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Topic: GDC '05....worth it?

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  1. #1

    GDC '05....worth it?

    Hello,
    wondering if any of you guys have been to the game developers conference before. this year its in san fran. it looks like they have a pretty cool track for audio. I compose for television and other media but have been a gamer all my life and would love (like many out there) to crack the game industry.
    -would this be a good chance to meet decision makers?
    -or is this more for helping those already doing it?
    -are there networking opportunities?

    would love to hear from someone who has gone....(from an audio perspective). thanks.

    Mitch

  2. #2

    Cool Re: GDC '05....worth it?

    >wondering if any of you guys have been to the game developers conference before.

    I have worked for the GDC the last 3 years, been to the last four and was a speaker at the last one.

    >-would this be a good chance to meet decision makers?

    No. If you already know them, the GDC would be a good time to meet them all face to face. Otherwise, there is no way to reliably make contact with the ones who count, other than by chance and/or just mixing around.

    >-or is this more for helping those already doing it?

    See above.

    -are there networking opportunities?

    G.A.N.G. usually has a meeting and/or awards meets, so it is a good time to meet your peers.

    >...to hear from someone who has gone....(from an audio perspective).

    The Audio sessions can be cool and increases your chance of meeting various flavors of people.

    While the game industry constantly advertises for programming, art, animation, AI, texturing (etc...) talent, they never advertise for music talent (except audio directors and sound designers sometimes). The most successful in music have talent for both music and business, and frankly, some were just lucky to be in the right place in the right time. Most of the most successful worked for a major developer or publisher at one time in the past, and that is still one of the best ways to break in. Similar to indi films, another route is to work for some MODers or indi game builders, and hope for the best. Like most of the music industry, in games, its still who you know that matters.

    Doyle W. Donehoo, Composer
    Radar Music
    www.doylewdonehoo.com

  3. #3

    Re: GDC '05....worth it?

    I've also been to almost every GDC. I occasionally miss one due to deadlines as I might this year. Doyle is right in that it's mostly re-connecting with people that you already know. That's what I try to do. I enjoy the audio track, and also occasionally speak on a panel. There's almost always something that I take away from the presentations that I choose to attend.
    Also like Doyle mentioned as far as breaking into the industry, I was in the right place at the right time. I have worked in house and freelance, usually at the same time as I am now. And even though I've been working steady doing game music and sound for well over 10 years, it's still a struggle getting the freelance work lined up all the time. It's feast or famine, and fortunately the in house Audio Director job keeps the famine under control. However I enjoy the freelance work way too much to give it up. Keeps my perspective on my regular work at Cyan fresh and I believe helps out in the long run.
    GDC can be expensive, but I think it's something you should attend to get a feel for the industry that you're considering.
    Have fun, and maybe I'll see you there this year.
    Tim

  4. #4

    Re: GDC '05....worth it?

    Well, Ok, so what do you guys think is the best way to get your reel into the hands of developers?

    I thought that the whole idea of GDC was that you go there, shake hands and hand out your stuff from booth to booth.

    Now you both say this is not the case....so do you recommend cold calling developers instead?

    I mean if GDC is not a good place to meet industry people, E3 definitely is not. GANG (with all due respect) is pretty useless to get you work, unless you are already established.

    There are way too many seminars and classes that I have attended that preach that the gaming industry is in huge expansion, and that there is a strong need for new blood, and many opportunities, and blah blah blah. The reality appears to be quite different, I mean for all the propaganda, I have yet to find a developer who has an open-door policy to accepting demo reels, and most of them won't talk to you if you don't have experience with at least 2 shipping titles!!!

    I am prepping myself to hit GDC hard as a good opportunity to have people's attention as I sell my services in person. Now you guys tell me that this is not the case? WTF? Are you pulling my leg or are you simply trying to discourage new competition on the floor this year?

    Sorry if I sound frustrated, but on the TV and advertisement front I am working for top clients all the time, but on the videogame front I can't even get these guys to return my repeated calls (or e-mails)!

    Meanwhile, a buddy of mine is composing for a Sony top tier title this year just because he happened to casually meet a developer while doing laundry at the same time??? You gotta be kidding me!
    >>Kays
    http://www.musicbykays.com
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  5. #5

    Exclamation Re: GDC '05....worth it?

    "Meanwhile, a buddy of mine is composing for a Sony top tier title this year just because he happened to casually meet a developer while doing laundry at the same time??? You gotta be kidding me!"

    Like I said above....

    At GDC, the booths are mostly companies selling products and services TO the developers. At E3, it is the developers in the booths and they are selling to everybody else (mostly publishers) (plus those selling to developers). There is a small area at GDC called a "job Fair" where you might be able to drop a few demos, but mostly they are there to find programmers, texture/artists, designers, producers, and the like.

    Another block for some is that there are not many composers that are technical enough to deal with interactive music. Games != Movies.

    The game industry may be wide open, but it is still hard as heck finding and identifying the principals. And like the movie industry, the same few people keep getting the big jobs. But hey, begging your pardon, you know that song about the rose garden....
    Doyle W. Donehoo, Composer
    Radar Music
    www.doylewdonehoo.com

  6. #6

    Re: GDC '05....worth it?

    Another block for some is that there are not many composers that are technical enough to deal with interactive music. Games != Movies.

    The game industry may be wide open, but it is still hard as heck finding and identifying the principals. And like the movie industry, the same few people keep getting the big jobs. But hey, begging your pardon, you know that song about the rose garden....

    Thank you for that gem of a condescending response Doyle!

    Let me see if someone here might be willing to share some insight (I totally understand if nobody does):

    If E3, GDC, and other conventions are not the right place for composers (who are up to speed with game technology needs, but don't have title experience) to get in contact with developers, what is the best way to initiate talks with a developer?

    A. Cold call developers and try to get a name and address that you can send your promo to?

    B. Do a bunch of freebee Mod's in hopes that someday the guys that you helped will help you back?

    C. Show up at Bob Rice's doorstep with a box of doughnuts and hope he will agree to represent you?

    D. Keep using your building's laundromat in the hope that one of these days you might run into one of Sony's execs?
    >>Kays
    http://www.musicbykays.com
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  7. #7

    Cool Re: GDC '05....worth it?

    >Thank you for that gem of a condescending response Doyle!

    Geez. Get a grip Kays. There was nothing at all condescending about what I said. As a matter of fact, I was giving all the no-bs 411 on this. I could candy coat the information, but there are certain rough truths about this business as many here on this BBS well know about the tv and movie business.

    One thing I found out early on is that most composers will trade music technical information, but when it comes to job how-to's, just about all are tight lipped about info (except in the most general info). The best information I ever got outside my own efforts was the book "Game Audio" by Aaron Marks. But getting to the producers and Audio Directors, a lot of it is all voodoo and luck for the most part. I have sent out hundreds of thousands of emails, hundreds of demos and made as many calls with a return of about 1% (and I have been told by insiders I have had great suceess as compared to most). Only recently have I felt I have established some decent relationships and understandings. If there is a short-cut, and easy way to do all this, I would like to hear about it.
    Doyle W. Donehoo, Composer
    Radar Music
    www.doylewdonehoo.com

  8. #8

    Re: GDC '05....worth it?

    There was nothing at all condescending about what I said. As a matter of fact, I was giving all the no-bs 411 on this.

    In that case, sorry if I misunderstood your tone. I am well aware of the differences between scoring for video and the specific challenges and solutions available to scoring for games (perhaps I took your comments a bit too personally). Oddly enough, I know several big game composers in the industry (you probably know who I'm talking about) who could not care less about videogames and who have never touched a console in their life.

    My sense of frustration comes from the overhyped message that game developers are hurting for good composers and are standing by with arms wide open to take a listen to what you have to offer. I have heard this redderick way to many times from opportunistic lecturers "If you come to my expensive seminar, I will disclose the secrets to you, blah blah blah."
    The message being sent is that this industry is growing at such a fast rate, that the supply of talent can't keep up with the demand.

    From my point of view, the same dozen or so guys are doing most of the big stuff, and developers are very closed to the idea of a newcomer scoring their game without having had previous experience in the field.

    In a very bizarre sort of way, I have found the TV and film industry much more welcoming of fresh new faces (with fresh new ideas) than the gaming industry.

    I hope that my assessment of the situation is incorrect, but your comments and some of the other things that I am reading would seem to indicate that you are right on target.
    >>Kays
    http://www.musicbykays.com
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

  9. #9

    Re: GDC '05....worth it?

    >I am well aware of the differences between scoring for video and the specific challenges and solutions available to scoring for games.
    For the general audience reading this: And a fair share of games requires experience with XACT and other similar interactive audio tools. Other skills include being able to backscore things the user will hear hundreds of times. There are other differences…

    >Oddly enough, I know several big game composers in the industry (you probably know who I'm talking about) who could not care less about videogames and who have never touched a console in their life.
    And more and more producers want to hear a virtual version of something before they commit to a live recording (or just want virtual stuff), and there are many composers out there who do not have the computer and virtual (orchestra) skills to deliver. Some composers are very trusted and so established they do not need to have computer skills, but they are dying breed. Like it or not, there is a profound change going on…

    >My sense of frustration comes from the overhyped message that game developers are hurting for good composers and are standing by with arms wide open to take a listen to what you have to offer…. The message being sent is that this industry is growing at such a fast rate, that the supply of talent can't keep up with the demand.
    I have heard a prediction is there would be over 3000 games published this year. Actually, this sort of torks me off because why don't I know who all these people are and who among them is in charge of audio?! It is frustrating.

    >From my point of view, the same dozen or so guys are doing most of the big stuff, and developers are very closed to the idea of a newcomer scoring their game without having had previous experience in the field.
    It is the same old story in every business: circular logic. You can't get a job without experience, and you cannot get experience (credits) without the jobs. However, stubborn pig-headed patience will eventually pay off if the talent is there. It's why, before you become established, you have to spend so much time dealing with business (and the business of getting business).

    >In a very bizarre sort of way, I have found the TV and film industry much more welcoming of fresh new faces (with fresh new ideas) than the gaming industry.
    Kays: I read through your credits a few days ago, and I would say you are more established in TV and Film, so therefore more comfortable with it. I bet that was not always the case. I am sure you will find ways to make headway in the game industry if that is what you want to pursue.

    Doyle W. Donehoo, Composer
    Radar Music
    www.doylewdonehoo.com

  10. #10

    Re: GDC '05....worth it?

    Kays: I read through your credits a few days ago, and I would say you are more established in TV and Film, so therefore more comfortable with it. I bet that was not always the case. I am sure you will find ways to make headway in the game industry if that is what you want to pursue.

    Thank you Doyle, I appreciate your vote of confidence. I am very passionate about games, in a way I have always had a strong desire to score for games. In my high school years, I was very involved with programming and development of my own text adventure games (does anyone remember those?). At the time, the technology was not existant for music in games and generally the task fell on some programmer who wanted to take on the annoying task of dealing with putting in some bleeps and bloops in the game. In the mid-90's I became once again actively involved with game development and scored a few titles for the Atari Jaguar console (boy....what a flop!). In those days, composing for games was still not a very rewarding experience having to deal with a limited set of tools and sounds. Then a few years passed and got more and more work in the TV field so that's where I chose to focus my carreer. Now, ten years later, all of a sudden I feel like I missed the boat. I've been waiting most of my life for gaming tachnology to get to a level where it would be an exciting and rewarding experience to be involved in, and now that it's finally here, I feel like I can't get in.

    It's a very odd feeling, like standing in line for a looong time to go see a show, only to realize that once I get to the door I forgot to buy my ticket!

    Nonetheless, I am optimistic about the future, things are getting better and I don't have any doubt about being able to crack this challenge as well.

    In the TV and film world, it is quite common get wind of new productions in the works or for sollicitations for demos by companies. The gaming industry seems to be so secretive and generally unpredictable that just trying to obtain any information about the what and who's seems to be an incredibly arduous task.

    Ok, I think I rambled on too long......see you at GDC05!
    >>Kays
    http://www.musicbykays.com
    Music Composition for Feature Films, Television and Interactive Entertainment

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