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The Game

Industry
Professional

Akash Thakkar

Now. and terrible parts about work- 3. the vast majority of you 1. so hopefully we can demystify this process a little bit for you. controversial. Namely. this advice will be skewed toward those who are currently (or planning to be) freelancing in the game industry. so you're aware. Copyright © 2015 Akash Thakkar 1 . judging from what I keep hearing from my email list. That being said. If you need some help for nego- tiating in this respect. So what do we do instead? We need to determine exactly who we want to work for so that we can spend our energy wisely. the right gigs for you This can be one of the most mixed up. work- ing as a freelancer for a bit can give you the experience you need for a company to bring you on board. you would be paid hourly or be on salary. I highly recommend the book Nail It by Ted Leonhardt.The Game Industry Professional . if you already work at a company. it can be a massive waste of your time and actually result in you getting less work. How to focus your efforts toward getting some of that sweet sweet money. gigs that pay you 2. How to start getting paid gigs are interested in getting some new gigs under your belt.eBook Excerpt Getting Paid Gigs WHAT YOU’LL LEARN IN THIS EXCERPT Getting (PAYING) Gigs Now. Who do you want to work for? Here's what most of us tend to think when we're working in game audio: "I'll work with anyone. even if you do want to work at a game company eventually. I just need to work on something!" While this doesn't sound like too bad of an idea to get some experience. How to start thinking about money ing in game audio. Of course.

So for example. The formula works For example. but why? to a networking event. if you do eventually want to work for a bigger company. You're also likely wondering why money hasn't started Using the two-qualifier method falling from the sky yet. your like this: steps will be completely different. your two-qualifier method will help you determine all of AAA game studios that make first person shooters and have audio this. timelines. your qualifiers and type of person can be basically Alright. You can pick qualifiers depending on location. on. you now have a somewhat clearer view of what sorts of steps you should take in the future. all of this is. then your two-qualifier method will steer you in the stammer out a useless response. USA/Canada. We're going to learn about something that is used often in the busi- ness world to narrow down target demographics. you do not need to adhere 100% to your two-qualifier method right away! This is used simply as a Because none of us are comfortable talking about it. You would likely create a differ- ent set of demos. I have absolutely no desire to work for a big game like this: studio. I can wisely spend all of my energy working on my [Type of prospect] who are [qualifier #1] and [qualifier #2] indie freelance career. then At this point. I turn all offers from bigger companies down.000. or whatever else you can think of. Creative people suck at making money. 2 .Imagine if you knew exactly which prospects to target before going Wait. Why? And as a last word on this. most of you are probably wondering what the point of you can focus on those people and ignore any other distractions. and look in Indie developers with teams of 2-50 people on the West Coast of other places for your next gig than I would. budget. the money doesn't matter". In fact. If you're just that. right direction so that you can take the small steps necessary to get there. you might have two-qualifier statements that look But. It's called the Well now that you have a type of developer you would like to focus two-qualifier method. and want to work for games that have budgets of freeze when people ask "so how much do you charge?" before we $200 million. Simple as guide to make sure you get where you want to go. work for different types of games. So you know. Be- cause of this. This method simply allows you to quickly and easily show you what type of prospects you'd like to work with. yet. even if you don't have the luxury of picking your clients just budgets of at least $100. If you know who you want to work for. Simply put. game engine. or starting out. let's talk about money anything. We use phrases like "oh.

" "For this kind of project.). we'll This shows that you're more than just about the money. after all. In this section. It shows that you able talking about it. We need to eat. That's when you can give them your quote. when you're meeting face-to-face with a potential client out- So. then follow up later via e-mail. This is one of the most simple and effec- versation to a later time: tive ways to get a fair payment without undervaluing yourself. Now. so how much of that number do you feel comfortable paying?" "A good fit for each other" 3 . Scenario 1: At a networking event/local meet up Some advice about charging as a freelancer: Almost every client You might start running in to this question fairly frequently at meet you will encounter will much prefer being charged a flat rate. care about being the best person for the job. then it will be know that there really is no standard and this method will make it difficult to give any sort of accurate quote. If you know very little try standard" to charge a per rate (per minute.Of course it matters. as easy as possible for clients to pay you. little about the game. It won't feel like they're Why? Simply because you won't be able to provide any sort of ac. their deadlines. thus becoming more comfort. my normal rate is [flat fee]. Talk about the money later! This is simply because the client will know exactly how much money they'll have to part with up-front. don't say yes to just anything (even if you currently do). etc. Although people will tell you it's "indus- curate statement about money at this point. while also getting you enough money to pay for your Scenario 2: E-mails or client meetings second Tesla. "I would love to chat about my rates. their budget. You can then keep chatting about the game. but I know Did you see the key words in there? you're a small indie studio. So. None ups as you start networking more and more. etc. Now. So how much do you charge? or at a client meeting. writing you a blank check. per sound. on to how to quote. about the game. then stop. Do not give them a quote under these circumstances. or speaking to them over e-mail. You really be covering how to ask for money. but I'd like to hear more Here's are two scripts for you: about the project to see if we'd be a good fit for each other first. Just a flat fee. and you do not know these people super well. If this happens to you of this $1200 per minute of music or $40 per sound nonsense. then it asks "What are your rates?" can be a different story. or you know very Nothing hourly. there are a couple scenarios that can happen when someone side of a networking event. here's a script for you that you can use to defer the money con. Let's learn about a way to give confident quotes that are both fair to the client.

think "how can this chapter help me?" You're going to lose clients Getting Paid Continued Let's be honest here. let's answer some common questions about charging cli- now on will be willing to pay you what you deserve. but I know This is totally fine. We discussed the two-qualifier method. the ball is in their court.) you can easily remember when the situation pops up. It may take some time and tweaking of your numbers to find the sweet spot. There will be ents: times where people will choose a cheaper option. You'd be surprised how often they meet. voice actors. but something etc. Now."For this kind of project. Here are a few Write out at least one two-qualifier statement to help you deter- things to consider each time a new gig comes up: mine who you want to work for. Amount of sound/music needed If this project will be fun to work on Let's review Chapter 2: If you'll need to buy any new hardware/software for the project Potential travel expenses In the last chapter. Feel free to write as many as you Deadlines want. or balk at your number and move on. 1. don't forget about your ber. They see what your time well invested if you plan to make a living off of game audio. Your rates will also change from project to project. money to a later time. so let's break down what I want you to do for this chapter: Now what you charge as your flat fee is completely up to you. Remem. we started talking about how you can start get- Anything else you can think of ting paid for your work. It doesn't need to be perfect. Do not be afraid to overprice yourself when quoting your flat rate. just know to charging for your work. my normal rate is [flat fee]. and then can do their best to reach it. normal flat fee is. This assignment is more involved than the last one. how much of that number do you feel comfortable paying?" You're becoming more of a professional. before we begin with Chapter 3. so they will do their best to meet your goals and systems! Apply them to each and every lesson. Not every single client you run in to from Alright. so more money for your services is filtering out low-paying clients. How strictly do you enforce 'right to request X amount of changes' from clients? At what point (if ever) would you refuse to make further changes on work you've provided? 4 . however! Overall game budget Write a script that you can use to defer the conversation about If hiring subcontractors is required (live players. What you're doing when you first start charging you're still unsure how much you'll be getting from Kickstarter. or get very close to your given Here's what to do: rate. but this is What this does is put the ball in their court. as well as reviewed some scripts that can help you out when it comes While I can't give you exact numbers for you to plug-in. that this method will work in getting clients to pay you fairly. Always rate in most cases.

you can lower your -Akash Thakkar rate a little bit in exchange for the music rights. I for as long as they please. and sometimes I just throw out a super-high number ment up front. but without mentioning on. of which developers I can trust. or in an email before you get started.com/ somewhat rare with indies. just to be clear. Yes. and see how close they'll get to meeting it. this will be http://www. How do you decide on flat-fee rates? I’m assuming you’d have to hear what they want you to do and then would you make the cal. is finished? Half when the contract is signed and half when the game is finished? I’ve always been unsure about this. most people go with three revisions per asset. in-game. It can be half up front and half later culation or per minute or per sound effect. I would always want to retain the rights to sell my music. If you’d like to continue reading and get more free training. This can be totally up to you. during a is the fee collected? When the contract is signed? After the game meeting. you will You’re also always welcome to get in touch: want to stipulate that when you're giving your quote. When revision after that.com/akashthakkar Also. 3. Again. I offer unlimited revisions to clients. Thanks so much! I’ll talk to you soon! There will be rare occasions where the studio will want to keep the music rights to themselves. You can stipulate this in your contract. however.Personally.akashthakkar. 2. or all of it afterwards. Generally speaking. or if they have -- less money and can't meet my amount. a third up front and two thirds afterwards. they'll just pay me without batting an eye. If they have the budget. sometimes I do a calculation like you the game is done. they'll give me some extra concessions like longer deadlines. than the open-ended amount? Most of the time you'll get some portion up front. and then start charging more per 4. the studio will still have the rights to use your music however they see fit (trailers. Most every akash@akashthakkar. It's quite rare to get the entire pay- mentioned.) 5 . Is that if you’re reading this. that to them? That way you’re just giving them the flat rate rather It really depends on you and their budget. This marks the end of this excerpt. and some after For determining flat rates. https://twitter. though it's happened to me a few times. commercials.com non-AAA studio will be totally okay with this. you likely already have) and check out my something I specify when asking for money? Youtube channel. but you will still retain the ownership/ can only do this because of the fact that I have developed a sense album rights. then sign up for my newsletter (which. That being said. I wanted to get one part clarified about charging flat fees. In that scenario. you should definitely retain those rights! And yes. etc.

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