Bucharest-based 3D art and design company AMC Ro Head of Studio, Cristina Alina Neamtu, confesses that she sees herself as a late bloomer while depicting her career journey so far.
While she manages to lead a creative team that develops content for games, films, and other fun media channels, she also balances different acts, like that of being a mother, and the president of the NGO Women in Games Romania.
For the uninitiated, the local zipcode is well known for the performance of its professional gamers. One proof of concept is the fact that the DOTA championship was held in Romania in October of 2021.
With a background in cybernetics and business administration, Cristina has had leading roles for over a decade now. And she continues to promote inclusive cultures that empower women in tech and gaming to achieve their full potential.
The Recursive chatted with Cristina about building the next generation of 3D artists in Romania and the failures-turned-into-victories.
The Recursive: Tell us about your career path so far and how did you land your current job?
Cristina Neamtu, Head of Studio at AMC Ro: I am a late bloomer. I have been a timid girl all of my life. The child prodigy and the star of the class, until I landed in Bucharest as a student. Here, I couldn’t fit in.
As a girl coming from a small Transylvanian town, where everybody knew everybody, and where you had to marry your neighbor; in Bucharest, I married a gamer and supported him in creating the first Romanian video game.
Or, at least, that was the plan. But we didn’t stick to it. We couldn’t finish the game we planned to create, so we ended up building a vertical slice of it with a great graphic appearance.
Instead of making games, I wound up leading an art team that created the graphics for the most incredible games on the planet. Not bad, actually.
How would you explain to a 7-year-old what your job is?
I do the same thing your parents (should) do for you: take care of my people so they can fly as high as they want.
What do you like most about the AMC Ro Studio business culture?
I love my people. I love that my people love to learn to love people. It’s not an easy job, but we are making progress. I also appreciate that I can bring my parenthood to the workplace. Ask me how I am, and it will always be kid related.
So being able to be me at work is the most rewarding perk.
What have been the advantages and disadvantages of developing in your field as a woman?
I can only see the upside of being a woman: being able to bring life is something that radiates as a ray of light in every aspect of my career. I have been lucky enough to work with colleagues that celebrated femininity positively correlated with their masculinity, and I believe this should be the perpetual norm.
What does a day in your life look like? Tell us something we don’t know about the field you’re working in.
I lead what must look like a dull life seen through other people’s eyes. Nothing spectacular, daily routine, job, picking the kids from school, reading, procrastinating and going back to bed. But I enjoy every moment of the day.
At work, we were the pioneers of #WFH (Ed. Note. work from home) by having a couple of our colleagues working remotely who didn’t dare scale up the process.
What did you want to be growing up, and how has this vision changed over the years?
I always wanted to become an astronaut. And then a doctor. Now I want to become an astronaut doctor.
What is your definition of success?
Simple. It is achieving your goals and having fun on the way with your people at the same time.
What do you think makes you good at what you do?
I know I am good at making a delicious Greek salad and a minty lemonade. For the rest, I still have a long way ahead.
How has technology shaped your career?
One of my daughter’s kindergarten mates told her once that technology is like a hammer: you can build a house or you can smash a pumpkin with it, it’s your choice. He is a wise young man. So, whenever I binge-watch Succession on HBO Max on my phone, I go back to his wisdom.
What are your professional goals for this year?
My professional goals are related to my team’s goals. We plan to open a concept art team in Romania with all the great artists that need to be represented and don’t want to leave the country for better pay.
We plan to grow the new generation of 3D artists in Romania. That is more than a professional goal. Is our vision for the future.
Tell us about how you coped with a big failure in your career. How did you move on?
I must say, I am good at getting my sh*t back together after a failure. I fail beautifully or, as they say, I am resilient.
My most extraordinary failure-turned-into-victory was when we couldn’t sell our game because it was not finished, and I shifted my team’s great effort and passion into a lucrative business.
What is your motivator during not-so-productive days?
My faith. My confidence that everything will turn into good eventually. And my confidence is delivered by love.
From remote work, through automation, a 4-day working week, to universal basic income, how do you imagine the future of work?
I suck at predicting such things. I just hope that tomorrow will rain and all creatures will benefit from it.