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Topic: deadlines...

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  1. #1

    deadlines...

    a quick question: how much time do you usually get from your clients to compose your music? is it like... roughly, 30 min of music within a week? less? more? how quick does a composer have to be able to work to have a chance of making a living at this sort of thing? i haven't given up the idea of trying to get a break in the business some day, but at the moment still honing my skills before i finally send that demoreel out :-)

    looking forward to your enlightening answers, with kind regards,

    bluepowder

  2. #2

    Re: deadlines...

    Hey Blue,

    You sound like you're pretty new to game development

    The amount of music you will compose for a game varies greatly from title to title. Anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes is common. And you usually get plenty of time to compose the music. Again it varies greatly, but 4-6 months is probably the average timetable from signing the contracts to finishing the game. But there is a fair amount of collaboration too. You don't just submit the music and be done with it. They usually have opinions about it and you end up making a lot of changes to your music in the beginning while you hone in on the particulars that they're looking for.

    If you've established yourself as a game composer you can charge up to $1500.00/minute. But like many other creative jobs, even if you're making plenty of money you never know when those contracts are going to run out so you feel obligated to take on as much as you possibly can and that can lead to a stressful life.

    There is a fair amount of competition and if you want to make a living at it you will definitely need talent and skill. I think it's wise of you to look at these kinds of things before making any long-term plans.

    I'm not meaning to sound cynical. It's really cool to know that millions of people are hearing your music, but like everything else in life, it has it's ups and downs.
    Michael Peter

    If music be the food of love...
    play on

    William Shakespeare

    homepage

  3. #3

    Re: deadlines...

    Quote Originally Posted by His Frogness
    Hey Blue,

    You sound like you're pretty new to game development
    spot on :-) i'm not in the business... YET! at the moment, i'm still composing stuff for my demoreel to send out. still, i was wondering what kind of timeframe i could expect to deliver the finished score. i read somewhere that it can get pretty hectic, so i thought i'd be well advised to know beforehand what i'm getting myself into

    the timeframe you mentioned is pretty much what i was hoping for, so that doesn't scare me the least! :-) and cool that you mentioned the money... although i don't know if it's about the same here in germany, looking at a cool 500,- for a new guy like myself per finished minute (that is to say, IF i ever get a paying job) doesn't sound too bad, either. but i'll worry about that once i'll get in the position of having to deliver a score :-)

    There is a fair amount of competition and if you want to make a living at it you will definitely need talent and skill. I think it's wise of you to look at these kinds of things before making any long-term plans.
    well... i think it would be wise not to comment on one's own talent, but if you care enough, you can check out some of my (orchestral) stuff here http://mp3.de/musik/genre/band/100408/251216/3 and judge for yourself (and, if you like, give a comment about what you hear, and maybe some constructive criticism). i for one think that i still have quit a good bit to learn and a long way to go, but i think i am well on my way and pretty optimistic about things. we'll see...

    well... thanks for your input on the matter, it's much appreciated, and definitely helped me in getting the right perspective on things :-)

    kind regards etc,

    bluepowder

  4. #4

    Re: deadlines...

    Game deadlines tend to be a lot less stringent than film and TV ones, we often get months to do stuff where film scores would give you only weeks, TV only a few days. That being said, game scores are a little more foregrounded than film/TV ones, so even ambient game cues will probably end up getting more attention than blasty action scene music in a film. Also, you're probably gonna do all your own sequencing/mixing/mastering for a game, whereas hollywood-level films tend to hire a whole team for music (mixers, orchestras, orchestrators, etc.), which explains how they can handle those deadlines.
    Wilbert Roget, II
    Composer
    Rogetmusic.com

  5. #5

    Re: deadlines...

    I've dealt with extremes as far as time on both ends. I did the soundtrack for Pariah in about 1 month, and the soundtrack for URU over a period of 4 years. It's a great thing if you can get involved with the developer early on for a number of reasons, but mostly so you can hopefully have some time to think things out and know what's coming. If I get hired on for a score, I'll usually start composing almost immediately regardless of whether or not they've asked for anything yet. That way I have a head start on getting the music done, and if it's not what they're asking for, I've got something I might be able to use elswhere. I've ended up licensing out numerous pieces that way, where I wouldn't have had the music to begin with had I not forced myself to write from the beginning.

    Tim

  6. #6

    Re: deadlines...

    I'd have to say I agree with everything that's been said here... expect lots and lots of changes, even if your music great and they love it, one change to the design and your music / sound can be right out of place... It's easy to try and under sell yourself and rush to get it done, but you have to remember the price you charge per minute has to include all the hassles of going back into it and doing it again and again, and if you're going to do it with a smile on your face, you have exaggerate the timeframe. Personally if I were hard pressed, I wouldn't expect to get anymore done than 2 short tracks per week, pumping out ideas is easy, but it's time consuming to go back, remix, master and send it out again. Everyone's different, and we change like seasons, try and establish how long it takes you to put together a track from start to finish, normally it takes several revisits to get it to a professional-grade the first tiime... then redo redo redo. :-)

    David
    Wii/DS/Mobile/PC exp.

  7. #7

    Re: deadlines...

    very insightful! thanks to all of you guys :-) now i know a little bit better what might be coming my way.

    edit: after reading through all of your posts here one more time, a question occurred, regarding this statement:

    ... like many other creative jobs, even if you're making plenty of money you never know when those contracts are going to run out so you feel obligated to take on as much as you possibly can and that can lead to a stressful life.
    does that mean that it's pretty normal for somebody having been in the industry for quite a while to be working on music for different games all at the same time? or do you guys usually devote all your time and energy to one project at a time?

  8. #8

    Re: deadlines...

    It's very normal to have overlapping projects. As a freelancer, if you don't have overlapping jobs, you end up with more down time where you are trying to find work and worrrying about paying the bills. The Catch-22 of it all is having very little time to find new jobs while you are busy working on projects. It's an interesting balance.
    Will Loconto
    www.WillLoconto.com

  9. #9

    Re: deadlines...

    Like Will and the others said, line and overlap projects. I had a project that was lined up, and it unfortunately fell through, so currently for the next 3 weeks, I have nothing to actively work on. Still stuff to work on, just no projects
    Sean Beeson
    www.seanbeeson.com
    Composer for videogames, film and television

  10. #10

    Re: deadlines...

    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Beeson
    ...so currently for the next 3 weeks, I have nothing to actively work on. Still stuff to work on, just no projects
    A good time to work on business and check out all the new toys.
    Doyle W. Donehoo, Composer
    Radar Music
    www.doylewdonehoo.com

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