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Tom Wright

Are there jobs you can't do?

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I'm just starting to get into composing, and I've hooked up with a few amateur developers to make games recently, with no money involved, just doing it in our spare time and putting it out there, just for experience. One developer I joined recently asked me for a particular genre of music, which I can do fine, but when we got talking, they said they wanted another completely unrelated genre of music, which I don't really know anything about. I've immersed myself in the genre, listening a lot to the particular pieces they've suggested to me, studied several websites on writing in that genre, but I think what it comes down to is: I simply am not versed in that style of music, nor can I play it very well on any instrument. I've spent several days and come up with half ideas that I'm not happy with. I'm loath to give up, but I'm not sure what else to do. Does anyone else have any experience of this kind of situation?

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Hello,

Yea, I agree with Nathan!
Networking is fun and profitable.

Another thought: Just recently, I went to a 3-day GameMusic MasterClass with Chris Hülsbeck (Turrican, Star Wars: Rebel Strike, Great Giana Sisters) and Michael Stöckemann (CEO of label Sound of Games) - and this question also came up.

Their answer was something like: "90% of the jobs probably just aren't for you, that's the way we approach these things. Be it for financial or for creative reasons. And that is actually quite reassuring: if you get turned down, it just wasn't your job. There are many good projects out there and some of them need exactly your music - rather do less jobs and do them right."

I think that makes a lot of sense. If you feel a job is going to be a constant fight that will eventually wear you out, maybe you should just reject it. There's no shame in that!
On the contrary, if you do it in a friendly and professional way, the client may even be impressed and tell his peers about that composer guy who doesn't take on just any job.

Cheers,
Moritz

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[quote name='GXW' timestamp='1341574647' post='4956289']
they wanted another completely unrelated genre of music, which I don't really know anything about.
I'm loath to give up, but I'm not sure what else to do.
[/quote]

You have to be forthright and up front about what services you can and cannot provide.
The thread
[b] [url="http://www.gamedev.net/topic/625096-sound-teams-vs-the-one-man-operation/"]Sound teams vs. the One-man Operation[/url][/b]

also applies, a little.

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This is rough for a lot of people and I can absolutely relate. Along with what some of the others are saying, you definitely need to be forward about your services and what you CAN do. However, I got into the habit of never saying "No" so I got into a few frustrating situations where it was actually more work for me because I was simply not well versed in said area of music. However, I do know what I am good at, so it's important to be able to say "Hey, I've never written pirate music before. Why don't I try a mock-up and we'll go from there?" Sometimes that's the best way. I grew up on metal guitar but sometimes I do pop, country, electronic, orchestral.... anything. But if someone asked me to write urban hip-hop I'd just refer them to someone else or subcontract a friend who is better at it (Because I'm terrible in that genre, as well as others). I mean, if someone asked me to write traditional Chinese I would have no clue where to start, so in that situation it might be best to find another solution than "Maybe I'll just research it and see what comes of it..." (Cause I've done that too, haha...)

Anyway, I wouldn't get bummed out about it. But I'd push through and use it as a learning experience. I never knew I could write children's music until someone asked me to and I said "Yes" so sometimes the best way to know what you're good at is to continuously learn, grow, and perfecting the art of creating music! Hint: You'll never perfect it! Best of luck on the rest of the project

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