Sunday, 11 September 2011

Video Game and Music Career: What to do and what to not do.

Hi everyone, Bonjour tout le monde :)


Je voudrais en profiter pourdire que je vais commencer mon blog en français la semaine prochaine, car pour le moment je n'ai malheureusement pas le temps.


This week end was pretty intense! I had to finish the soundtracks for an ios game and didn't have much time to do anything else. At the begining of a music career, it is more likely that you will have to work a lot more than you think,  for a lot less money that you might want.


So, for my case, I am not saying it is always like that, but I can say that what this guy was saying...was true. So, maybe you are interested by the music or the video game industry, so don't run away!


Here's a special list of what you should and shouldn't do, to start you're career with the good feet:


1. If you never been into music, don't think that spending thousands of dollars in a private school like Trebas or Musitechnic will solve all the music mysteries for you. They are really good schools, don't take me wrong, but, you should have at least a musical base before going there. The same apply for the other departments.


2. If you are about to begin a college degree, and you are interested by one of these industries...start building a portfolio!!! Ask your friends questions, surf on forums, ask for reviews on your work....but begin to build something! Don't wait.


For reviews on your work, you can go on http://forum.youngcomposers.com for music,
and you can go on http://www.deviantart.com/ for drawings.


3. Always have open doors for side jobs that doesn't really belong in your basket...it is not that bad, working in a restaurant...at least you make money, and you don't stress. With arts careers, bad stress = bad creations. Don't forget that your creations are a part of you, a part of your life. If you don't have a balanced life, you're creations won't be balanced either!


4.Begin to put money on the side. Open a separate bank account and remove like 50$ on each pay. It is harder than it looks like, believe me. If you do that for 2 years, you will have around 5000$ saved! Keep that money for the first years of your career, to buy your first equipment, and to survive while you are earning peanuts...or maybe not even.


5. Please, don't buy cheap equipment, try to buy semi pro equipment at the beginning, because the money you would spend on a cheap device, let say 200$, it's 200$ more that you could spend on a 500$ device! What is better, have something cheap and buy something bigger and then lose all this time and money you could have use with a semi pro equipment, or...just buy it right away?


Now, it is sure that you have to be careful, don't buy with closed eyes. Before buying anything inform yourself on the internet! Google is always your best friend, he will find the right thing for you. And ask questions on pertinent forums or to friends that know what they are talking about!


6. Try to find little projects, with no money implicated. You need practice, don't think you can already earn the big bucks because you have a laptop/sound card/reason. Too high expectations is the worst thing you can do to yourself. Aim low to go higher, it is that simple.


Little projects are the best, because they put you in a real situation, even if it is non-profit, it is the closest to the real thing.


I hope this list will be useful to someone, I will surely update it soon, but for now I still have a lot of work to do so I can't continue this post.


I am preparing a first video so we can begin slowly what this blog is supposed to be all about! :P


Cheers,


Dominic













Saturday, 10 September 2011

Introduction - Find your way in the video game and music industry

Hi everyone,


This Blog will be written in French and English. French version will follow closely:)


I'm a young sound designer from Montreal, Qc, Canada, the capital of video games.


I was reading on a LinkedIn conversation that blogging is a great way to get jobs and to create a following of your work. I've decided to give it a shot, and hopefully, create an interesting concept out of it.


To be brief, my blog will be kind of an open window on my career progression. I will post videos of my work, with explanations on what I am doing, what I am working on at the moment and what's happening around these projects. I will always ask permission if I talk about co-workers and outsource projects, before posting anything. Also, I will insert a lot of links in pertinence with the subjects.


I hope you will enjoy this closer look to a video game composer's life, and that maybe this blog help people to find their way in today's industry.


To begin with, I want to explain a little more about my background, so people can relate their own stories to mine in a better way. Since I am beginning in the video game/music industry(around 3 years of composition), I had a lot of ups and downs, surely like several composers out there. I never knew what was coming in my way when I decided to apply for this music school named Musitechnic in 2008.


From the very start of my childhood, I always loved video games. Actually, not just love, it was a passion,  a fascination of high degree. At the end of my secondary school, I knew that I wanted to be part of this industry...what I didn't know back then, was what to do, and how to do it.


What's interesting about the video game creation process is that it is the perfect blend between the different art styles of this world. You can become programmer, artist, concept artist, level designer, game designer, composer etc etc. there is so much possibilities and they are all interesting in their own way.


The problem, right now, in 2011, is that the industry is metamorphosing in something completely new. Like the music industry, CDs are slowly dying, and soon, with the new arrival of cloud gaming like OnLive and online networks like the Playstation Store, WiiWare and Xbox Live, the physical boxes with the little instruction manual will become something from the past. I think it is good; less pollution, and we really need...less pollution.


The ladder to climb in each department is a really long and though one...not in all cases, but must of them will require you a lot of determination, with a glimpse of patience.


For my part, I began with college programming classes, which I really didn't like. I went to the Campus Ubisoft open doors, and had the chance to visit all the different opportunities...but nothing was giving me butterflies in my stomach. I was kind of lost, because I wanted so badly to be part of a video game creation, but, none of the careers was interesting me.


Then, one day, I downloaded a trial of Fruity Loops, an audio software. Without knowing that I was, fascinated by this software in a weird way, it became fast enough a growing time killer. In fact, I bought my first keyboard only few weeks after. I say in a weird way, because I never was into music before that...I never played an instrument beside the flute in early school classes. While I was getting deeper in the non-sense of what I was doing on Fruity Loops, I heard about a cool software named Reason, which was literally a studio in a software.


It wasn't too long that I searched for a music school, a fast way to learn all the different music faces. Musitechnic, a one year duration scholarship, sounded really great, beside the price attached to it. I was ready to make sacrifices, I really wanted to learn fast about music, and to one day, compose for a video game.


January 2009, I was ready, with my AEC Diploma, to take on the world. I was ready to go apply for jobs, to begin my career! Finally, it was coming all together......if only I would have knew.


Lucky I was, I had an interview at Piccolo studios few weeks after my scholarship completion. And, at this very first important moment of my career, life punched me in the face! In resume, I was...practically, if not completely, nothing. What I mean is that beside the guys I saw in the studios who had like 5-15 years of experience, I understood that I wouldn't be able to work in a studio like this one, simply because I didn't have the knowledge to do so.


After this day, it was a slow fall to the hell. I was trying to find a job, to find something, but just couldn't do justice to what I wanted to represent. Plus, I was a really shy person, who had a lot of difficulty to integrate himself into groups. Even my family was against me career choices, they didn't believe that, someday, I would go somewhere with all this.


Thank you to have taken the time to read this. Will follow shortly with the real thing and keep the emotional stories for another day ;)


Dominic