Jason was also kind enough to answer some questions from Full Sail University students:
Q: How do you submit score as a new composer? – Kevin Green, MBBS Graduate
A: The Catch-22 of any industry is that if you haven’t worked on anything, no one wants to work with you. No one wants to hire an unproven talent. There’s not really a “submission process” – go to local game networking meetings. Find people in town – developers with small projects and small budgets are more willing to work with new composers. Get your foot in the door and establish relationships – that’s what it’s all about. We’ve all heard it before – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know – it’s the same in games. Obviously you have to write good music, and be patient – you may need to knock on doors for a year. When I first started 8 years ago, there were a lot less people going for these jobs. I’d suggest – and I did this too – to have a website with music examples. Please don’t put 20 different styles of music. Anyone can pull up a drum loop and put a guitar loop over it. Find what you love to do, whether you think it’s commercially viable or not. For me, it happened to be orchestral music for action/sci-fi. Unless you’re creating a music library, you don’t want to have “Comedy,” “Action,” “Drama” – everyone wants to show that they’re a well-rounded composer, but then you become a musical “jack of all trades” and master of none. Go for your strengths – go for less pieces that sound more original than more pieces that sound like everyone else.
Q: What was it like working on score for a game as iconic as “Star Trek”? - Eric Perkins, MBBS graduate
A: Star Trek was one of the few instances where I knew it was a brand name, a franchise, before I got involved. It was a great excuse for me to buy as many Star Trek toys, DVDs and soundtracks as I could, and study and analyze everything. I totally immersed myself in it – I picked apart the Goldsmith and Horner scores. My first reaction to a new job is always, what toys can I buy? What music can I listen to? What can I analyze and study this week? Getting to do big space themes was really fun – everything I’d hoped it would be.