In part 1 of this series we learnt what the problem often is with new composers looking for game composing gigs and why they typically don’t get a response. I also talked about the importance of research and a few of the places you might find these developers.
In part 2 we are going to actually get into the tactics of how you might approach a developer and the whole process of pitching them. Let’s go…
How To Find Their E-mail Address
What you are really looking for with the research I covered in part 1 is an e-mail address and a name. That’s it.
Some developer’s websites will simply have a contact page with an e-mail address and a name – perfect.
Others might have a contact form on a site but no name. Others might just have a generic e-mail address.
You need to put your best detective hat on and try to come up with a name and e-mail. I will often have 5 or 6 tabs open while I’m researching one game. This might include a Twitter profile, Kickstarter page, the studio’s website and Linkedin Profiles etc etc.
Apart from background information, you’re also trying to find evidence that you’d be wasting your time contacting them. Much better to find out now before you put anymore work in.
If you can’t find an obvious e-mail address, you can use a site like this to check if an e-mail address exists.
If you know their first name and the studio’s site domain here are the most common variations for e-mails I have come across:
Try all of those in the verifier tool above and see if you can get the address. It will generally be right if the tool tells you it thinks you’ve found a match. Failing all this, you can always message them via their website, generic e-mail or indeed the forum where you found the post.
If you are not comfortable guessing at their e-mail address for some moral reason (although I don’t know why), do what you are comfortable doing. I think it’s just more professional and will make you stand out from the crowd if you e-mail them personally.
The idea is to do what 99% of other game composers aren’t doing. Go the extra mile. Tweet This:
Step 3: The Pitch
Assuming you have found their e-mail address and name, what on earth do you say in an e-mail to them?
Very briefly you need to cover the following bases:
Point of e-mail/offer
Proof you can help them
Nothing is set in stone for how you write these e-mails but you need to roughly follow the above framework whilst injecting your own tone and personality. You can test these e-mails too. I generally have a few variations I like to use.
What if you feel you’re not ready to start pitching clients yet?
I get this. I went through the exact same thing. Before I decided to put myself out there as a composer I wanted to make sure I was able to compose in styles of music I’d never done before.
I wrote a Funk track and a semi acoustic piano and guitar track that sounded like Lambchop, just to prove I could.
Whilst there is nothing necessarily wrong doing this for a couple of weeks if it helps your confidence, I quickly came to realise that the likelihood of someone asking me to write a piece of music that sounded like Lambchop was pretty small.
When writing a game soundtrack you will likely need to draw on several influences and inspirations, not one specific genre.
As Elbert Hubbard the American writer, artist and philosopher said:
The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one.
The One Thing All New Composers Should Know About Pitching For Work
99% of the e-mails you send like this will come to nothing. The developer either won’t respond, or will respond saying they have a composer or are using stock music or they just aren’t interested.
What I would suggest is you keep an Excel sheet of everyone you contact, strike out the dead ends and keep a note of the possibilities for the future. Follow up with the promising ones and ignore the others.
If people just don’t reply, it’s up to you what you do. I usually ignore them if I’m not too bothered about the game, but if the game really interests you, follow up via e-mail or follow them on Twitter etc and monitor/stay in touch.
Getting gigs is often a long game. Unfortunately when you are just starting out it’s what you need to do. No one is going to come down from high and offer you a gig.
You need to HUSTLE! Get used to it. Tweet This:
Now, every so often you’ll strike gold where everything lines up: A developer is working on a game, needs music, likes your portfolio, has some budget and wants to talk more. Bingo – do a dance, whoop and high five someone (N.B. I would never do any of these things, but it’s what people do I’ve heard).