Richard Ludlow B.M. ’14 is a peer and someone I really admire. A fellow Berklee grad who started his own company, Hexany Audio, Richard is an incredibly talented game audio designer. I have spent some time with him and the Hexany Audio group and they are poised to take over the gaming audio world. We spoke about the Berklee experience (particularly through his film scoring major), how to make it, and networking.
Meeting People Is Easy: I can’t stress this enough: Networking is the name of the game. One of my professors, Michael Farquharson, gave us an assignment where we had to call five people in our industry of choice. It was a bit nerve- racking, the idea of cold-calling a stranger, but it forced us to face our anxiety and learn how to network. The only way you will make the strides you need, especially early on in your career, is to get yourself out there and meet people. Richard said:
“Day one when you arrive they tell you this industry is all about your relationships with your peers, and that’s absolutely the truth. People make games, people make music, people are what drives the industry. The first few semesters I locked myself in my room practicing and studying and didn’t socialize a whole lot. Luckily, I soon realized that while of course honing your craft is absolutely essential, it’s how you collaborate and work with others that will ultimately determine whether or not you can make a career out of what you love doing.”
Through Being Cool: As I move further along in my career, it is paramount to my mental health that I enjoy the people I am working with. No one works on an amazing project in music alone, truly, and if that is the case, find talented people you enjoy being around. Life is far too short to hate your projects and teammates. With that said, also be mindful that you are a part of a team and you want people to like working with you as well. Richard told me what makes him happiest in his work:
“Working with great people, by far. I’ve always said that I’d rather be working on a game that isn’t as “cool” or high profile and be working with nice people who are creative and fun to collaborate with. And in games I feel like the general work ethic is much more sane than some other industries. People understand you might have a life or a family, and the work 20-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week regimen is much less of an issue in this industry.”
Jigsaw Falling into Place: As a composer I am always trying to piece together melodic, harmonic, and sound combinations to help a director or editor tell a story. At times I will lament the limitations of my computer or sample libraries, but in reality the only limitation is my imagination and abilities. The focus has to be one maximizing what tools you do have to make a compelling piece of art. Richard had this to say about his work:
“Assembling a great-sounding game is always a puzzle. You don’t know exactly how the player is going to play the game, so you have to piece together a very granular experience that can adapt and respond to the player’s actions. And on top of that, you’re often dealing with technical limitations—be that memory, CPU, or the ability to code/script an interactive system to behave how you want—you’re almost always working within some set of limitations. So it’s all about figuring out how you can produce something compelling within those.”