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Episode 18: The Negotiation

Here’s the next episode of Madsen’s Musings which talks about a negotiation technique I recently used that worked out quite nicely. In this situation, I was able to get a client to increase their price point significantly by describing how I can add in more solutions and options and save them time and effort. Check out the video and hit me up with any questions or ideas you may have. Also please consider liking, subscribing and commenting on my vlogs. I hope you enjoy the episode:

WANNA GET IN TOUCH?

I’m always looking for more freelance work outside of my SGI stuff. If you think I may be a fit for your next project, let’s chat! I can do all kinds of things: music composition and production, recording remotely (saxophone and piano), mixing and mastering, implementation and testing as well as pre and post production work. I hope you enjoy this theme from Neptune’s Dynasty and please get in touch using the link above.

WHO AM I?

Nate Madsen is a 13 year industry vet who’s worked in games, films, taught college courses and has performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SGI for over two years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. And he’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. He’s also never met BBQ that he didn’t consider a close friend. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green.

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Neptune’s Dynasty

The theme for Neptune’s Dynasty was really fun for me to put together. The idea was to create an epic vibe that’s on par with things like God of War, Skyrim or all of those classic Roman adventure films from Hollywood but make it a little less angry. But it is all about the god Neptune, after all. So it needed to have some “tidal” movement in there. The fun challenge was then trying to make it something that will work for a slot game. Check it out!

Wanna get in touch?

Let’s chat! https://madsenstudios.com/contact/

I’m always looking for more freelance work outside of my SGI stuff. If you think I may be a fit for your next project, let’s chat! I can do all kinds of things: music composition and production, recording remotely (saxophone and piano), mixing and mastering, implementation and testing as well as pre and post production work. I hope you enjoy this theme from Neptune’s Dynasty and please get in touch using the link above.

Who Am I?

Nate Madsen is a 13 year industry vet who’s worked in games, films, taught college courses and has performed and recorded in various settings on both piano and saxophone. He’s been with SGI for over two years and has been running Madsen Studios LLC since 2005. On the weekends he likes to be very still and watch the grass grow. And he’s considering taking up the bagpipes and really enjoys craft beer. He’s currently living in Austin, TX and his is favorite color is green.

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Monopoly Community Chest

This is the bonus track for Monopoly Community Chest and it was especially fun for me! I love mixing styles and genres together and this track blends elements of jazz, electronica, rock and even some 60’s organs. Everything was composed by me, I played all of the parts in with virtual instruments, and I played the live saxophones parts as well. I think it turned out great and hope you enjoy it!

You can go play Monopoly Community Chest and many other slot games at the Monopoly Slots page and app! Go check it out here – https://www.facebook.com/monopolyslots/

Do you need audio for your next project? Hit me up! 

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Ouija: Board of Fortune

Ouija: Board of Fortune is one of the recent slot games SGI released which features my music and sound design. So often I have to write in an upbeat, peppy, happy manner, so it’s refreshing when I get to take a stroll on the dark(er) side of things! The artwork has a very gothic feel with a supernatural undercurrent so I wanted my music to give a sense of foreboding, slight dread mixed with action. Check out the demo here: https://youtu.be/2vkiuic_U-8
My friend Logynn B. Hailey did the artwork and I thought she killed it! You can see more of her artwork here: https://www.behance.net/logynn-b-hailley. You can play the slot currently on the Goldfish App: https://www.facebook.com/GoldFishCasinoSlots/ and it will be out on other SGI casinos in the future.

Wanna get in touch? It’s easy!

Bio:
Nate is an established composer/sound designer, based in Austin, TX. Aside from making various kinds of noises and music, he also teaches private lessons (saxophone and piano) and performs with live bands. On the weekends he likes to sit and watch the grass grow. He’s also quite fond of fancy beers.

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Working to Picture: When the Edit Changes

In this video tutorial, I discuss how to address edit changes to the film after you’ve already begun writing music to it. While we’d all love to work to 100% locked picture edit but in many cases, that’s just not realistic. There always seems to be, at least, a few changes to the film. I chose to use the You Again web series, which I scored, as an example of using this workflow. I found it really helped and I hope it does the same for you. For more info on You Again go here: http://youagainwebseries.com/ and for more info on me and my work, go here: http://madsenstudios.com/.

Excuse the mic – I ended up using my webcam mic in this video. Even with clean up, it doesn’t sound as good as my studio mics do. Not making that mistake again! I hope you enjoy it!

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Using Tempo for Added Realism

Using Tempo to Add More Realism

One of the best ways composers can add more realism to their pieces is with tempo changes. This is especially true when writing for orchestra, big band, jazz combos and even certain rock songs. In this video tutorial I discuss how and why I use tempo changes to help make a piece feel more organic. I also detail how tempo changes may differ from a solo performance versus a large ensemble. The example piece featured in this video is War Upon The Sea which you can hear in it’s entirety here: https://youtu.be/BGMoxGkBHYU.

Of course this approach won’t apply to every style of music or every song. Experiment and see how these kinds of edits can help strengthen your song. Go make your tracks more organic and leave more space for your listener’s emotions! Put in some tempo changes where they make musical sense. It can make such a difference – even small changes! I hope that you find the quick tutorial helpful and please feel free to leave comments and feedback. I enjoy reading them!

Should you need custom audio for your next project, let’s chat!

Thanks!

Bio:
Nate is an established composer/sound designer, based in Cedar Falls, IA. Aside from making various kinds of noises and music, he also teaches private lessons (saxophone and piano) and performs with live bands. On the weekends he likes to sit and watch the grass grow.

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A Tense Moment – 48 hour film project

48 hours to make a film?!

During the summer, I took part in the 48 Hour Film Project, hosted in Austin, TX. It was a blast! For those not familiar with the festival/contest, teams are given 48 hours to create, write, film, edit and produce a short film in 48 hours. To keep things interesting, all submissions had to work in:

– a character’s name
– a prop
– a certain line of dialog

Teams also had to genres randomly assigned to them and could pick which one they wanted to use. It’s a very fun, challenging and fast pace contest! Our film, Until Death Do Us Part, was nominated for eight awards and won four of them! Here’s my favorite music cue from this project:

The whole film should be released to the public soon. Stay tuned! And if you haven’t taken part in a 48 hour film project yet, do it! It’s so much fun.

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48 Hour Film Project

Last weekend, Madsen Studios LLC took part in the 48 Hour Film Project, here in Austin, TX. It was a blast! I wrote music for the short film called Until Death Do Us Part, which is sort of a black comedy drama. For those that don’t know, this project involves drawing a genre (we drew adventure-serial) and had to work in a certain prop, character name and line of dialog. After drawing the genre, you have 48 hours (hence the name of the festival :P) to write, film, edit and post-produce the film. It’s quite the challenge! It’s also a great deal of fun.

Since music usually comes in late at the end of the production cycle, I decided to write a bunch of music to get the editing team as much to work with as earlier as possible. This was tricky because I was writing without any visuals, since the team was still writing and then filming. The last day, Sunday, was a fury of writing for me as we decided the film had changed tone and needed a new direction musically. I always love a challenge and am, overall, very happy with how things turned out.

Check out the poster and once the film is released to the public, I’ll definitely share it! Stay tuned!

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Of Love and Sorrow – Main Theme

Here’s the main theme to Of Love and Sorrow, a new game being developed and published by Niels Bauer Games. Madsen Studios LLC – an Austin, TX based audio company, was hired to compose the music for the trailer and the game itself. It was really fun to write the music for a civil war, text game. For this theme I wanted to capture the grand, epic conflict while also showing some of the more tender moments of the game. In a way, this piece harkens back to Civil War epic soap operas that I saw on TV as a child in the 80’s. Check out the music and the game, once it’s made live!

Please reach out if you need original music or sound design for your next project. I’d love to help out!

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It’s time for a divorce….

It’s not you, it’s me.

It’s time for a divorce… from your work. If you’re a freelancing or hired audio professional, that is. Too many times I’ve seen audio professionals, as well as folks in other disciplines, grow too attached to their work. This is a dangerous thing because it causes you to lose perspective and potentially over react when criticism/feedback is delivered. This can harm the collaborative effort which is vital to projects like films, video games and other multimedia. When we compose music or produce audio for a project, it’s NOT own our audio anymore. It belongs to the project.

It’s not about our personal feelings, tastes or bias.

It’s not about our own egos.

It’s not about our own preferred work flows.

It’s only about what content/methods would best serve the product.

I picked the title carefully because divorce is, from what I’ve been told, a very hard and personal thing to go through. Likewise, having your work criticized can be very painful and difficult. It can feel personal, even when it’s not meant to be. Divorce is also the act of detaching two things that were once very close to each other. When I’m doing work for a client or for an employer, I remind myself that I’m “divorced” from the audio. I put myself in a very different mindset than when I’m working on my own projects as a hobby. This enables me to better receive feedback from management and peers as well as objectivity look at my work and see how it’s lining up with the product’s designs and goals.

It takes practice.

This is a skill that can take some time to develop. My advice is to keep a cache of personal projects on the side where you can do whatever you wish, in whatever manner you wish to help satisfy that personal creativity. This way you can keep a part of “you” in your work and not feel like a drone and also be better prepped to fall in line with what your given roles are on a work-for-hire project or employer. Please notice what I’m not saying: I’m not telling you to sell yourself 100%. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be invested in work or be passionate about it. I’m not saying to give up your personal ideals or methods. That’s not healthy and odds are not why people hired you to make audio for them. They want YOU involved! But sometimes you do have to adapt and change your approach to better serve the project. If you’ve never been through honest feedback on your work, then I’d suggest putting your work online and letting folks from the professional audio realm review it. Many folks, myself included, will listen and gladly give our input. This works great because it’s not your friends or family listening and saying “sounds great!” even if it doesn’t. This is good, honest feedback from folks that should have the ears and skillsets to be able to distinguish what’s going great in your work and what could use some improvement.

Growing a thick skin.

My first real exposure to blunt, concise feedback was at FUNimation Entertainment, where I worked as a composer/sound designer in the Special Features/DVD dept. I would create the music and sound design, as well as edit and produce dialog from the show into a trailer for anime shows and films. We’re talking top tier anime work like Dragon Ball Z, Yu Gi Oh and such. Once the audio was done, I’d have a quick review with the brand manager, head of the video editors and sometimes even a VP of the company. Feedback was sometimes as brief as a few words:

“Love it!” “Doesn’t work.” “Hate it.” “Redo it.”

Then the folks would go back to their jobs and I’d be left making any needed fixes. That kind of environment forced me to grow a thick skin quickly. And you need a thick skin to be successful in this industry. It was at this job that I started the notion that any critiques were not personal in nature and were not directed at ME. They were directed at my work and how well it lined up with the product. This helped me better process and apply the feedback. In turn, this made me much better at my job.

Take a moment.

And the next time you feel yourself getting heated or protective of your work due to some criticisms, take a deep breath. This is creative work and therefore passions can play a large factor. Take a moment before responding and remind yourself – this is no longer YOUR audio. You’ve divorced yourself from it and instead, it’s the PROJECT’S audio. Do what’s best for the project. Hopefully everyone else on the team will be like minded and focused exclusively on what’s best for the project as well. Not always the case but one can hope!

Best of luck!

Bio:
Nate is an established composer/sound designer, based in Austin, TX. Aside from making various kinds of noises and music, he also teaches private lessons (saxophone and piano) and performs with live bands. On the weekends he likes to sit and watch the grass grow.