Jump to content
  • Advertisement
  • 05/26/19 04:16 AM

    Madsen's Musings Ep.20: Creating Exposure

    Music and Sound FX


    In this episode of Madsen's Musings, I discuss creating exposure and building your personal brand within the industry.
    Wanna learn more about me or my work?  Go here: https://madsenstudios.com/
    Subscribe to my YouTube channel or follow me here on GameDev.net to see all the latest updates.

    A transcript is provided below the video.


    Alright guys, so we're gonna try a vlog really quickly in my studio.  I'm here, I was just answering a really good question...

    (By the way, I have a very noisy... there's the camera, I forgot where to look...  sorry, so I have a very noisy studio chair, very squeaky... ah well, it was really cheap, was like $89, but...)

    There was a really good question: "Besides of course composing and producing music, and the projects you've been hired to do, what else do you do that gives you more visibility in the job market as a professional.  What's worked best for you".  

    Alright.  This was on GameDev.net in the Music & Sound forum, which I am very humble and glad to be moderating.  I've done that for the last nine years now.  Ok, so my answer.  I'll just read this out to you guys.


    So it's all about the slow burn,  You have to avoid the temptation, the desire to have a sudden explosion of exposure on the internet.  You instead want to do just a lot of movements.  It's just kind of like working with compression, EQ.  A lot of small movements over multiple tracks will give you a better sound than like just smashing and doing a ten-to-one ratio.  That type of deal.  So approach this with small movements, because that's going to be more attainable, you're going to be able to chip away at that better than just saying I'm going to take on this massive thing.  I just ticked off -- let me count how many: one, two, three, four, five, six -- six things I'm going to quickly talk to you about as fast as I can.  


    Try to be active in the industry.  I interact with other artists and developers.  This could be graphic designers, this could be animators, this could be devs who are making game engines, that type of thing.  So yeah, I do this mainly on Twitter.  I follow a whole bunch of people on Twitter that are making games.  And so I'll see people post like "here's my new animation for the spell, or this movement/my character", "here's the new 3d environment", "here's this", I even follow other composers and sound "here's my music for that", and I will often write "hey I really like this", "hey, this is great", and it's very inspiring to me to see other people's work.  What's really cool about this is it's not stuff I'm tied to; it's not stuff that I'm like "I'm taking part in this", so it's just me being a part of the industry I'm in.  That's a huge part.


    I also attend conferences and local meetups when I can.  Now, GDC is one of the biggest ones, I've gone to that one nine times I think -- maybe eight times.  Anyway, I'm not going this year for a lot of different reasons, one of the main reasons being the house purchase that we just did, so it's a little bit crazy time.  I'm going to be staying here in Austin and working on the house move, but I've gone to conferences a lot.  Now GDC what it does -- when you go to GDC, you show your face there.  First off, people get face time with you.  You're giving people time to experience you as a person, directly.  They get to know your personality, your mannerisms, hopefully, you can create some relationships there. 

    The other thing is, everyone knows GDC is expensive.  So unless you're going with a company shirt, saying "SGI" or "Netta" or whatever, unless you're going with something that paid your way, they know that you invested a lot of money, and you're investing your time, to go out there.  It's kind of a hassle to travel to San Francisco and get a hotel.  It's really expensive and then go to the conference.  It's a lot of fun, but it's a lot of investment.  A lot of energy and money is put into that, and so they recognise that and can respect that, and so that's something that helps distinguish you from someone who's just on a website saying "hey, I think you should hire me".  If someone knows you spent time and effort to go out there and interact directly with folks that's gonna speak louder.  

    If you want to focus on local parts, there's all kinds of things you can do.  There's meetups.  There's a sound designer meetup for beer -- I like beer -- it's like once every quarter or whatever.  I need to do one; I haven't done one since moving back to Austin, but when I lived here before I went to a couple.  Lots of fun.  I enjoyed meeting the other audio professionals and having some beer.  Do those, do game jams.  Just take part: be active.  


    Now you want to focus on your branding and your marketing.  Now this is kind of one that's going to hit people square in the forehead.  I'm guilty of this too, but I cannot tell you how many times I've seen particular people copy and paste the same exact post they did two weeks ago, again in some Facebook group or whatever.   That's a big no-no.  The reason being is because people will just generally recognise "oh I've seen this guy's post.  The same wording as last time" and they'll skip over it.  You need to just be really careful about that.  You know marketing and branding is highly volatile.  People will skip over something they've seen before in favour of something that's new, different, shinier.  

    So how do you know where the market's trending?  Go back to my first points about being very active in the industry, going to conferences, going to local meetups, just knowing what people are doing.  Having a pulse on it.  That's gonna take some effort, that's gonna take some time.  


    This would be the fourth one.  Know your skill set, and focus on that.  You want to continue to grow, right?  I like the idea of being a lifetime student, a life long student, just always growing, always learning.  I'm growing.  I'm trying to learn new instruments, trying to learn new approaches, new instruments, and new technologies, so I'm always in favour of being a lifetime or life long student, but you also want to know: where is the sweet spot for you.  Is your sweet spot orchestral and sweet anime sounding kind of music, is your sweet spot jazz and rock, is it hip-hop and electronic?  What is it you do really really well, that you really enjoy.  Problems that you really like and have a natural aptitude for solving.  Those are ones you really want to go for.


    Put stuff out often.  With NDAs, things like that, you can have situations where maybe you're working on a project that's multiple years and it's gonna take you a long time to be able to share that music publicly.  That's a bummer, but that happens.  So what can you do to get around that?  Well first off, you can go back to older projects you've done before that you've shared and say "hey" and you can just put it out there again.  I did this recently with a project, where I had written music about a year and a half ago, and I was really proud of the buildup at the end of that track, and so I shared again saying "I'm still very proud of this".  It was not a new project, it didn't get a tonne of exposure the first time, and I did that in the hopes to one) fill in some dead space when I'm waiting for other things to become public and live so I can legally share them, and then two) just give that more attention.  Bring it back into focus.  Maybe someone else who missed it before will see it this time, or maybe someone who saw it before will be reminded, be like "oh, that's right, I remember that.  I liked that" and then maybe they'll reach out to me.  


    Here's number six: Give back.  I have these vlogs, I'm trying to do this just to give input and give advice, and my personal journey to you guys and gals, in hopes that it's gonna inspire and give you guys some motivation, give you guys some guidance, that type of deal.  It motivates me too.  I talked a while back -- this was a Facebook Live post, so you won't see it on YouTube -- where I was doing a whole bunch of mentoring, and I described that it's surprising at first, but when you mentor someone, a lot of people think it's going to go from the top down; from the mentor to the mentee.  But if you're in a good relationship, in a good situation, very often the mentee can inspire the mentor.  And so it's reciprocal, it goes back and forth.  Yes, you're pouring into the person that you're teaching, helping, guiding, but they're also inspiring you with their energy, their fresh ideas and fresh outlook on things.  It can go back and forth.  So I'm a strong advocate of giving back as best you can.  


    I think that's about it.  

    So to recap:

    Be active in the industry, and stuff that isn't directly you.  Don't make it only about you, but take part.  And not only about audio.  Make it something that's not your discipline.  I love the writing in this game.  I love the art direction in that game.  I love the battle system in this game.   By the way, the subtext of that first little bit was "are you playing games?"  I mean if you're working in the game industry and you're not playing any games at all you're kind of missing the point.

    Attend conferences both on the global scale and on the local scale as much as you can.  Interface with people directly. Get them to have face time with you directly.  It makes a huge impact.

    Focus on your branding and your marketing.  What are you doing?  Are you adapting, or are you doing the same stale post over and over again?  

    Know your skill set and focus on that, while on the side keep growing and learning.

    Put stuff out often.  Be just engaging.  

    And then finally, give back to the community in what ways you can.  


    Ok, so I hope that helps.  If you like these videos please like, subscribe, comment, share.

    [Parting remarks]

    Edited by jbadams

      Report Article

    User Feedback

    There are no comments to display.

    Create an account or sign in to comment

    You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

    Create an account

    Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

    Register a new account

    Sign in

    Already have an account? Sign in here.

    Sign In Now

  • Advertisement
  • Advertisement
  • Latest Featured Articles

  • Featured Blogs

  • Advertisement
  • Popular Now

  • Similar Content

    • By Zen++
      Look at Studios like Naughty-Dog, Eidos-Montereal etc... and take a glance at their Visuals and "cinematism".
      This makes me wonder, which  Requirements or perhaps API should you learn in order to land into these AAA-Studios? 
      Also what should you study in Uni to better your chances even more?
      Thanks in Advance, this is a newbie question so ples don't reply to harsh ,thanks.
    • By GamesJobsJamie
      There are quite a few different Games Job Boards which can help you in your search for a new job in games or simply to find opportunities you may not be aware of.  Hopefully this will help someone.
      https://gamedev.jobs - Industry jobs presented by GameDev.net.  Search or browse a wide range of jobs, sign up for job alerts, or upload a resume.  Plenty of jobs from the games industry or related industries.
      http://www.gamesjobsdirect.com - Global games job site.  Loads of different game studios across the world.  Mainly game studios with the odd gaming recruitment agency.  You can register your resume to get found
      http://jobs.gamesindustry.biz/ - Mainly UK games news and jobs sites.  Loads of agency jobs with some game studios.  Offers CV.
      https://gamesjobs.fi/ - Job board for the Finnish games industry
      https://www.games-career.com/ - Job board mainly for games jobs in Germany
      https://gamejobs.eu/ - Mainly Dutch games jobs
      http://jobs.gamasutra.com/ - Mainly USA games jobs, offers CV services
      http://www.develop-online.net/jobs - 90% recruitment agency jobs and uk based
      https://gamejobs.co/ - Very good service that brings in a feed of game studio jobs across the world.
      https://www.artstation.com/jobs - Jobs in the Art field
    • By Eck
      Note: This article is based on an entry originally posted in Chris Eck's developer journal (blog) here at GameDev.net, which was itself based on an email conversation with an aspiring game developer named Riley about becoming a tools developer for a video game studio.
      This turned into a pretty long post so I'll start with a quick summary.
      When you're learning to be a game developer you have a choice to make every time you sit down at your computer:
      You take the blue pill - you play some video games, cruise the internet, and wake up the next day no closer to your goal.  You take the red pill - you put in some effort, learn some new skills, work hard, and achieve your dream. Another thing to say is there isn't a single "best" formula for how to get into the games industry. All I can say is that this worked for me.
      Learn Unity Make simple games to learn Write a dev journal (blog) about your experiences/plans Start working on your game / applying in the industry About Riley
      Riley has been programming for a while and dabbling in game development. After watching some GDC Vault videos, they became more interested in becoming a game developer - specifically a tools programmer. They were polite and appreciative of me taking the time to talk with them. Riley asked me for some good resources to better understand how tools development works and for advice on looking for jobs. They also asked about what kind of work I did on Battletech and other games.
      Eck's First Email
      Hello Riley,
      Let me tell you a little bit about myself first. Originally I was a regular developer working on business applications. I started out with C++ and then moved over to C# and SQL as the technology shifted that way. I dabbled with game development as a hobby since college keeping a few projects spinning but never really did anything major. I started working on my own engine and saving up money so I could quit my job and make a serious attempt at game development. After about a year, I participated in a game jam and saw what amazing things people were doing with Unity and I was just floored. I really should have used something like Unity or Unreal instead of working on my own engine.
      Then I quit my job and switched to Unity. I started writing a weekly Developer Journal about the things I was working on here: https://www.gamedev.net/blogs/blog/1922-ecks-journal-still-flying/ - This helped me stay motivated with my learning efforts, and also served as a portfolio to show potential employers I had serious passion, and it would also serve as a form of marketing for my game if I remained an indie developer. The indie dev plan was the way I was leaning towards but then I saw Harebrained was hiring for Battletech. My wife made me apply even though I knew I wouldn't get the job. Long story short, I did get the job even though I had 0 professional game dev experience and didn't live in Seattle. So I gave away most of my stuff, packed up my family, moved across the country, and have been working there ever since.
      A tool developer's job is to make everyone else's job possible, easier, and faster. It's about creating easy to use "tools" like a map editor, or a mech editor. It's about making those tools intuitive, fast, and automating repetitive tasks. It's about identifying the pain points that people are dealing with and eliminating them. The best advice I can give you on how to learn to be a tools developer is to make games on your own and try to drive them with data. You'll quickly become aware of the annoying parts of game development. Figure out how to automate those annoying tasks where possible or reduce it to as few clicks as you can.
      I also recommend starting a developer journal. It's motivational - especially if you end your posts with what you plan to accomplish next week. It makes you feel like you've committed to something and other people will be disappointed in you if you don't. And then a few years later, it's nice to have a historical record of your time. You said you were interested in seeing what work I did. I started doing the developer journal thing before I got my job so you can see exactly what I was working on leading up to that. Lately, I've been writing up journal entries about the kinds of stuff I've been working on for Battletech. So click the link above and read all about it. Feel free to ask any questions on the game dev site and I'll be happy to answer them.
      Finding a game development job is super hard. And even when you do find one, there's a decent chance that job could suck. There are plenty of sweatshops out there that just squeeze every hour they can out of employees and then boot them after the game ships. One thing I found out working at HBS is that I'm happy just being a programmer. If this wasn't Battletech, I probably would have gone back to Business Application development to make way more money so I could retire sooner. But HBS is an amazing company to work at and I'm working on an IP that was a HUGE part of my teen/college years so I'm super happy. #LivingTheDream Do your research on the companies, apply lots of places, and prepare yourself mentally for quite a bit of rejection.
      I hope this helps Riley. Good Luck!
      - Eck
      P.S. - Watch Collateral (Jamie Fox, Tom Cruise). It's the movie that really lit a fire under my ass to go follow my dream.
      Riley's Response
      Hello Eck,
      Firstly, thank you so much for responding, it really means a huge amount!
      Unity is an amazing piece of technology indeed and some of the incredible work I see on twitter is honestly amazing. However I've been rather weary of it for a while, due to mostly varying issues I've heard about it. Though I should just get on with some tutorials and learn things! C# / C++ / SQL is a good set of techs to learn as you allude to later on, business applications are big money! My main language is C# / PHP!
      How far did you get with the work on your own engine? I've attempted that a few times and it is a rather big challenge especially when you are brand new to it all. I have just noticed in your first blog post you were using XNA / MonoGame, it's my current go to as well (well FNA) but it's a good toolset.
      It is rather awesome your wife and family were so supportive of your move when you did get the job, thought I can imagine that it was a big move and stepping into an unknown. It's also awesome that you did end up getting the job even with 0 professional game dev experience. That is a massive thing that does end up worrying me when looking to apply "At least 2 games shipped", "At least 5 years in the industry" etc. Though Harebrained sounds like it must rather be an awesome company. 
      I shall have to give that a go, but literally everything you described is what I absolutely adore doing, creating systems and tools, to make peoples lives easier, automate things. In almost all my jobs, I end up building tools of some form to help others out, in one job I build a dashboard to monitor SSL certificates alongside website up time and in another, I built a whole framework to help developers write importers that were fail safe and powerful in the reporting side of things, so literally anyone could find out what went wrong.
      Any suggestions for sites to use for creating a journal? Would be interesting to see if it does help, cause I struggle massively with motivation and keeping going at projects though having any form of record of things I've done / am doing is a really nice thing to be able to look back on and see how / where you have grown. I shall be giving your blog a read over the next few nights and will definitely drop a few questions into the comment section, will be nice to talk more about how you have done things etc.
      The industry does seem like a few fast turn over area and yeah, I don't have the energy left in me for a sweatshop kinda company, we've all read the horror stories. I'm really glad to hear that you do love it so much at HBS and you feel so happy there, it's always nice when you do find places like that. Lots of research to be done and oh I've had my fair share of No's (including being ignored by a somewhat indie games company I looked up to, which sucked, but oh well).
      Thank you again, seriously this is honestly a massive help to me and I appreciate you taking time to read and respond to my emails, also Kiva, thank you also
      Hope you both have a lovely day!
      Kind regards
      P.S. I shall have to go watch it indeed, thank you for the suggestion
      Eck's Response
      This email could sound a little cranky/confrontational. Tone is lost in text so please keep that in mind. At worst it should be received as "blunt" which is a quality I've been known to have. I'm just trying to help.
      Being wary of Unity:
      Originally I was in the camp of people that thought people using Unity were "cheating" and weren't real developers. You were only a REAL game developer if you wrote your own engine. That's the main reason I worked on my own engine. And quite frankly - that's a stupid camp to be in. Instead of working on low level stuff that's been done a million times by a million developers for nearly 2 years, I could have actually been working on a game and possibly released it. 
      I'm not sure what issues you've heard about Unity but they are definitely able to be dealt with. I mean look at Battletech and Shadowrun. Both of those were made with Unity. If the engine can handle a professional studio's ability to produce games for 7-8 years, then it can definitely handle a one-man indie's dive into game development. Stop using that as an excuse and start going through the tutorials. Then start making games - simple ones. Specifically, make clones of other simple games. For a road map of what games to make and why - give this article a read. I can't recommend it enough: https://www.gamedev.net/articles/programming/general-and-gameplay-programming/your-first-step-to-game-development-starts-here-r2976/
      How far did I get with my engine:
      I worked on it off and on as a side project for quite a while - starting, stopping, scraping, restarting. But then I got serious on it for about 1.5 years. I focused on 2D stuff and had an object hierarchy complete with translation, rotation, and scale. I got some post-processing glow effects, sounds effects, music, input management, particle systems, etc. Basically, I got to the point where I could make a simple game. I entered a week-long game jam where the theme was "The toys are alive". Here's a tech demo of my entry:
      I was super pleased with what I was able to produce, but that game jam was a wakeup call. I saw all the crazy awesome things other people were doing with Unity and I kicked myself for not learning it sooner. Since C# is your main language, then I strongly recommend jumping into Unity yourself. Worse comes to worst, you further your C# skills a bit more. So if game development doesn't work out, the skills still translate into a well-paid career.
      Your experience so far:
      Making tools in business software and making tools in games is pretty much the same thing (and that's how I sold it in my interview). Writing an importer for customer data instead of weapon data has all the same problems. It just sounds less cool to talk about. If you have the skills and can show the passion for game development - at least some companies will take a look at you. Being able to prove that you can walk the walk is what those experience requirements are all about.
      If you're looking for a good site to start a blog on, I highly recommend GameDev.net. It's an awesome community of game developers of all experiences. From the 0 xp newbie who wants to make an MMO to the elite pros who have written low-level graphic card drivers. There are forums to ask questions, and articles that explain tons of topics. They also have occasional game jams or challenges which is a great way to learn in a group of supportive people. Just recently they did a side-scrolling shooter challenge which was fun.
      Motivation is something many people struggle with. It's so easy to stay in your comfort zone, play video games all day, and keep those dopamine sensors fed. You have to CHOOSE to learn a new skill. And it's extra difficult for programmers because the same device we use to be game developers is the same tool we use for recreation. Every time you sit down to work... WORK. Every time you sit down to play - ask yourself if you've worked enough today (or this week). If the answer is no, then you have a choice to make. You can choose to be responsible and work. Or you can choose to goof off and play a game. Choosing to goof off every once in a while is okay. But if you ONLY choose to goof off, you're never going to reach your goal. That's just how that works.
      As I have gotten older, I realized that time is THE MOST VALUABLE ASSET you have. You have a finite amount of time in this life. You are going to leave this world one day. Make your peace with that and accomplish what you want before you do.
      You're welcome.
      Learn Unity (or a similar engine) Make simple games to learn Write a dev journal (blog) about your experiences/plans Start working on your game  
      About Chris Eck: I was a professional C++/C#/SQL developer for about 15 years, but game development has always been a hobby of mine. After spending a year of working on my own stuff, I landed my dream job at Harebrained Schemes working on BattleTech.
    • By Lukke465
      Hi everyone,
      First off, a little bit about my background: I am currently working as an Analytic Consultant for a market research company in Germany. Before that, my first job after my International Business major was in Marketing for a major music label. I’ve been playing games since the N64 came out, did some graphic modding on Trackmania Nations when it was popular and I am currently playing around with the Overwatch Workshop.
      But overall, nothing even remotely comparable to the things you guys are up to.
      However, I’ve always been insanely interested in the games industry and while I’m trying to learn more and more of the technical skills (just started my masters in computer science alongside work), I’m still looking for ways to get into the business without necessarily needing many years of practice.
      Therefore, I was wondering if there are positions that solely focus on the idea/concept part of a game and if so, are those positions usually filled with people that have many years of GameDev experience?
      Would there be a skill set I could develop that enables me to get into those fields without having the technical background?
      My other question would be similar but aiming at a Consulting position that does not require any handy-on experience and what would the skill set be?
      If you have any other recommendations, I would also highly appreciate it!
      Thanks in advance!
    • By JoAndRoPo
      I need to know the advantages/disadvantages (if any) of using Google Play or Custom Leaderboard/Achievement.
      From your experience can you tell me which you prefer? Have you faced any issues with either?

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!