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Need some feedback and advice!

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Hey guys,


I would love some feedback on this sound replacement Scene from Half-Life 2 that I have done. All of the Sound and Music were created in FMOD and then internally recorded into Cubase to be synced up to the video. This is the first bit of work that I have done in FMOD.





I was also hoping to get some advice on getting into freelance or permanent employment within the games industry as a sound designer/music composer (UK). I am currently studying music technology at university and have a passion for audio, music and of course video games!


Basically where do I start? I have a very broad range of skills in audio and composition and I would definitely like to start working (even for free!) with some developers to get a taste for the industry.


Where would I find the appropriate people to talk to? Should I be contacting major and independent games companies directly? Should I start lower down with some very small games developers and work for free? 


I know this may be quite a common topic on this forum but I would really appreciate some advice!


All the best,



Edited by tinlee

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Hey Jake, 

Firstly, I don't think the link works, well for me I get a 404 error, so a fix for that asap would be grand, as for starting in the music industry for video games / freelance, I'm in the same boat, however I can share what I've learned from people here and from other sources.

Basically, the best thing for a person wanting to get noticed in the music industry is to have a good, polished portfolio. Be it Soundcloud, Youtube or better yet, your own website, it gives people a good insight on pretty much everything they need to know, of course having a certificates is good too, this won't show people what you're capable of, so a good portfolio is a must. Show your best, polished work with various styles and themes would work well for working in the music for media industry.

Advertise, post, network, be part of communities, but most importantly, don't spam. Joining, then spamming on forums with posts like 'check out my music' then just leaving it there and checking back on your post every hour or so to see if you have any replies isn't too good as people will just see that you've registered, posted and then watched (I'll admit, I'm guilty of this in the past, foolish me), give and take feedback. Now this may not be true in some places but for the most part it is. It's always better to get to know a bit about the community, give feedback on others' projects and find out what's going on, this way you will learn tips and tricks a lot better.

As you said 'working for free' is a big thing too, as this will attract much more attention, I mean who are game developers gonna target first? If I were to put myself in their shoes then I'd look for people willing to work for free first rather than jumping straight into paying work. Not only this, but working for free gives you great experience whilst working to deadlines and themes etc. for other people, with the added bonus of having more portfolio work, which then comes back to the first point, so this cycle works greatly in your favour. 


I hope this helps, as I'm going by what I've heard from other people and actually doing this right now. 

Edited by CaseP

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Woops! Try this link!


I think I copied and pasted it wrong!


Okay thanks very much for that!


I guess as much that would be the case hehe, well I'm planning on spending a good few months scraping together a portfolio of a variety of different games and doing sound replacement (much like the video posted here) the next few months. Ranging from cut scenes of games to actual gameplay in a lot of different styles (Action, RPG, puzzle solving ect.) and also using a wide range of styles of composition (orchestral to electronica ect).


And all the best of luck to you! wink.png



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I strongly recommend you not work for free. When starting out you can certainly work for cheap, even dirt cheap. tongue.png But working for free gives the wrong impression to developers that an audio guy's time, talent, effort and enegry (and even the audio itself) is worthless. I've also seen, personally, certain developers hop from free audio guy to free audio guy.


The best way to be seen as professional in this industry is to act professional. This means expecting to have a written contract and terms which you can agree and commit to. It means meeting deadlines and being open to feedback/criticisms of your client and making the needed changes. Being on time (if not early) to meetings, etc. All of the things we'd all look for in a solid, good co-worker.


It always makes me wonder (if that's even the right word) when folks advocate doing everything else in a professional manner (i.e. how you're networking, your website, having a great demo reel, etc) but then when it comes to money there's a disconnect and that working for free is somehow professional or appropriate. It's not. It harms the industry and others, perhaps more than most are even aware. If it's a purely hobby project which will never be sold and no one's getting paid - that's completely different. But if it has commercial aims and some folks are getting paid, then everyone on the project should get paid as well.


After all, all of your hardware and software wasn't free (or it shouldn't be.. lol) and if you attended any classes or got a degree in this... that wasn't free either. Even if you got a full scholarship, someone paid for your education. Even if it was just you learning at home... your time and effort in learning how to do this well is worth something!


So my advice, work for something. Be it money or an exchange of services. Explain to your clients that you're just starting out and because of that you're super discounting your content while you build up credentials. Not all credits are equal. Don't give away your time and craft just for a credit which, in reality, a small number of people might know and have played. I've been long winded but in the end... I think this is the best way to build up a solid business model and rep in the industry. But if you're dead set on working for free at the start - at the very least keep all of the rights to the content. Never give away exclusive rights to content for free. This way you can at least re-use and resell it later down the road.

Edited by nsmadsen

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Hi, everybody! 


Totally agree with nsmaden. 

I did a lot of free work when I was starting and only a few of them translated into paid projects later on, and always with really limited budgets. 

Creating professional relationships is essential, but it doesn't mean you aren't supposed to do it for free. 


Imagine you receive 100 $ for some music in a game...let's say 25 minutes of music. That team calls you again for some successive projects and little by little the company grows. One day there might be a bigger project calling for a bigger budget, but, still, a lot of resources will be needed and it will still be necessary to have the tightest possible prices. you think you will be able to ask, let's say, a 300 % more for such a project? 

It's a matter of perception. If you have been hired for 300 % less, there's no way you will be able to fill that gap on the spot. And there's always the possibility of that team hiring a bigger name, should a bigger budget arrive, for marketing purposes. 

It would not mean your team is unfaithful, is just the basics of business. We are PASSIONATE with what we do and we spend a lot of time boosting our craft, but, when you reach that moment where you are working as a composer to make a living, it is also a job, no matter what love you put into it (that's the best part of that job, actually :) )

But, as a job, I don't think you should be ashamed of asking for a stipend in return, be it money or, as Nathan said, an exchange of services. And, if there is no budget, maybe think that that gig wasn't for you :)


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