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Paid entry level positions?

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Hi, I am a composer with the goal of eventually writingsoundtracks for video games. Currently I am refining my skills and becomingcomfortable with my creative output, but I think it would ideal if I could getsome experience with being a part of projects in the industry in the audiodepartment. Are there any entry level positions that anyone could recommend forme to seek out for this purpose?




Thanks

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Hi, I am a composer with the goal of eventually writingsoundtracks for video games. Currently I am refining my skills and becomingcomfortable with my creative output, but I think it would ideal if I could getsome experience with being a part of projects in the industry in the audiodepartment. Are there any entry level positions that anyone could recommend forme to seek out for this purpose?



The best "entry level position" is to team up with someone in your same shoes who's a programmer/developer doing an independent game for something like iPhone/Xbox Indie games, etc. Do the music and sound for that game-- find them at university's with game programming courses or degrees, or on forums like this. it'll get you experience (plus you never know if that programmer will go on to work for a game company someday...)

If you're looking for an "entry level position" in a larger game company, one of the best ways in is to join the Q&A Team... i.e. become a game tester. If you are a tester with good ears, you'll get known by name fairly quickly by whomever the audio director is for that game! Presuming you kick butt at the other aspects of your testing gig, enter thoughtful audio issues--not nitpicks or overt creative suggestions, but issues that only a fairly trained listener woudl be able to pick out ("torch sound still being made, but torch graphics were removed last week"), and likely gets missed by all the other testers who don't know what to listen for and are focused on other issues.

Pretty much every game I worked on, I got to know, at least by email, the tester who cared most about what the game sounded like..

No, that's not in the audio department, but for every gig in the audio department, there are 100 in the testing dept.

Otherwise, look at some of the other threads here about getting into the biz (network, know games, etc.)

Brian Schmidt

Executive Director, GameSoundCon. www.GameSoundCon.com

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Aiming for a QA audio job as a starting point seems like a good idea for me. Do you have any advice on how to go about finding one? Should I actively seek out and contact developers, or just keep an eye out for postings on their websites? Thanks!

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QA's the classic "entry way" into the industry, but I think is often misunderstood. Just as it's difficult to move from being a runner in a production company to it's director, it's hard to move out of QA into the role you want. I can't speak from too much experience (having basically joined QA and quit after reading various horror stories on the web, and having my superior tell me to get out while I can!) but if you do a bit of research I think you'll find a lot of stories of people who joined QA to get into the department they wanted, but just ended up stuck in QA. The only natural progression from QA is into production, as similar organisational skills are required, but creative roles require a completely different demonstrable skill set.

If you do decide to go down the QA route, two things:
1) Be prepared for the long haul. People I know have been in QA for years before moving out into different fields (normally production or design) - some are still there.
2) Don't tell your interviewers that your real passion is for audio and you're hoping to make a sideways move - they want someone dependable for the job they're interviewing for, and would rather have a candidate who will stick with the QA for as long as they need you.

Be careful with big companies as well, especially in the QA department - read about stuff like "EA Spouse" to find how big companies treat their workforce! Sites like http://www.gamewatch.org/phpbb3/, and my own personal experiences, have soured me to ever being full time in a big dev company.

I've been ragging a lot on the big companies, so I'll end on a positive - I'd go with Brian's first piece of advice and either team up with indie developers, or get some clients under your belt and freelance. It's as secure as current AAA development, more creatively fulfilling and less stressful!

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