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Old Feb 19, 2010, 04:08 PM
Chris Chris is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 516

Never heard your music, but I'm happy to give some advice based on what I've been told by numerous sources. I'll be totally honest, though, and I'm sorry if it sounds needlessly pessimistic. As you probably know, it's very difficult to make it big in the games industry, especially in composing roles. While there are plenty of inspiring early success stories, these days it's much harder and often extensive undergraduate and postgraduate training from a major university is required. It generally requires a lot of knowledge and experience in a wide variety of fields, especially sound design, cinematic underscoring, and orchestral and electronic composition.

Beyond the training, video game composition is a challenging environment to work in. It's often very important to give the client exactly what they want, even if that means derivative Zimmer-style compositions; mainstream developers often go for the safest option in game audio these days and there is less room for ingenuity on behalf of the composer. In addition, it's generally necessary to be incredibly efficient and streamlined, to the point of making around one entire large ensemble track a day. What's more, extensive industry promotion is absolutely essential to be noticed and only a few make it to being promoted by eminent artist representation clients.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of very talented composers out there who never get a big break, some through no limitation of their own. This is particularly the case in the West, but Japan is quite closed too. Yet there are numerous popular composers out there who are probably less talented, but they are generally better at promotion and give publishers what they want in less time and for less money. Then there are also simply decent composers who got lucky and became mainstream names. Of course, there are exceptions to these generalisations and both industries definitely seem to be getting a little more artistically minded, but overall it's not really about creativity or talent.

I personally wouldn't recommend video game composition as a career, as it is often creatively unfulfilling and economically challenging. There is good money to be made from major gigs, but the only accessible ones tend to be minor independent games we sometimes hear various doujin arrangers getting. Even those who get the major gigs often then struggle to get their next pay cheque. I'd generally recommend those pursuing video game composition to keep it more as a side project than a career choice, given even the exceptional rarely make it.

That said, those that reject those words probably have the highest likelihood of success, given self-belief and persistence are among the best traits for a potential video game composer... so long as they're talented and level-headed, not deluded as seems to be case for some of the wannabes. I've heard some absolutely amazing composers out there who I'm desperate to see get their big break, though, and hope I can do whatever it takes to get them there. Perhaps their talents are better offered elsewhere.

Last edited by Chris; Feb 19, 2010 at 04:22 PM.
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