Music Outsourcing Workflows | Panel Discussion with Richard Ludlow

Interactive Music Symposium 2021, presented by Audiokinetic.

This panel was moderated by Richard Ludlow (Audio Director at Hexany Audio) and featured panelists Andrea Chang (Audio Director at Hi-Rez Studios), Chance Thomas (Composer at Chance Thomas Music & President at HUGEsound Records), and James Wallace (Music Director at EA Create Audio). It offered unique insight, including individuals from both sides of the table — James and Andrea providing the Music/Audio Director perspective, and Richard and Chance providing the perspective of a composer collaborating with a developer or publisher. Topics included: setting expectations when coming onto a new project as a freelance composer, whether implementation is a necessary skill for composers today, thoughts on specialization and getting pigeonholed into that specialty, how to hang on to certain rights, thoughts on mixing sound design and composition work in your portfolio and rescoring existing games in your reels, and overall advice for freelance composers & sound designers trying to get their foot in the door today.

0:00:00 - Introduction to Panel
0:01:29 - Introduction to Panelists
0:06:56 - Finding composers and where do you start?
0:09:54 - Chance, how has the process of finding developers and publishers changed over the course of your career?
0:13:03 - Assuming that personal relationships & conferences are a good way to make an initial introduction, what makes you end up picking someone?
0:18:38 - As a freelance composer, when you come onto a project, do you find the need to set expectations to help get that feedback process streamlined?
0:21:53 - Composers are always asking 'Do we need to know how to implement our own music?' What does music implementation look like on the projects you've been in?
0:28:20 - Are there key features in a project that make you decide how much to develop internally vs. externally?
0:30:29 - How important is it for a composer to specialize? And conversely, is it easy to get pigeonholed into that specialty?
0:33:10 - At EA and Hi-Rez, if you're hiring a composer to do something custom, would that generally be a work-for-hire buyout?
0:36:10 - As a freelance composer, have the projects you've done largely been work-for-hire, rights buyout? What rights can you agree to hang on to?
0:38:36 - Is hanging on to some ancillary rights something that you let composers do?
0:44:04 - Do you think becoming a sound designer for games can be counterproductive if you also want to be a composer?
0:49:12 - When do composers typically get involved in a project?
0:53:42 - As a freelance composer, when would you like to be brought into a project? And when do you actually get brought in?
0:56:14 - "Chance, I compose music for indie games and prefer to retain my rights, but it also sounds like you make those deals with larger projects. How do you market the music after it's been released?"
0:57:54 - Can someone draw a clear enough line between their sound design and music portfolios on their website and eliminate that red flag we talked about earlier?
1:00:30 - With COVID restrictions, how would you suggest composers network or find developers/publishers?
1:04:27 - What are the #1 and #2 skills that you would want to see out of a sound designer that you're looking to hire?
1:06:48 - What is a good reel, both for a composer and a sound designer?
1:15:07 - Thoughts on rescoring an existing game in a reel?
1:21:28 - Final thoughts on advice for freelance composers & sound designers trying to get their foot in the door today?
1:27:43 - Thank you Richard, Andrea, Chance, and James!

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