So, with the launch of a blog on my website, I thought I would take the time to share a little advice for getting into game audio. I often get asked this by many students and composers, so here are my insights on breaking into game audio.
First things first, attend lots of game development-related events. By this I mean playtests, game jams (more on that later), classes, meetups, social outings, etc etc. You can be an amazing musician/sound designer, but no one is going to know who you are if you don’t get out there and promote yourself. When a developer needs an audio person for their projects, they are more likely going to go to someone they know. So, get out there and meet devs. Play their games, ask about their projects, and build relationships and your network. It takes time, but you’ll be getting calls to do music/sound for their games.
If you’re not sure where to find game developments in your area, start your search on Meetup.com (searching game development). I originally searched for events to go to by looking up local NJ/NYC game development groups on Facebook such as IGDA (International Game Developers Association), Game Developers, etc etc. I found about 4-5 local groups and started going to as many as the events they hosted as possible. This helped me gain notoriety in the NJ/NYC game development scene.
In conjunction with going to local game development events, get your music online. Whether you’re using a SoundCloud as your portfolio, or you have a designated website, you’ll want to have your music somewhere for your game developer friends to check out. Even if you only have a few tracks, put them online and promote them! You see, when you meet a game developer at an event, and you tell them you create music/sound effects, they are most likely going to want to hear what you do! This is where the online portfolio comes in.
Don’t forget to take a business card with you to an event. I’ve had composers write down portfolio links on a scrap of paper in lieu of a business card and hand it to me. Unfortunately, it looks unprofessional, and those scraps of paper tend to get lost. I try to be proactive and load up their SoundCloud/website links right away on my phone (knowing I’ll lose that little scrap of paper), but not everyone will do this. You can get cards printed for free via Vistaprint, which is totally fine. Something with your name, email, and website/portfolio link works well. Personally, I like to put my picture on my business card, to help people remember my face.
Lastly, I believe you should supplement a local presence with a strong online presence. Game developers frequently use Twitter for communication, so I believe it’s essential to making a name in the games industry. Get a Twitter, and continue communicating with developers you meet. Long-term communication is of huge importance. You can also use Twitter to browse more game studios, and reach and communicate with them about their games directly. Neat!
Hopefully, these tips all help you get your game audio career off the ground!