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  • Writer's pictureCosmin Mirza

I have found my passion, "where easy mode?"

I came across a reply from Hans Zimmer on VI-Control Forum (for those of you who don’t know who he is, I think he is one of the best composers out there cough The Gladiator, cough Interstellar, cough Dune) and he said something like this:



"Write your music because you'd suffocate if you can't."


 

That remark has stayed with me for quite a while now; it got me thinking. We keep hearing left and right that it’s important to find your passion, and you won’t have to work a day in your life. It sounds like once you find it, everything will come easy to you; you'll live a life full of purpose.


Whenever I am asked what I do for a living, and I tell them, “I make music and sound design for video games”, most of the time I get the same response “Wow, it sounds so interesting, it’s nice that you could turn your passion into a job.”


It sure started like that. I wanted to make music, I loved video games, and it seemed like a match made in heaven. I would forget to eat, and I would forget to sleep just because I wanted to learn everything that I could about making sounds for games. When I finally got tired and needed to sleep, I would dream about making music. It certainly felt suffocating when a day passed without creating something.


The best part was that I could tell my parents: I have to play games, it’s for “research”, haha. 


For me, passion is like a spark; it ignites curiosity towards something. It feels like it speaks to you, calls you, and draws you in. It makes you think that this is what you have to do; there’s nothing else more fulfilling, and it may not be, for that matter; maybe you just found your life’s purpose. Could I be that lucky?






Passion can get you so far…


Sure, from the outside perspective, it looks like the dream. It sure helps to have a job where you really enjoy the things you’re doing. For me, it feels like play. I still can’t believe to this day that I get paid to make sounds and music for video games. But passion alone is not sufficient for career success.


As I’ve said in the beginning, passion is like a spark, but once you’ve found it, you've got to be prepared for what’s to come.


If you’ve decided that you want a career in the video games industry, making music or sound design, you should know a bit about what to expect:


  1. Make a habit of listening. Tune in to the sounds surrounding you. Just like breathing, this practice will become second nature, making everything else flow more smoothly as you progress. Always listen, you will thank me later.

  2. You need to approach yourself as if you were a business. There's a mutual exchange of value between you and your clients, and ultimately, you aim to receive payment for the services you provide.

  3. You need to get out there and meet people. Go to local meetups, go to conferences. I know that you just want to make music/sounds, but if no one knows you exist, the only people who’ll listen to your work are your parents, whom you already convinced that you need to play video games “for research”.

  4. In the beginning, you will work for free, but don’t work for nothing. You can always get something in return for your service. Maybe your client can help you out with your website, or with some graphic design, anything that can help you move forward, take it.

  5. Be prepared for long hours. You can’t wait for inspiration to strike when the client needs the materials yesterday. Most of the time, sound comes last in a video game project. The release may be in two months, and you’ll have to do all the work before then. It’s not always the norm with such tight deadlines, but it may happen.

  6. Sometimes you’ll feel like a total failure, and everything sounds like crap. Just take some time away from what you’re doing and go outside, take a walk, come back, delete everything, and start from scratch.

  7. To remain competitive, it's crucial to stay updated on industry trends, advancements in your field, and emerging tools. The world of video games is always evolving, there are always new technologies, technology to master, and opportunities to explore.

  8. Prepare for loneliness. Working with sound can be difficult for the people around you. It can easily get annoying to listen to the same music loop for an hour while you need to find that annoying frequency that ruins the feeling of the whole song.

  9. The client is always right, but not really. As a service provider, it’s essential to align with the client’s vision, and sometimes you have to create something you don’t necessarily like. But there are times when the client may not know what is good for the project, and this is where you have to step in and show him what the project needs.

  10. The deadline is sacred. Working as an audio freelancer, you have the freedom to work from anywhere and whenever you want. It sounds like a dream, right? Well, it has its perks. The only thing that matters is the deadline; it’s your promise of trust, it’s the difference between amateurs and professionals, respect the deadline, and if you can’t ask for more time, of course, because we’re humans, things can happen.


If you're a newcomer to the video games industry or aspiring to join as an audio professional, it's essential to recognize that this initial stage is when your passion and energy will be at their peak. 


You'll face numerous challenges, but you’ll also experience moments of joy, forge meaningful connections with others, and have the satisfaction of evoking emotions in players through your work.



…and hey! you’re following your passion…what else is there? 


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