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SpookyStatic

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Posts posted by SpookyStatic

  1. I should've said a different ballpark - I'm a chiptuner.

    Oh, I see. Still pretty cool though.

    As to the job, I think Tuberz McGee has this covered.

    He whipped up a great sample I had to listen to like twenty times because it was such a cool mix; I think he really gets it and has passion for the genre ideas we discussed.

    So, unless he gets eaten by a grue, I think this job is taken.

    Thanks guys!

    Expect to hear more around August (hopefully). :-)

  2. Dannthr,

    Yeah, comic book rates are still like that; comics are a lot simpler, so it's easy to know what to expect, and any variation from page to page tends to average out really easily. Comic artists also tend to have a trademark style, and don't have to do anything else if they don't want to- they have more freedom to just do what they do.

    Game assets are much more complicated, partially because you can't just have a couple artists collaborating- you need dozens. That takes detailed references and style guides, and every project can be drastically different with regards to requirements. Same with commercial graphic art.

    And then there's always a much higher chance of the client coming back and saying "no no, not like that, more cool and professional" What?

    Sometimes you have to give clients higher rates just because they are a pain in the ass ;)

    Usually the only way to get a good quote on a big job is to make one asset in the style and up to the specific requirements, and see how much time it takes- and more importantly, see how particular the client is, and how well she or he communicates her or his needs so you know if you'll have to do it over twenty times.

    Thanks Damashii!! and therex

    therex, don't sell yourself short. You should link to your music; you never know, and it can't hurt to ask.

    I'd love to hear your stuff.

    I looked at another thread here where somebody was trying to recruit for twenty something pieces for free. The trolling was hilarious:

    Spending time to possibly get my name as a credit sounds pretty cool but it depends on a few things.

    1. How long is said credit list

    2. What is the font of said credit list mentioned in #1

    3. How fast are these credits scrolling

    These should be at the top of everyone's credit negotiation concerns as suggested to me by Zircon. Or actually it might have been a fortune cookie I just had.

    The length of the list will depend on how many software programs, language support, design, etc. Also on the # of people who've submitted the songs.

    Why does the font matter? it's probably going to be is some rustic times new roman/hectilva text

    The credits will run as long as the ending song is. (I expect it to be pretty long)

    A perfect ten, Garpocalypse. That. Was. Awesome.

  3. Aren't most composers that are consistently doing AAA film and games usually represented by agencies? That's what Mikko Tarmia told me once when I wrote to him a couple years back anyway.

    Maybe at the very very top of the business. In art, most artists who are not directly employed by a game development studio work in art studios full time, or part time from home for some, and that's kind of like an agent, because the studio finds work and then delegates. This because most games have a big spike in asset production at the end (same with music), and they're on a deadline so they need it fast; the freelance ones usually do not have agents (even the more famous ones)- it's more the opposite, where the studio has a recruiter and manager for outsourcing. It's not quite Hollywood, since there's a smaller pool of professionals involved, and not as many crazy fans to irritate you. It's easy to contact a studio's art director personally. That may change some day.

    ...Unless they're dodging you because they owe you money, that is.

    Anyway, I would assume it's similar for music beyond the superstars like Elfman, etc.

    But GDC? That's like where hope goes to die. :P

    I have stacks and stacks of business cards of hopefuls; most of them, oddly, musicians despite that I have never been looking for musicians when scouting at GDC (potentially a good place to scout students if that's what you're looking for, because they are in HUGE supply). IMO, not very useful for industry networking, because anybody can get in- which is why it's flooded with students and hopefuls (most of whom have little to no talent). Very low signal to noise ratio. Not saying you can't meet people there, but you really have to work at it.

    The programmers there are rock stars, though. When they put on their displays of clever games at the indie booths, it's easy for everybody to notice.

    E3 is a lot better. They're not usually doing much hiring there, so it's nice and quiet (well, loud music, but not "noisy"), open. You can breathe. And high signal to noise ratio. You have to prove you're in the industry to go, so there aren't many students crowding the place.

    E3 is in L.A., though. I wish they'd switch. I'd probably go every year if they did.

    I have never seen you at the Game Developer's Conference.

    He may have been.

    To be fair, it's hard to see anybody at GDC, even your hand six inches in front of your face.

    One year, I only went in the lobby- met some people I knew coming or going (but that's only recognizing faces).

    I'm not a fan of crowds, but to each his or her own I guess.

    If you don't already know somebody, it's hard to imagine meeting people there, except by braving the crowd and going to booths and really pushing hard to squeeze in, and staying after presentations to meet relevant speakers. Most meaningful meetings I've had at GDC have been arranged by e-mail and phone, and occur outside Starbucks in that weird area that tries to pass for a park.

    Tip for penny pinchers: Whole Foods' deli/salad bar area, like five minutes down the street, it just about the cheapest lunch you'll find in reasonable walking distance. I love San Francisco, but gadzooks is it expensive.

    There are three things you need to get work as a composer in the Game Industry (and really, any of the media industries)[...]

    If you're missing any ONE of these items, you will NEVER get hired.

    In most things, a good network can compensate for lack of a professional resume of past AAA titles- get the right person to vouch for you, and it doesn't matter that much.

    I would be surprised if that wasn't true for music as it is for art and programming, even with the lower demand.

    My contracts have Non-Disclosure Agreements because posting your rates is an absolute mistake. You will NEVER be able to increase your rates if someone is looking you up on a forum and finding your rates on some old assed thread.

    It's a difficult situation- and for artists too. It's hard to get work as an indie unless you post your rates, and unless they're fire sale rates. But then those stick around and could potentially bite you later. Without rates, most people won't contact you because they assume they can't afford it, or found somebody who did post rates that they know they can afford already.

    Better, usually, to post examples and rates for those. "This piece of art would cost this", and "this piece would cost more, like this" so customers can get a sense of range. And then anybody who found it later would more easily understand the difference as well. It's also subjective enough that there's a little bit of wiggle room.

    There has never been a case I can remember where an old rate of mine would really no longer apply. I am not more expensive now than I was when I was a teenager. I am faster and more efficient, and better. I can still do the same quality for the same price now; only I do it in five minutes now instead of an hour (not saying I will, just that I could). In many respects I am cheaper now, for the same quality, despite ultimately charging more per hour (though clients are rarely told hourly rates- that's a bad idea).

    If that's not true of music too, and musicians really do get more expensive without getting much better (with the exception of celebrity, which is its own thing), that's a problem.

    For me, if the client comes later and mentions it, I can explain that that piece is old and was done quickly- if they wanted that level of quality I could do it at that rate, but if they want good quality it will cost more.

    I could draw you a stick man, or a "chibi" for a dollar if that's what you really wanted. It'll take me 30 seconds, and most of that would be saving and e-mailing it (though probably not worth the time to discuss it).

    When they understand it, most clients reject that idea and decide to go with something in the middle between the two extremes. It's important to discuss references of what they want, and what level of polish they need, and then you can help them understand what it will cost to get good quality work that suits their needs.

    Posting rates isn't an absolute mistake, but over-simplifying to a minute based rate might not be ideal for music, as you've said. It makes a lot of assumptions about quality and boilerplates the process.

    I would much rather a potential client approach me by saying look, here's the game, this is the budget we have for audio, what can you do for me?

    That allows me to use my creativity to design an audio vision that works for their game and within their budget constraints.

    That's very reasonable. Same with art production.

    Sometimes clients need to be reassured that they can afford you before they'll contact you at all, though. Particularly before you have enough connections to get sufficient work by word of mouth.

    Posting rates isn't an act of professional suicide, but it is probably better to do it in context to a particular work.

  4. Also, my main problem with doing indie stuff is really not money. It's the whole: Give person you want to compose music a description of what you think you want and then after musician spends hours and hours working on it, give some vague ass description of what you really want and expect them to revise it. It's like for christ sake, I can't dive into your head and figure out what you're hearing; give me a chance to have my own style at least 10% of the time.

    Yeah... I know what that's like. When I was doing freelance, I'd get that sometimes. I hate asking people to change things- not only because it wastes time, but because an artist needs to have influence over her or his work. That's why I try to find somebody with style I think fits. Not always easy, though.

    It's safe to assume I'm going to be a pain in the ass too- the only difference being that I have personal experience with pretty much the same thing, so I'll feel bad about it and apologize rather than acting like it's your fault for not reading my mind.

    I wouldn't mind giving this a go, as a fan of the material you've posted for similarities sake. :)

    We can PM about this if you'd like. I'd just like to make sure that this is still open.

    Somebody offered to give it a try, though didn't ask many questions and kind of ran off without discussing anything conclusive. No idea what's going on there. He may reappear from out of the blue in a few days with an amazing piece having read my mind?

    You're welcome to try, though I don't hear much that's not 8-bit in your albums. I'll PM you and we can chat about it.

    [awesome stuff]

    That was awesome. Didn't think of it that way.

    I don't think I've ever criticized artists for working cheap, because when they do they're usually not good. And if by some miracle they were good and cheap, I'd hire them instead. Yeah... that'll teach them.

  5. First of all, Spooky, I appreciate your candor.

    Likewise.

    Thank you for your insight.

    Negotiate back-end, sure, do it, if they don't have an upfront budget or if they've spent all their money on art assets, then by all means negotiate back-end--but never, ever sell your music for nothing.

    Unfortunately, since this is just a demo- and the project may not be greenlit if there's not a lot of interest- that's not something that makes sense here.

    Though, that's true of every lofty promise from any developer, whether they intend to go through with the game or not, since most fail.

    I could offer to pay a larger balance IF the project gets the go ahead. And it's fair to say that the quality of the music will have an influence on how people perceive the trailer and concept as a whole. So, if the musician does a better job, there's a better chance of that... but that all seems overly complicated, doesn't it?

    Bit of a catch-22.

    In order to get greenlit, the trailer needs awesome music. But in order to be able to afford awesome music, it has to be greenlit. :-?

    I'm doing the best I can with what I have.

    I have passion for the project, but I don't expect a musician to, and to put themselves out there on the chance of this getting the go-ahead for pay later.

    You shouldn't have to teach them about anything but the game--you're hiring an EXPERT.

    IF I were hiring an expert. I don't think I can budget that. I have peanuts to make this trailer, and if most of those peanuts go to music in the form of a 3k contract, the rest will be stick figures.

    I anticipate having to put in some hours here.

    I might end up having to score this myself, though I'd really rather not, because I'm not very good so in order to make something decent I would probably not be doing anything else for the next month. Like you said, it might be better to just not use music. A trailer without any music would be pretty lame, though.

    Try $350,000 for the Fable II Main Theme (and nothing more).

    Sounds about right (I didn't mean to imply I thought he would- rather I knew he wouldn't).

    I do not have that kind of budget for a trailer.

    This is about your priorities and design vision, not about consumers.

    My priorities are driven by consumers. We all have to eat, after all. :whatevaa:

    More so, some of us have to worry about feeding other mouths too. If it were just me working on my own, not worrying about paying salaries and health insurance, etc. then things might be different.

    All I can do is put my all into the art, because that's what people are going to see first.

    This is not just about money, resource allocation, etc; this is about you, your creation, making something not because it sells units, but because you're proud to have lived that creation through.

    Absolutely, but before it can be about those things, it's about food, rent, and healthcare. And flea and heartworm medication for your pets... holy crap that stuff is expensive.

    There's also responsibility to investors to get them a reasonable ROI in a reasonable time frame (it's easy to say screw the rich guys, but I believe I have a moral responsibility to spend their money wisely- not just to the investors, but to the game market, rather than being another money sink that shows games are not good investments).

    I want to make something great, but I clearly don't have enough money to with this trailer, so I can only do my best.

    My biggest problem with Indies is that they think small instead of elegant. They're obsessed with selling units and trying to appeal to as many people as possible instead of just creating something beautiful that they're proud to fucking say is theirs.

    Well, that's just bad business on the part of the indies. If you don't have a big budget, you have to have focus and go a little niche. Trying to copy and compete with games with budgets in the hundreds of millions when you only have a couple million to work with max is just not smart.

    Why would you expect anything less from any one else on your team?

    Jaded by experience?

    It's hard to find good help. Passionate, motivated people- they tend to be used and chewed up by life. And I'm an optimist. :grin:

    I would be overjoyed if I could find somebody with the talent and experience to make this happen, and the passion and drive for the project, who could work with my budget.

    For someone like me, that's like an hour (maybe two) of my time, right? It'd be the same for you.

    Yeah, pretty much.

    Who wants to work on a project where the development leaders assume quality is unattainable for an indie--there's no creativity there, no passion--that's boring. I didn't become a composer so I could work on boring shit.

    I don't think quality is unattainable- particularly for the game, when there's a more reasonable budget (hopefully) than the trailer- but we all have to play our strengths. I need to put most of this budget into art.

    That's why I posted here: Hope against hope that there might be somebody passionate with some raw talent but a little lacking in experience who I can work with on a low budget to make a diamond.

    and a ton of really shitty artists doing 3D art who have no fucking foundational sense when it comes to creating models. And some of those people get hired.

    Yes, because of the very high demand, which exceeds even the supply of shitty artists (as large as said supply is).

    It takes a lot of work and man hours to design sound effects and produce music as well.

    Sure, but there's a lot less of it- so less demand. Music budgets in games represent only a small fraction of art budgets. I'm not saying how it is is how it should be, but that's what drives the market.

    Music is always outsourced and is constantly substandard and ignorant of internal implementation practices.

    Sorry, did I imply something else? Not sure what you mean here.

    Where are you getting this information?

    Ohh, I shouldn't say. Pretend I didn't say anything please.

    Not important to the topic at hand anyway.

    Fixed.

    Ah, yes, that's also true- if you're willing to work cheap enough (e.g. only slightly above artist wages, which aren't great). A lot of programmers end up in web development or e-commerce stuff instead to pay bills. It's hard to resist 2-3x the salary, even if the job is boring as hell.

    An artists' position comes with less stress, though, with the lower salary.

    To each his or her own. :)

  6. If anyone told you $50-100/min they themselves were inexperienced.

    Yes, which is why I posted here rather than contacting Danny Elfman directly ;)

    For the most part, you get what you pay for, obviously. I've seen plenty of offers for free music from kids on game development sites who just want to contribute to something (green enough that they haven't been burned 20 times by putting their hearts into failed projects yet)- there are a few diamonds in there, though, if you have time to search for them.

    But then, that's the issue- how much time I have to search for quality at a low price, vs. how much money I have available. How much time do I have to give feedback and do multiple iterations, dig up samples, and more or less teach a very novice musician about music from different cultures and eras they may not be familiar with?

    There is something to be said for experience- it certainly saves me time as project manager (and time is money). When it's a question of $100 or so, it's not worth my time- I will favour experience. When it becomes a question of thousands, I have to ask myself- Do I really need to watch Game of Thrones this week? No. Do I really need seven hours of sleep? I can get by on five or six.

    As the number climbs, it's also an issue of shifting budget from other concerns (such as art and promotion) to music- which is one of diminishing returns. OK, I probably would pay $3,500 if Danny Elfman would work that cheap- but it would cost dearly in terms of art and advertising. Better music is going to give better results- but not better than devoting that $3,000 or so to better art and advertising.

    It's not that there isn't a budget for this, it's that s/he doesn't WANT to pay.

    It's more that it doesn't make sense to. Diminishing returns. More of that budget is, and should be, going into art.

    Does the public at large have no taste and greatly undervalue music? Probably, and that sucks. If we lived on a different planet, things might be reversed. But it is how it is, I'm afraid.

    I'm more expensive than just about anyone else in this thread and I'll hit it out of the fucking ballpark.

    Please, then, make me an offer and show me that it's in my interest to divert more funds into music. If it really makes sense, I have no problem with it.

    Yeah, you got a great price and that's fine, do it, but you should feel embarrassed--especially if they did a great job.

    OK, now the asshole who got you to make a demo and then shopped it around- he should feel embarrassed. But there's nothing to be embarrassed about making a contract, getting a really good deal, and sticking to it. It's not like under-tipping at a restaurant where there is an implied social contract of a 10%-15% gratuity that you've violated.

    I'm coming out of art, and we've all worked for peanuts too, to get experience and build up our portfolios- we just get hired more easily once we do (due to greater demand).

    But as far as hiring out work goes (rather than getting hired), all of the same things apply to art.

    You can get a free album cover from some artist on Deviant art (or absurdly cheap- many artists there work for between ten cents and a dollar). You'll spend hours searching and contacting people, they'll spend weeks, and some of them will just get busy or give up due to lack of interest, so you'll have to repeat the process several times, and after a several months you'll end up with something mediocre that looks more like a coupon for a laundromat than an album cover- but it'll work if that's all you need.

    Hire somebody like me, and you'd be out a few thousand dollars, but I'd have it to you by the end of the week and it would kick ass. But that kind of quality is completely unnecessary unless you're trying to get people to buy your album from off a rack in Walmart (which you probably paid out the ears to get the realestate for anyway). If you're an indie, you'd be wasting your money. Find somebody to do it free, or for like fifty cents, on Deviant art- it's not like you're in a hurry.

    the problem as I see it, is that there is a lot more supply of music than demand for it. so it's a buyers market for game developers, and aspiring game composers don't have a whole lot of options available to them.

    Absolutely. Most musicians never make it. Meanwhile Activision and EA will hire pretty much any artist who can use 3d software with any competence. A good concept artist can be instantly recognized (it takes a really good ear, and some free time, to recognize good music- it takes me hours to listen to a bunch of people's tracks vs. minutes to skim portfolios of artists).

    Art also takes so many man hours you wouldn't believe for even a small game, and there's so much demand these studios have to outsource during peak production to India, where they get mostly crap art back (there are some good artists there, but really poor oversight) which they have to spend so much time fixing in house that it was only barely worth outsourcing it at all (and costs MORE than hiring locally, even in the states). It's absurd how much the big studios make.

    Not so with music. Music studios make good enough bank with industry connections, but it's not a growth market.

    If you want in the game industry, go into art- it's a sure thing as long as you put in your time to get some experience and do good work. Even for very talented musicians, it's nothing of the sort.

  7. What exactly do you mean by "beer money?" You need to be clear about what you're willing to pay.

    Frankly, I'm not sure what people want to charge. I guess I could say: Make an offer. I'm willing to negotiate.

    I don't have a big budget for this, but I can budget whatever it will take to get it done.

    I saw somewhere somebody mention $10 per song. Seems a little low to me, since it can take a few hours to make a piece, and I may need several revisions to get the right sound. $1,000 would really be pushing it, since I've seen a lot lower for good work. I may have just been lucky before, though.

    I really don't want to pay $1,000 for this.

    If the price is too high, I'll have to shop around more.

    If you want to twist my arm for what I expect, my wild guess is that I can probably get something pretty good for $50.

    I know you get what you pay for, and I don't want to ask anybody to work for free (that's just douchey), I just mean not to expect a big budget. This job is probably better for a student than a professional (particularly as I expect it will take a fair bit of back and fourth to figure out the style).

    That probably doesn't help much to clarify, sorry. I would love any advice on how much you think I should be offering.

    Trying not to put my foot in my mouth. Although I probably will anyway. :mrgreen:

    Some other questions:

    Q: Would doing this get me hired as a paid composer for the game?

    A: Like most projects, please assume the game will never see light of day. I'm not green enough to say "We're 100% committed to this project!". If projections aren't good, it just won't happen. I'm like 42% committed to this.

    That said, if this doesn't go anywhere, then I guess you're free to keep the rights to the music... probably. I would have to confirm that, but I don't think it would be a problem.

    In the small chance the game happens: Still, probably not. You'd be a candidate, but I still have to take bids on the project and see other resumes. If this project is greenlit (not steam greenlit), it will have a lot more exposure than a forum post, and as a bigger contract there will be a lot more talent applying, and we might hire somebody full time to do all of the sound. Chances of you being the best person for the job (unless you're seriously awesome) are what they are. I can't make any promises, sorry.

    Q: What's the deadline for the piece?

    I would like to have it completed in four or five weeks. Beginning of August at the absolute latest.

    Q: Do you have any examples of the type of piece you want?

    Not exactly. It should sound a little old school and dramatic, but a little spoofy; 1950's radio show style is close.

    I'm thinking a little campy old school synth along with more spooky and dramatic orchestral work, and possibly vocals and effects. The spooky music in Doctor Who whenever they're on about Bad Wolf is in the right ballpark, though I'd like to see a little more cultural flavour, a little more Jazzy with Western (wild west) and subtle Asian themes in the tone and instrument selection would be great. Not entirely sure it's possible to convey that.

    This is meant to portray the general concept, so it will probably take a bit of back and forth.

    I'm intrigued.

    But I don't drink. :sad:

    Hm...

    I'm sorry to hear that. But I'm flexible... how about root beer?

  8. Hi,

    We're working on a demo video/trailer (not a playable demo- mostly art and stuff) for an adventure game. Of course, the game may or may not be made, pending a number of factors (public response, investors, etc). We're in pre-production, and there are a lot of unknowns at this point.

    We'd like to put a theme to it (a full piece, partly for the trailer, partly to inspire our artists), and some composition for the voice presentation that precedes the art part (little bits of dramatic music). The trailer is a little campy and dramatic, kind of like Doctor Who; the humour is generally inspired by a Douglas Adams.

    As for the game:

    Think Zelda, kind of Twilight Princess style art, or Darksiders, if it were based in a Tesla-punk universe with space travel and some mystical and horror overtones instead of in Hyrule (Or post doomsday Earth, respectively).

    (Genre-wise, Think Dune, Cowboy Bebop, Firefly, Farscape...)

    Lots of Parkour, jumping around ancient alien ruins and derelict space ships searching for artifacts while being attacked by weird alien gremlins, bugs, and automated defense systems gone haywire. A bit of sneaking, some nice swordplay, six shooters, and the occasional lightning gun.

    3d. Unity.

    Beer money (that is, paid, but low budget).

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