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I would love to get in to scoring for games, can I get advice?


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#1 thedreampolice   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 24 August 2011 - 02:48 PM

So first off how do I do it?

I am an failry accomplished musician, with a few albums out of both hip-hop and electronic style songs.

It would be cool if you guys could listen to a few tracks that I think would be good for video games

for example this one
http://soundcloud.com/drunk-pedestrians/under-a-metal-atmosphere-with

would be perfect as it develops over time

and if you go here can you listen to tracks like "Black Cherry Vodka"

http://drunkpedestrians.com/tyranny-of-the-urgent/

So a few issues, I don't do huge string arrangement's. and I don't write notation.

Will this hold me back? Any other advice on how to break in and do it?

Do you think my tracks work and are good enough quality wise?

I would appreciate any advice, thanks guys!

Sponsor:

#2 thedreampolice   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 03:30 PM

Bueller?

#3 MajorTom   Members   -  Reputation: 715

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 04:00 PM

Games come in many genres.

Only covering two genres which are tightly-knit may only match a small number of those game genres/styles.

I think it's best to attempt to compose for a broad range of musical genres to cover as many of the game genres as possible - thus increasing your chance of getting a job.

I guess this is the whole: "Specialist vs Generalist" argument. If you're just starting out/attempting to enter scoring for games, you'll probably need to be a generalist and accept very minimal fees before you can choose to be a specialist within a genre.
The good thing about exploring each genre of music is - it's challenging, and you'll learn a lot - which can then feed into your more comfortable genre compositions.

These are just my thoughts, you can accept or disregard them eitherway. =)

Saving the world, one semi-colon at a time.


#4 thedreampolice   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 05:04 PM

Ok, that makes sense. My initial thought was to build on my strengths. I don't think i would have any problem writing guitar driven rock tracks. What other genres should I explore?

Second, I assume the field is very competitive for video game scoring. How did you guys get your first gig?

#5 MajorTom   Members   -  Reputation: 715

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Posted 25 August 2011 - 05:20 PM

Ok, that makes sense. My initial thought was to build on my strengths. I don't think i would have any problem writing guitar driven rock tracks. What other genres should I explore?


Sounds like a good plan. I'd suggest something you've probably never tried before - try taking one of your favourite games (It must be your favourite for reasons other than the soundtrack) - and attempt to arrange what you hear. E.g take the soundtrack to Braid, and attempt to copy it. Then attempt to make your own composition in that style. You might learn some new techniques which you can use/mix with other genres.

Second, I assume the field is very competitive for video game scoring. How did you guys get your first gig?


I think doing what you're doing now is the best way to get your name on a game's credits - posting in gamedev forums, or indie game dev forums about your willingness to write/license your music for games is the best entry route. (In my opinion) Though I can't say this is truth - as I'm not a composer/scorer. There's a composer named Garrett Beelow, who might offer some great advice: http://www.garrettbeelow.com/, I've seen him around the gamedev forums.

Saving the world, one semi-colon at a time.


#6 Desmonfro   Members   -  Reputation: 105

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 02:27 AM

I think if you feel comfortable doing electronica and heavy rhythmic stuff (hip hop) then the biggest contribution to your compositional palette would be learning how to write for orchestral instruments. And it really doesn't have to be playable music, because the chances of working on a game that has the budget for a live orchestra is slim as there are so few companies that go down that route. So really, just look into making that orchestral "sound". Some games designers will just want their strings and then you won't have a way around it. One tip I can give you, if you're producing multiple albums, then you're obviously familiar with harmony and all that jazz. Don't think of it as a "huge string arrangements, think of it as just a bunch of separate lines that all fit together. I assume if you had a single instrument playing 'Mary had a little lamb' or some other simple tune, you could harmonize it, strings are no different than anything else. Figure out a melody, then make something that sounds good along with it. and then do it again, and again, and again. Sure there are some people who have the keyboard skills to load a string patch in a program and just play all the parts in on one track, in one pass and have it sound great, but there are plenty of people who write in one line at a time, and make music that is just as appealing.

Good luck!

PS-I will listen to your tracks when I have a bit more time. I need to get to sleep, have to be up in 4 hours, lol. I look forward to hearing them though.

#7 Moritz P.G. Katz   Members   -  Reputation: 1053

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 07:48 AM

Hello.

I like your album, very distinct sound you've got there!

Well, scoring... where to start?
It really really helps to play an instrument. Keyboard/piano skills are obviously the best prereq as MIDI keyboards and piano rolls are the most common way to input the music playing in your head into your sequencer of choice and have them played back by sample instruments.

Scoring/arranging is, like any other craft, perfected by practice. (Thank you, Mr. Obvious...)
There are a lot of clichés and common ways to arrange video game and film music, just as there are in electronic music. My advice would be to analyse some songs and start with simple sound-alikes. That way you can simultaneously check how different sample libraries/instruments sound/behave in terms of velocity, tonal properties, articulation etc., without having the trouble of starting with a completely empty slate.

Most likely, some really concrete questions will then pop up, e.g.:
  • "What kind of harmonic progression is this and how do I spread it across the instruments to make it sound this way?"
  • "How do the violas achieve that tremolo sound?"
  • "Where do I get those epic drum sounds?"
  • "When do I call a musical piece finished?"
  • "Why does my mix sound thin compared to the reference?"
That's the time you can take another deep dive into the abundancy of information offered by books, teachers, tutorials and, well, forums like this one.

Just one last thought on notation.
I often hear producers and composers say something along the lines of "John Doe can't read music, and he composed the whole soundtrack for 'Epic Interactive Movie 2: Electric Boogaloo' !!"
While it may be true that there are people who compose solely by ear, I think many musicians (especially drummers) use that fact as an excuse not to deal with notation. It's definitely nothing to brag about, though. Knowing some theory can be extremely helpful and speed up your workflow immensely, especially when you're working with other people, have to rearrange a track, do sound-alikes, transpose songs...
...which reminds me of Irving Berlin, who composed every song in F sharp major because he couldn't read music and that way he could play most of his stuff only on the black keys. Later, when he could afford it, he even went so far as buying a custom-built piano that could transpose the black keys with the flick of a lever so he could play in other keys as well. What a looney!
While I deeply admire this stubbornness (and of course, Berlin's music), I can only imagine it must have been pretty frustrating at times. Especially for the horn players who had to deal with six sharps. (or six flats)

But I digress.

What I actually wanted to write is "Just do it, man!"

Check out my Music/Sound Design Reel on moritzpgkatz.de


#8 bschmidt1962   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1871

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Posted 27 September 2011 - 06:01 PM

Bit late to thi thread---
Here's a great blog post by Lennie Moore on getting into the industry
http://www.audiogang.org/index.php?option=com_myblog&show=How-To-Get-A-Gig.html&Itemid=47


As with most other music gigs, your network of people can be your best asset (provided you can kick-a** musically).
Join organizations-- hang out on forums like this one. Go to conferences like Game Developers Conference (www.gdconf.com), GameSoundCon (www.GameSoundCon.com). Look for Game Audio Network Guild (www.audiogang.org) mixers. While there don't be a wall flower (don't be obnoxious, either :)).

Play some games. If you were a movie director, would you hire a composer who gave you a blank start if you asked them what they thought of Williams' work on Harry Potter vs Star Wars. A game producer may well ask you what your favorite game and game score are; it'd be good for you to have an (intelligent) answer..

Brian Schmidt
Executive Director, GameSoundCon



Brian Schmidt

Executive Director, GameSoundCon:

GameSoundCon 2014:October 7-8, Los Angeles, CA

 

Founder, EarGames

Founder, Brian Schmidt Studios, LLC

Music Composition & Sound Design

Audio Technology Consultant


#9 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4315

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Posted 28 September 2011 - 01:39 PM

Really good stuff Brian! Couldn't agree more!
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#10 thedreampolice   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 16 October 2011 - 10:35 AM

Man this is fantastic advice! Thanks guys!

After all the kind words here I made a audio reel of my work. If you don't mind, could you take a listen? Its short and has like 10-15 second clips of my best stuff from last year.

Let me know if this is at all in the ball park. Thanks again!

http://soundcloud.com/drunk-pedestrians/chris-scheidies-audio-reel

#11 Calum Bowen   Members   -  Reputation: 304

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 08:52 AM

Hi Chris,

It's clear you have a defined style and your audio reel demonstrates differing strands within that style but I feel that your style is what will hold you back. Games such as Jet Set Radio (or Jet Grind Radio in the states) have great soundtracks in this style but they are few and far between. To truly stay afloat you've got to adapt and get out of your comfort zone.

It has pretty much all been said, you excel in your style but to establish yourself, i truly believe you have to be very adaptable. I also believe it's a little bit of a myth that spreading yourself compositionally lessens the quality - the more you learn about other styles the more compositional techniques you have under your belt which can be applied to anything! Also videogames often call for quite strange genres - such as egyptian ragtime funk or medieval operatic metal. OK, i made those two up, but if you don't have a good knowledge of ethnic scales, ragtime patterns or any of the following then you're gonna get stuck when a developer requests these.

I hope you keep expanding your styles as the quality is certainly there.

Calum
Calum Bowen,
Composer & Sound Designer,
www.calumbowen.com

#12 thedreampolice   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 21 October 2011 - 03:04 PM

sure, where do you think I should start?

I am currently reading up on how to do better orchestration. I feel I will need a solid year to get decent at that. Also I am studying strange scales etc.

Is there any other avenue I should be exploring at the moment?

#13 Calum Bowen   Members   -  Reputation: 304

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Posted 01 November 2011 - 01:14 PM

sure, where do you think I should start?

I am currently reading up on how to do better orchestration. I feel I will need a solid year to get decent at that. Also I am studying strange scales etc.

Is there any other avenue I should be exploring at the moment?


Well, think about something you've never done before and then do it. Perhaps it might be a style you don't think you even like!
I would suggest for you to stray away from beats/hip-hop. Try doing a cowboy theme - real western - guitars - strange percussion - horns, that kind of thing. Or a high-energy racing theme. Perhaps you could try relaxed town theme (RPG style). Any of these would give you valuable skills and if they aren't something you're already well versed in, they will teach you a lot and will open your ears to a lot more music.
Calum Bowen,
Composer & Sound Designer,
www.calumbowen.com

#14 Jonathan Michael   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 10:22 AM

What program are you using? Look into some of the higher end plugins (either VTS or RTAS). Omnisphere is a good one as is Symphobia. Also, anything from Native Instruments and East West. It gets expensive but all those have really excellent orchestral samples.

#15 thedreampolice   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 06 November 2011 - 01:32 PM

Well here is what I have now, my main workstation by far is Reason and I love it! The sequencer is fantastic, and I can build any synth sound you can imagine.

That being said, I can NOT find decent sample libraries for Strings, Choir's. etc. So I have been thinking of picking up Cubase.

I also have Pro tools 9, but boy does it suck for composing. I LOVE it for mixing.

Ok here is my list

Native Instruments Komplete 5 (I am planning to upgrade to Komplete 8 ultimate when i save a few more pennies)
Waves Studio Classics
Waves GTR
Music Production Toolkit for Pro tools
MOTU Machfive 2
MOTU BPM
MOTU Ethno (the older version not V two)
MOTU Electric Keys
MOTU Symphonic
Native Instruments Maschine (I LOVE this thing!)
Propellerheads Reason 6
Propellerheads Recycle
Ableton Live Suite 8
POD Farm 2.5
Heavyocity EVOLVE
I also have a bunch of real hardware like an MPC2000xl, Even 20/20 monitors, Various mics and guitars.


So as of now my to buy as I have the cash list is

Get my Komplete up to date.
I am thinking getting Cubase 6 (thoughts on this??)
project symphobia
Omnisphere
and it looks like I can get a good bundle of stuff from East West for like 1k so I will probably do that at some point and get some choirs and the Dark Side plugin looks awesome!

Am I missing anything?

Thanks for all the help so far guys, this is great stuff!




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