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nsmadsen

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  1. Pretty good! I do wish you'd vary up the toms fill each time it happened. The strict repetition of that fill took me out of the element. Also I think the song could really use a good B section that had a bit more of a contrasting flavor that differs from your intro and main section. So right now it feels like the song is half done. Also as the sound is rendered out right now, it wouldn't loop very well. This is probably something you already know but just in case, try to create a seamless loop otherwise it could really take the player out of the vibe you're setting. Hope that helps! Thanks, Nate
  2. I love the composition overall. But this particular track felt sorta all over the place. Less cohesive than your previous post. I also felt that the production in this one was less convincing than the previous one. But you have great ideas and definitely hit the right mark on the Ghibli vibe. And I love the visual montages you put together for these pieces.
  3. I create my own source recordings, purchase royalty free source libraries and/or create samples using various synths.
  4. nsmadsen

    Music "Cat Valentine" need feedback

    Cool! Glad to have helped. And please keep in mind - it's just my opinion. Take it with a grain of salt.
  5. nsmadsen

    Music "Cat Valentine" need feedback

    I feel like this is a great foundation or start to a song. But as it is, the song doesn't feel completed yet. It could work as an underscore for something but without more of an arrangement and melody driving the piece forward, you've basically heard everything the song has to offer in less than a minute. Which makes the rest of the song kinda feel like it's wandering around. Perhaps you're hearing more of the song inside your head while you listen? And to be clear, I don't mean you have to go wild with the arrangement or the melody. It could be something quite simple but something to help the song have a bit more life and impact. Also what's up with the random VO in the track? At 2:00? That sounds super odd. It feels so out of place and ill-prepared that it's coming off like a mistake so if that was intentional, I'll really revamp that or just take it out. Having listen to the whole song through, it's not clear to me what the song's intention is. What its message is. It does create a vibe and I like that vibe but after about 45 seconds, my ears and mind begin to wander and, sadly, the song doesn't do very much to keep me engage after that point. I say all of this only to help point out some weak spots and encourage you to keep working on it! Because, as I already said, you have a good foundation here. A really good start. It just needs more development. I hope that helps!
  6. nsmadsen

    Little Red and the Wolf (Creepy Orchestral)

    Thank you very much!
  7. Hey all! It's been a good while since I'd shared one of my own tracks on here so here's the main theme for a recent slot game called Little Red and the Wolf. (Can anyone guess what the origin of that setting?? ) Writing creepy, fantasy based orchestral music is one of my favorite styles. I even recorded several tracks of my falsetto to try and emulate a boys choir (although I can't go quite as high as they can). I hope you enjoy it and feedback, like always, is totally welcomed. Thanks, Nate
  8. In this episode of Madsen's Musings, I discuss what to call yourself when first getting started as an audio professional. 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. Okay, so this is a really quick mini-vlog, but I watched an interview with CLA today - Chris Lord-Alge. It was a really good interview for the most part, I enjoyed it: lots of really good quotes and tidbits of information in there, but here's one thing I did not enjoy - or one thing where I perhaps understand what CLA is saying but I don't totally buy into or agree to it, and that is the notion of... he was basically ranting about the fact that people call themselves mixing engineers, and he felt like he had to earn that. He used the analogy of the military saying "you're not a General, you're a Private", you're just starting out, don't call yourself a mixing engineer, and I get the fact that he's talking about back in the day the way it worked is you had to work up different things: you're an assistant, you had to do this type of prep, and then you shut up, and you stood back, and you let the professionals do certain things that they were doing whether they are the engineer or the producer, or they're the mixing/mastering engineer, whatever it is - they had a very structured path or progression you went up through and you didn't just say "I'm a mixing engineer". So I get what he's saying, and to a degree I agree with it, but I also feel like there's a danger to saying you have to reach a certain threshold before you can say you're X, Y, or Z. A perfect analogy is I play saxophone - I have two degrees in it, so can I say that I'm a saxophonist if I don't play at the same level as a Jeff Coffin, a Bob Reynolds, you know, a Joshua Redmond, a Branford Marsalis? I don't play on the same level as those guys, so does that make me not a saxophonist? I think it makes me a saxophonist in work in progress. A saxophonist working towards something. So I don't ever want to have that mentality of you're not a composer if you have not reached X or Y. Maybe CLA, Chris Lord-Alge is trying to get at is if you haven't gone through and mastered all these other elements and you're just saying you're a mixer, then yeah, maybe pare back a little bit, but I also see that we're all works in progress, and I hope we're all continually advancing and growing, and learning and getting better. So that's just a little short tidbit, I hope it's helpful and encouraging. Go out there, learn your stuff, always be a lifetime student, but at the same time don't be scared to say that you are X, Y and Z. I don't know, I mean, that doesn't make sense. I personally offer mixing as one of my services, but I also don't claim to be at the same level as a Chris Lord-Alge, or any of those people. I'm still intermediate - and it shows in my price point too - it shows on my credit list, so I don't know - I'm kind of rambling, but that's something to think about. [Parting remarks]
  9. In this episode of Madsen's Musings, I discuss finding a community of peers to get honest reviews and feedback. 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. Hey guys, Nate Madsen here. I have a couple of days before Inside-Outside retreat, I've been doing a tonne of work on my horn and practising, as you can tell by the chaos on my piano (camera pans to show a mess of sheet music). Lot's of music... saxophone... and my studio chair is so noisy. So I wanted to jump in really quick. A couple of months ago, I was talking to a good buddy of mine who's getting into audio production at work at Site Play. He's a guitarist, he's got some background, but he has never done audio production so he comes by and we chat. It's a lot of fun, I really enjoy seeing his passion and seeing him grow as an audio production artist. I wanted to show him something that I started doing back in 2003. To share a little bit of context with you guys, I started writing music on the computer in 2000, but it was just stuff that I just put out there to my girlfriend, or to my friends, or my family at the time, and I never shared it with anyone who wasn't directly tied to me so I was always worried when I would get feedback. "Hey, that sounds good." I was always worried are they being biased - you know, they care more about my feelings versus being objectively honest. And then I stumbled across a website called Acid Planet. Now, for those that don't know, Acid Planet is no longer around, but it was tied to Sony's Acid - Acid DJ, they have a couple of other lines they do, I believe Vegas as well - and so I in 2003 put my music up there. I put up this little simple song, nothing fancy, maybe a minute or a minute and ten seconds long. I put it out there, and for the first time I had people who didn't know me from Adam giving me feedback on my music, and it really was empowering. And it also allowed me to kind of break that barrier, or that internal struggle of "oh you're just saying this because you're my girlfriend" or "because you're my friend" "because you're my mum and dad". Instead, people who don't know me give me critical honest feedback. It was a huge growing moment for me, so my encouragement to you guys and gals, is if you haven't done that, find a community online where you can share your stuff. It's a little bit harder now. What I mean by saying it's a little bit harder now, is the fact that there's a tonne of places where you can share your stuff but there's very little feedback happening, and that's one of the things that made Acid Plenty special. It seemed to be something where I'll put a song up, and have ten people write comments, write reviews "hey I like this track, I like this, I don't like that", and they had a rating system, zero -- or maybe one... one to ten stars -- it could be the whole I scratch your back you scratch mine, because I would see someone review my work now and thank them and I would go off and I would review some of their stuff, so there of course is some personal skin in the game so to speak, it's not just out of the goodness of their heart they're reviewing everything, but it did give you a tonne of feedback. If you have an online community - could be a Facebook group, it could be some other website where you feel like "I am getting that kind of interaction with people" please share that with me. First off, I would like to know it just for my own personal reasons, but also I would love to be able to share that and update people that check out this vlog -- and by the way, thank you for checking out the vlog if you're doing so -- I would love to share that with more people so they can also know about these venues and possibly get the same kind of growing experience that I got from Acid Planet. Reach out to people, see if you can find a group of people who can give you input on your work. It's gonna help you grow in so many ways. [Parting remarks and outro]
  10. In this episode of Madsen's Musings, I discuss keeping workflow and commerce systems streamlined. 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. Hey guys, it's Nate Madsen, I'm the owner, composer, and sound designer behind Madsen Studios. It's been a while since I've done a vlog, sorry about that - life got crazy doing the move and doing some travelling for work, various things like that - but I wanted to just quickly talk about something I had happen to me yesterday. I had to go by the ATT store to buy a new iPhone case, and it took them about... I kid you not... about twenty-five minutes. I got the case picked out within two minutes, and I had a rep working with me super fast. I mean, it wasn't a line, it wasn't like a busy day at the ATT store, but the internet or the computer system; something was broken, and so they went to multiple machines and finally they said "we can go back and try a fourth time", and at that point I said "I think I'm done" and I walked out of the store. That store lost out on the sale. I mean I had my wallet out, I had the product selected, I was ready to go, and because they had some technical issues they missed out on the sale. You never want that to happen with your own freelance work, so you want to try to make your process as fluid and streamlined, as easy and as quick as possible to use. That way you can get the most sales happening. Here's another example, another store. I used to work at the Apple Store, just for about six months after my time at [unclear] ended, before I went fully freelance for five years, and people would remark all the time, the fact that we had these little, they call them Apple Pays I think; they're basically like iPods that were modified slightly. They could take credit card payments and all that stuff, we could do cash tender with a drawer, but all remotely controlled by these devices, and every employee in the Apple Store walked around and had them. People would just comment "man, this is awesome, I've never seen this before", and back in the day - this was 2010 - I had never seen any other store do that before either. Now maybe it's more popular and common now, but at the time it's pretty revolutionary. But it made it very easy to check out with anyone in the store. So you want to try to make your process as streamlined, as easy as possible. Now that doesn't mean letting customers walk all over you. I'll tell you very quickly about a story I had where a recent Fiverr client was pretty particular and pretty difficult. It was one of those situations where he asked me to just do a full four-and-a-half minutes of audio. I give him my rate, and he goes "ok, tell you what - I don't need four-and-a-half-minutes of audio, I need like, a minute-and-a-half" or something like that, because he started doing all this like... I can recycle this chunk over here, and do this over there, and had - to be honest - kind of a confusing response. And I know what he was doing, he was trying to say "oh okay, you cost this much, well we're going to bring the price down by recycling and reusing more of the content and not have you create as much original content", and I told him "your message is a little bit confusing, I wish you had told me what you need exactly from the get-go, that way I could have given you the most accurate and best quote from the start of this", and he got kind of mad at me and said "well I feel like I've been perfectly clear with you". We didn't work together. [Chuckle.] It's one of those things where I could tell it wasn't really flowing very well, and so I tried to explain my situation, saying I spent a lot of time going through mapping out the time that you need, because -- a point for clarification, he didn't come out and say "I need four-and-a-half minutes of music". He said "I have these four songs, and I need saxophone solos during the choruses", and I manually had to go through and map out the time for all those, add them up, and give him the bid, so there was a lot more work on my end, and it was honestly kind of wasted time. So my point is, I'm being a little bit long-winded, a little bit distracted here, is try to make your process as easy, as streamlined, as fluid as possible. That way you can maximise the number of sales you have. But don't be afraid to push back when a client might be a little bit confusing, might be trying to work the system a little bit, and say "well these are my rates". If you like the vidoes please hit like, subscribe, comment. Ask me questions, I'm here to help. I've got some new stuff coming out of the works soon, and other than that it's just been a mad house of financing, and SGI work, and then dad... parent stuff, so dad AND parent stuff, they're two different things, I'll talk to you later, bye.
  11. In this episode of Madsen's Musings, I discuss creating exposure and building your personal brand within the industry. 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. Alright guys, so we're gonna try a vlog really quickly in my studio. I'm here, I was just answering a really good question... (By the way, I have a very noisy... there's the camera, I forgot where to look... sorry, so I have a very noisy studio chair, very squeaky... ah well, it was really cheap, was like $89, but...) There was a really good question: "Besides of course composing and producing music, and the projects you've been hired to do, what else do you do that gives you more visibility in the job market as a professional. What's worked best for you". Alright. This was on GameDev.net in the Music & Sound forum, which I am very humble and glad to be moderating. I've done that for the last nine years now. Ok, so my answer. I'll just read this out to you guys. So it's all about the slow burn, You have to avoid the temptation, the desire to have a sudden explosion of exposure on the internet. You instead want to do just a lot of movements. It's just kind of like working with compression, EQ. A lot of small movements over multiple tracks will give you a better sound than like just smashing and doing a ten-to-one ratio. That type of deal. So approach this with small movements, because that's going to be more attainable, you're going to be able to chip away at that better than just saying I'm going to take on this massive thing. I just ticked off -- let me count how many: one, two, three, four, five, six -- six things I'm going to quickly talk to you about as fast as I can. Try to be active in the industry. I interact with other artists and developers. This could be graphic designers, this could be animators, this could be devs who are making game engines, that type of thing. So yeah, I do this mainly on Twitter. I follow a whole bunch of people on Twitter that are making games. And so I'll see people post like "here's my new animation for the spell, or this movement/my character", "here's the new 3d environment", "here's this", I even follow other composers and sound "here's my music for that", and I will often write "hey I really like this", "hey, this is great", and it's very inspiring to me to see other people's work. What's really cool about this is it's not stuff I'm tied to; it's not stuff that I'm like "I'm taking part in this", so it's just me being a part of the industry I'm in. That's a huge part. I also attend conferences and local meetups when I can. Now, GDC is one of the biggest ones, I've gone to that one nine times I think -- maybe eight times. Anyway, I'm not going this year for a lot of different reasons, one of the main reasons being the house purchase that we just did, so it's a little bit crazy time. I'm going to be staying here in Austin and working on the house move, but I've gone to conferences a lot. Now GDC what it does -- when you go to GDC, you show your face there. First off, people get face time with you. You're giving people time to experience you as a person, directly. They get to know your personality, your mannerisms, hopefully, you can create some relationships there. The other thing is, everyone knows GDC is expensive. So unless you're going with a company shirt, saying "SGI" or "Netta" or whatever, unless you're going with something that paid your way, they know that you invested a lot of money, and you're investing your time, to go out there. It's kind of a hassle to travel to San Francisco and get a hotel. It's really expensive and then go to the conference. It's a lot of fun, but it's a lot of investment. A lot of energy and money is put into that, and so they recognise that and can respect that, and so that's something that helps distinguish you from someone who's just on a website saying "hey, I think you should hire me". If someone knows you spent time and effort to go out there and interact directly with folks that's gonna speak louder. If you want to focus on local parts, there's all kinds of things you can do. There's meetups. There's a sound designer meetup for beer -- I like beer -- it's like once every quarter or whatever. I need to do one; I haven't done one since moving back to Austin, but when I lived here before I went to a couple. Lots of fun. I enjoyed meeting the other audio professionals and having some beer. Do those, do game jams. Just take part: be active. Now you want to focus on your branding and your marketing. Now this is kind of one that's going to hit people square in the forehead. I'm guilty of this too, but I cannot tell you how many times I've seen particular people copy and paste the same exact post they did two weeks ago, again in some Facebook group or whatever. That's a big no-no. The reason being is because people will just generally recognise "oh I've seen this guy's post. The same wording as last time" and they'll skip over it. You need to just be really careful about that. You know marketing and branding is highly volatile. People will skip over something they've seen before in favour of something that's new, different, shinier. So how do you know where the market's trending? Go back to my first points about being very active in the industry, going to conferences, going to local meetups, just knowing what people are doing. Having a pulse on it. That's gonna take some effort, that's gonna take some time. This would be the fourth one. Know your skill set, and focus on that. You want to continue to grow, right? I like the idea of being a lifetime student, a life long student, just always growing, always learning. I'm growing. I'm trying to learn new instruments, trying to learn new approaches, new instruments, and new technologies, so I'm always in favour of being a lifetime or life long student, but you also want to know: where is the sweet spot for you. Is your sweet spot orchestral and sweet anime sounding kind of music, is your sweet spot jazz and rock, is it hip-hop and electronic? What is it you do really really well, that you really enjoy. Problems that you really like and have a natural aptitude for solving. Those are ones you really want to go for. Put stuff out often. With NDAs, things like that, you can have situations where maybe you're working on a project that's multiple years and it's gonna take you a long time to be able to share that music publicly. That's a bummer, but that happens. So what can you do to get around that? Well first off, you can go back to older projects you've done before that you've shared and say "hey" and you can just put it out there again. I did this recently with a project, where I had written music about a year and a half ago, and I was really proud of the buildup at the end of that track, and so I shared again saying "I'm still very proud of this". It was not a new project, it didn't get a tonne of exposure the first time, and I did that in the hopes to one) fill in some dead space when I'm waiting for other things to become public and live so I can legally share them, and then two) just give that more attention. Bring it back into focus. Maybe someone else who missed it before will see it this time, or maybe someone who saw it before will be reminded, be like "oh, that's right, I remember that. I liked that" and then maybe they'll reach out to me. Here's number six: Give back. I have these vlogs, I'm trying to do this just to give input and give advice, and my personal journey to you guys and gals, in hopes that it's gonna inspire and give you guys some motivation, give you guys some guidance, that type of deal. It motivates me too. I talked a while back -- this was a Facebook Live post, so you won't see it on YouTube -- where I was doing a whole bunch of mentoring, and I described that it's surprising at first, but when you mentor someone, a lot of people think it's going to go from the top down; from the mentor to the mentee. But if you're in a good relationship, in a good situation, very often the mentee can inspire the mentor. And so it's reciprocal, it goes back and forth. Yes, you're pouring into the person that you're teaching, helping, guiding, but they're also inspiring you with their energy, their fresh ideas and fresh outlook on things. It can go back and forth. So I'm a strong advocate of giving back as best you can. I think that's about it. So to recap: Be active in the industry, and stuff that isn't directly you. Don't make it only about you, but take part. And not only about audio. Make it something that's not your discipline. I love the writing in this game. I love the art direction in that game. I love the battle system in this game. By the way, the subtext of that first little bit was "are you playing games?" I mean if you're working in the game industry and you're not playing any games at all you're kind of missing the point. Attend conferences both on the global scale and on the local scale as much as you can. Interface with people directly. Get them to have face time with you directly. It makes a huge impact. Focus on your branding and your marketing. What are you doing? Are you adapting, or are you doing the same stale post over and over again? Know your skill set and focus on that, while on the side keep growing and learning. Put stuff out often. Be just engaging. And then finally, give back to the community in what ways you can. Ok, so I hope that helps. If you like these videos please like, subscribe, comment, share. [Parting remarks]
  12. Completely agree Robert! Well stated!
  13. In this episode of Madsen's Musings, I discuss the importance of following up on feedback. 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 Hey guys, so this vlog is gonna be kind of a two-fer - it's two different topics that tie together pretty closely, so I'm going to go ahead and combine them here in this vlog as concisely as I can do - but I have a tendency to talk a lot. Ok. So this vlog is all about feedback. And I want to do this in two parts. The first part is the importance of following up. I have a lot of people come to me and ask me for feedback on their work, or feedback on their website, on their branding. Not that I'm an expert on this, but I've been doing this for a little while, and I'm more than happy to spend my time and give some free feedback. Now, the problem is, occasionally I have people that will say "can you give me feedback on my reel", and I'll do that, and then I'll hear nothing back. Nothing back ever again. The way I try to approach giving feedback is I try and have a combination of praises: here's what you've done really well, and things where you can grow: things that you can do better. I try and get some action items for how to in my opinion achieve that better success and make sure submissions, make your branding, make your music stronger. Again, this is all from my point of view, my opinion, and I try to stress that when I give feedback to people. I've done this before and had people just not respond afterwards: no thank you, no acknowledgment that I spent the time, that they even read or received the feedback. Sometimes these are done by Facebook so I know that they've seen it: I can see on Facebook Messenger message has been seen in red so I don't know why that is. But here's the little dirty secret about when you don't follow up with someone. Whether you mean to or not, it makes you come off in a very poor light, so especially when you're going out and reaching out to pros, saying "will you give me feedback, will you give me your impression of my work or my website, my branding", if someone does that after you've asked them to do that, and then you don't follow up at all then that puts a bad taste in their mouth. And you definitely don't want to do that when you're trying to start your career and trying to network and build contacts; build a reputation in this industry. So follow up. Say thank you. Even if you disagree with the feedback, just say thank you. In my opinion it's always ok to reach out and say "hey, you made this point about X, I'm curious, could you elaborate on that?" or maybe give a qualification saying "I was trying to do this, but you had this feedback, can you explain how I could better achieve something else?" That type of deal. Ok, so that's part one, it's real fast. Three minutes. Going pretty good here. The second part is all about the demo derby. So GDC is right around the corner. Unfortunately this year I will not be making it - with a house purchase and everything else that we're doing it's just not feasible this year. But I've done the demo derby - this is through GANG, Game Audio Network Guild - I've done that three or four times and it's always been a very positive thing, but it's also a very nerve-wracking thing, so my advice to people when you're doing the demo derby, be it sound or music, doesn't matter which, is to be open, and be gracious in the feedback session. I've seen people - and it never turns out well - when they start to kind of argue and debate with the panel of experts who are giving in-person public, live feedback of their submission. They'll start to debate them, or start to argue with them. They'll start to be contrarian in a way, and just avoid this. Don't do this at all. Be gracious, thank them for their time, thank them for the experience, do your best to absorb in what they say, and learn and apply it. It's a very nerve-wracking thing, even when my really good friends who's fantastic audio, who actually got a job from his demo derby, he was sitting right next to me. His name was called after mine, and I remember he stood up and went "here we go". And I was like "you got this", and it's nerve-wracking. You're putting yourself out there in front of your colleagues, in front of your peers, in front of experts, and they're critiquing your stuff in real time. But it's very worthwhile too, it's a great learning experience. So, that's it. Feedback. Reach out, ask people for feedback. Be gracious. Learn what you can from it. Apply what you can from it. And follow up.
  14. 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!
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