Just make one kick ass demo reel and send it to all the potential clients. If you want to concentrate only on the music, then no SFX are needed. Just make sure the people watching the reel understand that you're not going to provide SFX.
OK thanks...my concern was people might get pissed if they see a competitor's trailer or something. But I appreciate the advice!
The bulk of work in this industry is through people you know.
Also, it's a small industry-- so be friendly and when you do get a gig, deliver great stuff on time and on budget.
And.... play games! What would you do if--when you finally get to do a bid and are talking with the game's producer-- if they ask you what your favorite game is--and all you can think of is Pacman? Or put another way, do you think a movie director would hire you do to music for their movie if when asked what your favorite movie was, you said "well... I don't really watch movies."
I have two good friends who do this for a living, one is a higher up with Sony Computer Entertainment, and some of these companies DO still have full-time staff composers. My friend's office (in San Diego) has a huge rack of synths and a DAW But most of it IS contracted out now and I think this is mostly because the competition has become quite fierce and developers are going after the best they can find, regardless of background
Ok, so there's something I don't think anyone has really mentioned which is this whole world of casual games.. and how many little companies are making iPhone / pad / droid games...
So for instance.. one thing I might do is learn how to develop for these platforms.. I mean.. enough to create a kind of musical project on them. Or at least I've been thinking about this.. like the idea of an almost augmented reality kind of score.. where as you walk around in space.. the music changes....
My impression of making game music is.. understanding something about code and how stuff is developed is a big plus.
For me, if I were to do AUG scores.. what I'd want to do is I guess kinda muck around at developing a platform.. in a sense.. so that once I sorta had the tools.. I could create location centric music.
So you have this app.. that goes on a smart phone.. and there's the default composition, lets say.. that isn't location specific so much. .you start it up somewhere.. and how you move around in space local to how where you start the app.. maybe that mixed with time of day.. changes the score..
Or maybe the way we move around in a day.. changes the score.. maybe you have an API that works with 4 Square.. maybe you think about a whole lot of things you could do...
But then, location specific.. maybe it uses the Google Maps API... and when someone stumbles upon a location that you've specifically made music for.. so for instance I bet you could get some local press for something like that.. and you might be able to target that press to folks whom might possibly hire you..
And not only that.. I bet most folks at game companies aren't approached with an app like that as an example.. to add to your demo real.. so that might help you differentiate your self.. and you can have a lot to talk about in an interview that might be interesting.
And obviously Augmented reality games are a part of the future of gaming and the mobile platform.. so by exploring that.. now.. before it's a big thing.. that'll give you an advantage over other people.
And that's a really huge thing.. getting there before everybody else.
But I mean that's just a thought.. related to projects I've been considering.
But yeah.. it's the who you know shtick.. so find out how to get to know the right people..
So for instance.. I spent my last sunday at a meet up group for folks whom.. well a lot of them do content marketing with video.. online.. and they don't really know that much about audio.. and I just offer to help people think out there approaches to certain things.. and tell them.. "yeah, you could use my work for none commercial stuff as long as you attribute me and link to my web site.. and if it's just commercial work they're doing.. just talk to me.. I'm a reasonable guy.. And so I'm hooking up with a writer producer director.. to talk about the industry and kinda see if I can't understand folks in his shoes better so that I know better how to try and sell myself to folks in his shoes.
I know in my area there are meet up groups for people doing mobile app development.. and serial entrepreneurs.. so there's those folks.
But anyway.. yeah.. meet the right people.. and try and find ways to practice your craft...
I mean.. as a for instance.. there's numerous game engines out there.. some people are into creating and sharing custom maps.. is there a roll for audio in there somewhere? Especially if you can get credit for it.. that's something that might reach game industry people.
Research people.. you can probably connect to them on twitter.. using social media.. and sorta develop some kind of a relationship that way... are there linkedin groups for this kind of thing?
Looking for a composing job with video game companies
I have been looking for a job as a music composer in video game companies in NYC because that's what all my listeners tell me to do after hearing my tracks... After looking up the VERY FEW of them that operate in our big apple I found out that some of them are going out of business, others don't have a phone operator and collect online submissions [no response from those, LOL] while the rest blows you off politely with some e-mail that doesn't even exist [to my surprise, LMAO] --- So I decided to head out there personally to see if I can leave my business card at the front desk or see someone in these companies that can tell me HOW they outsource regarding their soundtrack composers for hire... only to find out from the security team that you can't go up without an appointment ---> to make one, you have to call the main number and reach the same operator that was jerking me around on the phone at home!!! This is for those who haven't gotten around to wasting a month of their time googling, calling, travelling and coming back home pissed off without so much as exchanging a half-sentence with anybody that could help you with anything - GOOD LUCK TO ALL!!! kubamusicproductions.com
After looking up the VERY FEW of them that operate in our big apple I found out that some of them are going out of business, others don't have a phone operator and collect online submissions [no response from those, LOL]
Some are based in NYC but want you to relocate. Also, when I was doing video game work it was late 90s and early 2000s so they were easier to get a hold of.
Back in '99 Acclaim had an office in Great Neck, Long Island. I actually walked right in and handed them a resume and a demo reel. A week later they had called me telling me they liked my stuff and wanted to hire me as a staff composer but I had to relocate to Texas because even though the games were programmed in Long Island, they had a music studio based in Texas where their staff composers worked out of. Thankfully I turned them down because not long after they filed for bankruptcy. And they were one of the bigger video game companies! I would have been up the creek without a paddle.
Electronic Arts had offered me a staff composing job back in like 2000 or '01 with the stipulation that I relocate to California which I also had no interest in, so I turned it down. I tour a lot as a side man and I like touring but I'm a born and bred New Yorker and have no interest in living anywhere else.
Of course, as you can see by the years I'm talking about it was a much different time in the video game company before they started outsourcing to save money and who's to say if I took the job I'd even have a job still. So I might be jobless and stuck in another state!
I got out of the whole video game thing in like '04 because a smaller game company I was composing for was bought out by a very big and well known multimedia company and the president of the games division had a nephew who fancied himself a composer and like that I was let go so the president's nephew could compose for the game I was originally working on!
I get frustrated enough dealing with the politics of the arts and music world as it is. Adding corporate politics on top of that really didn't interest me. And video games, being mostly corporate productions now (well, the bigger ones with better budgets) means that there's a healthy helping of corporate politics in addition to all the other garbage musicians have to deal with so I got out of it.
Good luck - it's definitely a different field now than it was when I was looking for work.
I just remembered this thread and wanted to inform the finnish Gearslutz interested in making audio for games:
IGDA Finland arranges a meeting in Cuba Bar, Erottaja 4, Helsinki (map: Gatherings | IGDA Finland) usually every months second Tuesday. People are free to drop by and get connected with finnish game industry people while having some drinks.
unless you work for someone like valve or EA, work in the game industry in ANY field is pretty seasonal. they have you aboard for a couple of titles or in many cases one triple A title and then there's a chance they let you loose. i have a friend who is a 2d concept artist/3d modeler who claims the same thing.
creative professions tend to be nomadic.
if you want security you can be a doctor or something along those lines.
but then again there is always a shining trip hop example "akira yamaoka"
he made the silent hill series. but he's pretty much a celebrity in the gaming world. (one of my favorite musicians in general)
I'm also wanting to branch into the world of composing for video games.
Just a question about putting together a showreel for the games companies. As i've not had my work used in any game footage I would have to download different clips of games off youtube to put my own music over. Does this breech any copyright issues?
Other than composers hired for single games and full time hired composers there is a third category common in the indie world: composers who are part of the team and earn a % of the profits like everyone else (example if it's a team of 10 people then everyone will get 10% of the profits).