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If you were a developer...


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#1 CRFaithMusic   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1042

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 07:49 PM

Hi everyone,

 

If you were a developer what would you think of this show reel?

Also any feedback on some of the tracks would be great! Constructive criticism would also help :) 

 

The context of the show reel is that it would be used to land some jobs for games btw.

 

 

Thanks for your time,

Caleb



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#2 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17989

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 05:55 AM

Pretty good, it's not overly long and has some a good range of different-sounding tracks.

 

You could probably consider reducing the length of some of the longer sections by a small amount -- although they do progress, if I try to ignore my musical training and just listen as a layman (and I also got my musically challenged wife to listed to confirm this) some of them seem to just be offering more of the same -- if you can trim these down a little so that the total length is at or just under 10 minutes your reel might get just those few extra listens; seeing a running time of over 10 minutes I was a bit hesitant to spend the time, where a sub-10 minute running time seems like less of an investment.  You could consider balancing this out by linking to some longer samples in each style, or offering an "extended reel" for those who are already interested.

 

Although they do differ significantly, I thought the first two samples were also stylistically similar -- perhaps you could consider shuffling the second one to a spot a little later in the playlist to provide more variety early on.



#3 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3889

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 06:23 AM

Hey Caleb, 

 

Not to contradict Jason's comments but I feel a 13 minute demo reel or even 10 minutes is actually way too long. The conventional wisdom I've always heard is keep a demo reel under 4 minutes and some folks even advocate 2 minutes. I've actually watched several audio directors sample demo reels and it was eye opening. Most of the ones I've observed "dropped the needle" in random spots throughout the demo and would listen for about 5-10 seconds each time. It was like an extreme case of ADHD. They might only drop in at 3-4 spots over your whole demo reel to get a taste of what you do. If it's up to par and interests them, they'll listen more later. If not, they move on. In some cases the amount of time I've seen a demo reel get with an audio director (or manager) can be as short as 10 seconds total! So you really need to make a lasting impression right out of the gate!

 

I do agree 100% with Jason on the redundancy point. Try and think of ways to make it easier and faster for a game developer to quickly identify if you're the type of composer he or she needs. The quality of music and production, overall, is there! 

 

The important thing to remember about demo reels are there only an introduction to (hopefully) a longer conversation. In other words don't give the client too much but a concise intro which leaves them wanting to know much more about you and your work. 

 

Content critique - the retro cue at 6:11 is drastically lower in volume and, to be honest, isn't really selling you well as a retro-styled composer. I'd consider replacing that with something more substancial that really makes you shine. Retro style music actually requires more production pizzaz than more realistic samples which can do much of the work for you. This retro cue felt a bit more unfinished to my ears than the rest of your music which really did a good job showing your talent and efforts. 

 

Closing thought: I left your demo reel feeling like you were mainly an orchestral composer who dabbles in some other styles, mostly synth stuff including some retro. Your focus though, appears to be orchestral. Mostly your style was dramatic and epic. This is mainly to get you to think about your demo and your marketing target(s). If you feel you're something else, which I haven't mentioned then perhaps your demo reel isn't showing that enough (or well enough) to give me that impression. 

 

Good music! Just tweak how you're presenting it to make it easier and faster for potential clients to say "oh yeah, THIS is the guy I want to use!"


Edited by nsmadsen, 26 April 2013 - 06:35 AM.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#4 Calum Bowen   Members   -  Reputation: 304

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Posted 26 April 2013 - 08:59 AM

I agree with Jason & Nathan about the length and redundancy of some of the similar styles. I found myself skipping through a lot of the tracks. I think, personally, they don't all need to start and end - you could cross-fade between tracks mid-flow and this might make the listening experience a little less laborious.

 

I think the orchestral style is where you shine so I'd suggest trying to get as diversity as you can within that. The more chirpy tracks at the end could have been placed between some of the quite dark and intense orchestral pieces towards the beginning of the showreel for more a immediate show of diversity.

Some feedback on Wolf Bane (track 4) - I was struck by how far right the drums were panned on this. I would consider centre'ing them as the panning seemed to weaken the effect of the drums and made everything sound a little imbalanced in my ears.

 

Those were my impressions! :~) 

Calum


Edited by Calum Bowen, 26 April 2013 - 09:00 AM.

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

#5 CRFaithMusic   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1042

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 09:47 PM

Thankyou everyone for the such detailed responses I really appreciate it :)

JBAdams

I agree completely and I'm starting to work on that.

 

NSMadsen
I think I might work on having a 2 minute demo reel and also a 10 minute one and then the developer can listen to more if they want to. I agree that the retro cue wasn't as good and I've removed it for now... My focus is definitely dramatic/epic orchestral for now however I'm trying to branch out a bit. I'm happy that you got that impression because that was exactly what I was aiming at :) I'll work on presenting it more efficiently.

 

Calum Bowen

I'll be working on presenting the specific best parts of the tracks to make sure you don't skip into a not as good part. 

Wolf's Bane - I only just noticed this myself. I actually didn't pan the samples at all that is how they were to begin with. With my speakers (i think) it sounded a bit more to the centre but when I went to listen with headphones it was overpowering and distracting.

 

Thankyou all so much for the feedback it really helped me out! Thanks!



#6 GroovyOne   Members   -  Reputation: 308

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 02:26 AM

Whilst the tracks sound well written, I too skipped over them because i was looking for something that made you stand out from every other orchestral composer. I get demo reels from some of the top working composers in the industry and what makes me hire them is their ability to present style and personality in the music. When I hear demos I also look for flexibility and adaptability to different genres - even if whoever it is only writes orchestral.

 

This is not to say you won't get work as the demo reel is functional but you have less chance of securing something big. You shouldn't have problems working with indie developers however 

 

The first impression is the most important and if your material doesn't stand out, you may be overlooked.


Game Audio Professional
www.GroovyAudio.com

#7 CRFaithMusic   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1042

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 04:55 AM

Okay thankyou for the honesty :) I'll work on that. I'm still working on my style and manipulating the software as well.

 

I'm only 17 btw and I'm looking forward to starting a music degree next year. At the moment I'm only at the very start of my career. 

 

I appreciate your answers!



#8 GroovyOne   Members   -  Reputation: 308

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Posted 07 May 2013 - 10:16 AM

Try hitting up some indie studios or advertise yourself for composition roles on small projects, just be persistent. Your music should get you work, ad that's also how you expand your skills by writing to specifications and work experience. You certainly have the chops to land work - just go for it!


Game Audio Professional
www.GroovyAudio.com

#9 CRFaithMusic   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1042

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 05:35 AM

Thanks smile.png I've worked on a few projects before smile.png

 

Sorry to ask a lot of you guys but what do you think of this chip tune kind of style track?

All the synth sounds and everything except the drums were created from scratch by me btw

 

Thanks so much!
Caleb


Edited by CRFaithMusic, 09 May 2013 - 05:35 AM.


#10 GroovyOne   Members   -  Reputation: 308

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Posted 14 May 2013 - 03:01 AM

It's a fun track but way over compressed. 

 

The problem with over compression is that tracks become tiring to listen to.

 

Also it's an unspoken rule that kick drums usually are not wet. Your snares could be somewhere between dry and where they are now. Try not to saturate all the drums in reverb. Reason being that the mix becomes very muddy and there's not much to give the listener a break sonically 

 

You can share the same reverb between rhythm tracks by creating a reverb bus and sending some of the signal to them from each of the drum parts which you should put on separate buses.


Game Audio Professional
www.GroovyAudio.com




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