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TIGSource ForumsDeveloperBusinessGame Developers & Music Composers - How do you network?
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Author Topic: Game Developers & Music Composers - How do you network?  (Read 30579 times)
hyperduck
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« on: December 30, 2009, 08:15:29 am »

I.e. From a game developers perspective, if you have a game, and it's doing well, looking good, but has no sfx yet, or music tracks to accompany it.. where do you go?

Do you look at other games that have done well, see the composers on those, and contact them for a quote? Do you do it yourself?

Are you as satisfied with it as you think you would be? Have you found trial and error processes that have led you to using other contractors to do your sounds and music rather than doing it yourself?


And from a composing musicians perspective. How do you find the games? Do you find any game, regardless of your preference, and offer your services? Did you start offering it free (i imagine most if not all did that, I know I did, for at least three projects so far)? Do you focus on a type of game image that compliments YOUR writing style and production sound? This is for everybody from new comers to people who have done it a long time to answer, I was thinking about how I've done up to now, and Dan & I, we're doing alright. It's not business as usual day in day out, but it's a substantial benefit to our living costs.

Another question, have any of you worked on big games? Or with big soundtrack composers? Comparable to the indie scene? I've only worked in the indie scene thusfar so I can't really imagine what it's like beyond this from personal experience, I've just read about others who have worked. And it can be quite extreme the attitudes that some have received when trying to work for film producers and other big media outlets.


I suppose in asking this, I should give a brief glimpse into my own personal experiences, in the hopes you guys will do as well. Keep it on track here folks please Smiley If I say anything that sounds pretty obvious or whatever, just ignore it, not everybody will know the signficance of quantizing or getting a new MIDI controller. So explain any complicated lingo you use!

How I began!
------------
I started in my first year at University, I'm in my third now. Dan Remar contacted me about a favour I said I would do for him, write some tunes for a game he was making. By that stage I had purchased an M Audio Fast Track Pro, which is a good audio interface for pretty much lag free MIDI recording. I bought a MIDI controller as well (which is a keyboard that links into the audio interface and allows real time playing and recording of MIDI signals) I got myself Cubase SX3, nice mini studio going there, and began learning a few things with some free synths. After a good long time and a lot of post-processing, adding echoes, modulation, amp modelling for the guitars, I finished the Iji soundtrack, and Dan was pleased!

The quality wasn't superb, but surprisingly it got a lot of great feedback, and we were quite overwhelmed with that. That's what brought me into thinking about doing this a serious profession. I'm studying music, I understand the theory, why not attempt to put what I love into my day job. I keep saying I and me and we and us, bare with me, I am referring to Dan & myself most of the time!

Further on..
------------
So I went looking for new projects, actually I was contacted before about a guy who had heard the Iji music and wanted us to do music for him, Katakijin is the game, and it's not released yet, or any of the music, but we finished that soundtrack in June I think. So people were contacting me, and balancing study with this workload was the only thing that turned a few projects away from my door, but I think already having your music in a popular game can ease the searching process and provide a good reference point for your previous rendered works.

Anyway, closing to the end of Katakijin, I began looking, constantly searching and hounding people (politely & with much charm I might add) about their games, did they have a composer? Did they need one? I was offering my service for free, I had gotten a lot better since after IJI, and even more since after Katakijin, and way more since that, so I could show them a high quality demoreel. It helps to listen to the developer and nod at everything that is being mentioned without skipping a moment to ask "what does that mean exactly?" If you're going to do anything, be honest with them, and they will be honest with you, hopefully! I haven't seen any dishonesty in any of my working relationships to date and I think everybody Dan & I have worked with to date have been the nicest bunch of dudes I've ever met (ladies, we don't know what they are? Lay..d?  Shrug MOVING ON!)

We got into the Zero Gear http://myzerogear.com team for writing about 15 minutes of music for them, maybe more in the final but the effort from their side helped encourage us and push us to deliver the best. I've found that you can write a bunch of drafts, all of which you think will work, but sometimes, they may not, in fact, only one of those drafts, or none of them, will work, but that's ok, you find this out from the developer, don't write TOO much in one track before showing them it while keeping them focused on the fact it's a rough draft. If you go too far down that road writing in that style, and they don't like it, it's time wasted, and it's not their fault, it's your own, so keep it light and consistently dynamic until they go, mmmm, yes, i like how that's starting to sound.

I think I worked on one track for Zero Gear for ages, before the Zero Gear guys were game to have Dan & I on officially, and it was great, Dave Marsh walked me through every tiny thing in the track he thought worked, and didn't work. Honesty, and communication rock in this industry. Big time.

We now have a great working relationship with the NimbleBit guys and I hope we will encounter working with them again and again in the future, they're a seriously talented bunch.

Present day!
-----------
Working with Extend Studios writing the soundtrack and all the sound effects for TrashMan at the moment!

is an old trailer but there's a demo on their website. They live in Thailand and are also a great bunch of guys, I found them by looking around the internet for games like crazy, I think I spent about 2 weeks looking for games fresh in development and looking for audio direction, and this was the same for all of these games.

Including Dust: An Elysian Tail by Dean Dodrill

The DBP 2009 winner. I think we're extremely lucky that we're where we are at the moment with these projects, and I am consistently thankful that I am allowed to work with such great people and developers.

However I do not believe luck is the deciding factor: persistence, politeness, honesty and enthusiasm will help you if you keep them on your side and exercise them at every given opportunity. I am nowhere near started in what I am wanting to do, but I am going to keep pushing my game and networking as much as possible and in more different ways throughout the next 12 months, I need to finish the degree first, but after that, full steam ahead.

Sorry if some of this rambled a bit, it's mainly explaining how I networked into finding these developers. I'd like to see the story from the other end of the spectrum, either end really! Musicians and Developers, spill the beans!
« Last Edit: December 30, 2009, 08:20:27 am by HyperDuck » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2009, 12:28:29 pm »

This was a very interesting read, especially for me since I am trying to get some recognition as a composer.

For my first project, an rpg maker game a long time ago, I was head hunted (Tongue) by the main guy after he heard the music in my topic, and was interested in having some original music. We worked kinda well together and I still post on the team's forums regularly, so thats nice Smiley

After making a couple tracks for very small projects that didn't get very far, I didn't do much for... a year i think, but I was still making music and posting every place i could. Eventually (it was bound to happen) I was playtesting Probability Zero and Droqen (the creator) followed the link in my sig and asked if I would be interested in making music for him. So I did. Smiley

So I am still quite a newbie for the whole scene, but I do enjoy making music and am fine with doing it for free until I am confident enough in my ability and speed in making it. I think it's wrong for me to request payment when I don't believe my work is professional enough.
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2010, 04:55:24 am »

Here is another musician. Let me tell my experience so far, even though it is short in game scene (only 3 months yet), I managed to tie 5 projects near to some indie movie soundtracks.

What I did is just telling the truth with honesty and delivering the final product on time with as little flaws as possible. Then I tried to find as many active communities like this as I can and registered and posted my CV. Also sent a CV to over 200 companies as well as talked to friends, telling them that I am working on soundtracks now as well and would be happy to help them or their friends and so if need arises.

In 3 months, this led to several mod projects and some indie games. I once talked to Mr. Leonard Boyarsky from Troika Games (now Blizzard I guess) and he suggested me to work freely on mods and indie games to learn and start my networking. So I did like that. Never thought of earning money but earning reputation. Reputation leads to payment fast if you are doing what you offer with passion and hard work anyway.

Also, word of mouth is the best networking you can have from what I have observed. One satisfied "customer" leads to another. Also one failure means it will be remembered.

It is not possible to enter AAA world of games or movies for small musicians like us unless the word of mouth spreads well and someone hears it. There is a book of Mr. Aaron Marks named Game Audio, telling every detail of the business from scratch. It is a GEM, I suggest everyone who is interested in getting into Music / SFX business to read it. It is a bit outdated in means of technological details and such but it has so many more to offer regarding the networking and so.

I learnt a lot from that book as well as Mr.Fatman's book. They both suggest using the word of mouth networking as well.

Also from what I saw and experienced, working with very good mods leads you some serious CV. I worked for Discovery Mod for Freelancer. The mod is the biggest mod for Freelancer and it had won several MOTY awards. When I tied the soundtrack for it, it helped me to get attention, same goes for some Crysis mods that I worked on.

Mod communities are a good place to start building your networking.

I hope the little experience I have helps others.
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hyperduck
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« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2010, 06:08:37 am »

Nice, really nice. I'm gonna grab those books. And both your posts were really informative, I learnt a few things, so thanks Smiley
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« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2010, 06:22:06 am »

I am glad that it was helpful, I also enjoyed reading your post.

Here are the full titles of the books that I have mentioned for anyone willing to grab.

The Complete Guide to Game Audio - Aaron Marks (VERY GOOD book, even includes contract samples and such).

The Fat Man on Game Audio - George Alistair Sanger (aka: The Fat Man) - This one is more like Mr. Fat Man's journey through the audio biz but it is very informative and he gives good advice. Also the "language" of the book is very funny, its always entertaining to read.

Also these two books are suggested but I am stil awaiting them to arrive.

Musicians Survival Manual - Jeffery P. Fischer (it is about general business tips and tricks)

Cashtracks: How to Make Money Scoring Soundtracks - Jeffery P. Fischer


I hope these also help.
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« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2010, 11:54:44 am »

You've really enriched this thread with some excellent experience & reference. I just hope more people will read and take from it, and yes, give back into it. Especially developers, maybe I should request this topic is moved somewhere else, I think business is the right place for it but I could be wrong, any opinions?

Would love to hear from game devs, from all ends of the spectrum, and more musician experience as well. This is a great place to put it all together and as times goes on, I will update the front post with a list of good references like those books (which im gonna buy btw) that oganalp mentioned.
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« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2010, 01:08:39 pm »

As a developer, here's my perspective. I've been approached by a few musicians offering to do work on my upcoming strategy RPG, but so far I've just been composing everything myself.

To be practical and save myself time, it would probably make sense to simply hire a musician. One of the main things that keeps me from doing that, though, are the demo reels I hear. I want my game's music to be distinctive. It bugs me when I hear a demo reel full of score that sounds like it came from a generic action movie. Why would I want to hire a cut-rate Hans Zimmer impersonator? Every "serious" game in the world has music like that right now. I want people to be able to hear a track from my game and say with particularity, "Oh, that's Telepath RPG: Servants of God."

I recently saw my first episode of Mad Men, and the musical theme just blew me away. It could easily have been written by Gershwin. "This," I thought, "was written by a composer who knew exactly what he was doing." If I heard that theme anywhere, I would immediately think of the show. It's just that distinctive. Plus, aesthetically, it's just beautiful. That's the sort of quality I want my game's music to have.

Then there's the enjoyment factor. I really enjoy writing my own music. It's the most fun I have while making a game, other than writing character dialog. So I need to feel confident that whomever I get to step in for me, he or she is going to do a substantially better job than I would myself.

The biggest thing you can do, I think, to give me that confidence is to have a couple of games you can point to where you did the music, where you did an amazing job creating something unique and memorable and professional. If you have that and you're easy to work with, I couldn't care less whether I heard of you via word of mouth, or whether you cold-called my cell phone at 2 in the morning.

(Speaking of cold-calling, by the way: the composers I've heard from all got my contact info off of Gamasutra. I'm not sure how much success they've had going that route, but if you have the chops and the sound clips to prove it, I can imagine that you'd drum up at least some business contacting smaller studios that way.)
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 01:15:20 pm by Craig Stern » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2010, 03:14:30 pm »

HyperDuck I have to tell you, even though I visited your website and checked out a lot of material on the Dust: An Elysian Tale... I somehow didn't realize you were the composer for Iji so I never properly complimented your work!  I absolutely loved that soundtrack... in particular the last boss battle.  It was very exciting and more melodic than anything I'd heard in a while (you can probably guess from my work that I'm into melodic stuff, haha).  Anyways, really great job with that!

Okay, now back to answering the questions in your thread ^_^:  I guess I should also start by talking about how I got my start.  I took piano lessons for about 11 years; but my real passion was improvising and trying to play songs by ear.  I liked video game music a lot as a kid, so I often tried to play my favorite themes on the piano.  I learned a lot about arrangements from listening to music from the NES Megaman games; I'd record them onto casette tape and listen to them to try and break down all the parts.  I realized that a lot of those 8-bit tracks were as complicated as some of the inventios I was playing, though no one believed me, haha.  Despite all this, I came from an area that was very rigid about careers.  There was a big emphasis on going to a 4-year college and becoming a laywer, doctor, or engineer, so it never even occurred to me that I could have a career related to music. I always just did it on the side for fun.  I went to UC Berkeley and majored in International Relations and Business, all the while I was composing for fun (or when I was procrastinating writing papers).  My friend gave me one of the really early editions of Cakewalk, and I wrote so many random little pieces with it.

During this time I also put together a CD with a bunch of random songs on it, and I gave it to a friend in Japan who worked for a teen magazine. She (without telling me) forwarded that to a bunch of record companies there who subsequently called my parents offering me auditions. So I flew to Japan during my spring break to audition with a bunch of record labels, which was a lot of fun. I actually got offered a contract as a singer, but I ended up turning it down for a variety of reasons.  The biggest one being I had some moral issues with a few of the things they wanted me to do.  But I realized at that point that having a music-related career was actually something I could/should be pursuing. After returning to finish college, I did a lot of contract work for a Japanese company as their sound designer. I hosted an audio talkshow, did all the sound engineering stuff, and composed a bunch of music for them. During that time, a friend of mine asked if I'd be interested in composing the soundtrack for a game he was consulting for.  I did this project for free, but the company liked my work, so I was paid to do the sound and music for many of their subsequent projects. 

From here I just gradually built my portfolio; I got jobs through word of mouth referrals and from folks who heard my music and thought it would fit their project.  It was definitely a gradual process before I could make a living though... And to answer your question, I have worked with large companies (PopCap, EA, Sony) as well as smaller ones, and the biggest difference for me is probably politics Tongue 

I think one of the most important things a composer can be doing while building their portfolio is developing their style.  Piggy-backing off of what CraigStern said, game companies receive tons of demo CDs filled with generic orchestral music or electronic tracks; there is no way for the developers to differentiate!   You have to figure out what makes your music special, and really work on making that shine.  I have to again compliment HyperDuck here because when I heard the Iji music, it really stood out to me.  I can still remember the tune from the boss fight, and I think that's a really good thing. 

Here is some general advice to composers:
  • Develop your voice.  By this I mean, find what's special about your music and work on developing it so that people will remember your work.
  • Gradually build up your portfolio wherever you can.  There are a ton of great student projects, indie developers, smaller companies in the casual and mobile arena, etc. where you can get experience.  The more projects you do, the higher the chances someone will hear your music and want to work with you.
  • Don't get taken advantage of, but at the same time don't be afraid to do your first job for free.  I offered to do my first job for free because I was confident that I could do a good job, and I knew that if they liked my work they would probably hire me in the future.  And they did... in fact, not only did they offer me paid work, but through referrals and having worked on several published titles I was able to get more work from other sources as well.
  • Be prepared.  Have a website with samples of your work, business cards, demo CDs, etc. 
  • Post your resume where there is high traffic from game developers (the indie game forums, Gamasutra, etc.), it's also good to try and attend events like GDC.  I'm not very good at networking... well, I love talking with people, but I have a tough time reconciling the idea that networking often forces you to view people as a means to an ends, and I just can't do that.  So I often end up talking with people about all sorts of random crap as opposed to business.  I suck at networking.  So instead, I just make sure to have a comprehensive website, haha.
  • This one is obvious... but be a nice person.  No one wants to work with people who are difficult, rude, or have a bad work ethic.

And sorry, I can't be of much help concerning the developer side of things because (like CraigStern) I do all my own sound and music Tongue
« Last Edit: January 03, 2010, 09:25:42 pm by supershigi » Logged

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hyperduck
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« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2010, 07:35:36 pm »

Actually so happy when I came home and saw all of this. Craig, that was the insight I was looking for, more of that, your views and experiences are briliant. I honestly feel like somebody else should have started this thread, because I love learning so much from all those who have come to contribute in it.


Speaking onwards of those who contribute to such a stellar degree of quality, thank you Laura :D I wanna hug you, you're too kind ^^ I was actually just sitting enjoying the plants versus zombies music & zombies on my lawn is forged into my mind, yet again. Dan is also a massive fan of Plants versus Zombies, as are many of my friends, they introduced me to it actually, I'm glad they have great taste.

This post was more of a thankyou so far to the great updates, I feel I maybe should barge in between each post but they're just so blinkin' brilliant that I must say thank you for them.

Also, you may call me Chris   Hand Thumbs Up LeftPanda Hand Thumbs Up Right
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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2010, 01:51:33 pm »

Ok, after reading the latest posts, I decided to write my own "find your label" story with my band, as it was a hard ride and took our 7 years to achieve that step.

Music, as any branch of art, is far more subjective than other development (career) options. This comes with an additional requirement of passion and patience.

In my country, being a musician, especially a rock musician like I am, is very hard as its not a type of music supported properly, even by the underground scene. Therefore, it took me and my band a good 5 releases to tie a record deal with a German label, a very big one thanks to God.

First we released a single, people liked it but, kaput, no chance of finding anything related to a record label or manager or etc. (record label here represents the clients in soundtrack business. Record label is your key to glory in music business actually - generally).

Then we recorded a full scale album, no label turned out to like it that much, so we built some more fanbase with another production coming from our own pocket (I hope you can see the similarities in between working for free on a project that is promising and this situation).

We started to get some gig offers after that though, it was a nice and refreshing step. Then we recorded another album, this time, we managed to tie a distribution deal with EMI's local branch. It was a major success for us at the time. Still, we were without a record label but at least we had a distro. Oh, and production from our own pockets again but with some sales income coming back.

It was already 5 years that we formed the band when this happened. Immediately, we decided to record another single. This time, we managed to get some attention worldwide, better than the reviews we had earlier.

Things were moving. it was the 6th year. Then, with what we have learnt, with the experience, we decided to go big (AAA projects if we talk in computer games terms) and recorded an album with a live symphony orchestra, as well as some worldwide guests that we invited to appear on our album. It worked! Our previous experiences helped us to overcome the difficulties, our passion and stuborness helped us to create a really good album... and nothing happened for months! We were desperate... Then the unbelievable happened and a record company wanted to sign us. Its now worlds 4th biggest indie metal label. But it took a good 7 years. Now, in our 10th year, we are releasing our 6th album with music videos, multi singles and so.

The essence was patience. Yes, it is frusturating, trying to find money all the time while always looking for work options, being refused or not being able to find good stuff, but if you re passionate about it enough, the success comes eventually.

Because first, you have to believe in your art, then you will try your magic to make others believe in you. Then, its simply the word of mouth. With that experience, I decided to work on soundtracks back in October (even though I had this idea for years, it was not the right time) and now I even had the courage to apply for AA and AAA projects. Actually, just before writing this message, I submitted a soundtrack work to Discovery Mod team as the final draft.


I also have a question to you people, do you know how do the agencies work for composers? I have experience with record labels and their promotions etc but never worked with a representing agency before, in our band business its usually label + manager who handles things. Any ideas?
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2010, 03:47:42 am »

I also have a question to you people, do you know how do the agencies work for composers? I have experience with record labels and their promotions etc but never worked with a representing agency before, in our band business its usually label + manager who handles things. Any ideas?


I honestly haven't experienced this. I have never been anything but independent, in saying this, I am only starting out and sourcing projects in my free time from Uni, so I have yet to feel a struggle to find sufficient amount of contracted work.

Not sure on the similarties about bands and composers, & although I find the band discussion is a valid one, it's not relative to the topic really. However I did enjoy the read into band experiences, I've been there myself, not to the same level, but it's nice to see the full picture as I never did before Smiley

Any composers or ANYmore developers want to pitch in with their experiences? There is enough game developers here to help us out. An experience is an experience, don't think it's too standard or boring or obvious for people to read, it all helps, a lot!
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2010, 07:26:50 am »

Hey Ducky Smiley
I didn't know you were the composer for Iji too. Geez, that was the first indie game I actually beaten. So much fun... and so much content.

As for the thread topic :
Just wanna add on a young developer point of view. For me, I haven't made a lot of games myself (created 2, involved in 2 as an artist), but the musician (Adam Alonso) I'm working with was introduce by a fellow developer, and I've introduced him to other developers as well.

Now that I'm looking to work on the next game, I'm looking at a change of musician (to know more people, and try out different style of musics for my game). The way I look for musician is pretty much the same. Hunting down games with great music, and check out the credits, and chat up to see if the guy is nice and professional to work with.

Unfortunately though, as I'm already paying for the programmers, my budget for musician are usually largely affected by it. I suspect this is going to be the case for developers that's just kicking off (in most cases, hiring artist).
« Last Edit: January 18, 2010, 07:54:47 am by rayteoactive » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2010, 01:03:45 pm »

I could def see a graph chart being made from this situation.


Basically! Fresh Developers have a small budget for musicians because they need (if the game is to be of a great standard) a sizeable amount (not amazing but in proportion to the music budget) of money to sustain the skills of a solid programmer.

Fresh Composers should be willing to do work for free, if they're just starting out, or for a cheap price. Don't advertise as free if you've got something under your belt or you're pretty solid so far at composing and producing your sound, but if they can't afford it, and you think the project is worth the investment, swallow your pride and get into it. Sometimes getting a percentage cut of the net receipts (not net profits) from game sales can be enough to pull you on board and still make a little bit of money. In that way, if you are REALLY confident about the project and really want to be on it, you will be willing to take a percentage cut from the earning you believe the game could make. Most decent/understanding developers who are not able to pay you, will understand and adhere to this condition, but it's not law, so there are other ways to benefit from this.

SIDE NOTE: Dan & I are lucky we have been paid for some of our projects. After Iji, we did katakijin as portfolio work and a means of exploring more into cubase and writing, plus taking the micky with our potentially last progressive soundtrack. It really progresses.. alot. We love it, but did realise after finishing it and mixing/mastering it, we could have changed some stuff, not right away, but after we were well into the TrashMan project, we realised there was a lot we had now learnt that could have been used back then, but it's experience.

That is the point I was moving to! EXPERIENCE! It's an important thing to attain and put under your belt if you want to move forward in this industry. From either developer or musicians point of view.

ALSO: Ray what other projects did you know Dan & I did before Iji? I find it weird when people approach us saying they found us through (a game that is not iji)! I also find it nice, since we have done now nearly 4 other projects besides iji lol.

Ohhh shameless plug, I just updated the hyperduck webby, check it out and leave a lovely comment in our stupid off-topic blog.
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« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2010, 01:22:25 pm »

Mirroring JMickle's story, I saw the link in his signature for music, listened to his music, liked it, and contacted him. Now he might be getting a little more exposure since he's in the credits and such?

Really, there wasn't a lot of networking or effort: I think we both just got lucky.
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« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2010, 09:27:29 pm »

I'll take a bit from the "scared developer" standpoint. I've put myself at this weird crossroads. This may be my own insecurities but here's how my mindset plays out, and why my late-phase project I've been doing daily videos about still has no sounds/music.

1. I don't know much about music and sound. I can sometimes identify things I really like, but it's hard for me to even find the right fit.

2. I have trouble figuring out what I'd be willing to pay, because I've never paid before, and I'm afraid it may be out of my reasonable budget (this is more of a fear of not recuperating what I spend, because I'm in an unsure position about whether my titles will be successes).

3. Although I respect an author's work, paying via royalties is also something I haven't done, because I can see an accumulation over time of royalty payments to various parties to become an odd situation. Keeping records in perpetuity of who to pay when over the possibly long lifetime of a product, where the scope of my games are often small enough that I'd have a lot of these going.

4. There's so much out there, it can feel like a sea of choice to decide on one individual to meet my needs.

5. I've grabbed free creative commons tracks before, and when put against a wall it's my fallback option instead of making a real decision on getting someone special for the task. This also applies to using a tool like SFXR instead of getting someone to handle sound effects.

I think this problem I have has screwed me over at least once before (I made a big music/rhythm game without any consultation with any sound engineers using CC attribution music). I don't know if this is common amongst indie devs, or if I'm just a recluse, but these are the things that spin around in my head as I stall from hiring anyone to assist in my games' production.
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Mega Monster Mania - Procedural, fast paced dungeon running
rayteoactive
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« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2010, 10:40:28 am »

ALSO: Ray what other projects did you know Dan & I did before Iji? I find it weird when people approach us saying they found us through (a game that is not iji)! I also find it nice, since we have done now nearly 4 other projects besides iji lol.

Hmmm... I think I actually know about you guys after you replied on my thread. I have the strange habit to google about people I enjoy speaking to online. And I came across your youtube channel. You had trashman on your front, which I was impress, and I listen to the rest of it too.

So yea, now that I know you compose for Iji too, it's like Shocked
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Bite Bite Bite Bitejacker!
http://secretbase.com.sg/
hyperduck
Level 10
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Music and Noises


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« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2010, 07:48:12 am »

lol. We like sticking our beak into a lot of things. It's going to get increasingly harder to get rid of us feathered butts over the next year too ^_^

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ashtonmorris
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« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2013, 11:20:19 am »

This topic is near and dear to me, as I recently started composing music and sfx for games within the past year.  So here is my story.

I have been playing guitar for about 12 years and used to play shows as a singer songwriter, when I was younger I was in a lot of punk bands and rock bands. After high school I went to college and got a degree in Recording Arts(which isn't absolutely necessary). At that time I started messing around with recording software and synths and things other than just playing live music, which I loved.

I have always loved video games ever since I was a child so recently I decided to try composing for them, largely inspired by the "Indie Game The Movie". That movie showed me that these indie developers were really like a band, doing it their own way following their vision and passion no matter what. So here is how I have started.

First, I made a website so I could display any music I could to potential clients
www.ashtonmorris.com 
its hosted by dreamhost which is a great company, and powered by wordpress which is great if you dont know about webdesign and cant hire anyone.

Second, I got a soundcloud account, and got on twitter and started following anyone whose music I have found in the games I enjoy or have read articles about, such as the creator of this post Wink


And Third I started sounding like the squeekiest wheel ever and contacting whoever I could and offering my services. Specifically I go on each on these forums once a week and look for want ads and post my info in the proper sections, this has helped me tremendously.

http://www.indiedb.com/forum/board/recruiting-resumes
http://www.indiedb.com/forum/board/audio-visual
https://www.fgl.com/view_forum.php?forum_id=9
https://www.fgl.com/view_forum.php?forum_id=10
https://www.fgl.com/view_forum.php?forum_id=22
http://www.cocos2d-iphone.org/forum/forum/11
http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?board=40.0
http://forum.unity3d.com/forums/17-Collaboration
http://forum.unity3d.com/forums/31-Commercial-Work
http://www.moddb.com/jobs
http://forums.indiegamer.com/forumdisplay.php?15-Help-Wanted
http://www.newgrounds.com/bbs/forum/19
https://www.scirra.com/forum/help-wanted_forum52.html
http://gmc.yoyogames.com/index.php?showforum=39

There are more forums and certain ones are better than others but that is a good start for anyone looking for places to find work.

So it has been a little over a year since I have been at it an I have made some strides and made a little money and I feel that if I keep at this pace I should be connecting with more and more and better developers and composers as I continue. I have read that as a composer the trick is finding good games to be involved in, because thats how people really find you. Which is also the hardest part at the start. But there are always super star developers who are just starting out also and if you can get involved with them then you can do great things.

In conclusion here are some issues I have had and still have.
-Having developers pay on their own schedule after yo have completed your work
-Having worked on great games but cant show anyone because the games arent complete(which is hard when you need portfolio materials/demo reel)
-understanding the legal or licensing aspect, I still find it confusing Undecided
-Finding good games that are currently in development and in need of audio assets

So if you wanted to hear from a wildly successful composer I am sorry, but if you wanted to hear from someone who has more recently started and is making small strides, then I hope that helps.

_Be kind, communicate often, read from successful composers, have plenty of samples online always ready and follow great people on twitter so you can learn more about their world.
Hope this helped you as it did me.


Ashton Morris
www.ashtonmorris.com
https://soundcloud.com/ashtonmorris

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Ashton Morris - Composer & Sound Designer

Goliath * Wings of Vi * Lemma * Curio Quest * Star Command Galaxies


http://www.ashtonmorris.com

https://ashtonmorris.bandcamp.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ashtonmorris
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