The Audio Post-Production House
One of my big dreams for after finishing my degree is to open my own Audio Production company that focuses on audio for Video Games. As I see it now, there is nothing like this in Australia and around the world there are very few companies that do this, this is a big problem because it limits the amount of research I can do into the business model. On the other hand the lack of companies might reflect a lack of demand, I'm not 100% sure but I do know that jobs in the creative fields are definitely scarce.
One big reason I want to do this is that I think collaboration is an invaluable asset that isn't being used to its full advantage at the moment with how the industry works. Usually the creative dialogue for game audio happens between the freelance composer and the lead game designer. I think having some discussion about the audio elements between engineers could be extremely helpful. Also there are obvious other benefits to having a small team perform the same job as a single person. I wont go into the general advantages but I did want to mention that as emerging engineers with not a lot of money it's also beneficial to pool equipment. For Example I have a huge amount of expensive plugins and other software assets, where as some of my classmates might have more hardware.
Along with these obvious material advantages there's also the benefits of having a different set of expertise, someone who is great at composition mixed with someone who is great at production could provide really high quality music. Adding a great sound designer and someone who is business minded might just create a dream team that can provide a quality product and experience. Gotta keep in mind though that each extra person is another paycheck.
Unfortunately I could only find two example companies to study, they have two slightly different set-ups although they do seem to cover the same kind of skill spectrum I mentioned above (composer, producer, sound designer, manager). I think it's worth mentioning that a lot of AAA companies that have an in-house audio team will have a vary similar looking team in terms of skill spread and roles.
Power Up Audio is probably the number 1 company in this area of business and as of now they have 5 team members, a director, a studio directer, sound designer and two composers. They have 24 projects to their name and work on the kind of projects I see fitting their business model. They do work mostly for "AA" game companies, which is basically an indie company with some kind of budget or funding.
Darkest Dungeon has won awards for its sound, critics have noted that there isn't a sound out of place and that the music, dialogue and effects couldn't fit the theme any better. So I think it just goes to show the kind of quality a team like this can achieve.
The second company is called A Shell In the Pit, they have a slightly smaller team than Power-Up Audio consisting of 4 members, they have 2 sound designers, 1 sound designer/composer and 1 technical sound designer. They have a similarly impressive portfolio with their biggest game being Rogue Legacy which won a few awards for it's design.
The interesting thing about this team is that they have a "secret weapon". They have among them, a man named Christopher Tammick and he is a Technical Sound designer, which means he literally programs Audio directly into game engines which removes the need for Audio middle ware programs which is a huge bonus because it lowers production costs.
Although I have a background in programming, I don't know if I could get to the level he's at, but I definitely think that having someone who can implement audio for game developers is extremely important. It's almost like the missing link between the freelancer and the game developer. This is what I hope to somehow tap into when starting my own company, providing that extra service to make us stand out from the freelancers.
As always, thanks for reading and see you next time!