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!