3 Basic but Important Game Music Rules!

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

When it comes to the music and/or soundtrack to your game, it’s really important to get some basics right. For some people it’s easy to identify and decide on what sort of style and mood you want for different parts of your game. For others, it can be really tough, since there will be various different options and directions that you could go in, and it can be hard to tell what would fit best and be most well received by players of your game.

It’s challenging for me to help you choose the right music for your particular game without knowing much more about it, but there are some general rules that I hope may help you in your decision making around what kind of game music you might like for your game and also where you might want to get it from…

1. Game music is there to support the gameplay

That means that it should NOT be overwhelming or too distracting. It is there to enhance, engage and support, not be the centre of everything. Great game music adds to the experience and heightens the emotions that you feel as you move through the game.

If working with a composer, it’s important that they understand this and aren’t the type to create music that takes away the focus from your game. A good composer will know how to create music that has that precise balance that’s needed to capture one’s attention enough to be interesting and fun to listen to but which is still something that sits neatly in the background to the main gameplay.

2. A lot of game music loops

Most game soundtracks will consist of looping tracks, which are between 30 seconds to 2 minutes long, on average. That means that although the tracks shouldn’t be overwhelming, they also shouldn’t be too repetitive either.  They may be played over and over again depending on how long someone plays the game for, and so ideally you’ll want your music to be fun and engaging to listen to several times. 

This means that you probably want your composer to have a real talent for melody and for developing tunes in a way that they can be repeated several times without becoming boring or annoying. Tunes that are too simple, can be often too easy to remember and hence when they’re repeating often, it becomes irritating. However, tunes that are too complex aren’t memorable or catchy at all and thus aren’t usually great to listen to.

3. Consistency and coherence

Whether you’ve decided to work with one composer, multiple composers or to source your music from elsewhere, it’s important to think about the consistency of the music across your soundtrack and within your game.

Across your game you will mostly likely want and need a variety of different types of music to bring out different aspects of your game. Whilst the variety in the moods and potentially styles and important and useful to help bring your game, game areas/locations and characters or situations to life, it’s also important to have a sense of consistency and coherence across all of the game music.

It needs to sound as though it’s all part of the same game and fits well within the game world. This is often tricky to do if using music from a wide variety of sources because the styles, instrumentation, sounds etc. can all be quite different. To someone playing your game, if the music doesn’t have that sense of coherence, the game may feel quite disjointed.

I hope you’ve found this article useful! If you find yourself getting a bit confused when it comes to the music for your game and/or would like some help with it, do feel free to contact me. I’d be delighted to work with you on your game music and look forward to hearing about your wonderful project!


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About the authorNinichi is a freelance composer and music enthusiast. She has composed the soundtracks and music to several indie games. Contact her: to explore working with her on your game, film or media project.

Check out examples of Ninichi's game music compositions and soundtracks & read more articles like this on the Ninichi music blog

Follow her @ninichimusic

5 Things to Think About When Creating Podcast Intro Music

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Firstly, what is podcast intro music? Well, it’s the music that plays at the start of your podcast that acts as the introduction to your show. It’s how your podcast opens up and can be where you may want to introduce yourself and the show to your audience or it’s the little jingle that plays before you start talking.

As a jingles composer (check out some of my jingles), I often get asked to create podcast intro music and outro music for different shows, which includes podcasts, web-series, videos, TV shows and more. It’s important to think about what kind of music you want for your intro because it is usually in those first few seconds of a podcast, that people decide whether or not to continue listening or not.

So here are a few things that you may want to consider when deciding on your podcast intro music in order to make sure you make a great first impression:

1. What style of music do you want?

There are many different kinds of music and so one of the things to try and get clearer about is what sort of sounds and style would represent you and your show best.

Do you want instrumental music or do you want some singing and lyrics in the intro? Are there certain instruments that you really love the sound of, or do you want electronic sounds or some other kind of music?

2. What might your listeners like to hear?

Who will be listening to your podcast or who would you like to attract to your show? Is there a certain kind of music that might work well for them and that they would enjoy listening to? Ask your target audience and get a feel for what might be good.

Do you run a gaming podcast for example? If so, perhaps some game music would work best to represent you and the show e.g. several gaming channels that I’ve created intros for have gone for an 8-bit / chip-tune style intro to give a retro-gaming vibe to their show. These seem to work really well and get people excited and hyped up about the podcast.

3. What kind of mood do you want your podcast intro to set?

I’ve just mentioned that for some of the intros I’ve done, they were about hyping people up and putting people in a good mood for the rest of the show. Is this the kind of mood you want for the show or would something else work better?

Think about what your podcast is about, the type of content and topics that you cover and from that determine what sort of mood you want people to be in when they listen to your podcast.

If you’re podcast is all about de-stressing, yoga or meditation for example, then the music for your podcast intro may want to be calming. Otherwise many tend to want to set people in a good mood but still figure out what this means for you e.g. do you want people to simply feel happy, or inspired, excited, uplifted, ready-for-action or something else?

4. Decide how long you want your intro to be

How long are your overall podcast episodes and how long should your intro be? Most of the podcast intros I’ve done have been between 30-60 seconds. Some are shorter e.g. 15 seconds and other shows have longer theme tunes.

Think about how long you feel is long enough to grab people’s attention and get them hooked into your show, however, I’d recommend keeping it fairly short and sweet to maintain that interest.

5. How do you want your intro to start and end?

This may sound like an odd question but can be quite important in the development of your podcast intro music. Do you want the intro music to gradually build up, or to start with a bang, or maybe end with a bang? Or, would it work better to maintain the same feeling, mood and pace throughout?

These are all hopefully useful questions to think about in order to ensure that you are making the most out of your podcast intro music.   

Want some help with your podcast intro music?

Contact me now and let's talk! It'll be great to learn more about your podcast and to work on the intro music for your show. Let's see what we can do together!


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About the Author:

Ninichi is a freelance jingles composer, game music composer and film music composer. She has created theme tunes, intros and outros for various adverts, podcasts and shows, as well as composing original soundtracks to different indie games and films. Learn more about Ninichi here.

If you need help with music, contact her now to discuss your project and music needs.

Introducing the 'Let's Play' Gaming Channel: NoShoesGaming

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

As a game music composer (see my stuff!), I work on the soundtracks to various indie games. However, I also get the opportunity (when I'm lucky!) to work with some amazing gamers and YouTubers too. The two guys that run the Let's Play channel - NoShoesGaming are certainly two folks to take notice of and that I really enjoyed creating some music for! They offer a fun-to-watch show on YouTube and here's my interview with them to help you get to know them better...

Who is NoShoesGaming?

'Well, "No Shoes", isn't so much one person, it's more along the lines of a crew of people. Our crew consists currently of 2 friends, Jake n' Josh, to combat the evil forces of boredom by making fools of ourselves in a hopeful, humerous way.'

Where did the Idea come from?

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'When you come home from a long day of school, work, running errands, What is the first thing you do? You take off your shoes. The moment you take off your shoes you immediately start the process of relaxing and that is the reason behind the name. When you see the notification that a new "NoShoes episode is out" We want the subliminal thought of "time to relax with the crew" to go through your head.'

What are your plans for the show? 

'As of right now we are actually about to start a segment where we feature art from artists who could use a little help getting the word about their talent out. Here's the crazy part about that, it's absolutely free. All you need to do is ask us! Feel free to ask email us at "noshoesgaming@gmail.com" and/or our twitter @noshoesgaming we'll be more than happy to talk to you!

We would also like to do more livestreams that way our viewers can get a chance to interact with us, but this one is still a work in progress because its a hassle to set everything to livestream and then back to regular recording.'

Why did you start 'No Shoes'?

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'For the sake of having people enjoy watching us doing things we enjoy doing. A dream, if one would say so. But a dream that we hope will flourish into a reality. Is it the best show? No. Is it on the level of higher Content Creators such as GameGrumps or Markiplier for example? Far from it. But "ooh wee!" do we enjoy trying!'

What sorts of games do you play?

'We try not stick to only a specific genre by only a certain company. We'll play any game that we feel like playing. But you expect to see more of Nintendo when we don't know what to play.'

What else should we expect?

'Guys making fools of themselves, telling tales of days long past, longing for the joy we can bring to the viewer.'

Ok great! It sounds super fun! Now let's talk about the music. What role does music play in your show?

'You know that's a really good question. For a while we were using basic default studio music, then we decided on having our own personal music! And when we announced that we were looming for a partner to help us out that was when you swooped in and saved the day! Let us say this, if you aren't working with Ninichi, you need to fix that. She was super sweet and patient and will make stars burst in your eyes when you finally hear your music from her.

We also plan on (waaay into the future) composing tiny little tunes to play in the background of episodes...maybe.'

That sounds awesome! Here's the intro & outro jingles for those wanting to get in the mood!

(Check out my intros & jingles section if you want to hear some other jingles and/or get some help with your own)

Why should we tune in?

'Another great question, Ninichi! To be honest, you have to WANT to watch our show. We can't sit here and tell you why you should, its something you have to want to do. However, if you do enjoy seeing new faces in the "Let's Play" community then we would like to think that you will enjoy watching us. We've been compared to being like a "Jon and Arin", back when Jon was still on GameGrumps, dynamic. So if you really enjoyed that duo, we like to imagine you'll enjoy us!'

Amazing! Who wouldn't want to check it out? :-) So, what plans do you have for the show down the road?

'Honestly it's hard to pinpoint which direction the show is going to go, we have so many ideas its crazy. But honestly, we think its best not to look too far ahead, just enjoy what we have now and work on making it better each episode!

Thank you so much for letting us be a part of your article Ninichi and thank you to everyone who has decided to stop by and watch our show. You guys are the reason we continue to make it, we love you all so much!

*Even though these art pieces are for us. We would still like to give credit to Haru__Kitsu for creating these for us. Please note these are by Haru__Kitsu*


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About the author: Ninichi is a freelance composer and create music for games, films & media. She has created many memorable jingles for various shows, soundtracks for a variety of indie games and films & more. Learn more about Ninichi and contact her to explore working with her.

Follow her @ninichimusic

16 Indie-Friendly Indie Game Publishers

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Have you been wondering whether or not to get a publisher for your indie game? It’s not always obvious whether it’s best to seek a publisher or to go it alone, but if you are looking then there certainly are many options open to you. You don’t need to decide now whether or not you want to publish your game yourself or not, but it’s always useful I think, to explore the possibilities.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any direct experience with any of these companies, however, I’ve worked with many indie game developers supporting them with the music to their games (I’m a game music composer, find out more about me if you want to), and I run this blog with the aim of hopefully offering some useful resources, tips and advice that can help the indie developer community along what is often a very challenging journey!

Here's my article on 11 Places to Publish and Release Your Indie Game, for those of you wanting to publish your game yourself. 

Otherwise, here are 16 indie game publishing companies which I think could be useful to be aware of:

1. Curve Digital

Curve Digital was set up in 2013 and now claims to be one of the leading publishers of games on PC and consoles. They offer development funding, internal production, PR and marketing support. In 2017 they were the ‘Publishing Hero’ at the Develop Industry Excellence Awards.

2. Ukuza

Ukuza is a publisher focused on bringing the best indie games to market. They’re a team of creative and marketers who are ex-Microsoft & ex-Amazon and they’re ready to hear all about your game!

3. Team 17

Team 17 publishes games for PC, console, mobile and handheld devices. They have over 25 years of experience in the games industry and so are probably one of the longest running independent publishers out there. They’re headquarters are in West Yorkshire (UK)

4. Devolver Digital

Devolver Digital offers digital distribution and marketing support for indie videogames and films. It’s a fairly well known indie game publisher and so it’s definitely one to take a look at.

5. Indie Fund

Indie Fund is a funding source for indie developers. It’s an alternative to the standard publisher funding model and has been designed to support indie developers to create amazing games and to grow financially independent.

6. Midnight City

Midnight City provides promotional, production and business services and support for independent game developers.

7. Serenity Forge

Serenity Forge is a game development studio with a publishing arm and wealth of other services dedicated to supporting indie developers with their game projects.

8. Noodlecake Studios

Noodlecake Studios is a small indie game studio founded in 2011 and based in Saskatoon, Canada. They make their own games but have also expanded into publishing and help to bring other developers’ games to market. They’re best known for iOS & Android games but are also interested in releasing games across all other platforms too.

9. Versus Evil

Versus Evil is a video game publisher focusing purely on publishing indie games. They publish across all major mobile, PC and next generation consoles and have worked with indie studios around the world. They offer a suite of services to support the indie games they publish, from marketing, PR, influencer outreach, social media, community, QA, localisation and development services to reach other platforms.

10. Mode 7 Games

Mode 7 was founded in 2005 and is an indie game development and publishing company based in Oxford, UK. They’ve been a publisher since 2016 and can offer support across a range of different areas including funding, PR and marketing, production / scheduling, game design, community management, business development, platform holder relationships, tech, porting and more.

11. Humble Bundle Publishing

Humble Bundle has a publishing arm, which can help you with indie game. You can connect with their 12 million customers, own your IP, get help with marketing and PR, leverage the Humble Bundle brand, get help with financing and more.

12. Surprise Attack

Surprise Attack Games is an independent games label focusing on games that bring something new or different to the table. They’re based in Australia and were created in 2013. They offer a full publishing team providing expertise and resources to the games they develop. They don’t own any share of the IP and state that the game developer always has the final say.

13. Headup Games

Headup Games has released over 100 titles since being established in 2009. They’re a hybrid games publishing and development company, always on the look out for new games to get involved with.

14. tinyBuild Games

tinyBuild helps indie developers to publish their games across a multitude of platforms, releasing games onto Steam, Xbox One, PS4, 3DS, VR, iOS and Google Play. They’ve been doing this since 2013 and offer support with funding, knowledge, production, artwork, guidance and more.

15. Steak Steak

Steak Steak is a full service indie game publishing company offering support at all stages of your game development. Whether you need help with trailers, PR, branding, development or anything else, they can help.

16. Whippering

Whippering offers marketing support and partnering relationship opportunities to indie game developers. They publish independent games and can help with the creation and execution of your marketing strategy from positioning, pitching, PR, social media and more. They can also initiate and manage platform relationships with the likes of Sony, Oculus, Valve, Nintendo, MSFT.

I hope this resource list has been useful to you. Do browse my blog for other interesting articles that may help you with various aspects of your game development. Feel free to use the search bar (on the blog homepage and on the bottom of every page) to help explore specific subject areas. A few articles that may be useful to be aware of include:


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About the author: Ninichi is a freelance game music composer and film music composer. She creates music for indie gamesfilms, podcasts, tv shows, commercials and more. 

She is an incredibly diverse composer with an extensive credit list to her name. If you'd like help with music for any project, feel free to contact her now.

Follow her @ninichimusic

Introducing the Short Film: Game of Me

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Game of Me, is one of the latest short films to be produced by Dexter Goad at ShadowDog Productions. This is the second short film that I've had the honour of being involved in with Dexter and it's been a real pleasure to have worked on the film score and to understand more about the story and where it came from. This thought-provoking and emotional story comes from Jenna Simon, one of the stars of the film and I'm really pleased to be able to share this interview which offers thoughts from both Jenna and Dexter on the making of Game of Me...

Where did the idea for Game of Me come from? 

Jenna: 'It mostly came from my own life story, but we added elements of fiction to create a story that would be interesting and powerful.' 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

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Jenna: 'I am a 30 year old artist and actress who has been in recovery from an eating disorder for 3 and a half years. I originally drew for myself, but when one of my drawings went viral after being shared on my personal Facebook page, I thought maybe my work could help others in my situation and started sharing it on public platforms. I enjoy drawing, acting (I think my favorite is voice over work), and reading a good book. I think all art forms are amazing and enjoy appreciating the work of others, especially things I cannot do at all myself like music, singing and gymnastics. I hope to utilize my story to help prevent the same story from happening to someone else, even if it’s only one other person. One person with a better life is a step toward stopping the stigma around mental health and changing the system.' 

It's wonderful to meet you Jenna and thank you so much for sharing that with us. Now let's look at the wonderful Game of Me! What is the short film about? 

Jenna: 'It’s about a 16 year old girl with an eating disorder. She has a whole host of other problems, and she’s good at hiding them. The adults in her world aren’t really aware of what’s going on with her because they are busy attending to their own problems and life, so her struggles sort of slip through the cracks. The only one who seems to know what’s going on and care is her very young sister, who isn’t really capable of doing much to help. Even when she tries to ask their mother for help, the child’s concerns are put aside.' 

How did you find the process of making it? What did you learn and what sorts of challenges did you face? 

Jenna: 'The biggest challenge I faced was working with a subject matter so close to home. I actually anticipated acting in it to be easy for that reason: it was something I personally lived. It really turned out to be the opposite. Sometimes these struggles aren’t as removed as you think they are, but that’s all the not reason to create a film that depicts just how difficult it is.'

Wow, it must have been quite an experience. It's amazing that you have shared your experience with us through Game of Me and I'm sure that it's a story that will touch many. Now let's get some thoughts from you Dexter! 

We've got to know you a little bit before through your earlier short film The Waiting Room and you've been doing this (i.e. making films) for quite a while now, so do you still enjoy it? 

Dexter: 'I do, it's what I was born for.  My father is a storyteller, always has been, and he's very good at it. But never professionally, just to friends and family. I feel like I'm the logical evolution of what he was, I've taken storytelling to a professional level.'

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What are your goals & ambitions for your various films? 

Dexter: 'To entertain, first and foremost.  Entertainment is undervalued sometimes but we need it, especially when the world is crumbling down around us either in a macro way or just in our personal lives or both.  We need to get out of our heads, even if for a few minutes.  The day I first saw Infinity War was a really bad day for me in the middle of a bad week.  That film did me an invaluable service by taking me out of my head for three hours and transporting me to some other place.  I needed that break badly.  We all do.  So you should never undervalue the service that entertainment provides.

But, if while entertaiing you can also make somebody think or question or revisit their own perceptions, you've accomplished all you could ever dream of as a storyteller.'

Can you share with us why you create short films? 

Dexter: 'Stephen King said it best.  A short story is like a passionate kiss, a novel is like a passionate summer vacation affair.  Both have their place and both are desirable for different reasons.  So, while feature films get all the glory and actually generate money, short films fill a necessary hole in the pantheon of storytelling.  Sometimes people only need, or have time and energy for, a single bite of story.'

Very true! It's great to get your thoughts on this. Let's take a look at the music now. From your perspective what part does the music play in Game of Me? 

Dexter: 'It's crucial in this particular film because there are several scenes which simply don't work without the music.  And not just any music, the music you wrote for this film perfectly accentuates what Jenna was trying to express.'

Why did you decide to work with me again on some of the film score? 

Dexter: 'I've been doing this for 15 years and I've never reused a composer over more than two projects but we connect on a cellular level.  We get each other, which really cuts through some of the time suck issues you can get into when having to explain things over and over.  In the hectic lifestyle of a modern day filmmaking in which social media engagement is another full time job on top of everything else, if you can find talented freelancers who just GET you, that's an incredible resource.'

Where will Game of Me be released and when can we view it? 

It's been submitted to film festivals all over the US so I'll keep you apprised of how that goes.

What’s your next project and where can we find out more about what you’re working on?

Our focus for the next couple years is a new webseries called Book Crushers which will be exclusive to Youtube.  I'm happy to announce that Ninchi WILL be involved throughout.

Thanks Dexter for sharing all of your plans with us and for your encouraging words! We will all be sure to keep an eye out for Game of Me as it gets released and for your future web series Book Crushers too. 


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About the Author:

Ninichi is a freelance composer, creating music for film, games and other media. She has worked on a wide range of projects and is available to commission now. She creates custom music for films, commercials, tv shows and more, and also have a catalog of music available to license.

Discover more of her film music or explore her royalty free music now.

How to Choose a Composer for Your Indie Film

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Are you thinking about hiring a composer for your film? If so, this can be a really fun and exciting process, but it can also be a little tricky. It’s important to take the time to get it right and to find a film music composer that you’re comfortable and confident working with. It’s not always easy to determine who might be a good or bad fit for your film, and so that’s why I’ve put together a few pointers to hopefully help with that.

I’m a freelance composer and have worked with numerous indie filmmakers on the film music soundtracks, for their amazing creations (get to know me & my music!). It is always an honour for me to work on an indie film and with such talented artists, and knowing that those who work with me trust me with their film music soundtracks means a great deal to me. However, I also know that they’ve taken the time to do their due diligence and to get clearer about what they want and need, before deciding to work with me. So – you must do the same when thinking about which film composer is right for your project.

Here are a few things to think about:

1. What do you need?

This may sound simple and perhaps obvious but really – what do you need music-wise for your film? Do you know how much music you need, where it would go, when you need it by etc. etc.? Also is it a one-off project or are you looking for a composer that you can turn to for on-going projects?

Knowing the answer to these types of questions will help you to narrow down your search when looking for a suitable composer – since it means that you need someone who can do all of these things for you.

If you’d like someone that you can rely on for future projects, it will definitely be worthwhile to spend a bit longer finding the best person for the job.

2. Credibility & Experience

Now that you have some idea of what you need, think about the type of person you want to work with and what sort of experience and track record you would like to see from them. Check out the composer’ portfolio to get a sense of who they are, what they’ve done and generally if they are credible and reliable or not.

Having a strong track record can be important since it is often a sign of their capabilities and knowledge of the industry and the process. The more experience they have, the less hand-holding should be needed and the more you can trust their ability to deliver great music for your film. See what others say about them i.e. if they have any testimonials. 

They’ll also be seen as part of your overall team, and so you must choose someone that you can proudly say is a part of your production. Everyone that’s been involved in the making of your film will be associated with each other at least on paper if not in real-life and so it’s important to feel confident that everyone who you work with is a good representative of you and your project.

3. Style / Moods / Emotions

Think about what kind of music you need for your film in terms of the moods, the tone, the emotions and the styles. Music is an incredibly important component in films and it is often used to enhance key moments and to bring out the emotions onscreen. Making sure that the composer you decide to work with can handle this well and compose in the style or styles of music that you like and are hoping for, is really key.

Take the time to listen to their work and to explore their music. Can they compose in the styles of music that you need? Do they have range and versatility? Are the melodies they compose memorable? Does the music suit the films they compose for or is the music distracting?

For some ideas, feel free to check out some of the music I've created for films - see my film music. Listen to the different styles and imagine what kind of music might work well for your film.

4. Personality

Just as you will be hiring for other roles for your film – like the cast & crew, your composer is part of that team. You need to like, trust and respect who you hire. Think about the kind of personality you’re looking for and what traits you feel are important to you and to this project.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to interview potential composers and to make sure that you feel comfortable with who you are about to work with. Communication is key for any kind of work relationship but especially so for the composer to filmmaker relationship.  If you can’t communicate easily, get on the same wavelength and discuss your ideas together, it won’t work. 

5. Budgeting

Ok, so you’re an indie filmmaker and thus, your budget (or lack of budget) may make things challenging. However, don’t skimp on the music to your film! You’ve put your time, energy and money into creating your awesome film – don’t let the lack of attention and investment in music, bring the whole thing down.

If you want to hire a composer, then you must budget for them. They will be creating custom music to fit your film and to help bring your vision to life. This takes time, talent, thought & care, skills & equipment. Your composer deserves the opportunity to give you the best of their talents and that will almost definitely come at some cost. However, don’t be scared. Most composers will have some flexibility with their rates and if they like you and your film, will be willing to negotiate with you. They want to work with great people and on great projects too, so don’t be afraid to open up a conversation and to explore what’s possible! 

So there you have my 5 tips on how to choose a music composer for your project.

Still feeling  a bit stuck? Want more help with the music for your film? 

Let's chat! I'd be happy to talk through the process in a bit more detail, answer any questions you have and to explore working with you if you think there could be a good fit!


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About the Author: Ninichi is a freelance film music composer and game music composer, who's music has featured in numerous films, tv shows, games & more. She has worked on a variety of indie films & would be delighted to help you with your film project. Check out examples of her film music here & contact her to explore working with her.

Introducing Animated Short Film: Warmth

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

If you like animations, touching stories and short films, you will absolutely love Warmth! I was so pleased to connect with Erik Boismier, a super talented animator, when he commissioned me to work on the music to his wonderful animated short Warmth. He's been so kind as to let me interview him and to give us all a bit more insight into the creation and thinking behind Warmth. So, let's get to it...

Who are you and how did you get into animation?

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'My name is Erik Boismier. I was born in Chatham, Ontario and grew up watching just about every animated series I had the time and capacity for.  When I was 8-years-old, I had something of a revelation when I realized that making cartoons was a job, and ever since then, it was what I wanted to do for a living. I went to St. Clair College in Windsor, Ontario for their “Tradigital Animation” program; it was a great program for learning several forms of animation (hand-drawn, stop-motion, 3D, etc.).

Some time after graduating, I made an impulsive decision to move to Vancouver, BC and look for work in the animation industry there. A former college classmate was already working in the area and introduced me to a number of her colleagues. In 2013, I got my first job in the animation industry, at Bardel Entertainment as a builder* on the show “Mother Up!”.

I've since gone to work for Atomic Cartoons and have been taking contracts from them exclusively for a few years now.'

*The job of taking finalized designs of characters and props and turning them into animate-able digital “puppets” for lack of a better term.

Where did the idea for Warmth come from?

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'A long time ago, in part thanks to an online discussion about animation I was lurking on, I got the idea to do something where I could animate two characters with different animation styles interacting with each other. Clara, the girl in the short, is entirely hand-drawn frame-by-frame. Meanwhile, the robot Aleph is a build; digital cut-out puppet with the pieces pre-drawn and then manipulated to create motion.

Certain elements of the story were definitely influenced, whether subconsciously or deliberately, by Big Hero 6 (a robot with health care abilities) and The Little Match Girl; another short story and animated short(s) about a young orphan struggling in the winter.
Visually, Disney's Renaissance-era movies had a heavy influence on me. Additionally, the new servant robot model seen briefly in the beginning of Warmth is very similar in both design and concept to Robot-1X from Futurama.'

What is Warmth about?

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'Warmth is set in a nondescript distant future where robot servants are a household item.  When the newest model of robot servant is released, people begin throwing away their old ones.  Clara, a young orphan who lives in a junkyard, one morning finds one of the discarded robots at her doorstep and quickly establishes a bond with it.  The robot seems to have some malfunctions however, and Clara wants to keep her new and only friend running.'

Were there any challenges in the making of it? Also what are you most proud of from all of this?

'Like a lot of things, the first major challenge was getting started. I had certain story beats worked out very early on but could never figure out a way to tie them together. I began discussing the idea with a friend, and he brought up the idea of a junkyard setting. Once I had that piece, everything else started to fall in place and I began writing the original story treatment.

The next big challenge was the background painting. My skill set is primarily that of a character animator; environments have never been my strong suit, and painting is something I have never excelled at. I took some time to look up and learn painting techniques I was unfamiliar with. There are backgrounds in the short I'm quite proud of, but there are some others that I still sort of wish I could have done a better job on.

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Using coloured line work proved to be the most time-consuming part of the animation. For Aleph, it wasn't much of an issue since the nature of his animation meant there weren't too many unique drawings. For Clara however, it meant breaking up the lines around every specific colour fill (skin, hair, scarf, etc.) and then filling those lines with the correct line colour; and doing that for every single drawing of her. I don't regret doing it because I love the look of coloured line work, but it was enough to make me decide against it for whatever my next personal animation will be.

I would say I'm most proud of finishing the short. I've always had a bad habit of starting personal projects with a lot of ambition that end up going nowhere. That, and there are a couple shots I laid out as a deliberate challenge to myself.

When Clara first walks up to Aleph, you see her reflection in his eyes. The moment I got the idea for that shot, I knew I had to do it, but expected it to be complicated to put together. Honestly, that one really wasn't that bad in the end.
The shot of Clara setting up a new TV, on the other hand, was probably the most difficult to animate. I feel like it looks deceptively simple, but there were a lot of layering challenges to work with (her arms and the TV having to go behind and in front of the table in the foreground for example).'

Who was involved in the creation of Warmth?

'Visually, Warmth was basically a solo effort; I wrote the plot, drew the storyboards, painted the backgrounds and animated the characters and effects; but I did have help and support from friends. My friend and roommate Grant, as alluded to earlier, helped me put the story together with the idea of the junkyard setting. He also assisted in updating some of the backgrounds (adding a little more scrap and junk).

Another friend, Rachel, was consistently supportive while I was regularly showing progress updates to her. She also named her daughter “Claira” after I suggested the name (albeit spelled differently) based on the character in the short.

My on-going employment at Atomic Cartoons was also extremely helpful. The experience they've given me has improved the quality of my animation and my proficiency with software like Toon Boom Harmony dramatically.

What part does music play in it?

'While I believe that good animation can sell its mood with or without sound, music is a great tool to emphasize that intended mood. A good balance of music and silence is important too. I'm not a fan of wall-to-wall music placement that some shows use and made a conscious choice early on not to do that with Warmth.

The nice thing about a fully produced piece of media is that each element can compliment the others and elevate them; for instance, good music can often carry an otherwise weak scene. Pacing is something I agonized over throughout the production, often extending or shortening scenes, even by a factor of 3 or 4 frames sometimes. The final timing still had some bits I was unsure of, but your music pulled them together really well.

So the music's role in Warmth was to highlight the moods of the scenes whilst also helping along some of the moments that were maybe a bit weaker on my part.'

Why did you decide to work with me and how was that whole process for you? What do you think of the music now?

'When doing any kind of self-funded production, it's incredibly tempting to use as many free resources as you can to keep the cost down. While I didn't have too many qualms with using public domain sound effects, music was a different matter. The name Kevin Macleod springs to mind as probably the most popular source for free background music. His music is great, but it presents a problem if you want your material to stand out: Everyone uses it.

I watch a lot of YouTube content, and I've noticed a lot of different content producers using the same music. A friend of mine even described the phenomenon as, “the sound of having no audio budget.”

And because I really wanted Warmth to have an individual identity, I decided it needed to have an original (or at the very least, less ever-present) soundtrack. So I began searching for a composer to commission.

I encountered a couple of dead ends along the way, but a Google search did eventually lead me to your website. I listened to a number of the tracks you have available and was impressed by the range I was hearing. While the music on the site is great, I had trouble envisioning the tracks I was listening to as music to use in Warmth, so I opted to contact you directly.
Working with you was fantastic. You composed the soundtrack much faster than I expected and I only ever felt the need to call for a couple minor changes.

I'm quite satisfied with the music too. All the right moods were hit. The “Saving Clara” theme even gets me involuntarily clenching my teeth with worry during the final scene.  Exactly the feeling I want the audience to experience.'

Let's take a look at your wonderful creation Warmth...

What are your plans for the short animation?

In my final year of college, I attended the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF), which features several screenings of independent animated shorts. I would really like it if Warmth could be included in one of those screenings, so I'll absolutely be making an effort for that to happen. I'll be looking into other festivals as well.

I'd also like to spread it around online. I'll likely be dropping in on a number of animation communities across Facebook, Reddit, etc. to share the YouTube link.


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About the authorNinichi is a UK-based freelance music composer. She has composed the soundtracks to various games, films, shows and more. Contact her: to commission music for your project now.

Follow her @ninichimusic

Introducing the Podcast & Show: The Signal42

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

I was excited to get to know Mike a little while ago, whilst working on the podcast intro to his new show The Signal42. He was looking for a jingles music composer to work with to create a catchy jingle for his new show, and I was lucky to connect with him and to get working on it (see more of what I do!). As we worked together I discovered that The Signal42 is a wonderful podcast which explores a variety of life-related topics and it has a little something for everyone, which is why I'm delighted to share with you a little interview that I did with Mike to give us a bit more insight into the man behind the show!...

Who are you? Please introduce yourself and your show to us!

'My name is Mike or I am known as The Signal42 as well. I am just a normal guy that wanted to talk about the things I love in life. I enjoy the show a lot and the people I meet because of it.'

What's your channel about and what sorts of things do you cover? 

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'My channel is about embracing the loves of your life. Embrace your obsessions. I talk about such things as comics, movies, video games, cosplay, and music. It is stuff that interests me and I try to share that stuff with people.' 

Ok great. Are you able to tell us who you think your show is for or perhaps what sorts of things we should watch out for on it?

'Well I started it for myself really but I guess it is for anyone that shares in my interests. People have diverse interests and I want my show to cover that stuff.'

What's the plan for your YouTube channel and how is it all going? 

'Well the plan is to grow the show as much as possible and have fun while doing it. So far it is going well and each episode has been a blast to record.' 

What do you think of the music for your show and what was it like - us working together on your podcast intros? 

'Music is very important to me. My intro I believe helps convey the attitude I want for the show. 

Working with you Ninichi, was awesome. You really cared about my music and was very quick with responses. My intro that I have now is one that I don’t think I could ever replace. It is now a staple of my show.'

Thanks so much for your thoughts Mike. It was awesome working with you too! Here's a little peak at the podcast intro to get us in the mood for your show!

(Check out my intros & jingles section if you want to hear some other jingles and/or get some help with your own)

Is there anything else you want to share with us or tell us about?

'Honestly not that I can think of. I just hope people try the show and like it. They are more than welcome to message me as well on twitter or Instagram.

Here's how to stay connected to Mike and his show The Signal42:

https://shows.pippa.io/thesignal42show is my show page and I am available on most platforms now. https://twitter.com/The_Signal42 is my twitter and https://www.instagram.com/thesignal42/ is my Instagram.


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About the author: Ninichi is a freelance composer for games, film & media. She creates music in various styles and has created jingles / podcast intros / outros and theme tunes for many different shows as well as soundtracks for a variety of indie games and films.  Explore her recent jingle examplescontact Ninichi to commission her now.

Follow her @ninichimusic