Kevin Regamey is doing game audio a massive service with his Reel Talk series. On behalf of the game audio community, thank you Kevin! Thank you as well to all co-hosts and individuals who submitted their work for review.
I feel very fortunate having stumbled upon a reddit post on r/GameAudio which led me to explore the Power Up Audio twitch channel.
Reel Talk is a weekly program wherein Regamey watches, analyzes and provides feedback to the demo reels and overall website/digital resume of aspiring sound designers. He breaks down his analysis into four key categories:
2. Material Selection
3. Content Quality
I have learned many things from Reel Talk. One frequently mentioned dose of reality is that the video game industry is extremely competitive given the high demand and relatively low supply of entry level positions. In a situation where hundreds of applications are being received for a sound design job posting you have to stand out from the masses. This falls into the fourth category of "distinction." The best and simplest way to stand is through a combination of the prior three categories (presentation, selection, and quality). For example, the demo reel should be short and sweet. A metaphorical "hook" which, if good, should entice the recruiter to dig deeper into your site and work. Therefore, all bases should be covered. Blogs should be up to date and active! Everything should be focused, meaningful and relevant; the metaphorical "fat" should be trimmed and dropped. The site should have a consistent theme with an intuitive flow for the viewer. All of these things combined can truly boost one's chances at scoring an interview or a phone call.
Another key lesson I have learned is with regards to mixing. In one episode Kevin explained his "six elements of an engaging mix." The 6 elements are as follows:
3. Frequency Range
Mixing is an art. A good mix can do wonders to enhance mediocre sound design. And, a poor mix can ruin great sound design! I have found it difficult switching from the mindset of a designer to mixer. In the former I am scrutinizing small details, ensuring sounds are perfectly synced, and rewatching portions of my redesign on loop as I switch between different takes to decide which sound fits best. But when mixing, I have to listen as though I am hearing the cinematic sequence for the first time. While I realize that any junior sound designer is unlikely to be doing much mixing, I feel it is a very useful skill to continue building. I am excited to continue learning and failing, and working towards achieving a great mix.