I'm looking to start a career in composition for video games, and would like to know your opinions on how to begin this endeavor. I have written music for live ensembles for several years (mostly orchestral, band, and small ensembles), so I have a bit of experience composing. However, I've never tried writing music as my profession, assuming it will be impossible to make a living doing so. I am familiar with creating electronic music (I primary use Gigastudio and various sound libraries), and would love to be able to write music as my profession.
If you wouldn't mind taking a few moments to give some suggestions on how to start out, I would greatly appreciate it. For example:
1. How does one go about finding a job in the field?
2. How much do video game companies pay composers for their music?
3. Besides composing, what are some essential skills I will need?
4. Any suggestions for information to read or research (books, web-sites, etc.)
Also, I assume most work is freelanced and contracted, so you can work for a company in another state or even country, right? However, if you know of any companies that hire full time composers in the Chicago area, that would also be very helpful.
hey I also own and read that book and have talked to Aaron Marks on email many times. I actually still haven't tried to get a job writing music for a game yet though, maybe this year, I really want to write music for a movie in japan(jpop and all that) (making a demo cd write now various styles, jpop, jazz, electronic, Celtic, japanese, Orchestra, etc etc) Anywayz composing music is is just one part of the process, the real thing is production, audio engineering, and yea it's a pain. (*I still think my mastering is not perfected enough*)
No matter what you compose and in no matter what style you have to make it sound (great) sound sound sound. As for doing anything professional with music persistance is the key. and never let someone tell you you don't have zero a chance to make it doing this or that because there X amount of people doing this or that, (for film scoring they never shut up)hey if you compose music and it sounds professional then get on it
Another book you should read if you want to know more about how the audio is managed in big companys: scheduling, development charts and so, is Audio for Games by Alexander Brandon
Cool! Thanks for the suggestion -- I love reading these books! When I was looking this one up, I ran into a book by the Fat Man on the same topic -- anyone else read this? I figured I'd pick it up anyway (1-click shopping on Amazon is a dangerous thing!)
I did read George's book. It was not as informative as Aaron's book, but I don't believe it was meant to be. It was more about the Fat Man's personal adventures in game audio, and about his philosophies. I still really liked it though, and there are some things to be learned from all of his crazy stories. I found it to be pretty entertaining, though it's a bit abstract at times. At the beginning of the Fat Man's book, he recommends Aaron's book for learning the game audio business.
I would also recommend Aaron and George's books. I have yet to pick up Alex's book, but I will be. Posting in forums like this and over at GANG is also a good idea. Nothing like picking the collective brains that make up this industry. There are many paths in this business and everyone seems to have a story of being in the right place at the right time. Hell, I started in systems. There is no real guaranteed method for success other than having talent, persistence and ambition, with heavy emphasis on the persistence.