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About nsmadsen

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  1. Here's episode 13: Networking - The Good and the Ugly Networking: how to do it and how NOT to do it. This is all based on an experience I had THIS week with someone on Facebook in one of the music/composing/audio nerd FB groups I take part in. Note: It wasn't from Business Skills for Composers. Some good lessons here that we could all learn from. Check it out.
  2. Episode 12: Silencing the Internal Editor is now out! Go check it out. This is a problem I believe almost everyone (if not everyone) struggles with at some point or another.
  3. nsmadsen

    AMA: Interviewing and Getting the Job

    Reminder - this is happening tomorrow! More info about the AMA set up and such here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/businessskillsforcomposers/permalink/824968677690353/
  4. nsmadsen

    Is there good free music?

    Important life lesson: You get what you paid for. Applies to just about everything, at least at one point or another.
  5. (Just an FYI for those interested and not connected to me on FB or a part of this excellent group) For those not in the Business Skills for Composers group: AMA with Nathan Madsen, POST YOUR QUESTIONS in the BSC group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/businessskillsforcomposers/ If you're not a member of this group, then join up! It's a WONDERFUL resource! TOPIC: Landing a job in game audio DATE/TIME: Friday, Oct 12th 6PM CST Who is Nate? Why is he giving this AMA? Nate Madsen is an established composer/sound designer who's worked in the industry since 2005. His work has been heard on titles launched on the Nintendo DS, Sony PSP, PC and Internet games. He's also taken part in audio production for commercials, trailers, CDs, films and has represented brands as large as LEGO, Dragon Ball Z, Yu Gi Oh, Shin Chan, Monopoly, Dean Martin, MechWarrior and The Mortal Instruments. He's also interviewed and landed four in-house positions so far in his career (FUNimation Entertainment, NetDevil, Beecave Games, Scientific Games Interactive). Looking to land a job in game audio? Curious what goes into nailing the audio test? Want to know what audio directors are really looking for in a new hire? Come to his AMA where he'll answer your questions about job interviewing!
  6. In the first episode of Madsen's Musings, I discuss the issue of being too self critical about your work and how that can get in the way of your progress. Wanna learn more about me or my work? Go here:http://www.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. Transcript So I'm walking my dog Kobe, she's right here, and I had this idea -- this thought -- that I noticed myself, and so many artists seem to deal with feeling like they're inferior, or they're somehow a fraud and people are going to find out that they've been faking it this whole time. This is something that plagues so many people, from the highest tiers to the newest beginner in our industry, and just some ideas -- some thought -- that came to mind for me with the right ratio; with the right balance it can be an ok thing to have hypercritical thoughts about your playing, but it can quickly turn to a negative thing if it's out of balance. If you are too negative; if you are too hypercritical about your playing; if you don't appreciate what you're doing well. You want to have a list of things that you can work on. You want to have a list to say "these are objectives that I haven't met yet". But you also want to relish and enjoy; appreciate and recognise the things that you do well. I'll give you an example: Oh yeah, quick story. In 2014, I was fulltime freelancing and I had a brief lull in work, so I joined Fiverr -- that's with two Rs: F I V E R R. I joined that service to offer remote saxophone recordings. (Mosquito on my face.) I didn't know how well it would go. I thought "well maybe if it goes well it'll keep me on my horns a little bit more often and also it will help me just fill up my schedule and get some extra cash." Before doing Fiverr I used to be really critical about my saxophone playing feeling like "oh I don't do this like this player over here" or "that player over there is really really good at this approach", that sort of thing, and... not to brag, but to put it humbly, the response from Fiverr has been great! It's been really really positive. I've done something like over 580 projects on Fiverr, have a 5-star rating from about 99% of my clients, and that's fantastic! And it's made me realize that there's things in my playing that people appreciate and that they want to have... they want to have in their songs. (Sorry, I've got some people behind me I guess.) Anywhoo, if you're feeling in fear about your performance as a musician; as an audio professional; as a composer or sound designer, you know what? Keep it in check. Let some of that propel you and motivate you to get better, and let some of it just roll off your back because you want to keep your morale high. You want to keep your enthusiasm and you want to keep your self-confidence high. Artists just tend to be hypercritical of themselves. Artists to be very sensitive and feel like they suck. So there's this TED talk I watched and it discussed why people feel like others are more creative than they are and it's a real simple premise: When you look at someone else's finished work you don't see the whole process. You don't see all the doubt. You don't see all the terminal, or even just not knowing what to do next; the evolution of ideas that the person goes through to finally get to the end product. Instead you're seeing the end product, and you're saying "man, this is awesome, I could never do something like this." But that's just not reality. So what is the takeaway here? The takeaway is to have a healthy balance of being critical about yourself as a musician and also appreciating and recognizing what you do well. I think in the long run that can help keep you more motivated to stay in music, to stay on your horn, to stay on your instrument, to feel good about the efforts you're putting into it, and yeah... I'm gonna have a beer. [Out takes] [Wayback Machine Archive]
  7. Episode 11 is up! (Sorry for the close up perspective. I just got a new gimbal and I'm still learning now to use it.)
  8. Episode 10 details the 5 things I wish I'd put into my contracts sooner!
  9. nsmadsen

    my new audio reel!

    Awesome response! This kind of attitude will take you far as you continue to learn, grow and tackle more things. Best of luck!
  10. nsmadsen

    my new audio reel!

    Thanks for sharing! A few ideas or tips for you to consider right off the bat: - demo reels should be SHORT. Consider this an introduction to you and your work, not your magnum opus. Your sound design video is 9 minutes long and I can pretty much guarantee that most hiring audio directors or managers are not going to watch all of your demo reel. They just don't have enough time. I've watched several audio directors/managers/studio execs evaluate someone's demo reel. They spend seconds on it. Seconds. The average time I've seen many-a-audio director spend on a demo reel is about 20-30 seconds. They pop around to various points of the reel at random to see if anything jumps out at them. If something does, they put that submission into a "review more later" pile. If nothing does - they move on to the next submission. Demo reels should be - at max - about 2-3 minutes long. I've certainly broken this rule in the past but a 9 minute demo reel is REALLY pushing it. My fear is the current slow pacing and conservative sound design of your reel would make most audio directors move on. In fact, in many ways your demo reel comes off more like a tutorial and explanation and less of an actual portfolio reel. This brings me to point 2: - start out with your best, most interesting stuff. I've watched 35 seconds of your demo reel and the thing I've heard so far the most is footsteps. No offense, but footsteps are not hard to create and they don't do much to distinguish you from the many other sound designers out there. I did hear some whooshes as well but again - those are not super unique. - the binaural nature of your demo reel is cool but you don't show it off in a very compelling way, to be honest with you. Basic ambient sounds like wind, bird calls/nature/etc are very easy to make and setting up roll offs within Fmod is definitely a perk but your demo reel should really show off your absolute best stuff. - remove the full screen text slates. They take up too much time and the font is really, really small. Plus the white text over the gradient colored background can make it less easy to read. Keep in mind that most people watching this reel will already know how Fmod, interactive audio and binaural sound design works. They don't need to it be explained to them and this is taking up super valuable time that should be used for you just showing off how great your sound design can be. For example, I'm currently 1:38 into your demo reel and so far I've only heard footsteps, wind and birdcalls. I eventually skipped around and saw a few points about how you set up barriers to emulate occlusion and other environmental factors that change how a sound emitter behaves based on the player's perspective. I'm really not trying to be rude, even though it's probably coming off this way. Your demo just really needs to be trimmed down, streamlined and made into something that really makes the viewer want to contact you and hire you right then and there! I think you could trim this down into a 2-ish minute long montage and put in a caption that says "all demo audio is implemented into Fmod and Unreal and captured as it's experienced in-game." That one sentence tells a hiring manager or audio director exactly what they need to know, will impress them that you can implement audio and save so much more time. I hope this helps! Best of luck.
  11. nsmadsen

    Usage of analog and acoustic instruments

    It all depends on what I'm doing and what the client/game needs. Sometimes I'll 100% acoustic (real) instruments, sometimes I'm only VST/AU instruments and sometimes it's a hybrid. I also agree with you Alec but it does depend on type of music. For example, EDM or chiptune often sounds best when it's played 100% perfectly given the context and history of those genres. But for anything that is based in human performance, having those mistakes can definitely help it sound more real.
  12. The second sample you provided is very, very short. So it's hard to get a good idea of how your voice would truly work in a video game. I'm not an actor but know plenty of actors and what I've heard is really needed is: - flexibility: how many different voices/accents/emotions can you do? - direct-ability: can you change your approach based on what your client/director tells you? - stability: can you stay in character across a wide range of emotions and situations - like that you'd find in a video game? What I'd recommend you do is you redo several different scenarios that you feel showcase your talents and strengths. These could be video captures of games or scenes from films. You could react stage plays or do narration. Give your possible clients a lot more to chew on and leave them wanting more! Because, honestly, just one short line of dialog doesn't give us nearly enough info to know how good your VO truly is. I'd recommend researching other people's voice over reels and seeing how the pros are constructing theirs. Could really help give you some direction and more ideas. Hope that helps! Nate Edit: I just listened to your first demo - the other thing you really need to work on is better recording practices. You sound like you're very close to the mic. Put a bit more distance between your mouth and the mic so more natural air moves between the two. This will also help reduce some of the mouth clicks, pops and proximity effect that certain syllable have on the mic. Do you have a pop filter on that mic? You can also sometimes talk slightly off angle so that your plosives aren't.... ya know, explosive. Also your actual audio file has a jittery aspect to it - like when you're playing the wrong sampling rate in your DAW or the audio interface is set incorrectly. The second sample is clearer but keep in mind that audio quality is just as (if not MORE) important that good acting and a solid performance.
  13. nsmadsen

    Composed for horror VR title

    Hey, Thanks for sharing! Right off the bat - check your overall volume level. I had to crank my headphones quite a bit to get a decent listening experience. I liked how the music evolved and your overall pacing used. The door SFX at 1:22 feels very random and out of place. It sticks out and doesn't serve much purpose because so many of the other shots had very limited or no sound design at all. Trailers like this are hard because there's not a lot of action so how do you hook the viewer? I wish there was a bigger moment at the title end slate. Consider what the trailer is supposed to do - generate buzz and excitement about the project. You want people to remember the name of your game. At that moment in the trailer - the music is fading out and the transition visually to the title slate is just a cross fade. I like that you have the music do a swell at the title slate but I would've pushed the envelope a bit more. Add a cymbal scrape, maybe some more sound design. Make it stand out more. Also what is your main melody? Is it the strings at 0:56? If so, I'd restate that melody, even in a fragmented way later at the end slate. Something to drive home what the sonic identity of this game is because right now it's just a mood. It's a good mood! But, again, from the stance of marketing and branding, there could be more done to make your game (and it's audio) stand out. Some beautiful environments! You've got a great start!
  14. Episode 9 is all about getting an audio job - from interviewing to doing the audio test. I hope it's useful and enjoy!
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