Recently I stumbled across a post on a Facebook forum from an individual who had taken the bold decision to quit their job in pursuit of their passion for video game composition. Largely, the post was met by positivity and support with people commending their bravery and wishing them luck for the future. I thought it was lovely to see, until I started reading the comments.
I was both surprised and disgusted to see several individuals spouting insults and negativity regarding the individual’s work, and essentially telling them they had no place in the industry. I was absolutely stunned firstly that these people felt they had a right to take their entirely subjective viewpoint and communicate it as though it was fact, and even more stunned that they could be heartless enough to embarrass a fellow member of their industry and hurt their aspirations.
As far as I am concerned, there is no place in our industry for such vilifying attitudes. Having been involved in the wonderful game audio community for a couple of years now, I have been fortunate to be consistently surrounded by supportive people. So, I was naturally surprised to see that people with such attitudes still rear their heads in our community. There is a vast and very damaging difference between providing someone with constructive advice and feedback, and meaninglessly insulting their ability.
In this industry, relationships are everything and a surprising number of people will remember your name and face if you present yourself in an unsavoury fashion. Those that hire you will hire you more for your personality than they will for your skill. Quite simply, decent people wish to surround themselves with other decent people. There are unfortunately some people who fail to realise this and think that having a survival of the fittest attitude will benefit their career’s development. Realistically, with such a vast network of jobs and aspiring audio designers, you will rarely come in to direct competition with those you interact with on the internet. Therefore, surely it makes sense to form friendships and make contacts, rather than burn bridges and create enemies?
Amongst the game audio network, I have encountered multiple instances where several of my friends, including myself, have been applying for the same jobs. Yet despite being in direct competition, we are still supportive of one another and only ever congratulatory if we lose the position to one of our friends. We are all in the same position and we all appreciate how hard it can be to get in to this industry. Therefore, we all work our utmost to be encouraging of one another. After all, shouldn’t that be what being a community is about?
Like many creative industries, game audio can be a very isolated path, particularly if you are working freelance or starting out for the first time. Therefore, having a strong network around you is one of the most beneficial things you can have. As aforementioned, those of us in the game audio industry do work hard to ensure that, that strong network is maintained. Many of us consciously invest time in helping those that are starting out and share tips, information and resources with those around us. That undoubtedly is one of the many things that make the game audio community so great, and something that I hope forever continues.
There is never a need or an excuse for putting down those around us. We all have a shared passion and shared aspirations to be a part of this fantastic and ever-growing industry. Despite what some may think, there is enough room for everyone who wants to work their way in to it. It does take perseverance and dedication, but that’s what makes it worth it. So if you are just starting out, please don’t ever let unnecessary criticism stop you from pursuing your passion. We all start at the bottom, and we all only ever get to the top by continually practising, learning and honing our craft. So keep practising, keep pursuing and keep positive! For want of a less cheesy phrase, we’re all in this together.