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How To Get Work In Video Game Audio
Lesson 1: Jobs And Skills
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Introduction


Welcome to your ‘How To Get Work In Video Game Audio’ course! We’re going to be looking at two main topics – ‘Jobs and Skills’, and ‘Showreels’.

Sound designers are currently in high demand, so whether your primary goal is to get work recording/editing sound for games, or you’re a composer who is looking to widen their skillset, these skills are invaluable.

There are some parallels between the way sound designers get work and prepare for jobs and how composers do it, but there are some key differences that we will talk about in this course.

At ThinkSpace, we offer a few different postgraduate degree courses for those looking to get into sound design and game audio in the video game industry so, if you feel like one of these might be for you, please feel free to get in touch!

Chapter #1


Let’s start by talking about the market and ways of getting your first job. It’s important to set realistic expectations, as it’s a competitive industry. Here we have a few interviews with current working sound designers giving their insight on this topic.

Claire Fitch is a composer and sound designer for video games, with clients such as Intel, Adobe, and Blender. In this interview, Matthew Lightbound (our interviewer) brings up a good point. When entering the industry, don’t expect to walk into a AAA game company instantly. In the meantime, look at the independent games companies. They will be much more accessible and far more likely to take a chance with someone less experienced than a large AAA games developer.

There is a step you’ll need to take before this however, which is learn how the process works. Try doing some audio replacement on video game footage you’ve recorded, or take some from YouTube. You’re also going to want to look at the software as well. FMOD and Wwise are both audio middleware programs used in game development, often in conjunction with a game engine such as Unity or Unreal Engine. These are all pieces of software you should be aware of and, even if you’re not working directly in the game engines, you should have a working knowledge of how audio is implemented into them.

Having a good ear for sound design is crucial, but so is knowing how the industry functions and the tools they are using to get the job done is equally important.

VIDEO: Claire Fitch - Starting out in the industry

AAA games companies will often require people with AAA experience. This can be a chicken and egg type situation, but the more experience you have outside the AAA companies, the more likely you are to get brought on by a large games company without that level of experience.

Gina Zdanowicz is an Emmy nominated composer and sound designer, and is also one of our tutors here a ThinkSpace Education. In this clip, she discusses ways you can make your job applications and portfolios as enticing as possible, and how to focus your approach to job applications when your experience might not be getting you the work on its own.

VIDEO: Gina - The first steps to get a career in game audio

Mark Angus is an award-winning audio director and sound designer for video games, having worked on projects such as the BAFTA winning game Alien: Isolation. Mark is also another one of our postgraduate degree tutors here at ThinkSpace Education. In this interview, he gives his ideas on how to apply for jobs, and the roles a sound designer may expect to fill when moving into the independent scene.

The scope of work for a sound designer can change drastically depending on the job. Whilst you may be solely interested in doing Foley or writing the music, on small projects this likely won’t be the case. You may be the sole audio worker on a project, meaning you will be expected to do Foley, dialogue editing, implementation, and QA all on your own.

This is more likely to be seen on small, indie projects. When working for a large company, you may find you’re joining a large team of sound designers and audio technicians, meaning your job role will be much narrower. Asking about which assets you’ll be expected to create, as well as the depth of your involvement (recording, editing, implementation etc.) are good questions to consider when applying and interviewing for an audio role.

VIDEO: Mark Angus

When thinking of audio jobs in video games, many will imagine a team of people creating footstep sounds and environmental atmospheres. However, game audio covers a huge variety of job titles, and one of those is dialogue editing. In this interview with Alyx Jones, a dialogue editor for video game dialogue studio Liquid Violet, we discuss the role of a dialogue editor on a video game.

VIDEO: Alyx Jones

Interviews


Stephen Baysted is the Audio Director and in-house composer of Slightly Mad Studios, the games studio behind Need for Speed: Shift, Project Cars 1 & 2, and other hit racing games. Through his career, Stephen has had plenty of experience with different sized games companies and, in his current position, can offer a great insight into the differences between joining the industry through the indie sector and AAA games companies.

VIDEO: Stephen Baysted Interview

And finally, joining us on the other side of the camera, Matthew Lightbound. Starting as a course producer at ThinkSpace and now a sound designer at DamBuster Studios in Nottingham, Matt has seen the industry from multiple angles – both as a working sound designer, as an educator, and as a student. In this interview, Matt gives some invaluable advice to those looking to gain entry levels positions in the sound design industry.

VIDEO: Matt Lightbound Interview
Have you seen our master's degree in Sound Design For Video Games?
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  • Find your voice as a sound designer, with help from leaders in the field.
  • Learn to create work in an adaptive and interactive genre, tackling challenges unique to video games.
  • Personal 1-to-1 tuition from top professional sound designers.
  • Regular online workshops and tutorial groups, forum discussions and exclusive webinars.
Course Tutors
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Stephen Baysted
Award-winning British Film, TV and Video Game composer, audio director and Sound Designer for projects including: Project Cars, Project Cars 2, Need For Speed: Shift, The Walking Dead: Assault
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Gina Zdanowicz
Emmy Nominated Composer and Sound Designer working on projects such as: Bioshock 2, Just Cause 3 and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified
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Mark Angus
An award-winning video game audio director and linear sound designer who has worked on projects such as: Alien Isolation, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories and SimCity