Sign in to follow this  
Olliepm

When does the failure end?

Recommended Posts

I've just heard back about a job I applied for, and I have not been successful.  It was my first opportunity in the games industry and I feel quite depressed about failing, if I'm honest.  I wondered if some of the more successful members of the forum had some words of encouragement, or stories of similar experiences they had before succeeding.  Anything really, I'm just bummed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember applying for my first job. I can't remember the name of the company. It was my freshman year in college. I sent in my resume, then got a call to come and interview. They asked me some basic questions, but to be honest, I didn't know much about version control systems at the time (I had used CVS a little, and knew of SVN, but I didn't really know them), which was unfortunate because a lot of the things in the job had to do with version control stuff and managing it all. I didn't think the interview went awesome, but I thought it went decent enough, and they were generally positive throughout the whole thing.

 

After the interview, they had me tour the office with them, and showed me some areas and kept talking as if I had the job. "This is where you'll be working" and things like that. I ended up getting really excited by how they were talking so positively and making it sound like I had the job. When I left, they told me they'd send me all the final paperwork. Afterwards, I went home and bought myself an icecream thing to congratulate myself and told my family that I had gotten the job (because by the way they worded things, I had).

 

A few days later, they called me and told me that someone else had come in and interviewed who they thought would be a better fit, and they were going to go with him. They said that at the time I was pretty much the only person that applied, but this other guy applied a little while after me and they said they wanted him. I was pretty bummed.

 

Later (by about a month or so), though, I got a waaay better job. It was way more flexible, slightly better pay, more interesting work (actually programming instead of managing a version control system), better connections, etc.

 

Moral of the story: failing once doesn't mean you have failed forever. I don't know what the future has in store for you, and I can't promise you you'll get the next job you apply for or that it'll be everything you ever dreamed for. But I will say that as long as you haven't given up, you haven't truly failed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Only one person can get that job. So if more than 2 people applied, everybody's chance of failure was higher than their chance of success. No amount of positivity can change that - you just have to come to terms with the hard mathematical facts.

 

On the one hand, this is a positive thing. Everybody should expect to be turned down most of the time - but obviously someone gets the job. So it's not hopeless.

 

On the other hand, there are usually more people than there are interesting jobs for them. There is no guarantee you will ever get the job that you want, and the more uncommon the job, the higher this probability is. That's another thing you may have to come to terms with - adjusting your expectations if the kind of employment you want is not the kind of employment that is practical to get.

 

So I'm afraid I don't have any real words of encouragement. I would just suggest that you need to accept that you will be turned down most of the time, and carry on regardless, while tempering that with a sense of realism.

 

EDIT: I would also add that if you haven't gone into higher education yet and don't have any commercial experience then your idea of having enough experience for a role is likely to be well short of what an employer will look for. Luckily the first problem is fairly easy to solve, though time-consuming. The second problem will probably require you to take on some independent jobs, but that's par for the course for creative workers.

Edited by Kylotan
stupid error in first sentence!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure if you intended to post in the Music forum, sounds more like a Breaking In Topic. Unless you were applying for a musician job and you did want to post here. Also, some background on your education and jobs would be helpful. I can relate to Kylotan's words on the harsh reality. My own harsh analogy is, each interview is like taking a college exam, where the "teacher" will only pass the top 5% who take it :O

 

I recently intereviewed to a (non-gaming) developer job in which they commonly used a framework I am not familiar with, but my knowledge of MVC and other frameworks/CMSes using the methodology would make me good at learning it quickly. They were accepting of that fact, and would provide ramp-up time. Unfortunately, and perhaps not surprisingly, they interviewed someone who did know the framework, and he was hired.

 

So although on-the-job training and ramp-up to get working with the tools the company uses is not an impossibility. But with competition that can bypass that, it becomes more and more improbable to get in that situation.

 

Honestly, the closest I've ever gotten to get into the games industry (even if it was just QA) fell short, for what to me a pretty dumb and disappointing one- I have no car and their location was out of my reach, so I could not plan an interview in person, much less travel every day to work there. I was in college at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I meant to post here because audio is my area, and I feel it may be a tougher job market for us than say a programmer.  I currently still in education.  The job I applied for was a one off, due to the fact I felt I had the skills described as 'essential'.  I've done to HNC level in music, and being HND sound production in august (2nd year).  Also own, but haven't really started the game audio tutorial book.  I was planning on getting through that over the summer.  After next year, it's a choice between job seeking or continuing to honors level.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The way I look at it Ollie is that there can't be the good without the bad. Everyone gets knocked back and we all go through it. 

The best thing to do is keep your head up and know that the people who just knocked you back missed out on a great sound designer. Get back out there with twice the enthusiasm and I'm sure a job will land on your doorstep :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My spirit has returned - huzzah!  Thanks all smile.png

 

@Cornstalks  That must have been horrible for you.  I hadn't reached the interview stage yet.  Instead, I had been sent a test where I was to create MIDI data, and was given a week to complete it.  Rather than do so, I completed it for the following day (hoping I'd gain some extra points for returning it so early) but in the end, it turns out I should have spent a week on it.  Once reviewed, they didn't want to take my application any further.  It sucks to know I didn't fully get the chance to show them what I'm really capable of, but what's done is done.  Where about's was your first industry job?  

Edited by Olliepm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where about's was your first industry job?  

To be honest, I've worked very little in the game industry. My first job was doing video compression software. My second job (which I currently have) is focused mostly on mobile software (not games). Buuut. My company got an Ouya dev kit so we've been working on a game for it, actually, and I've been one of the programmers for it. So that's my first taste of doing game development and actually getting paid to do it :)

 

I'm not really trying to work in the game industry professionally, though, as it's something I'm more interested in reserving for a hobby.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This kind of work doesn't happen over night. It takes a long, long time. And even after someone "makes it" they still get turned down for jobs. Sometimes it's related to politics, other times it's budgets and other times it's a style conflict. Perhaps someone else just matched their needs more than someone else.

 

You need thick skin for this industry. Thick skin for losing out on gigs and thicker skin once you get a gig and then have to work with negative feedback from a client. Just because you don't get a job now doesn't mean that connection you created is fruitless. I've been approached by producers/managers later after being turned down to work on their next project. So, keep your head up. Keep learning and keep striving. Also - when you do get turned down, don't take it personally. Be polite and professional. I often send a basic "Aw, bummer! I was looking forward to working with you! Hopefully next time - and best of luck on this project." kind of email. That is... if the client is polite enough to let me know I didn't get the job. :P If not, I just assume I missed out after a certain amount of time.

 

Best of luck man!

 

Nate

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

'Aw bummer'?!  Haha, my response was relatively emotionless.  "Thank you for your consideration.  I would appreciate any feedback." was how I rolled that day....  I know it's a hard industry to get into, but I'm also faced with the financial issues when I finish my education, and will have to relocate.  I have no idea what I've got in store for me if I need to move to America.  There ain't much going on here.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Let me tell you something, and this comes from personal experience, you might get your dream job, just for the studio to close a week later, you may be the best at what you do, but get stitched up because you are not part of the insecure boys club. But as long as you never give up, never lose your passion and never compromise your integrity, then you will never be a failure, so dont ever think like you are already one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no idea what I've got in store for me if I need to move to America. There ain't much going on here.

 

There's not much going on anywhere. Being a musician is generally not a full time job in games. Even being an all-round audio person is not a full-time job in all studios, and even where it is, there's rarely more than 1 such role per studio.

 

If your passion is music then you probably need to be looking at working as a freelancer, building up a portfolio and getting jobs as soon as possible, because there are thousands of people who want to make music for games but only so many games to go around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My passion WAS music, up until a point where I realized that making a career out of it would be problematic.  Ever since then, I've been learning all I can about sound design and integrating audio for games.  It was only very recently that sound design became a passion, though.  I love designing sounds for environments  and bringing new worlds to life.  Gun sounds, on the other hand, crush my soul; but I digress! An in-house sound designer position, where my role would allow me to use software such as Wwise to design environmental sounds is like my dream now.   It's definitely what I want to do, and nothing can make me give up any time soon.  (I'll still do the gun sounds if it gets me a job, of course!) smile.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
<p>Job applications and interviews are a case of 'throw enough shit at a wall and some of it will stick'. Just keep applying, you'll find something eventually. For perspective, to get where I am in my teaching career (which isn't far!), I must have filled out 60 different application forms, attended 20+ interviews and got 2 jobs out of that process.</p> Edited by JackMusic

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep building your portfolio constantly. If you are serious about getting your foot in the door, you should be cold contacting companies with work you enjoy. Offer to do work on spec: meaning - they pay you if they use it. Consider it an audition where you have a chance to showcase your skills to people who otherwise wouldn't have listened.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Offer to do work on spec: meaning - they pay you if they use it. Consider it an audition where you have a chance to showcase your skills to people who otherwise wouldn't have listened.

 

While I agree with this point, there is a risk that you'll end up doing a bunch of audio work with no financial benefit. Some developers do "cattle calls" where they write to a bunch of composers asking for specific type of music and then pick what they want to use. You REALLY need to be careful with cattle calls. The WB once had a "contest" where folks could submit music cues for use in a high level IP. Reading the fine print revealed that every submission, regardless if it won or not, would be property of WB. Meaning folks submitted music which the WB now owns.... for nothing. 

It's important to also learn how to negotiate, seal the deal and then collaborate with the client to make sure the content is on budget, on schedule and on target. This also helps reinforce the notion that an audio dude's time and craft are worth something. In some cases offering finished tracks on spec can negate some of these important lessons. But Max is right - this can be a useful, effective way to get a foot in the door, especially when done well. 

Edited by nsmadsen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks guys.  I've been in touch with an indie team who have a voluntary position available.  I did request that if they intend to sell their game, that we negotiate a contract.  I'm only thinking of protecting my work, and not so much profit, as I value the opportunity to gain experience a whole lot. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem these days is that every man and his dog wants to work in games. So many new faces flood the job market every day. Sound is one of the smaller areas of game development and one sound designer may work on multiple titles. Not only are you competing against other people trying to break into games both fresh, and from other industries like film, but experienced people within the industry from studio closures, and people striking out to freelance.

 

There will always be failure but dedication and patience, improving your marketability by getting works experience like you are doing on indie projects is a very important step.

 

Even experienced professionals miss out on jobs. There's a certain demand and an oversupply so you're not going to land every job you apply for. Learning implementation tools like wwise and fmod will help your marketability as well as scripting knowledge, and anything else you could possibly learn about the audio side of games.

 

Luckily there's this little revolution right now called indie dev and casual titles which is booming. May not all be paid work, but new games are being made every day so there's always the chance to get on a project and learn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to add to what GroovyOne and others have said - value the development of your aesthetic judgement, skill-set and work ethic above everything else. It doesn't matter if you aren't getting paid. I've been on the dole, I've been rejected, so have thousands of starving musicians/artists - you have made your choice so stick with it and be ready for the consequences of that choice, which includes constant self-doubt, rejection and lack of income. Everyday I practice piano, write a bit of music and read some theory, and it helps. There are thousands of people out there wanting the same kind of job and lifestyle, all worrying about the same things and facing the same distractions. You have to be the one out of those thousands that maintains perspective and determination through all the crap and against the backdrop of the 'successful' face everyone you interact with will put on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a look at your youtube sound design replacement.

 

Suggestions

  • pick smaller games like iphone games to sound design and compose to - this is the market you will most likely enter first off in the industry not an in-house job working on a game like BioShock. You started off with quite a difficult video to sound design to. If you don't have the right material to begin with - specially guns explosions and other sounds - then it's going to reflect badly on your presentation.
  • use the existing smaller games as a guide to sound design and see if you can replicate their work and mix the sounds and music accordingly to work together.

 

The first game I ever did sound design for was a student project - I recorded and synthesized all the material myself. There were only 8 sounds but those were the hardest sounds to create from scratch I have ever done.

 

Learn the ins and outs of audio editing / processing and learn digital audio theory as well as audio theory. 

 

Read books on mixing.

 

Bisect game videos and listen to the unique elements in the sound design, pay attention to the mixing, do background sounds duck when a weapon is fired, what sounds stand out, what are their volumes, what frequencies do they use.

 

Sound design is a lot more than creating a few SFX and throwing them in the game - thinking about aesthetic choices and tonality, eq,stereo placement .. and psychology of the sounds are very important.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your advice!  I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned that this demo was for also for a student project, and had to be to a deadline with a bomb of written work to accompany it.  I had over fifty tracks in the DAW project, never mind how many individual sound clips, so I'm wondering why your 8 sounds were so difficult?  

 

As far as mobile gaming goes, I'm trying to help my friend with his college project.  He is studying games development, and has been tasked with creating a playable level with a menu etc.  They have a sound library, but I've offered to give him some original music and sound.  He also has a deadline, so it's really whatever I can squeeze in whilst taking care of my own college work.  I've also contacted some indie developers (who have tended to simply stop contacting me without explanation)  and applied for more professional jobs too.  I'll keep on keepin' on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Sign in to follow this