Game Music Jobs: Are You Response-Able?
Welcome to Game Music Jobs!
Are You Response-able?
Last time we discussed communication skills, one of the tenets of occupational professionalism. I would like to inform you that “Old Communication” is not an only child. I am not one to beat a dead horse—with a dead horse—but it never hurts to understand the value of clear communication. It helps in a myriad of ways, from spotting a game to organizing your day to avoiding the Three Hassle Brothers: Fuss, Bother, and Revision.
Today’s tenet of occupational professionalism is timeliness.
As a composer, your job can be summed up in one pig simple phrase: Discover what the director wants, and give it to him. I am aware not all directors know what they want, but it would behoove you to develop a basic completion plan.
Each composer has a unique way of approaching a project, and it may take some time for emerging composers to find their rhythm. Your rhythm is your business. You control how you run your business; do not let your business run you. Not every composer can compose well in every genre of music needed for a game. When undertaking projects, it is best to create the type(s) of music you are most comfortable with.
MunchMan is not unfair. There are times when you cannot possibly meet your deadline, and that is when you should be on your knees, praying the director understands. I am not prescribing a type of sickening obeisance, but use tact when communicating project hang-ups. Honesty is usually the best policy. Assess your ability to complete the project, and humbly ask for the necessary extension. Communicate that a little more time will yield a better product. It may leave your director cutting the fool, but at least he knows what to expect.
Now, my deferential friend, you have the time you wanted. Was it the right amount of time you needed, or did you yet again underestimate? Always give yourself room for error. The best craftsman is not the one who makes no errors but the one who knows how to hide them.
Please do not string your director along by promising, day by day, a completed project. This practice not only makes you look bad and delays the project but also can wreak havoc on the time musicians may need to practice their piece. In this case, you become the fourth Hassle Brother, Excuse. I know what you are thinking—“I can send in a half-finished score,”—but it is never a good idea to submit a half-finished score. Would you want your doctor to do a half-job on your cosmetic surgery? Take your responsibility, and your career, just as seriously.
As a composer, you are not necessarily a salesman, but your reputation does require selling. For example, I attended a gathering in Hollywood. I remember an MGM Studio talent executive talking about the need to attract studio attention. She stressed that composers must stand out using means other than their talent. While talent is merit by itself, gaining an excellent reputation for being fast and easy to work with will garner more work than being an eccentric fop.
Perhaps you have a good reputation, but you mess up. Maybe some redeeming disposition on the development team side quells negativity. However, if you both make a mistake and have been consistently unresponsive, your career is going home in a body bag. Do not adopt the procrastinator’s pantomime, Excuse.
I want to thank Maury for helping me bring this information. We will cover part 3 of the camp talk next week.
Get out of your house! Keep learning, and always B#.
I am Munchman with Game Music Jobs.