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Hi everyone.

I have always known I want to work in audio. I enrolled on a film course at University, which is great. It has a lot of emphasis on sound and storytelling, both practically and theoretically speaking.

The university I go to offers another course: Game Art & Design. I am studying towards a degree because I don't know how else I can improve my chances of knowing what Im doing when it comes to game audio,and of getting a job.

Basically there are 4 options open to me at the moment:

COntinue studying Film, focusing on sound as much as possible.

Transfer to the Game course, learning about broad game development and art.

Study one of the above and also 2 short courses in the summer, one of which is the schoolofvideogameaudio course in WWISE, the other is Alchemea's Pro Tools 130 Game Audio course.

Do a degree, the short courses and an MA in game audio.

Anyone able to offer any advice? I know where I want to be and I am willing to keep going till I get there, just not sure what route to take...

Thanks!

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As a game sound designer for over 20 years, I'll second all that has been said already! Know tools, know processing, know storytelling, know coding or at least scripting.

You might consider taking some acting and directing classes while at the University; I found myself on many occasions doing voice casting and directing and my experience in the theater was very useful. This also helps when you are editing dialog for scene work (anybody still doing cut scenes?) or concatenation.

Don't just show up for classes. Be an annoyance (sort of); follow your professors around and ask all kinds of questions. They are there for your benefit, or they should be, and you deserve to get all you can from them. Dig deep and push them! You are paying their salaries.

Try as many things as you can while in school. Make mistakes, ask opinions, get feedback from other students. Make yourself the sound guru in the department. When you graduate, the people you went to school with will be hiring you to work on their projects. Maybe not immediately but in a few years those relationships will be useful to you.

Don't burn bridges.

Good Luck!

  • best answer! thanks @Jon Clark, I have decided to hassle my tutors on monday for some experience doing sounds for game students projects as well as our own film projects :) I am grateful for everyones answers but this one, along with the knowledge and advice passed on from the others, is the best! – Digital Endurance Jan 5 '13 at 20:37
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Focus on relationships.

Knowing how to use sound is just a start, but just knowing the craft is not what's going to keep you employed, it's people.

A nice portfolio will show that you've done something, which can be both a topic for discussion and an artifact/asset. In job seeking it's what you'd mainly use in order to get to interviews. But past those, and especially if you decide on freelancing or entrepreneurship, what you'll mostly need is customers or other people that give you something to work on and who want to work with you.

I would not stress much about what "qualifications" you're getting from schools (but I would stress the relationships that you form + the portfolio, if you haven't got one yet). As long as you enjoy it and it feels worth it, then sure keep doing it, but it's unlikely that many others see degrees as particularly valuable or relevant as the art and media industries are the least about degrees.

If you want a leg up in game audio, then do game programming, i.e. double yourself in something else than just audio, it could be graphic design as well. However, programming (+designing) your own games is likely going to give you most "street credit".

  • Thanks @Internet Human :) I appreciate that advice. It is difficult asking people in my family for advice as they don't know about the games industry or sound design. I fully agree with what you have said. Going to read the other responses now. – Digital Endurance Jan 3 '13 at 13:38
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I agree with everything @Internet Human said.

I've worked professionally at a studio for almost five years and relationships are everything. The people who really understand that what we do is fundamentally a service industry and structure their work philosophy around that are the ones who go the furthest.

Relative to a lot of disciplines, the social network of audio is narrow but deep and you'll start coming across the same people in this industry over and over again. They spread out fast in this industry - folks are constantly migrating in and out of various projects and studios. If you're laid back, humble but really good at what you do they'll readily recommend you when there's an opportunity to do it because they understand the value of such colleagues. Likewise, if you're terrible - well, it's pretty hard to get anywhere.

In other words: cultivate a good reputation. Start with school or whatever place you're in.

Also, implementation is huge. Actual creation of assets is maybe 40% of my job. If that. The rest of it can broadly filed under the category of implementation. So know Wwise. Know FMOD. Get under the hood of engines like Unity and Unreal and know how they work in general, but especially with regards to audio.

He's also right about the programming. Scripting and coding knowhow are a huge bonus.

Degrees themselves? Honestly, they don't amount to much. I've never been asked where I went to school or what my 'scores' were or anything like that. It's hard to conceive of a situation where that would actually be relevant. Relationships, skills and experience are where it's at.

That said, soak up as much as you can from school and then start applying that knowledge to your professional goals.

  • @David K, I'm grateful for your response, it is such a useful resource to be a member of social sound design. Everyone here is extremely helpful and there are always multiple comments and answers to my questions. Nice one! I will get under the hood as you say of UDK, Unity & WWISE as well as FMOD when I can. For now I am still unsure whether or not to stick with Film or migrate to games, but since you say that degrees don't really amount to much, I am unsure whether its going to make any difference. Thanks though, Now to read th either answers :) – Digital Endurance Jan 3 '13 at 13:43
  • @Zimon It's just sound and music. Although films, games and any other media have (slightly) varying practices, styles/aesthetics and time frames, it's easy to say that they're still about the same basic thing. Making the jump to any medium where sound production is applied is not big, definitely not a big one technically (it might be more difficult mentally), and one could even call it a trivial matter. I would say that being open to all different media is a plus, at least in terms of employability, instead of being strictly focused on just one (e.g. doing sound ONLY for one particular media). – Internet Human Jan 3 '13 at 14:33
  • @Internet Human, I totally know what you mean, and can see your point. I think that because I am studying film but want to work in game sound eventually, I am on the right course... I know that sound is covered in equal measure to visuals in my course, so I should stick with it I am thinking. The only thing is, I am 100% sure that I want to work on game audio, not so much film sound. However, if the degree in film leads to a job in film sound, maybe it will fund further studies in game audio, or even be a way in if games and films converge a bit more in the future (use of footage for visuals) – Digital Endurance Jan 3 '13 at 14:43
  • Agree with David's answer but would point out that while the degree itself is just a piece of paper and that in and of itself does not amount to much, the knowledge and experience and networking you can gain while studying can be invaluable. In my case, I studied at a film school and wound up working in game audio as a result - point being you don't need to decide right now between games and films. A lot of the skills you'll learn are interchangeable, although the biggest difference is with game audio you'll be doing a lot of implementation. FMOD, Wwise, etc. - couldn't agree more. – Bryce Raffle Sound Jan 3 '13 at 19:05
  • @ Bryce Raffle Sound - that's epic, good to know film skills are transferable, and that you wound up working in game audio after studying Film. Thanks! :) – Digital Endurance Jan 3 '13 at 19:53
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Yes, I agree, contacts are everything! The thing you need to understand about degrees is that education is an industry like any other industry. They are trying to sell you products (degrees) and of course they try to make it look like you will benefit greatly from these products. But the reality is that especially in media, almost everyone can finish a degree. So whether you have a degree or not does not say much about your skills and employers know that. They all have made the experience that they have given some responsibilities to a kid fresh from uni, only to realize that this kid is totally incompetent.

That does not mean that you cannot learn anything at uni. Uni gives you access to good facilities and you are in an environment in which you meet a lot of people who are also interesting in learning. Other than in the real industry you can still make mistakes here without damaging your reputation. So if you do a degree don't focus too much on your marks. Use the time to learn as much as you can, even outside of the agenda of your course and use the uni itself to make as many contacts as you can. One thing uni has given me is a showreel, with which I could showcase my skills. And afterwards it was this showreel that opened some doors, not the degree.

Uni is a very comfortable way of learning. However, it is also by far the most expensive one. If you can afford it without going into dept, it is worth considering. But by no means it is necessary to do a degree. There are other ways to make it in this industry. These are usually a bit less comfortable, but they are definitely not unsuccessful. More often than not they are actually more successful.

  • everyones responses have been food for thought, and I have to say very useful indeed! thanks @Sound1844. Much Appreciated. – Digital Endurance Jan 3 '13 at 13:45

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