Welcome to the last Compressed interview of 2020!
Today, we are closing the year with this great interview with Marc Celma, a Spanish composer and sound designer. Marc has collaborated on different types of projects but video games have been his main focus for the past 7 years. In March, he started working as a senior sound designer at Voicemod, a voice changer app. Also, he is still working on two video game projects that have been going on for some time now.
This is what Marc shared with me:
Threshold: Getting Started
J: How do you prepare yourself before starting any project?
M: I do a lot of research. I ask for all the materials they can possibly share with me. Any concept art, game lore, assets, design documents and references. The more the better. I read up on things that inspired the game, like real world cultures the game draws upon and things like that. I really like to dive deep before I even begin to think about any notes or sounds. It really helps me develop a sense of what the game needs.
Attack: Things to discuss
J: How did you know this was the industry that you wanted to work in?
M: It just clicked. I had already been writing music for a long time, and I had been playing games since I was a kid. So one day it suddenly made so much sense to combine those two passions and try to make a career out of it. After just a few months of starting to understand what game development really entails, I quickly fell deeply in love with it. So much that I decided I didn’t want to do anything else. That feeling has evolved over time, but it was that initial enthusiasm what helped me get through some of the most difficult times when things weren’t quite working out.
Release: Talking about the good stuff
J: What do you think is the best part of working in this industry?
M: This industry is filled with people who do this out of sheer passion. I believe it is one of the most vocational groups of professionals out there. Whenever I read an interview or attend a talk at GDC or other industry events, I’m always impressed at the experimental side you can often find behind video games. New challenges that are overcome with new techniques rather than resorting to well-known classic, easy solutions that might have been a solution, but not the solution. I find this very inspiring. It really drives me.
J: What would you say is the most important thing when composing music for video games or any other media?
M: Most of the time in video games you’re not writing music to specific images or footage (except in cinematics and a few other occasions), but rather designing a system that will be robust enough to accommodate the player’s actions, whatever they are, at whatever order and pace they decide to take. In that sense I think it is crucial to test your music in the game as often as possible and check how it works. Very often things turn out not to be as smooth as they were in your mind.
J: What are the biggest life lessons learned in your personal and professional career?
M: I would say it’s important to stay open-minded. Thinking ‘this is exactly what I want and nothing else will do’ can be a recipe for disappointment under certain circumstances. Staying open to opportunities that might not be exactly your dream job, but that may provide you with a chance to keep honing your skills and working your way into the industry, I think can be a wise move.
Also, you can’t overestimate how important it is to meet people in person and create real connections that can sometimes evolve into friendships. Many people prefer to work with people they know, like and trust. I certainly do.
To know more about Marc and his great work, visit his website.
I hope you enjoyed this great interview with Marc. Let me know what you think and we’ll read each other again next year. To all the readers and all the interviewees, thank you for being part of this project.