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#1 Python Blue   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:14 AM

It appears there is no forum meant for introductions, so I may as well start here.

 

I am a game composer, but my problem is that I'm not being considered for paid work after nearly two years. While I admit the production quality could've been much better in the earlier part of that time, I'm not sure whether it's the quality of my music now (I have improved, thankfully), or whether I'm just looking in the wrong places (which would include Gamasutra).

 

Therefore, I would appreciate a critique on this piece I wrote, which is for a mod of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and the only project I was on that has received benefits.

 

http://soundcloud.com/sgtyayap404/the-great-work-the-cavern/s-q4jSf

 

It may seem to end suddenly because it's meant to loop. The mod itself includes the looped version.


Python Blue - composer available for work

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#2 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3642

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 11:22 AM

Hey - welcome!

 

From the one track I've heard of yours, I don't think it's a quality issue. So if you're not landing any work in a number of years, I would reevaluate how and where you're networking. So much of being successful in this job isn't actual audio creation but interacting with fellow devs, creating a good rep and being able to promote yourself, and landing work. With any kind of freelancing job, there's going to be dry spells. It happens to everyone. But if it's been multiple years, then it is a sign that something is wrong.

 

I enjoyed your loop and definitely felt it could work well within a surivival horror video game.

 

Best of luck to you,

 

Nate


Edited by nsmadsen, 25 January 2013 - 11:22 AM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#3 Python Blue   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 12:29 PM

First of all, thank you for the response. I deeply appreciate it.

Yes, I think it might be a networking issue, in retrospect, though I don't know how I can promote myself any further without risking spamming people. The places I have been most active for the purpose of promoting my work and/or looking for positions are below:

Gamasutra (out of the question; it seems reserved for AAA composers with lots of experience, whereas I've only been paid once. In addition, the only job offer at the moment under audio and music doesn't even relate to audio in general!)
IndieDB (sort of the opposite problem: there are some rare opportunities, but none will pay you unless, in rare cases, you're willing to gamble with royalty-based income)
Unity3D forum (a little better than IndieDB, but not by much; my only paid project was conceived here)
TIGSource forums

Then again, to clarify: when I said I haven't been paid in nearly two years, it's been that long since I started trying to get serious with my music.
Python Blue - composer available for work

Official Website
Bandcamp

#4 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3642

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:06 PM

Yes, I think it might be a networking issue, in retrospect, though I don't know how I can promote myself any further without risking spamming people.

 

This is the tricky thing about networking, and something that I had to learn over several years. It's so much less about the "hire me!" approach and so much more about getting to know people. This takes more time and effort. I've gotten more work by getting to know people when discussing food, games, sports, books and movies than I ever got by cold emailing or spamming. Take part in local and major conferences and events. Put a face to your name and be more concerned with getting to know people right now. Then when they need audio, they'll reach out to you.

 

Networking isn't an overnight or even over one-year kind of deal. It's a slow pressure cooker but once it gets going, it almost maintains itself (so as long as you do great work and are a pleasure to work with. :))

Best of luck!

 

Nate


Edited by nsmadsen, 25 January 2013 - 02:06 PM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#5 Moritz P.G. Katz   Members   -  Reputation: 1049

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:21 PM

Hey there,

I think we already met over at the TIGForums? Welcome! :)

Can't add much to what Nate said, he's pretty much spot-on.

Cheers,
Moritz

Edited by Moritz P.G. Katz, 25 January 2013 - 02:21 PM.

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


#6 Dan Mayor   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1712

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:37 PM

Hello, I'm a freelance programmer myself.  Not exactly the same situation but I believe that I have some advice that applies to any and all forms of freelancing and "self marketing" so to speak.  I'm going to list out some points of importance from my personal experiences both as a freelancer looking for work and a buyer who outsources work to other freelancers.  Most of these points are equally as important as each other so don't think the order that I say them relates to a specific path or road to success.  More so consider it as a bulleted list of things that will increase your chances.

 

Portfolio:

  Ok, I know I said everything is pretty equal but this one here is by far the MOST important tool in a freelancer's arsenal.  You absolutely 100% need a portfolio showing lots of examples of your work.  Many buyer's don't know any better, they know that there are thousands of freelance musicians out there, they think it's easy and that anyone who says "I can do it" can do it.  After they get burned once or twice they will be looking for examples of you getting a LOT of work done not just one or two amazing tracks.

 

Social Profiles:

  This one I mention because I noticed you have not filled out your profile here.  Buyers look at this as a lack of dedication or care.  I know this is Game Dev and not a freelance service and your not marketing here to get potential work but you are discouraging people that are looking to buy assets.  We are all game developers or at the least aspiring game developers here.  Although we may go to the Unity store to buy premade assets or we might look on freelancer.com to hire project based contractors but on the same note many people are associating your name with lack of dedication and care.  If your other site's profiles reflect this at well it is more likely that interested buyers don't think you will actually complete the job.  It is VERY important that everywhere you post on the internet shows your attention to detail and drive.

 

Examples:

  You linked a pretty nice loopable track that shows us that you have created... One track.  This is good as that it does show your quality of work but it doesn't really make people think that you do this on a regular basis.  It's more important to a potential buyer (at least the serious ones) that you get acceptable quality work done in a timely manner than it is that your work is perfect.  Post more and make it easier for people to get to your examples of work everywhere.  Do you have a range of talent?  Can you do action / rock styled tracks?  Can you do classical?  Would you be a good fit for a mystery game?  These are questions whose answers are normally answered at a glance depending on what you show us not what we go to find.

 

Communication:

  This is another really really big one.  Buyers want to talk to you, they want to see things you have said to others, they want to see that you are capable of good and quick communications.  This is actually easy to demonstrate and forums are the beginning of this.  Post on forums, A LOT!.  The more you post the more people start paying attention and the more they remember "hey it's easy to talk to that guy".  Get more active on as many forums as you can keep up with.

 

Make it easy to find you:

  Coming back to the portfolio and profile ideas.  Many people are spoiled by the speed and abundance of information on the internet.  Anything you ever want to know is normally a quick google away.  We tend to get trumped pretty quick when a potential buyer finds it easier to get to someone else's site, portfolio or profile.  I don't mean to suggest you should spam links all over the place but you should always make sure that your link's are available on every post that you make everywhere.  For example, I'm in the position to recruit a composer right now for one of my clients (sorry but I already contracted him).  However the point here is that if I hadn't found who I was looking for yet I couldn't have even tried to consider you because I have nothing to show my client (I can't find any more than the one song you posted).

 

Contribute don't spam:

 You never know who a potential buyer is in this world.  Like the above example that just a week ago I was a potential buyer is a great example.  You may have never thought that Game Dev would make a connection that could lead to requests but you shouldn't ignore the possibility.  Game Dev is a bit of a bad example because we are game developers or aspiring game developers here, it's pretty obvious that people here will be looking to buy assets at some point in their career.  The important thing to remember is that you want to make it obvious that you are available without outright spamming about it.  The easiest way to do this is to contribute and participate on different forums and sites, and make sure that your link is in the signature.  You will quickly be amazed at how much traffic exponentially increases as your link appears in quality contributions to sites.  Again I don't mean to make this about me but take head in the fact that I'm talking to you about freelancing your audio works making very little mention of my programming.  However I know that at least 3 people that read this thread will click on my site and see who I am and what I do.  (I run analytic's on my site and I see how much traffic Game Dev and Facebook drive in..  It's more than google).

 

-----------------------

 

    So in recap what I'm saying it's not just about where you advertise yourself but how you advertise yourself and how much dedication you show.  It may or may not be true that your offering your services over a poor medium but it might also be that your being out shined so to speak.  The remedy for this is one of the hardest things you will ever do and it involves not sleeping.  I assume you like everyone else have a day job, have a family and responsibilities.  I know you can't spend every waking moment at your computer making things happen but you absolutely must find time every single day to make progress.  You 100% need to get your profiles updated, you need to display your portfolio everywhere, you need to talk more and build reputation.  Selling yourself as a freelancer is less about buying an ad on a website or getting into Google's adsense rotation.  It's getting people to know you, getting people to talk about you, getting people to see (or in your case listen) to your works.  The little known or at least little discussed fact is that completing things is more important than quality.  I'm sure people will argue this and I should mention that you can consider this my opinion less than fact but I have seen this time and time again.  I know very very high quality artists (I mean like they should be working for square soft they are so good).  Guess how much they freelance?  Never, they are flipping burgers.  I also know some artists that maybe shouldn't even be called artists.  Granted they are better than I but they're quality is very poor but they have hundreds of completed sprites, models, interfaces and other assets.  How much work are they getting?  So much I barely get to talk to them anymore.

 

    I believe (it's my opinion) that completing work is more important to buyers than having the best quality.  Although they will not pay for absolute crap, they will pay for someone half as good as you who can show lots of completed jobs.  As a freelancer getting started this is difficult to overcome, your facing off against others who may have been doing it for years and they have dozens of completed works.  How do you start getting your foot hold and making yourself a consideration?  Do stuff.  Do lots of stuff.  Complete stuff.  Talk to people.  Pay attention to details like profiles and portfolios.  Show the buyer you do things, it will make or break the sale almost every time.  The less they see you have done both musically and contributorily the less faith they have that you will do something for them.  I hope that this is a grossly incorrect assumption I am making and that your response is something along the lines of "Here's my portfolio with 300 demo tracks, here's my profiles on every other service everyone 100% complete".  At which point you'r looking more at nsmadsen's points that you're probably just advertising in the wrong places and it's time to look for more outlets.  If my assumptions are right and you don't have very many demo tracks (maybe because they don't sound so great and you don't want to show them), maybe you haven't been wasting your time on profiles because no one checks them (false that's the second thing I did, clicked the song came back and clicked your name), then I suggest you address these concerns immediately (like yesterday).

 

    Again I must make the final note that I am speaking from my experiences.  I am mentioning things that have made a difference in my career.  I am not saying that these are absolute facts or that you will have the same experiences.  I'm not a teacher, I'm not a sociology expert or anything of the sort.  Take my words however you want, try it my way only if you want to.  If it does make a difference well I'm glad that you found the same networks that I did.  If it doesn't?  Oh well at least you got experience in a few things that do relate to what your trying to do.  However do not think that what I say is a definitive answer on how you get work as a freelancer.


Digivance Game Studios Founder:

Dan Mayor - Dan@Digivance.com
 www.Digivance.com


#7 Python Blue   Members   -  Reputation: 151

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:57 PM

Yes, we did meet on TIGSource, MoritzPGKatz. Nice to see you, here, too!

Dan Mayor, I appreciate the honesty when it comes to my profile, reason it's not exactly interesting yet being how recently I joined combined with my time commitments.

As for the example track, I acknowledge that one track is not enough to show how much I can do. However, I only shared one at the time because I didn't want to do what you also agreed I shouldn't do: spam others, especially since it was my first post, here.

If you insist on me sharing more so soon, though, then the complete soundtrack for the mod spoken about is available for listening, here:

http://sgtyayapproductions.bandcamp.com/album/the-great-work-complete-soundtrack
Python Blue - composer available for work

Official Website
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#8 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3642

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:08 PM

Nicely put Dan!


Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#9 Kristoff K.   Members   -  Reputation: 207

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 08:17 AM

Thank you, Dan! Now also I got a clearer vision of what to do next.

 

Kristoff



#10 Calum Bowen   Members   -  Reputation: 304

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 09:13 PM

Hey Python Blue. I've seen you around many places. :   ) This business can be a slow burner and then all of a sudden just take off! Hold in there and maximise your chances for success! (That sounded like business spiel!) 

I've enjoyed reading through the responses here. This is a particularly interesting thread. 

I've got to echo Dan - personal relationships with devs and putting yourself out there with clean and quick links to your work is vital. In my own experience, most of the best paying work I've had has been through personal relationships. 

I'll share 2 stories which attest to this:

I worked (dare I say it) for free as one of my first projects with a guy who was making a short radio play around 2 years ago. We chatted a lot about it and enjoyed working together. Subsequently, we went on to work together on a short film he was doing - after a little miscommunication I ended up doing this for free again. Sigh, sigh, same old getting nowhere, huh? Then all of a sudden I get an e-mail from someone saying she's putting on an outdoor theatre show and she's looking for someone to make the music since their previous composer dropped out. I guess there's not much suspense in this story - of course, it was the guy I worked with previously who suggested that I work on this theatre stuff. So, because of maintaining a good personal relationship and (although this isn't amazing advice) working for free, I was able to bag a gig which flew me to italy and paid me more than I'd been paid for anything before. This year I'm touring with them again and it's all thanks to just making a friend and doing a little work.

Other story, I chatted with another composer from a game I saw on a devlog somewhere just about composition in general. We had a lot of fun conversations about composition and showed each other our work. We continued to casually chat on facebook every now and then. One night, he offered to paid me to sequence one of his compositions. Now we're going to be working together on the company's next title for some precious dollars. Just really through friendship with the baseline knowledge that the other person can do the job!

 

I think the concept that other composers are your competition is only really upheld by insecure ones. We all want everyone else to succeed really. :  ) 

 

So, for me, it's been a while but I feel I'm slowly getting towards a more steady income and this is largely due to gigs which came out of forming personal relationships with people.

So really there's been very few cases where a dev has lined up all the composers they can find and asked them to prove their worth. They know a guy or maybe they heard this guy was good from someone who worked with them previous. Equally, they may just be browsing some forums and if your profile is quick, easy and full of content, you'll be noticed. So back to the maximising your chances for success wink.png ... i guess it's just maximising your presence and the accessibility of your portfolio.

I wish you the best of luck my friend.


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




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