interest manifest?

Behavioural Psychology: the use of media to manipulate believable emotions out of fictional characters, and desired reactions out of real life participants/players.

Visuals & Audio: manipulative use of both (in tandem, or separately) to trigger subconscious reactions.

Storytelling & Dialogue: emphatic character building scenarios - straying away from empty RPG models.

Advancement of Industry: innovation and invention of new techniques and technologies rather than overreliance on existing tropes.

Real-World Puzzle Solving: using elements of real world treasure hunting for various goals.


Putting it Together

  • very short sample "I am a designer and visual communicator with skills in illustration and photography and I am good at working in a team. my work has a clean aesthetic suitable for digital platforms and it explores issues related to the environment and sustainability."

I am a Narrative Designer, specialising in concept art, writing, and level design for videogames and other media. My manifesto consists of showcasing a large roster of skills condensed into a singular project; combining skill such as digital painting, concept generation, storyboarding, drawing/sketching, blog writing, analytical/critique writing, research-based writing, puzzle design, level mapping etc.

My projects vary, and can span across a range of programmes (Procreate, Photoshop, Microsoft Office, Unity etc)


Context Writing

  • Paragraph to contextualise work shown in degree show

  • Include links in the provided space for it. Full, fleshed out biography on website?

  • Finishing sentence is a good idea! I'm available for... work/commissions/collaborations etc (call to action from viewer!)

Additional Notes: the people who know you are some of the best people to give you feedback on this as they will have a good grasp on whether you've accurately represented yourself in the writing.

- R Cipolletta



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