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Getting work as a sound designer (still student here)


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#1 Valoon   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 435

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 08:18 AM

Hello,

 

So as it says in the title I'm a student and I try to break into the video games industry as a sound designer. Right now I'm just looking for an internship tho but even this is hard.

 

I actually live in France and I have absolutely no contact except one guy who works at Ubisoft and even then I don't really know him, just exchanged a few mails as he's an old student of my college so he has my future degree. Obviously GDC and all of the big conventions are out of the picture for me because I have no money and I can't afford to go to LA for this even if I would love to.

 

I do have my parent support tho, so I can definitely go worldwide for an internship.

 

My audio skills are actually pretty varied since I do sound design myself with a professor from the GRM outside of my classes but my degree is about programming audio with stuff like Max, Csound, etc… and also audio engineering, also the past years have been mostly about regular music so I have music knowledge.

I also have programming classes and I read on my own and so I know a bit of C/C++ and quite a bit of C#.

I'm getting hired in most of the free student project I'm applying for and I'm programming my own little game with Unity.

 

For my demo, I know I can't advertise myself here but you can see them in the audio forum and I got multiple good reviews from a few pros and some other people like on this forum.

 

Yet after having an actual pro who said I definitely have the skills to "find an entry job, or even more at a small company" , finding an internship seems mostly impossible. First there is like no sound design internship in the first place so I just apply to the "we always hire" kind of stuff and I got no response. When there is one I apply and I actually had one company out of two answering (the other one only looks at resume at the end of the deadline the 31th) and telling me they would be happy to consider my application but they only make their final choice in March. I do have to keep looking tho because if they don't take me I'll be screwed since this internship is related to my degree.

 

It kinda scares me because if no one takes sound designers even when it's basically free for them (I don't ask for a paid internship and I know in France they do have to pay because of the law but not everywhere), how would I even find a paid job one day.

 

So I'm really wandering if I'm doing something wrong or it's just normal? Did you experienced that when you tried to start if you're in audio? Do you know someone in audio who had this problem? (and I do know audio is the place where there is the less jobs)

 

The guy I "know" who's at Ubisoft actually got an internship there and then they extended his contract as a sound designer.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

EDIT : After reading this again, it sounds kinda whinny. It's not I'm just looking for advice.


Edited by Valoon, 29 January 2014 - 08:47 AM.


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#2 fir   Members   -  Reputation: -460

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 08:54 AM

I cannot help you, maybe someone who works in sound will answer to you.. I can only say that imo getting work of a sound designer is probably hard because there are virtually few sound designers at work comparing to the amount of programmers, Also sound designer is probably not much a sound designers team work, where ine can hire a man and school him.. On the other side there should be some offerts i think where people would hire a sound designer but do not want to pay for a man with proven experience.. Really I do not know

 

I liked the sounds you mix and can remember you as a

valuable sound maker, so when i will be releasing a game like

next minecraft and need to make some sound i could contact

to you (and offer some percentage or initialy some cooperation wyth a non commerciall demo release), but this is a future (and this is only a divagation ;/)

 

could you say maybe, (just for interest) If i get a game written in c in win32 + opengl and something like that , I could use any free library api to call a sounds in it - are you able to make sound in it (by make i understand get some sounds of any free of cost source, dont know free sound repositories or sintesized sounds of your make) and make sound in my game with them?

(How it could be done? by inserting the api calls and recompiling the game source? or would you prefer other way)

 

IM asking just for curiosity, you know just like a programmer with sound designer ;/ (I think in the future i will maybe need to find one )

 

 Sorry for not answering to much on topic 


Edited by fir, 29 January 2014 - 08:59 AM.


#3 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10062

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 02:44 PM


So I'm really wandering if I'm doing something wrong or it's just normal? Did you experienced that when you tried to start if you're in audio? Do you know someone in audio who had this problem? (and I do know audio is the place where there is the less jobs)

 

It is hard to find audio internships (that's just the way it is).  Your guy was lucky. You might get lucky too.  It's hard to break into game audio and to keep making money as an audio engineer/designer, and the competition is stiff.  You might want to also do audio work in non-game fields too (radio, TV, movies, web).  And maybe you have another skill applicable to games besides audio? That could give you a way to get employed and keep busy in games.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#4 Valoon   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 435

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Posted 29 January 2014 - 06:55 PM

 


So I'm really wandering if I'm doing something wrong or it's just normal? Did you experienced that when you tried to start if you're in audio? Do you know someone in audio who had this problem? (and I do know audio is the place where there is the less jobs)

 

It is hard to find audio internships (that's just the way it is).  Your guy was lucky. You might get lucky too.  It's hard to break into game audio and to keep making money as an audio engineer/designer, and the competition is stiff.  You might want to also do audio work in non-game fields too (radio, TV, movies, web).  And maybe you have another skill applicable to games besides audio? That could give you a way to get employed and keep busy in games.

 

Well, I can do some scripting kind of like you do in Unity with C#, and I do know C and C++ but not on a programmer level. I could probably do QA too.

 

I'm pretty bad at art overall (3D or 2D).

 

Game Designer I don't know, everybody kinda thinks he's a good game designer I suppose. I know a part of their job is scripting so this I can do it but the other parts I don't think so.

 

 

And @fir : I'm not sure I understand what you mean sorry.

 

I'm not too familiar with OpenGL to be honest, but I don't think it has a sound system attached to it which means you probably can't just put sounds in it just like that else you can't do any reverb depending on the space you're in and stuff like this.

The way I know how to interact with a program (outside of Unity and UDK) is with Wwise or FMOD. I personnaly did it with Wwise to learn it. Wwise gives you all you need to implement sounds and their behaviour in your code, you just need to code it right and have Wwise linked to your project.

I did it with a C++ program tho (that I did not made myself). There is plenty of premade projects that might be useful to look at if you want, just download Wwise. For example the Cube project is open source so you can access all the code and read it + tweak it.

 

EDIT : unless the "free library API" part is the sound engine?

 

Anyways I could code the sounds into a game myself if I can watch the code and understand how I'm supposed to do, but I could not write the thing from scratch.


Edited by Valoon, 29 January 2014 - 07:20 PM.


#5 fir   Members   -  Reputation: -460

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 02:24 AM

 

 


So I'm really wandering if I'm doing something wrong or it's just normal? Did you experienced that when you tried to start if you're in audio? Do you know someone in audio who had this problem? (and I do know audio is the place where there is the less jobs)

 

It is hard to find audio internships (that's just the way it is).  Your guy was lucky. You might get lucky too.  It's hard to break into game audio and to keep making money as an audio engineer/designer, and the competition is stiff.  You might want to also do audio work in non-game fields too (radio, TV, movies, web).  And maybe you have another skill applicable to games besides audio? That could give you a way to get employed and keep busy in games.

 

Well, I can do some scripting kind of like you do in Unity with C#, and I do know C and C++ but not on a programmer level. I could probably do QA too.

 

I'm pretty bad at art overall (3D or 2D).

 

Game Designer I don't know, everybody kinda thinks he's a good game designer I suppose. I know a part of their job is scripting so this I can do it but the other parts I don't think so.

 

 

And @fir : I'm not sure I understand what you mean sorry.

 

I'm not too familiar with OpenGL to be honest, but I don't think it has a sound system attached to it which means you probably can't just put sounds in it just like that else you can't do any reverb depending on the space you're in and stuff like this.

The way I know how to interact with a program (outside of Unity and UDK) is with Wwise or FMOD. I personnaly did it with Wwise to learn it. Wwise gives you all you need to implement sounds and their behaviour in your code, you just need to code it right and have Wwise linked to your project.

I did it with a C++ program tho (that I did not made myself). There is plenty of premade projects that might be useful to look at if you want, just download Wwise. For example the Cube project is open source so you can access all the code and read it + tweak it.

 

EDIT : unless the "free library API" part is the sound engine?

 

Anyways I could code the sounds into a game myself if I can watch the code and understand how I'm supposed to do, but I could not write the thing from scratch.

 

 

(sorry bad english) 

 

I was asking if you are able to made whole sound for game,

by made I mean

 

- find the sounds or make them or any other way of getting them (but they should be free to use with you no pay for them and you get them for free usage)

 

- connect to (place them) in game with any kind of music api 

of your usage (that can be used with typical c/win/ogl game

(opengl is irrevalent here I mean typical game)) but also this

api shuld be not paid library

 

In short, I am curious, If somebody will give you its c/opengl soundless game with no sound you could give it back with sound ;/ (asking for curiosity) [I am able to make some games but got a trouble in making any other than terrible sound in this]


Edited by fir, 30 January 2014 - 02:25 AM.


#6 Valoon   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 435

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 12:06 PM

Well I can definitly find and make sounds.

 

If the API is FMOD which is free if you don't sell your project then yes I could do it, same for Wwise but I think Wwise you have to pay as soon as you release your game even if you win nothing, not sure tho. Then I know how to put sound in Unity and I recently got into a UDK project so I'll learn this one soon too but that's unrelated to what you ask.

 

If it's any other one, I don't know since to be honest I don't know any other. I could definitly learn, but it might take time.



#7 fir   Members   -  Reputation: -460

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Posted 30 January 2014 - 01:50 PM

Well I can definitly find and make sounds.

 

If the API is FMOD which is free if you don't sell your project then yes I could do it, same for Wwise but I think Wwise you have to pay as soon as you release your game even if you win nothing, not sure tho. Then I know how to put sound in Unity and I recently got into a UDK project so I'll learn this one soon too but that's unrelated to what you ask.

 

If it's any other one, I don't know since to be honest I don't know any other. I could definitly learn, but it might take time.

 

Allright this is fundamental becouse you have one very usable skill and you could do some substantial work.. Do that, skill it, best wishes.



#8 Valoon   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 435

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 06:53 PM

Yes, well right now this is how I spend most of my time actually. Trying to get "good" at programming, while obviously still doing some trailer remake and game projects.

 

Programming and me is actually a long story, I liked it and decided to study it and then after one year I hated it and decided to do music, and now I like it a lot again.


Edited by Valoon, 31 January 2014 - 06:55 PM.


#9 frob   Moderators   -  Reputation: 22222

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Posted 31 January 2014 - 07:28 PM

It is hard to find audio internships (that's just the way it is). Your guy was lucky. You might get lucky too. It's hard to break into game audio and to keep making money as an audio engineer/designer, and the competition is stiff. You might want to also do audio work in non-game fields too (radio, TV, movies, web). And maybe you have another skill applicable to games besides audio? That could give you a way to get employed and keep busy in games.

Strongly agree.

Unfortunately audio is one of the more difficult and less reliable ways to break in. With programming, animation, and modeling once you have sufficient skill you can break in with enough effort.

Audio is a tough one because a studio might have two audio designers that are spread across three or more game teams. Turnover is low. Published job openings are rare. Competition is difficult because there are a lot of really talented people out there, many with BA and MA degrees in music and/or with trade degrees from schools that lead into movies and television.

Contract work is more common in audio. If you haven't already, consider looking for small projects under contract rather than a full-time job. And as Tom mentioned, looking across a broader entertainment market could be good for your career. Audio is one area where it is easier to cross industry boundaries from games to advertising to television and so on, so that may serve as a good stepping stone if no opportunities are available soon.

Check out my book, Game Development with Unity, aimed at beginners who want to build fun games fast.

Also check out my personal website at bryanwagstaff.com, where I write about assorted stuff.


#10 Valoon   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 435

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 05:07 AM

Yes but right now I'm not really looking for a job, it's just the internship. I guess I should have put a better title. After the internship I'll see what I do and I'm not against working in other part of the entertainment industry even if yes, at some point I would like to do only games even if it's only contracts.


Edited by Valoon, 01 February 2014 - 05:14 AM.


#11 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10062

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 08:24 AM


Yes but right now I'm not really looking for a job, it's just the internship.

 

An internship is a job. The search for it is done exactly the same way. The interview process is exactly the same.

 

But in regards to audio, an internship is even less likely than a job.  First, it's rare for a game studio to have full-time audio people. Second, they want only experienced audio people.  The cost of inexperienced people is just too high -- not in terms of money, but in terms of lost time due to lack of knowledge of processes and standard practices.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#12 Valoon   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 435

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 08:48 AM

I understand but I think I'm still going to try, giving up will not help me.



#13 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 10062

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 09:56 AM


I understand but I think I'm still going to try, giving up will not help me.

 

Of course! Good luck.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#14 Valoon   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 435

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 10:03 AM

 


I understand but I think I'm still going to try, giving up will not help me.

 

Of course! Good luck.

 

 

Thank you and thank you for the advices, not super easy to read this kind of stuff but needed.



#15 fir   Members   -  Reputation: -460

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 11:06 AM

 

 


I understand but I think I'm still going to try, giving up will not help me.

 

Of course! Good luck.

 

 

Thank you and thank you for the advices, not super easy to read this kind of stuff but needed.

 

its maybe not such bad:

 

1. Find all avaliable info of this work - google this specyfic domain topics then you will probably (after some longer time) get know sufficient info 

 

2. find a society of sound designers (i think there should be something like that, dont think ther are as rare as polar bears)

 

then you will probably know what to do



#16 Valoon   GDNet+   -  Reputation: 435

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Posted 01 February 2014 - 11:32 AM

Well I do have a company who answered me with a personnal mail and who said they will be considering me for their internship program so I do have this little hope so far but they don't give definitive answers until March 28th (they have this kind of policy where they don't make a choice until the deadline). And it's in LA which would be very good for me since otherwise I'm stuck in France which "sucks" (it's not that bad but not the best for audio in my opinion) even if we do have a few companies here. On top of that the company is nice.

 

I'm also trying to get my 2 contacts (yes I know a lot of people) to help me a little bit.

 

So we'll see. Hopefully things will work out.






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