What Makes a Freelance Composer Easy to Work With

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

So are you someone who’s thinking about whether or not to hire a freelance composer for your project? Or maybe you’re a composer yourself and are wondering how to set yourself up as someone who’s trustworthy and easy to work with?

If so, perhaps this article will offer you a few tips and ideas. I’m a freelance music composer myself (learn more about me if you like!) and have been doing this for a few years now. I create music for a variety of projects, from game music soundtracks, to films, to creating theme tunes for shows, podcast intros, outros and other jingles, and more! It’s a whirlwind of awesomeness all music-related, which I absolutely love!

If you’re thinking of working with a freelancer, you may have your concerns about how it may work and whether you can really work efficiently with them or not. It’ll be important to find someone who feels trustworthy and reliable, and who you believe is capable of delivering what you want. So here are my tips on what to look out for and what I believe makes a freelance composer easy to work with:

1. Always being fast to respond

For me, I make it a priority to always reply back to my clients as quickly as possible so that they know I’m there and are easy to communicate with. It’s hugely reassuring I think, for you to know that although your composer isn’t sitting right next to you, you can always get hold of them.

So, as a freelancer, I think it’s important to be quick to respond to clients and to be easy to communicate with. I’ve found that it shows reliability, builds trust and a stronger connection and it makes it clear that the client’s needs are important.

Also see: How to Communicate Effectively with a Composer

2. Managing expectations

I believe that it’s vital to be as clear as you can about what’s happening and when a client can expect to hear back from you. If you’re hiring a freelance composer, tell them if there’s a certain deadline required or timeline that the project and you are hoping to working to.

Otherwise if you forget, an attentive freelance composer should ask you whether your have certain deadlines in mind and should keep you apprised of their progress. 

As a freelance composer, I’ve found that if you manage people’s expectations early on and throughout the composing process, it makes things clear for everyone and usually makes the process an enjoyable one for all.

3. Being transparent about what the composer can and can’t do

I find that it really helps to be upfront about what I can and can’t help with. I don’t do sound effects for example, but can create short stings, jingles or tones that can be useful for games or shows. I also don’t do lyrics or vocals or live recordings of music, and so if I think that a client may possibly be wanting or expecting this, I’ll let them know upfront that it’s not something I really specialise in or usually offer.

You may find some jack-of-all trades but in reality I’ve found that people tend to be better at certain things than others. So, be aware of this and try to find someone who is honest with you about what they can deliver you or not. Don’t be fooled by those who will say ‘yes’ to everything, as it may not always work out well.  

4. Having plenty of examples of previous works

If you’re thinking about working with a freelance composer, check out their portfolio, website and music show reels. Listen to their music and see how you feel about it. It’s one of the best ways to get a sense of them in terms of what they’re capable of and what kind of work and projects they’ve been involved with before. As the hirer you must do your due diligence.

If you’re a composer looking to offer examples of your work, try to showcase your best work or a good range of what you’ve been involved in. Make them easy to find on your website and also have a clear credit list and testimonials available so that people can see what you’ve done and what others say about you.

5. They ask lots of questions

To fully understand a music brief, the context of the music for your project and to understand your needs and what you’re hoping to achieve – a freelance composer should be asking you lots of questions!

They should be interested in understanding as much as they can about your project and about what you’re looking for in the music. It’s their job to realise your vision and so if they aren’t asking you any questions, how can they deliver you anything useful?

Perhaps I take this to another level, since one of my clients testimonials seemed to mention my deep questioning before getting started, but I find that it really help me to fully understand what they’re looking for and to therefore not waste time going back and forth iterating a track that may have initially missed the mark. I ask lots of questions upfront to gather all the information I need to create music that fits, and then try my best to fulfil that vision. Amazingly, nine times out of 10, that works beautifully and I rarely get asked to make any adjustments to the music that I make.

Read: 8 Top Tips on Building a Strong Working Relationship with a Freelance Composer

6. A genuine interest

If you feel that your freelance composer is genuinely interested in what you’re doing, they should be great to work with! I don’t tend to take on any projects that I don’t think I’ll enjoy or have some interest in. I want to see all the games, films and shows that I create music for succeed. They’re usually really interesting, quite unique and I end up feeling ultra proud to be a part of the whole process.

By choosing to work on projects that I find interesting and really like – it means that I have a real passion for it and will be giving my clients my all. It’s not just ‘another job’ for me but is instead a real joy and something that I want to be involved in.

There are my 6 key thoughts on what I think makes a freelance composer good to work with. Hopefully there are a few ideas in there that may help you with your search for the right composer to work with. If there are other thoughts that you feel are important, feel free to share them with me, as it’s always useful to know how else we can improve the process of working as a freelancer and remotely.

If you want help with music for your project, feel free to message me or to browse my site to get to know me a bit better! I hope this has been helpful and goodluck with your project! 

Next see: How to Work Well with a Game Music Composer


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About the Author:

Ninichi is a freelance composer based in the UK, with clients all across the globe, from the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. She has created music for games, films, tv shows, commercials and more. Visit her homepage now and explore her music.

Introducing Ninichi’s Chiptune Pack (Royalty Free Video Game Music)

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Do you need some chiptune / 8-bit style music for your video game or gaming channel? If so, the Chiptune Pack, might be just what you need! 

I’m Ninichi, and I’m a game music composer! I’ve worked on a variety of wonderful indie games – helping to create custom soundtracks and music for game trailers, films and more (see my game music). It’s a great honour to be involved in so many amazing projects; however, I’m also a great supporter of indie projects in general and know that not all games can afford custom music. 

So, for those in this situation, I’ve created a few ready-made music packs which are available to purchase and license now via my website. Once you complete the payment, you can download all the files and away you go! You have music ready for your game!

The Chiptune Pack is the first of my royalty free music packs to be made available. It’s an awesome set of 5 different 8-bit style tracks perfect for creating that old-school video game feel. The tracks all loop seamlessly and are provided in both mp3 and WAV format. 

Check out a fun preview of this music pack & get a feel for these chiptunes now…

The idea behind these video game music packs is to make things as easy as possible for you so that you can ‘get your music and go’, but at the same time, I’ve created all of this music myself and so hope to ensure that the quality of the music remains high.  

There are also some bonus mini-tracks included as part of the package. These can be used as opening themes or for shorter game levels or whatever you feel works best. It’s all up to you!

I hope that you find this chiptune set useful. If you’re creating a pixel-style game and want that 8-bit / 16-bit feel, check out this chiptune pack now.

Also check out my Retro Rush video game music pack and keep an eye on my royalty free music / licensing page for updates and new music which I hope to keep sharing and making available to you. 


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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

4 Tips on Choosing Great Background Music for Your Marketing Videos

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Making sure that you choose the right background music for your marketing video is vital as it sets the tone for your video and marketing campaign. Having professional sounding and appropriate music supports your brand and marketing message and so you should definitely take the time to consider what kind of background music will be best.

I’m a freelance music composer (see about me) and have worked on a wide range of projects, including creating the background music to commercials, marketing videos, trailer videos and more. I believe that when you have the right music in the right context, it can be extremely powerful. 

Here are some tips for choosing great background music for your marketing videos:

1. Establish what the overall goals are

This is about understanding what the goals are for the video and marketing campaign as a whole, and then from that, determining what the goals are for the music. 

If you know what you’re really trying to achieve from the video, you can make sure that the music supports this. 

2. Choose music with the right mood

Music sets the tone and gets people in the right mood to receive and take in your content.  Think about what kind of mood you want them to be in and choose music that reflects this. 

If you want people to feel calm, choose music that supports this. If you want people to feel excited and hyped up about your product, for example, then make sure the music is energetic and gets across that feeling of excitement that you’re hoping for.

3. Keep the background music in the background

The music in your video is there to support the content and the overall message. So, make sure it doesn’t overwhelm or distract the viewer away from the visuals. It’s easy to get carried away and end up with music that can overpower the content and end up at the forefront of the whole thing. This isn’t what you want. 

You also don’t want music that is repetitive or boring and so it’ll be a balancing act to make sure that your music is interesting and entertaining yet isn’t a distraction. 

4. Go with music that is steady throughout

That means, go with music that maintains the same kind of feel throughout the video. Unless your video has lots of significant changes in mood, go with music that holds the same kind of feel throughout so not to confuse your listeners or viewers. 

Music that changes pace, key, instrumentation frequently can be very hard to follow and can feel quite jerky. In most cases, you’ll want people to follow your content quite closely and for that to be an easy thing to do. Ensure that the music enables that by keeping it steady with no sudden changes that might upset the flow of the video. 

Those are my top tips for choosing music for promotional videos. I hope that you’ve found these useful and that as you create your marketing video, you’ll take the time to think carefully about the best ways of putting it all together and how the music can support this.

Need music for a video now? Check out my music catalogue for music that’s ready-to-use and is royalty free for videos, films, games and any other media. Alternatively, feel free to reach out to me for custom music for your project.


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About the author: Ninichi is a freelance composer for games, film & media. She creates custom music for commercials, marketing videos, games and more.

Follow her @ninichimusic or contact her to commission her for your project.

How to Create an Awesome Indie Game Trailer

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Trailers play a really important role in helping you to market your game to the world. They can be a great way to engage with people and to get them excited about playing your game. However, it’s not always obvious where to start or how to put one together so that it really showcases your game!

So, I’m Ninichi, a game music composer (check my game music stuff out!) and I’ve been involved in creating the music for various indie game trailers and game music soundtracks.. Through the work I’ve done with various super talented indie game developers, I’ve come to understand and appreciate just how challenging it is to put everything together. That’s why I’ve created this blog – to offer some tips, ideas and hopefully useful bits of information to support your game development. So, let’s take a look at a few ideas and steps to explore, which I hope will help you to create your awesome game trailer:

1. Create a powerful intro

The beginning of your trailer is super important since in those initial moments you have the opportunity to really capture someone’s attention. You’ll have around 5 seconds max to get them hooked into watching the rest of the trailer so think carefully about what you want to show them in those first few moments.

2. Focus on the gameplay

People will be watching your trailer because they want to know what your game is about and what it looks and feels like. So, besides from your intro and the call to action, the main focus of your trailer should be all about the gameplay. 

Include different clips and sections of your game and perhaps highlight any special features that you have in your game that set it apart from others. Build up a story perhaps and offer viewers a glimpse of what amazing things you’ve done so far and also try to create a sense of wonder of what’s to come also. 

Take your time in playing around with your game and choosing what to display. Try to find the most engaging and appealing gameplay situations that are possible so that people can really experience the best of what there is. 

3. Get great music and sound effects

The music and sound in your game trailer is the key to setting the right tone for your game. Music captures and drives the emotions within a game and is what sets the pace of it. So, it’s important to think carefully about what kind of music will help to get viewers excited about your game.

Choose music that reflects the rhythm of your game and that will help to maintain your audience’s attention and interest through your trailer. Work with a composer to create custom music for your game trailer and to ensure that it’s the very best that it can be. (Drop me a line if you’d like my help with this or check out my music catalogue for some ready-to-use royalty free music!)

The audio and visual components to your trailer are of equal importance and must work in tandem together. There’s no point in having great visuals alongside uninspiring music or the other way around, as that will just diminish the whole experience.  Remember that your trailer is there to sell your game and to build excitement around it. So, make sure that every aspect of your trailer – music, visuals, sound etc. all help to achieve this.

4. Keep it short

For game trailers less is more. Keep it short and snappy! People don’t have time to watch a really long trailer and also long trailers don’t tend to keep people’s attention. A great game trailer is usually less than 2 minutes long, which is similar to what people tend to get and expect from movie trailers. Aim for 60-90 seconds if you can as that should be enough time for you to get your message across, show some key aspects of the game mechanics and gameplay, reel people in and to work that call to action!

5. Build credibility around the game

Include reviews or short quotes from industry professionals if you have any, to help build a sense of credibility and authority around your game. This could be positive comments from another game developer, a game journalist, blogger, magazine or industry veteran perhaps.  It will add a bit of weight to your project and help others to take it more seriously.

Also include clear branding for your indie game studio, if you have one, so that people know who you are and to offer a sense of polish and professionalism. Include it at the beginning and the end of the video. 

6. Have a clear call to action

At the end of your trailer, always include a very clear call to action. Tell people what you want them to do after they’ve watched your trailer e.g. to visit your website, or buy your game (from Apple/Google store or Steam or wherever), or sign up to your newsletter etc. Pick one call to action and make it easy for viewers to do.

What to read next: 6 Must Do Marketing Tips for Indie Game Developers


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About the author: Ninichi is a freelance composer for indie games, films and media. She’s a great supporter of indie games and has created the music for numerous indie game trailers and game music soundtracks. To listen to some of her music see Ninichi’s game music.

Also follow her @ninichimusic & contact her to commission her for your project.

Introducing Ninichi’s Fantasy Atmospheres 1 (Royalty Free Ambient Music)

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Have you been searching for atmospheric, mood creating music for your video game, film or videos? If so, Fantasy Atmospheres 1, could be just what you need! 

I’m Ninichi, and I’m a freelance composer! What that means is that I create music for games, films and other media (see my homepage). I’m usually commissioned to create custom music for different projects, however, I’ve also made some of my music available to license here on my website.

Fantasy Atmospheres 1 – offers a unique set of 4 beautiful scene setting tracks designed to create a sense of calm and magic for your projects. Each track has it’s own distinct melody yet all 4 tracks blend easily together to form the perfect soundtrack for any project.

If you’re looking for a way to create some added depth and ambience to your project, check out Fantasy Atmospheres 1 music pack now.

Here’s a quick sneak preview of two of the tracks available in Fantasy Atmosphere’s 1…

All the tracks are ‘ready-to-go’ and can be looped seamlessly. You’ll get mp3 files that are easy to download and use straight away. There’s also a bonus track included in case you need that little bit more music for your project! 

If that’s not enough though, don’t fret – there’s Fantasy Atmospheres 2 available now also. 


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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

How to Create An Effective Podcast Intro or Jingle

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

Do you want people to enjoy & look forward to your podcast? Do you want more subscribers and for each one to tell others about it? If so, paying close attention to your podcast intro and outro is a must do. How you start your podcast and how you end each episode can really affect how people feel about you and your podcast and so it’s important to get it right.  If it’s not memorable and doesn’t excite your listeners in the right way, it could actually be turning them away from you.

I’m a jingles composer (see my jingles & intros page) and have created intros, outros and theme tunes for various podcasts, web series, commercials and more. Those who come to me understand the impact that a good podcast intro and outro can have. Here I will try to share a few tips and ideas that may help you to think through what kind of podcast intro or jingle you may want and how to make it effective for you…

1. Know what your podcast intro is for

This may sound obvious but I feel that it’s always a good place to start. What is the purpose of your particular podcast intro? What do you want it to do for you?

Is it there to excite people before you start talking? Is it there to represent your brand and personality? Is it there to give people a flavour of what you’re about?

Read: Why it’s worth investing in a custom podcast intro

2. Keep it short, simple and sweet

Most podcast intros and outros I’ve worked on have tended to be between 30 seconds to 60 seconds long. Some are shorter, snappier 15 second intros and others are much longer theme tunes e.g. up to 3 minutes for bigger shows, however, 30-60 seconds seems to be the norm. Think about how long you want your intro to be. 

By keeping it fairly short and having a simple tune, it can be easier to make it catchy and memorable without boring or overwhelming the listener. You don’t want it to feel long or repetitive or confusing and one of it’s main purposes will most likely be to capture people’s attention before you get into your content, so keep this in mind when thinking about what kind of opening and approach you want to go for.

3. Go for something positive and uplifting

In most cases, going for something with a happy and uplifting feel is a good approach as it installs positive feelings towards you, your podcast and brand. It helps to put people in a good mood and thus can help people to look forward to listening to your show.

There are, however, some cases where you may want a different feel – for example if you’re podcast is about horror movies or something else that might have a dark, mysterious or other kind of mood. In those cases, you may want to consider having a jingle that reflects what your podcast is about, but otherwise positivity is best!

Read: 5 Reasons Why Jingles are Vital for Great Advertising

4. Be consistent & know what info to share when

This is a more general tip about how you may want to format and organise your podcast. Firstly decide whether or not you want your podcast intro music to stand-alone and then be followed by content, or if it’s there as background music, which you will then talk over. Neither option is necessarily better than the other but it does go back to our first point, which is to know what the exact purpose of your intro is.

You can certainly experiment, and allow yourself lots of creative freedom in how you present information in your show. However, from my experience there will tend to be some bits of information that you will want to share on each episode.   By establishing a fixed format for these elements, you can build professionalism and consistency into your show. So, some of these things may include:

  • Intro Music

  • Podcast Name

  • Host Name(s)

  • Episode Title &/or Number

  • Saying who your podcast is for

  • Sharing what the show is about or summarising what’s to come in the episode

  • Main Content

  • Sponsors

  • Outro Music

There are my 4 tips to help you with your podcast intro or show intro.

Check out my royalty free music catalogue for some ready-to-use podcast jingles or contact me for a custom theme tune/jingle.

What to read next: 5 Things to Think About When Creating Podcast Intro Music


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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.

11 Awesome Places for Game Developers to Learn Unity & Programming

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By Ninichi | Contact | Follow

If you’re hoping to develop your own game, you may be thinking about which game engine to use and if you’ve chosen which one, you’re probably wondering where to start!

Unity is one of the most popular game engines around and as a game music composer (see more about me and my musicif you wish!) I’ve worked with many super talented indie game developers who I know would swear by it! I must confess, I’m not a programmer and so I can’t give you first hand advice or suggestions on how to go about creating your exciting game, but I have supported enough indie game developers to know that the road ahead may be quite a challenging one!

So, given the popularity of Unity, I thought that it could be useful to help compile some awesome places online where you can learn how to use it and how to get the best out of it.  

We all learn in different ways and you may know of or come across other resources that could suit you better, but I hope that these offer a starting point to your (hopefully wonderful), game development journey!

1. Unity Tutorials

https://unity3d.com/learn/tutorials

If you’re looking to learn Unity, it makes sense to take notice of some of the tutorials provided by Unity themselves! Check out their website for a variety of tutorials covering everything from creating 2D platformers, 3D games, survival shooters and more. Their tutorials are designed to support people just starting out through to more advanced game developers. 

2. Udemy

http://udemy.com

Udemy is an online course website and catalogue with over 80,000 courses to choose from with new courses becoming available each month. Some courses are fairly cheap and there are regular sales – so keep a look out for those. A good one to start with for learning Unity and getting started in game development is: https://www.udemy.com/unitycourse

Also check out Gamedev.tv, created by Ben Tristem, a Udemy instructor focusing on helping anyone wanting to learn about development, design and selling indie games. There you can see which courses he and his team created on Udemy and also access their gamedev community and blog for further support.

3. Brackeys Game Dev Tutorials

https://youtu.be/j48LtUkZRjU

This is an awesome YouTube channel dedicated to learning how to make video games. New videos are uploaded each Sunday with Brackeys explaining his code as he writes it, and there’s a wealth of information and video tutorials on everything from Unity, programming through to game design and more.

4. Walker Boys Studio – Unity Training Series

http://www.walkerboystudio.com/wbstudio/learn-unity

This company, set up by 3 game developers offers a range of free courses covering game art, Unity, drawing and game development. The Unity Training Series is a step-by-step guide with over 50 hours of video, to learning Unity.

5. 3D Buzz

https://www.3dbuzz.com

This site offers an extensive video training library covering programming, game development, 3D design and animation, mobile app development and more. The training tools on this site aren’t free but are reasonably priced and cover a lot of ground. There’s also a community and blog for added support.

6. Gamedev Academy

https://gamedevacademy.org

The Gamedev Academy is part of Zenva Academy, which offers a host of courses and online learning. On the Gamedev Academy website you’ll find a range of free ebooks and courses to explore. Check out these: https://gamedevacademy.org/category/tutorials/unity

7. Unity Student

http://www.unity3dstudent.com

Unity 3D Student offers ‘bitesize’ modules alongside various challenges to help you learn the skills required to develop a game using the Unity Game Engine. The modules are short explanation/tutorials offering some insight into the game mechanics, which you watch and learn from, and the challenges give you tasks to get you actively learning and using your newly learned skills! Unity3DStudent is the brainchild of Will Goldstone who’s main aim is to provide new developers with a modular way of learning.

8. Catlike Coding 

https://catlikecoding.com/unity/tutorials

Jasper Flick, the man behind Catlike Coding is a Dutch independent softward developer. He’s written loads of tutorials, which you can find on his site designed to help you learn and make the most of Unity.  The tutorials on his site are all free but you can donate to him via Patreon if you want to.

9. Hackr.io

https://hackr.io/tutorials/learn-unity

Hackr.io offers a range programming courses and tutorials all in one place – from a basic introduction to programming, through to android development, Unity, artificial intelligence, blockchain programming, assembly language courses and more. 

10. Game Code School

http://gamecodeschool.com

This site has lots of lessons and courses to help the beginner through to intermediate game programmer. You can learn the different engines including Unity, Unreal, Game Maker and more. You won’t be able to download all the sample projects but you should have access to the final code, tutorials and written explanations to help you with your learning.

11. Envato Tuts+

https://gamedevelopment.tutsplus.com/tutorials/search/unity

Envato Tuts+ is part of the Envato empire and offers easy learning courses online. If you search for tutorials covering Unity or any other parts of game development, you will certainly find some interesting and useful courses to look out and learn from.

So, I hope that these 11 wonderful sites give you something interesting to check out! Happy learning and if you need any help with music and your game music soundtrack, do drop me a line!


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About the author: Ninichi is a game and film music composer. She works on a range of freelance composing projects supporting talented game developers and film makers with their music. 

Want some great custom music for your game? Listen to Ninichi's game music or contact her now to discuss your game music needs.

Follow her @ninichimusic