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Advice on compiling a portfolio


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#1 Julian Domanski   Members   -  Reputation: 115

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 04:21 AM

Hey guys,

I decided to make this a separate thread to my feedback post. I was hoping you guys and girls with relevant experience could share some tips on compiling a portfolio for promoting your work. How many tracks should you include? How long should the pieces be? Are there any key genres you should demonstrate your ability in or should you try to display your most original works. Once you've finished your portfolio, what are the best ways of advertising it and getting it out to studios or production companies?

Getting into the industry has always been a pipe-dream for me, but I've always struggled finding goods ways to put my work forward.

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#2 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4358

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 10:06 AM

Having been on both sides of the hiring fence here's what to look out for: (not listed in any particular order)

1) Create a portfolio that is quick, to the point and easy to navigate. Too many buttons, menus and clutter can be distracting.

2) Present your best (and most relevant) work first. In other words don't present a happy, kid-friendly polka tune to a gritty FPS R-rated game project.

3) Realize potential hiring managers/clients are most likely going to do a quick sample first. They'll scan some of your music here and there on their first visit. If something really strikes their ears, they'll invest more time. If not, they'll move on to the next candidate. Not to scare you but often the invested listening time can be as short as 15-30 seconds on their first visit. This is because most are super busy as-is and hiring an audio person is added workload.

4) Skip the bios/thesis, super long paragraphs about your childhood or you as an artist. Clients/hiring managers don't really care or have enough time to read about how you studied piano at age 14 or wants to read your doctoral thesis on why audio is important. Sorry to sound harsh but most folks simply want to know two things: is your audio any good and does it fit within their project's needs. Everything else is secondary. And when they have a stack of demos to go through you can bet they're only going to focus on one thing: the audio.

5) Perhaps the most important fact: a portfolio is just an introduction to you and your work. Don't post full pieces expecting potential clients to sit spellbound by your work for 30 minutes. Instead just offer glimpses of who you are and what you're work is like then allow for elaboration in follow up discussions. For example you could post a montage of scary/tense/thriller cues that is 3 minutes long or less and features many different approaches to show flexiblity and variety.

Now HOW you do all of this is up to you but those are what I've found clients/hiring managers are focused on when looking for someone.

Best of luck!

Nate

Edited by nsmadsen, 23 August 2012 - 10:12 AM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#3 Julian Domanski   Members   -  Reputation: 115

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 08:18 AM

Hey Nate,

Once again great advise. I'm still in the very early stages and don't intend to start contacting people until I've got a portfolio I'm happy with but it's always a good idea to get ahead of the game and do some forward planning.

Cheers, Julian




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