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#1 petedupon   Members   -  Reputation: 180

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 12:20 PM

I've noticed an incredibly high amount of sound designers and composers posting topics in the Help Wanted board, with titles like "Composer Available" or "OFFERED: Music Sound Design". It's great to see so many sound guys diving into the game field, but I'm curious as to the ramifications of this. For those of you who have posted topics similar to that, have you gotten responses from developers? I remember one guy posting a topic that he was looking for paid work and ended up getting hired at a major company in his area, but other then that most of those topics seem to have few responses. I guess I'm just wondering if the developers who post topics looking for teams, even the few that need sound guys (and the even fewer who are paying) are actually looking at posts like this, or are they just waiting for responses to their own posts?

Another concern is regarding those who post topics saying "Music Composer Will Work For Free!". I've heard from numerous professionals that things like this can cause a negative impact for both the individual engineer, and the overall sound community. Now let's get something straight, I am not knocking anyone who works for free. Most of my current projects are non-paying, but there can be a big difference between agreeing to work for free, and claiming up front in a public forum that you're not asking for any money. Now this is just my opinion, but when stuff like that starts to happen a lot, and everyone on the boards is seeing these posts from sound guys wanting to work for free, do you think this makes a negative impression on them about our field? I'm sure many of you have worked with someone that doesn't entirely understand what it is that we do (especially sound designers), and do you think that when they see posts like that, it makes them think less of our jobs? I run into this a lot when doing film or TV work for inexperienced people, especially in a film school. They have a very bad understanding of what we do, or how important it is, and as such they don't even think of us as an expenditure. So I'm curious what everyone here thinks on the subject. For those who have been here longer, is this a new trend? Or do you think this is a good way to attract potential clients? Just want to hear your thoughts.

-Pete
Pete Dupon
Sound Design, FX, Foley for Games and Film
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#2 shadowisadog   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2563

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 12:31 PM

I really think that it very much depends. Experienced developers will understand the importance of proper sound and music design in their games, but small studios/projects may not have the budget to pay developers for their work. Not having a budget (or having a limited budget I should say) does not mean that the studio does not have things that they could teach that individual. I guess what I am trying to say is that if people want to work for free to build up experience working on actual projects, I don't see any problem with that. I don't think it will negatively impact people's perspectives (speaking as a software engineer here) on sound/music because I think developers (at least experienced ones) are aware of what they are getting when it comes to free help. The internet has made us all a globally connected community and it is natural to expect that the increased availability of services will offer a variety of price points, but I think you get what you pay for.

That all being said I do think it has become quite difficult to determine for both sides who to select, and good offers may get lost in the "noise" of people posting. I think we could use a new system to find people and projects than a forum... or we need to have the forum work differently.

I've noticed an incredibly high amount of sound designers and composers posting topics in the Help Wanted board, with titles like "Composer Available" or "OFFERED: Music Sound Design". It's great to see so many sound guys diving into the game field, but I'm curious as to the ramifications of this. For those of you who have posted topics similar to that, have you gotten responses from developers? I remember one guy posting a topic that he was looking for paid work and ended up getting hired at a major company in his area, but other then that most of those topics seem to have few responses. I guess I'm just wondering if the developers who post topics looking for teams, even the few that need sound guys (and the even fewer who are paying) are actually looking at posts like this, or are they just waiting for responses to their own posts?

Another concern is regarding those who post topics saying "Music Composer Will Work For Free!". I've heard from numerous professionals that things like this can cause a negative impact for both the individual engineer, and the overall sound community. Now let's get something straight, I am not knocking anyone who works for free. Most of my current projects are non-paying, but there can be a big difference between agreeing to work for free, and claiming up front in a public forum that you're not asking for any money. Now this is just my opinion, but when stuff like that starts to happen a lot, and everyone on the boards is seeing these posts from sound guys wanting to work for free, do you think this makes a negative impression on them about our field? I'm sure many of you have worked with someone that doesn't entirely understand what it is that we do (especially sound designers), and do you think that when they see posts like that, it makes them think less of our jobs? I run into this a lot when doing film or TV work for inexperienced people, especially in a film school. They have a very bad understanding of what we do, or how important it is, and as such they don't even think of us as an expenditure. So I'm curious what everyone here thinks on the subject. For those who have been here longer, is this a new trend? Or do you think this is a good way to attract potential clients? Just want to hear your thoughts.

-Pete



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

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 12:59 PM

Hey,

I've received several job offers through this board - and I don't think the people who work for free affect my business in any way, as companies who are serious about selling a good game know that they will need to hire paid professionals. Simple as that. :)

That said, I agree with shadowisadog: we could make things more apparent by dividing the "Help Wanted" section into two parts: "Paid Work" and "Unpaid Work", the way the guys and gals at the TIGSource Forums handle it.

"Paid" means that pay is guaranteed, i.e. there is a budget.

Cheers,
Moritz

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


#4 petedupon   Members   -  Reputation: 180

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 01:02 PM

I should rephrase. I don't think us working for free is causing a problem. But I am wondering if the posts themselves, coming from audio guys, saying they'll work for free, is. Like I said, I'm not talking down to anyone who works for free, I totally understand projects with little to no budget (yet) and how rewarding they can be. But I am glad to hear people are getting gigs through the site. This is a great place.
Pete Dupon
Sound Design, FX, Foley for Games and Film
Portfolio

#5 petedupon   Members   -  Reputation: 180

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 01:04 PM

I really think that it very much depends. Experienced developers will understand the importance of proper sound and music design in their games, but small studios/projects may not have the budget to pay developers for their work. Not having a budget (or having a limited budget I should say) does not mean that the studio does not have things that they could teach that individual. I guess what I am trying to say is that if people want to work for free to build up experience working on actual projects, I don't see any problem with that. I don't think it will negatively impact people's perspectives (speaking as a software engineer here) on sound/music because I think developers (at least experienced ones) are aware of what they are getting when it comes to free help. The internet has made us all a globally connected community and it is natural to expect that the increased availability of services will offer a variety of price points, but I think you get what you pay for.

That all being said I do think it has become quite difficult to determine for both sides who to select, and good offers may get lost in the "noise" of people posting. I think we could use a new system to find people and projects than a forum... or we need to have the forum work differently.


I totally agree. I think it might be beneficial to have a help wanted board, where project leaders looking to find people could post, and maybe another board, where people could post themselves as available, with links to their work.
Pete Dupon
Sound Design, FX, Foley for Games and Film
Portfolio

#6 Majestic_Mastermind   Members   -  Reputation: 215

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 01:58 PM

Good points here. I think the people that do say t hey will work for free are usually messing with the value of game music, but then again there are so many developers out here it may not even make a difference. Think about it, there's about a billion people on the internet..how many are developers?

I've got a couple of developers contact me on this forum for game music work because they seen my posts in help wanted. I don't have a steady stream of developers contacting me for work..it is a bit unstable, and sometimes the developers that do contact me never reply back after I tell them my rates....I did my first game project for free because I needed the experience , but i'm usually not going to work for free, especially if it's a nice song project where you need music themes and sound effects. It takes time and talent to do what we do.

I also work with rappers because I make hip hop/rap beats as well...and it's the same thing with them...they are expecting free beats for their projects, but I won't give away my work for free because I need to eat

I think the best thing to do in our field is to network...
On one side you network, make friends, build clientele, be humble and creative, gaining loyal fans that love you and your music..and let your music speak for itself
on the other side you will be basically running a "business" and marketing your services to developers.


#7 petedupon   Members   -  Reputation: 180

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 04:33 PM

Good points here. I think the people that do say t hey will work for free are usually messing with the value of game music, but then again there are so many developers out here it may not even make a difference. Think about it, there's about a billion people on the internet..how many are developers?

I've got a couple of developers contact me on this forum for game music work because they seen my posts in help wanted. I don't have a steady stream of developers contacting me for work..it is a bit unstable, and sometimes the developers that do contact me never reply back after I tell them my rates....I did my first game project for free because I needed the experience , but i'm usually not going to work for free, especially if it's a nice song project where you need music themes and sound effects. It takes time and talent to do what we do.

I also work with rappers because I make hip hop/rap beats as well...and it's the same thing with them...they are expecting free beats for their projects, but I won't give away my work for free because I need to eat

I think the best thing to do in our field is to network...
On one side you network, make friends, build clientele, be humble and creative, gaining loyal fans that love you and your music..and let your music speak for itself
on the other side you will be basically running a "business" and marketing your services to developers.


Great advice for everyone here. Very well said sir.
Pete Dupon
Sound Design, FX, Foley for Games and Film
Portfolio

#8 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 10:27 AM

There's always been a high number of audio folks in this industry since I've been active in it. I don't think that's ever going to change. Thankfully there always seems to be new studios and huddles of developers popping up here and there. The key with networking is to understand that for every 10 attempts at getting work - you might only get two to three responses. Also sometimes it can take a client a long time to respond, which might feel like you were overlooked. Once I had a client respond 6 months after the fact and I had completely forgotten I even reached out to them.

So with networking it's very important to consider:

- how do you network? Simply spamming everyone you can think of isn't always very successful.

- when and where do you network and interact with clients? Coming off desperate and needy doesn't give potential clients much confidence in you or your work. Smothering clients (or even peers) is another bad approach.

- what niche do you fill? Are you trying to be a jack of all trades or specialize in certain genre(s)/style(s)?

- what type of work do you want to find? Are you looking for top dollar projects? Mobile projects? Only RPGs?

- are you focusing on your strengths? If you're wanting to score the next God of War title but all of your stuff sounds like chip tunes, is that the right fit for your talents, passions and gear? Or would a retro-style platformer work well? Likewise if you don't feel very strong at hip hop then is applying for an urban project that wants only hip hop music your best bet? Focus on your strengths.

- being the cheapest guy on the block hardly ever guarantees work - especially quality work. The more value you put in your work and yourself the more your clients will value you and your work too. The key is you have to be able to deliver.

Just some quick-n-dirty observations.

Good luck!

Nate
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#9 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 10:45 AM

I should rephrase. I don't think us working for free is causing a problem. But I am wondering if the posts themselves, coming from audio guys, saying they'll work for free, is. Like I said, I'm not talking down to anyone who works for free, I totally understand projects with little to no budget (yet) and how rewarding they can be. But I am glad to hear people are getting gigs through the site. This is a great place.


I definitely feel it's inappropriate for the audio guys to work for free if the rest of the team is getting paid or trying the profit share (which hardly pays out BTW) or if the game has commercial aims. If the entire team is working just as a hobby and the game is going to be completely free and non-commercial in nature then it's more appropriate.

Furthermore don't let a client sway you into working for free just because they are - remember it's YOUR choice! :) If a charity project contacts me I can choose to work for free or choose to charge them, even if it's just a discounted rate. Too many times I've seen some projects try and "guilt" audio folks into working for free simply because everyone else is choosing to do so. In the end, as Majestic said, we're running a business. Make decisions that are good and smart for your business!

Nate


Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#10 Jog   Members   -  Reputation: 120

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 04:37 PM

I couldn't agree more with you guys. That's just stupid and devastating to agree to do music for free for commercial project.
Also when I was fresh at gamedev scene I was bothered by guys making threads called like "Extremly Pro Composer" "PRO TURBO COMPOSER AAA" but now I find it just funny because 99% of them only have random low budged or even indie games and call themself AAA (trololol).

And as you are moderator, that would be nice if you could check Help Wanted section from time to time because almost no one is respecting bump/multiple threads rules
Music and Sound desing for every game, which knows how sound important is:
www.jangrochowski.pl

#11 StauntonLick   Members   -  Reputation: 148

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 05:54 PM

And as you are moderator, that would be nice if you could check Help Wanted section from time to time because almost no one is respecting bump/multiple threads rules


Agree with you on that one - it's an arms race at the moment to see who can bump the most. It's making it difficult for honest posters to stick near the top of the listings as it's currently full of people just bumping their threads or announcing minor updates.

I wonder if there should be some kind of new mandatory template for composers & sound guys that gives a lot more detail - previous projects, credits, etc - that way anyone shopping can see at a glance who's appropriate and who isn't.



Jonny Martyr
Composer & Sound Designer for Games & Film
www.jonnymartyr.com

#12 Jog   Members   -  Reputation: 120

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 06:42 PM


And as you are moderator, that would be nice if you could check Help Wanted section from time to time because almost no one is respecting bump/multiple threads rules


Agree with you on that one - it's an arms race at the moment to see who can bump the most. It's making it difficult for honest posters to stick near the top of the listings as it's currently full of people just bumping their threads or announcing minor updates.

I wonder if there should be some kind of new mandatory template for composers & sound guys that gives a lot more detail - previous projects, credits, etc - that way anyone shopping can see at a glance who's appropriate and who isn't.




There is already rule, if I remember right giving you two bumps with use at every time you want, and than you can bump once every two weeks. Which imo is really okay.
Of course some people are just replying at their topic with things like "thanks for comment !" without even any update.
Imo it should be just watched by moderator, thats all. 5 minutes of work everyday for someone.
And this restricted rules should be mostly against us, music developers since we flood the "help" forum so much...
Music and Sound desing for every game, which knows how sound important is:
www.jangrochowski.pl

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

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 06:50 PM



And as you are moderator, that would be nice if you could check Help Wanted section from time to time because almost no one is respecting bump/multiple threads rules


Agree with you on that one - it's an arms race at the moment to see who can bump the most. It's making it difficult for honest posters to stick near the top of the listings as it's currently full of people just bumping their threads or announcing minor updates.

I wonder if there should be some kind of new mandatory template for composers & sound guys that gives a lot more detail - previous projects, credits, etc - that way anyone shopping can see at a glance who's appropriate and who isn't.




There is already rule, if I remember right giving you two bumps with use at every time you want, and than you can bump once every two weeks. Which imo is really okay.
Of course some people are just replying at their topic with things like "thanks for comment !" without even any update.
Imo it should be just watched by moderator, thats all. 5 minutes of work everyday for someone.
And this restricted rules should be mostly against us, music developers since we flood the "help" forum so much...

Yep, I agree.

What bugs me most is that many of the people who abuse bumping don't even care about the rest of this great site.
I mean, this is a forum and not a bulletin board. If you're offering a job, sure - but if you're offering your services, you better get in the game.

Can't do anything against that, I know - just saying.

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


#14 Jog   Members   -  Reputation: 120

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 07:06 PM

Sure can do. Moderator just should give them some "bad note" at their topic. Like "Be a fair. Bump you'r topic like rules say" and im sure some people would think twice before they would do it again. Or just Banzord
Music and Sound desing for every game, which knows how sound important is:
www.jangrochowski.pl

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

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Posted 18 November 2011 - 07:44 PM

Sure can do. Moderator just should give them some "bad note" at their topic. Like "Be a fair. Bump you'r topic like rules say" and im sure some people would think twice before they would do it again. Or just Banzord

What I mean is that you can't do anything about people not involving in the rest of the talk going on here.

About the bumping: as I said, I agree.

And not even replying to pleas for fairness and just going on about it like nothing ever happened is just plain rude. This is where a mod should step in.

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


#16 advancedmusicsubstitute   Members   -  Reputation: 95

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 11:04 AM

I'm just going to jump in with my two cents here.
I'm a passionate musician, I LOVE making music, it's what I do.
There are passionate programmers, developers, etc., who LOVE making games, that's what they do.
The people putting these games out aren't always making money, but people still play the games.
Not everyone is at the same experience level here and not everyone wants to make this a profession.
My situation is this: I have a lot of great tracks, and I'm making more all the time. However, I cannot perform this music live. So why not offer it up to people who can put it in their video games that people are playing? People hear the soundtrack and go, "I like that tune, who is that?" they search the credits and there's my website link. Maybe they click around, download a few tunes, tell a friend, who knows? I gain exposure and experience, which in the end can lead to more paying gigs. People who jump onto the scene demanding money as virtual "nobodies" just end up looking daft and egotistic, IMO.
I don't know where I'm going with this exactly, but what I'm trying to say is that I'd rather have someone play my game or hear my music and enjoy it than get caught up in whether I'm going to be paid for my contribution. I mean, seriously... who gets into music for money?
Just my thoughts, idk.
http://www.soundclou...musicsubstitute Hear my tunes! Contact me with your project ideas if you want a custom score for your game. Don't settle for royalty-free repetition, get ORIGINAL, quality work!

#17 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 12:04 PM

And as you are moderator, that would be nice if you could check Help Wanted section from time to time because almost no one is respecting bump/multiple threads rules


I'm the Music and Sound moderator so this is my focus. Sure, I help out and branch out when extra help is needed but the Help Wanted forum already has a dedicated moderator and I don't feel it's appropriate to step on his toes.

Imo it should be just watched by moderator, thats all. 5 minutes of work everyday for someone.


Clearly you've never actually moderated a website with traffic like GD.net before. LOL Posted Image Just look at how many posts get added daily - all throughout the day (and night). And moderators do this for free so our jobs, families, hobbies and friends also need to balance into the day.


Sure can do. Moderator just should give them some "bad note" at their topic. Like "Be a fair. Bump you'r topic like rules say" and im sure some people would think twice before they would do it again. Or just Banzord


Moderators already do give out warnings and the whole community can rate up and down any post. Finally we do ban and/or delete certain posts and users based on their activity.
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#18 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4352

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 12:21 PM

People who jump onto the scene demanding money as virtual "nobodies" just end up looking daft and egotistic, IMO.
I don't know where I'm going with this exactly, but what I'm trying to say is that I'd rather have someone play my game or hear my music and enjoy it than get caught up in whether I'm going to be paid for my contribution. I mean, seriously... who gets into music for money?


Your thoughts, while you have the right to express them, are seriously flawed. And naive, honestly. By your logic a new doctor shouldn't charge for the first few years of setting up shop. Nor should a newly open store! A lawyer should just work for free until they have enough credentials to make you, the customer, feel like their services are worth you paying something. Meanwhile any (and all) start up businesses have a ton of initial costs. So from an economic stance your logic is flawed.

Also your thoughts (or logic) contribute to the lowered value (or perceived lowered value) of audio work. If you want to give your work away for free - that's fine. It's your call. But to ignore the impact of your actions on the industry, producers and game developer's stance of audio and undercutting other audio freelancers then preach about how others look "daft and egotistic" is just showcases a lack of common business sense. It also comes off offensive.

People get into trades because they're passionate about them and have some natural talent at it. It's fine that you enjoy writing music but let me ask you a simple question:

If you could write music full time and not worry about paying bills and buying food, would you?

But everyone has to worry about paying bills and buying food. Very few people can live their entire lives off a super wealth and never have to work. So you're left with two options basically:

1) Do audio (music) as a hobby and whatever you make is a small bonus. But much of your time will need to be spent focusing on a "regular" job to be able to support yourself. Are you happy spending more or less time creating audio for games?

2) Try and make audio (music) a full time job by contracting or finding in-house work.

Neither option is a sell out. Neither means you're a bad person or makes one "daft and egotistic." Nor does it mean one is greedy. If you're just starting out, make your rates appropriate. "Hi, I charge $5 per song." Because attaching a tangible value to your craft, talents and work is a very good thing. Just giving it away for free has been shown to be unsustainable in the long term and people tend to not value things that are given away for free.

The notion that folks are wrong or greedy for attempting to make a living doing music (or audio, or anything creative) is just.... wrong. Is it wrong that John Williams makes money writing film scores? Is it wrong that bands make money writing/producing songs and giving live concerts? At first it's out of passion. But people need to eat and pay bills, yes? If you never want to make game audio your job, your living - fine! Keep doing what you're doing if that makes you happy. But respect others that are trying to make game audio their livelihood.

The other flaw in your logic is that this IS a business. Like it or not - companies don't form just to make games. It's a side mission, sure! But companies HAVE to produce a profit or they go out of business. My audio company has to get work and make a profit or I'll go out of business. Also the gear (hardware and software) can cost a pretty penny and the vendors I shop from do not care if I'm a first year composer-sound designer or a 20 year veteran. If I want the gear, I'm gonna have to spend the money to get it.
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#19 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 19320

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:39 PM


Imo it should be just watched by moderator, thats all. 5 minutes of work everyday for someone.

Clearly you've never actually moderated a website with traffic like GD.net before. LOL Posted Image Just look at how many posts get added daily - all throughout the day (and night). And moderators do this for free so our jobs, families, hobbies and friends also need to balance into the day.


Definitely true Nate -- a non-issue now that Help Wanted is being phased out in favour of the new "Classifieds" system, but as the moderator of the Help Wanted forum I can tell you that between approving new topics for display and trying to enforce the various forum rules, it was very rare for my daily check-in on the Help Wanted forum to take any less than 30 minutes, and on busy days it was sometimes more than an hour. We did however always have the "report" buttons, which would always ensure a topic got checked properly -- it's unfortunate that so many users apparently had complaints about the forum but didn't bother using these buttons to draw attention to the problem users.

#20 petedupon   Members   -  Reputation: 180

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Posted 21 March 2012 - 05:30 AM

Thanks for chiming in JB. I do really dig the concept of putting the jobs under the classified section, hopefully it works out a little better then the previous system. I did laugh a little though that the only job posted under the audio category is somebody advertising their sound services. Old habits die hard I guess :P
Pete Dupon
Sound Design, FX, Foley for Games and Film
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