Game Sound Conference 2018 is over, and all of us headed back with hearts refueled with passion and support from the game audio community. As I was writing down my notes on to my laptop, I organized these 5 takeaways that I will be applying to my life to make myself a better-prepared composer. Let's begin…
Do Checklists Right - Instead of saying "I have to write 3 minutes of music" and being overwhelmed, it's much satisfying to use a checkbox system to divide and conquer. Don't use a large paper to make your checklist. Stay with sticky notes! Ever notice how when you say "I'm going to get this done in 2 days", you get it done in 2 days, but when you say "I'm going to get this done in 1 day", you get it done just as well? Getting it done is important. Set up time boundaries.
SERIOUSLY take a break every hour - We hear this so often, but we ignore it, thinking that it doesn't apply to us. Until last week when I started to notice my body aching and feeling weak after working for a long time. Every 1 hour I sit on the chair, take a break by walking around and drink water. Stretching also helps a lot. Whatever you do, take a break every hour. Ignoring this important rule will cause much stress and harm to your body.
Make it a point to fix my posture - Although 2 days of walking around were tiring, when I woke up this morning, I felt more refreshed than ever. I thought about why and realized it's because walking around and meeting people forced me to keep a good posture throughout the conference. I realized when I got back that I used to have a terrible posture, sitting indoors all day in front of my desk. I set up reminders throughout the day to tell me to straight up my back and keep my head straight instead of leaning too forward.
Put your phone away - I used to keep my phone face down on my desk. I had tabs of Facebook and YouTube open as I work. I was focused only half of the time, and somedays when it got really bad, I would go on a YouTube spree until I realized the whole day had gone wasted. It's important to cut off the sources of these distractions completely. Battling against distractions is a key step in becoming a game composer. Studies show that putting your phone in another room helps to stay clear of distractions. "What about the important gigs that I might get through my emails? Or emergency phone calls that await me?" The busiest, most important industry veterans are putting their phones away at the kitchens. As full-time composers, they believe that hours of uninterrupted, working hours is much more important than checking on their phone and becoming distracted. What excuse do we have? Facebook can wait.
Perfectionism is a curse - Don't be a perfectionist. It's not a virtue, but rather a curse! You and I will never get things done. Take your above average and ship it, (80% of what you believe) and make sure to stay with your schedules and time boundaries you set up for yourself (If you said, I gotta get it done in 3 hours, ship it after 3 hours. No more.)
These are my top five takeaways from this Game Sound Con. I want to challenge others to reflect and list their top 5 takeaways. Let's keep it up and share how we did next year!