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About nsmadsen

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  1. Episode 17: Delight Your Costumer! Check it out. Look for ways to surprise and delight your costumers (clients). It makes a difference!
  2. nsmadsen

    My new showreel

    Hey, There's some really nice music here! A few thoughts or things to consider: 1) Get a smaller or more cropped pic of yourself. When viewed on my monitor, the landing page is just a pic of you. I don't see a logo, no navigation and no links to your music. I have to scroll down to see any of that. This is a bad first impression - although it's a small thing that's quite easy to fix. 2) Many of your titles don't tell me what to expect from your songs. Put yourself in the client looking for a possible composer. Some of your titles (i.e. Suspense theme 1) do give some context. Clients are often rushed and want to find solutions effectively and quickly. Consider adding a bit more context or grouping your demo so it's clearer to your viewers how things are grouped. 3) Consider your volumes across each track. I found some tracks to be very soft while others were louder. You want to give as polished of an experience as possible. 4) I'd consider making a collage reel that shows highlights of many of these pieces over a 2-4 minute long piece. Show your range in styles, production and composition. A teaser track that gives a good introduction to you and your work. 5) Almost all of your music falls within the classical realm (piano and/or orchestral). Nothing wrong with this at all! If that's your thing - it's your thing! Just know that not every client is after classical piano or orchestral music. So if you can do other styles and genres, you should feature them as well. Otherwise, you might miss out on some other jobs. Some really nice work! I enjoyed listening. Best of luck! Nate
  3. nsmadsen

    Acoustic Aura of Alikberov

    I can see that too. But why post it here? What does he hope to gain from this forum? Or need from this forum? And if it is a research proposal, it's pretty poorly written. I make my share of typos and such, sure, but not in research paper abstracts and such.
  4. For sure! And I've found that when I have a sudden deadline (high pressure job) my focus and intensity really kick into gear. But there's always a balance - too much stress can lead to inaction and insecurity.
  5. nsmadsen

    Acoustic Aura of Alikberov

    Do you have a question? Are you offering up a tool for others to use? Sorry, but I just find your post extremely hard to read.
  6. nsmadsen

    my new audio reel!

    It depends really. Knowing how to put sounds in a game will never hurt you but when freelancing, sometimes clients will only want you to make content that they'll plug in themselves. Other times, it can definitely be a selling point to help you land more jobs!
  7. nsmadsen

    Monopoly Community Chest

    This track was especially fun for me! I love mixing styles and genres together and this track blends elements of jazz, electronica, rock and even some 60's organs. I composed everything, played all of the parts in with virtual instruments, real saxophones and my boss recorded live electric bass for me. I think it turned out great and hope you enjoy it! You can go play Monopoly Community Chest and many other slot games at the Monopoly Slots page and app! Go check it out here - https://www.facebook.com/monopolyslots/
  8. nsmadsen

    my new audio reel!

    Let's say for example you've done a neat explosion effect that is more unique than the standard, run-of-the-mill explosion foley. Or perhaps there's a warp element. Or a cool spell element sound you've created. Footsteps in particular, along with basic nature ambiences (i.e. babbling brook, wind, bird calls, footsteps) can all be made quickly and easily. And if you think about it - most tend to sound alike from game to game whereas other game elements can sound quite unique.
  9. nsmadsen

    A quick reminder

    Hello all! I'm seeing more and more personal ads/posts looking for work in this forum. Here's a quick reminder that posts looking for work are to be placed here: Paid jobs - https://www.gamedev.net/contractors/ Hobbyist gigs - https://www.gamedev.net/forums/forum/29-hobby-project-classifieds/ Posts in the Music and Sound forum that are looking for work will be deleted. There are several other FAQ/guidelines posts that explain this already posted but I thought a quick reminder post could help.
  10. In this episode of Madsen's Musings, I detail five things I wish I'd put in my contracts sooner. Wanna learn more about me or my work? Go here: https://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 I mean, it's cloudy, but the weather's like 75°F up here. It was awesome, whoo, love it. If only Austin was like this all the time. Okay, So, we're talking about contracts today -- yay, contracts -- legal stuff. First off, disclaimer: I am NOT a lawyer, I do not play one on TV, I am NOT a law expert, so take what I say with a tiny grain of salt. These are just basically my experiences -- these are basically my observations -- but if you have a specific legal issue or question, or if you need some specific legal advice I always STRONGLY recommend talking to an attorney; talking to an expert because that ain't me. [Laugh] Saying "well Nate said on YouTube..." is not gonna hold up in court -- I've tried it! Okay, so, let's talk real quick about what are the basic components of a contract first: A contract is just an outline. It's an agreement. It's saying that Party A is going to do something, Party B in response is gonna do something else. It outlines the specifics of the timeline, any cost related, and it outlines how long the relationship can last between both parties. It outlines how you can end that relationship. It also outlines how the approval process is gonna happen, how the delivery process is gonna happen. It's just a statement. Good contracts are actually supposed to try to protect both parties. That's what negotiations are all about when you're trying to nail down the specifics of a new of a new job you want to make sure that those terms are gonna be something you feel good about. As a freelancer, or if you're looking for an employment position you're going to negotiate the terms of what's your salary, how much PTO you're going to get off the top of the starting, any special considerations. Contracts are just outlines. Okay, so we've defined what a contract is. Let's talk about some of the things I wish I put in my contract sooner. So top of my list: Revision clause Basically, this clause is just capping how many times you're gonna go back to square one and rewrite something. In my opinion -- this is just how I do my contracts -- is if you want me to make something a little faster, bump it up by five clicks, if you want me to change the oboe to a flute, if you want me to -- hopefully there's no angry wind noise there -- if you want me to change this chord from first inversion to second inversion, if you want me to do tiny minute things then I don't consider that a rewrite. I don't consider that a revision. A revision for me is "this is not working, let's go back to square one and start over". That for me is a revision, and in my contract I say for the price I've quoted you, I'm gonna give you three included revisions. Anything past that is an extra cost. Now, I don't list what the actual cost is in my contract, I say that should we go beyond three revisions, what we will do, is we'll have a meeting and we'll discuss things, and we'll make a new cost for this fourth revision and it'll be a mutually agreed upon dollar amount. So maybe it's sloppy of me to not include or quote the price for those additional revisions once you get past the first three free included revisions in that original price, but the thing is, with the exception of this one experience I've never had to use it. But I had a client early on, hired me to write one song that she wanted to use as a part of the pitch to hopefully get funding to make a full Broadway musical, and I was writing music, writing music, working with this client, like I said again, very early in my career, so I gave her version after version after version, each time starting anew. About the fifth or sixth time I asked her "hey, what's not working here, why are we going back and redoing version after version after version and starting from square one?" Well her response kind of shocked me, she said "oh, I just wanted to see what you would do, I just wanted to see what you create", and she even said "I didn't see any kind of revision cap or revision clause in your contract so I figured I could just request as many as I want". And she was right, she could. At no additional costs to her, she could have me writing thousands upon thousands of iterations of this Broadway spec piece. Just over and over again, just to see. Because you have to remember, the more time you take to do something, the less you're actually getting paid per hour. If you have a job you accept for $2,500, and you take five months to do it, you're not actually earning as much than if you have a job that you do in one week for the same $2500. It's a simple concept, but sometimes I think people forget that, and they're talking about their rates, when they're talking about their budgets, and these contracts. So the top of my list would be revision cap. Second thing I wish I added to my contract sooner, is basically says that I as Madsen Studios have the ability and the right to showcase my work in my portfolio. What I've learned, especially working with some larger companies, is in buyout situations particularly they can say "well we're never going to give you the right to put this in your portfolio". You can of course list something on your resume, but you can't showcase it on your demo real or your video reel. You just can't without having some kind of language in your contract that specifically states you can. So my contract states that once a game is made public or once the game is published, I will be able to showcase -- just for promotional reasons -- the content I provided, the content that I created for that game. I've not had any clients object to this when I have it in my contract. I've even had clients put it into their contracts if they're the ones providing the contract to me. I've had "hey, I want to be able to showcase this in portfolio". The only problems I've had is when I didn't ask for it, I didn't have it in my contract, there's nowhere mentioned and I already had signed something and I'm already working and it comes up "hey, I would love to promote myself and promote this work I did, can I put it in my demo reel?" I've had some larger clients say "no you cannot". That kinda sucks, so I learned to start doing that. Let's say a game trailer showed Level One as part of the teaser for the game, and had some of my music I put in Level One, and this is out on YouTube, this is out on the internet - this is live. In that case, I would say "okay, Level One music has been released by that company", and of course there's always political things to consider. I would always talk to my point of contact to say "hey, I love the trailer you guys released, it's using my music, it's out there live per the contract, and says anything that's made public, or once the game's formally released I will be able to share and promote my stuff for promotional reasons on my demo reel." And I would talk with them and say "okay, so since that's been done, let me go ahead and do that real quick, if I want to just shoot you an email and we can talk about it real fast", well I feel like that's a useful thing to do - you don't want to piss anyone off, you don't wanna get yourself in any kind of legal liability, or something like that. In some cases, it can be as easy as just retweeting something, or linking something that the company has already done saying "hey look, I did this", but yeah... that was a weird voice for the "hey look I did this..." You need to have some kind of language in your contract, or in the contract the company is giving you, and you negotiate that saying "I want to be able to share this on my portfolio". And by the way, it's very common to say portfolio: this is not gonna be for downloads, this is not gonna be commercially sold again, that sort of thing, and this mostly only applies in buyout situations. Examples when you were keeping the rights to the music you're providing, you're basically just giving the license to a client, you don't have to worry about that so much, because you are the owner. You might still have to worry about the schedule of it though. You know, perhaps the client doesn't want you to release something that's not made public yet, that's very very common so you do have to be careful about that. Number three for me would be point of contact. Final authority. All this does is dictates -- lays out in black and white -- who was gonna be the person to have authority over saying yes or no in a project. The reason why this is because I've been in situations where you have a group of people and let's say they get into a disagreement and Bobby-Fred does not like the music you did for Level 7, and Judith thinks it's the greatest thing, well then you have a conflict. You have this whole other discussion that has to happen and when you're working as a freelancer and so I will get on these Skype meetings that would be about two-three hours long each, and this was a weekly meeting. And then they would talk about these things, and then they were getting disagreements with me right there in the Skype call. "Well I disagree with you", "well I think this", "well I think that", and suddenly my direction is cluttered. My scope, my target is not clear because I have different points of reference. I have people tell me different things. I have people telling me different direction. So you want to avoid that. In some cases you don't want to worry about this. So if for example, you're working with the team of one person; you had your key contact, you have your final authority. It's that dude or that gal and you just have to make them happy with your content and you're golden. But in other cases where you have multiple people it's very useful to assign and dictate and just ask the client "all right, well I have meetings with eighty of you guys, but I need to know when the proverbial poop hits the fan, who is the person that has final authority to say yes. I would highly recommend if you're working with a team that has multiple people and they don't know who the final authority is that you set something up. You set some terms in your contract saying okay well let's agree that this person will be the final authority, and then you guys can go off and have your debates and your discussion for as long as you want without me involved, and then that one person comes to me and gives me clear, concise direction. Another point to number three is meetings. Are you going to invoice your client for every single meeting that you have. It depends - this is really your call. My advice, my suggestion would be to really understand what type of meeting schedule the client may have in mind. If this is a weekly meeting, then yeah you might want to invoice for that. If it's not then don't worry about it. I kind of take mine case by case. It's really tricky to change a contract once you're in it, so if you don't invoice for meetings, and suddenly find yourself in the situation with the client where you have a whole bunch of meetings all the time, and it's taking up time when you could be working, it's going to be a tricky conversation to say "hey, look...". Nothing is impossible, it's just going to be tricky. It's a lot easier if you just say "hey, if we're going to have this type of meeting weekly then this is my rate for it" and just get that of the way, and they agree to it on the front end versus trying to change it on the back end. That's much much harder to do. Another thing to consider is, each state has sometimes slightly different sometimes very different laws when it comes to freelancing and business, and regulations -- all that jazz -- and if should you have a point of litigation with a client well... let's say the client is out of state, State accounts in California, you're in Texas, well which law is going to be applied here? There's a lot of different things here, but it's just a lot more clear if you just say in the case of litigation, the laws of California will be applied to this contract, or in the case of litigation, the laws of Texas will be applied to this contract. It can be useful to have that listed. Now the big thing I would avoid is P.O. boxes. Do not accept P.O. boxes. I actually don't accept P.O. boxes at all on my contract. What I do is I list all my points of contact. I have my name, my email, I have my cellphone, I have my physical address, and then I have a spot where the client puts theirs in, and I say alright, I need your name, your email, your phone number, and your physical address, and in the state P.O. boxes are not accepted. I guess a little quick blurb. [Joking about the ocean briefly] When you talk about contracts, and you start talking about people getting screwed over, it can make you nervous as a freelancer. I've worked on 575 projects, and I've been screwed over maybe five times. When you think about it, every time you get burned, it just eats at you, it pisses you off, it makes you really angry, you just want to scream, but when you think about five out of five hundred and seventy five, most people out there are good. Most people are going to do the right thing. Most of them are too busy trying to make their own content and they want to do good work and they don't want to make a bad reputation for themselves, that they're gonna treat you right, or at least treat you appropriately. They're not gonna try to steal your work. But always, always, always work with a contract. I've learned that the hard way a couple of times. Work with a contract, all your terms speccd out, and if you're not comfortable reading contracts then reach out to a lawyer or legal person and get some input. Read up on it, there are sample contracts online. There's books. Aaron Marks, he's a friend of mine and was actually very kind to feature me in that. Looks, it's on it's third edition now and I believe there's a whole chapter on contracting. He provides sample contracts. You can also find contracts online. Legalese, contracts, the whole thing can be an uncomfortable topic, but you really need it. You really need to have the protection of the contract. You need to have the finality of "this is what I'm agreeing to. This is what I'm going to do, and this is what you're going to do in response." So I hope that's helpful to you. Again, not a lawyer, I don't play one on TV. I love to watch Law & Order, I love to scream "objection" randomly at home and at the workplace, but I'm not a lawyer, so if you need some actual advice how to reach out to someone who can get that to you much better than I can. Please like and subscribe. If you have questions or comments, or if you have topics you would like me to cover in future videos, hit me up! Reach out - I'd love to do that. Work with a contract people! Thanks!
  11. nsmadsen

    Audio-reel progression

    Cool! Some of my thoughts: 1) Orchestral-Epic-Videogame-TV-Movie - I would trim out the first 15 seconds of intro as it's pretty subdued. Start the demo right about 15 seconds or so for the melodic part, especially since the following section returns to that more subdued, lighter texture of the intro. You want to hook the listener in and seconds count here. 15 seconds of intro isn't going to serve you as well as starting bigger then showing the potential client "hey I can also do restrained, more intimate, lighter stuff too." 2) Orchestral-Ballad - this is an interesting approach. I would caution against using the same theme, putting it in a different arrangement then labeling it another song in your demo. Instead, I would suggest creating a longer demo piece that shows how many different settings/arrangements you can put a single theme in. A collage of arrangements all using the same theme. It could feel like a small, nuanced thing, but I could see some clients going "huh... I just heard this!" whereas if you clearly set expectations/labeling it could be a neat selling point. I would suggest, however, doing more than just two settings of this theme. Some settings that come to mind - heroic, sad, large scale, smalls scale, as a march, as a boss fight, etc. Sit down and see just how far you can stretch this one theme. 3) Chiptune is fun!!! I'd just recommend having 2-3 more tunes you can highlight as a collage there because it will show more range in that style. As it sits, the song is on the repetitive side (not a criticism of the song) and you want to use every second you have the listener's ear to your advantage! That's about all of the time I've got to review right now. A few quick other notes - I'd check the volumes of your pieces from song to song. Is it all about the same level? Or are some much louder than others? I think you're definitely on the right path. The music you have up sounds great - I'd just supplement these songs with more versions so you can show your range and flexibility within each style/genre. I hope that helps! Nate
  12. nsmadsen

    my new audio reel!

    Hey, The biggest issue I saw with his demo reel back in Sept. was length. Most audio directors are just not going to spend that much time reviewing someone's demo. And what you show should be really interesting and unique. As I said in my initial post, showcasing footsteps isn't really that impactful or unique as there are literally tons of footstep foley libraries out there and the actual implementation of footstep audio isn't as complex as some of the other types of in-game audio. In-house directors would care about how things are done, for sure. But freelance clients much less so. They usually just want to know can you work with my engine or can you hit the needed artistic mark as well as my budget and schedule? In many cases while freelancing, I don't even implement the audio. I just do the work, send the files over and then get paid. I do think this video could be a great supplemental video but that would only apply in certain situations.
  13. Episode 15 took a bit longer to get published but here it is!
  14. nsmadsen

    What song are you using as your ringtone?

    Mine is the Naked Gun main theme. But like others, my phone is set to silent about 90% of the time.
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