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September 24, 2013 / KingsIsle Entertainment

Music in the Gaming Industry – Getting a Job as a Game Composer

Have you ever wondered who creates the music of Wizard101? Today we have a guest blog from Nelson Everhart, talented composer for KingsIsle games! He’s sharing some really helpful tips about how someone can get a job as a game composer.

People often tell me that I have the best job on the planet: writing music for video games. While it’s not all (ahem) fun and games, it’s hard to argue with that statement. I get to be creative, I get to play with sounds and computers, I get to build emotions and energy, and I get to work with other people to create worlds. Having a lot of people around the globe hear and appreciate my music is really cool too!

How does somebody get a job as a game composer? There are two parts to the answer.

The first is that you have to know and practice your craft. Sure, I studied music composition in school, but I also wrote music for fun pretty much every day. I also played in bands (many of which I started), was the musical director for a ton of community musicals, and composed for anything I could: student films and projects, dances, and plays.

wizard101-composer2

I didn’t know I was going to make a living writing music, I just knew I loved writing it and it seemed my music worked well accompanying other media. Consequently, I practiced writing music for everything. I videotaped (ask your parents what that means) TV commercials and movie trailers, and wrote music paced to the images and messages I saw. I loved when everything came together to create an emotional moment that moved people. If I were doing this again today, I’d be downloading videos and open-source games from the Internet and showing my work to a huge number of people.

The second part of the answer to the “how does somebody get a job as a game composer” is that you have to put yourself in a position to FIND the job you want. A lot of people, some who may be better composers than me, think that the world is going to offer them a job just because they’re good. That’s not the way it works; you’ve got to create something you’re proud of AND THEN get that out there in the world where somebody’s going to see it. Then you have to do that again and again… so you prove it’s not just a fluke. And then do it again for good measure!

Just because a job is fun doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Don’t feel like writing? Well, too bad, because you have a schedule to keep! This applies to any commercial art… writing, illustrating, sculpting, composing: you need to be really good at finding your own inspiration, which can be challenging.

wizard101-composer1

Working with other creative people sometimes means you have to work the way they want you to work. Ideally, this matches up with how you’d be doing things anyway, but sometimes it doesn’t. Artists often get the reputation of being ego maniacs, but if you can learn to work with other people’s ideas, more people will be eager to work with you.

Because I work for myself, I constantly have to find my next job! Even in the middle of a project, I still have get out there and network with all my friends and contacts to remind them I’m out here in case they have any work that could use my music. People like working with those they’ve worked with successfully in the past, but it takes time and energy finding and maintaining those contacts.

But after all the hard work networking, being creative on demand, and collaborating with other creative individuals, nothing beats sitting back, turning up the speakers and seeing your hard work shape how people will feel about a new world!

Nelson Everhart
Wizard101 Composer

96 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Val Brandeis / Sep 24 2013 12:09 pm

    I love your music!!!!!

  2. Suri MoonTalon / Sep 24 2013 12:18 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing with us! I’ve often wondered who wrote the fantastic music I hear on Wizard/Pirate 101; it’s good to finally know. 😀 My daughter got me into this game, and now I can’t imagine not playing it; it’s fun, adventure, friendship, excitement, money (! lol), perseverance, working with others, and so many other things! Your music gets my heart racing, and fits so well with the worlds, characters, and levels of battles that it really enhances the experience. Keep up the good work, and I hope you continue to enjoy success, because your work merits it. 😀

  3. Anon / Sep 24 2013 2:14 pm

    This is so awesome. I tinker with music some as a pastime, but I don’t quite have the skill to make a living off of it. It’s really cool to do that type of thing, though.

  4. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 2:41 pm

    LOL I love the music

  5. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 2:42 pm

    i love the wizard101 music 🙂

  6. Brianna Bearr / Sep 24 2013 2:56 pm

    The music on wizard101 is amazing! :D! Thank you!

  7. Elizabeth FairyFlower / Sep 24 2013 3:13 pm

    this music you made is far beyond wonderful! sometimes i sing it at my house!
    It is awesome!

  8. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 3:14 pm

    this is the best music ever!!!!!

  9. Eric DeathFlame / Sep 24 2013 3:19 pm

    I’d have to say that your Grizzleheim and Wintertusk compositions grabbed me from the moment I heard them. Props to the amazing Everhart.

  10. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 3:27 pm

    it is awesome the music

  11. tony / Sep 24 2013 3:28 pm

    LOL its is cool and awesome

  12. tony / Sep 24 2013 3:30 pm

    thank you wizard101 for marleybone epic music!!!!!!!! 🙂

  13. Jose Sparklefinder / Sep 24 2013 3:33 pm

    awesome epic music

  14. mark / Sep 24 2013 3:49 pm

    your music is AWESOME i love it 😀

    i always liked the music

  15. HAILLEY GOLD / Sep 24 2013 4:03 pm

    I LOVE WIZARD1O1 MUSIC!!!!!!!!!!! : )

  16. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 4:20 pm

    wow so interesting and I really love the music thanks!

  17. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 4:21 pm

    i love your music its so great

  18. Amy Unicornhorn / Sep 24 2013 4:24 pm

    The music that goes along with the story line really gets me excited in the moment. For a time I played without music and as soon as I turned it back on I was no longer bored and I even started to explore around looking for the perfect music to fit my houses. Without the music in the game many people would get bored so thanks for the great art and time put into it. 😀

  19. Emma Darkspear / Sep 24 2013 4:35 pm

    can you print the sheet music out for both games and all instruments? THE MUSIC IS JUST TOO AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 4:49 pm

    i love the music is so calming

  21. robert shadowcloud / Sep 24 2013 4:54 pm

    so awesome

  22. robert shadowcloud / Sep 24 2013 4:55 pm

    best music ever

  23. Aaron / Sep 24 2013 4:58 pm

    YOU GUYS NEED TO RELEASE SOME SHEET MUSIC! I play clarinet and trombone. I would love to play the music from the game!

    • Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 9:24 pm

      hi love what you said I play clarinet as well peace

  24. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 5:01 pm

    wow that was a awesome story, most people like you would always be happy in the arts of music.

  25. trashit / Sep 24 2013 5:02 pm

    i love your music! 😀

  26. Lan / Sep 24 2013 5:08 pm

    awesome music

  27. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 5:10 pm

    god, i can’t even put in words about the music, without it wizard101 is a drag thank so so much.

  28. cormac / Sep 24 2013 5:13 pm

    thanks for the music

  29. connor frostblade / Sep 24 2013 5:16 pm

    i love the wizard101 music

  30. ally / Sep 24 2013 5:21 pm

    your music is awesome! 😀 I have always wondered who made the music on wizard101. also I know they told us already but I have always wanted to know how could people come up with such great ideas

  31. Keturah / Sep 24 2013 5:23 pm

    The music is so wonderful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!XOXOXO

  32. Taylor ravendust / Sep 24 2013 5:25 pm

    😛 love the music it is so good good job 🙂

  33. Taylor ravendust / Sep 24 2013 5:26 pm

    xD

    • Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 9:13 pm

      me too i like it

  34. jordon / Sep 24 2013 5:32 pm

    dear,
    nelson evenhart I love the music on wizard101 I also love to hum the music in my head and the music on this game I sometimes add words to it and then I write the words and sing it

  35. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 5:38 pm

    love your music! its so awesome

  36. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 5:42 pm

    Dear Nelson, Thanks for this interesting look at getting started in the gaming music business. I often wondered about the origins of the music on wiz. The Grizzelheim and Wintertusk scores are my personal favorites but all of it is well-crafted and expresses the aura of each land in the spiral perfectly. Continued success and I’ll look for you in the credits of some future huge budget huge hit movie. Destiny, Elizabeth, Marissa, Ashley, Olivia, Savannah

  37. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 5:46 pm

    so epic

  38. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 5:48 pm

    My favorite piece of music in the game is the Cloudburst Forest them – so haunting but you feel like you’re in a movie or something. Thanks for your beautiful creations!

  39. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 5:52 pm

    I Love your music that plays when you get off the boat in Grizzleheim into Wintertusk.. I have to make a pit stop there every day sometimes more just to hear the music which gives peace to my soul.. The music while sitting there on my panther looking out over all the ice and snow gives the feeling of a new dawning day!! I wish there was a way I could buy the record, or I guess the CD.. Thanks so much!! Time to go there now and blast my laptop speakers..

  40. Drake Winter / Sep 24 2013 5:57 pm

    Hey my name is Blazeshadowsword and I think your music is boss and I sometimes catch myself humming it…

  41. Eaglesis / Sep 24 2013 6:03 pm

    Lol! Your music is epic ;D xD

  42. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 6:05 pm

    cool

  43. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 6:08 pm

    😀 I like your music on both games

  44. si1verwing / Sep 24 2013 6:10 pm

    So you’re the genius behind the music! I love your work! I can’t decide which track I like best, I want them all on YouTube or Freegal Music through the library. 😀 I also love how they’re all played by actual instruments. I would love to be one of the musicians for the game. 😀

    ~Mary TrollHunter
    Master Sorcerer

  45. Tasha ;) / Sep 24 2013 6:18 pm

    I think your music is very creative and wonderful!
    I have always wanted to know who wrote Wizard101’s music, and now I know!
    XXX

  46. Flint DragonWhisper / Sep 24 2013 6:23 pm

    Don’t know if you’ll read this, but I really enjoy the music in W101. And if my career in orthopedics doesn’t kick off, I’ll keep that in mind. I just wanted to say thank you Kingsisle for such a great game. I enjoy playing it so much, and I have never played another game like it! I love how your workers aren’t the “serious” type, you guys like to have fun and games too! I also like how you write your posts, you are never plain and dull, you write creatively and tell all about it. Just wanted to express my gratitude.

    Thanks for the great games!

  47. Grace EarthRider / Sep 24 2013 6:30 pm

    I love Wizard101 music . Please keep up the good work

  48. Anonymous / Sep 24 2013 6:33 pm

    thank you by making wizard101 its very fun to play if you are bored

  49. Fallonstar12 / Sep 24 2013 6:56 pm

    Hey! ^_^ i love the music so good, XD

  50. sophia / Sep 24 2013 6:57 pm

    i love that you made this

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