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Nathan Madsen

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About Nathan Madsen

  • Rank
    Professional Composer
  • Birthday 01/01/1970

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  • Biography
    Professional composer-sound designer with over 140 credits on iPhone, Nin DS, PSP, PC video games
  • Location
    Denver, CO USA
  • Occupation
    Professional Composer-Sound Designer
  • Interests
    Sports, movies, books, video games, great food, working out, the usual.
  1. There were parts of the score that I enjoyed and other parts that I didn't like at all. All in all it was solid and effective at supporting the film but nothing that made me want to rush out and buy the soundtrack right away.
  2. From what I've observed, absolutely not. I find many other factors play a more predominant role in how well you network and find work. Factors like how determined and focused a person is, how good the person is at networking and social elements, how talented they are, etc. I've never see someone turned down because of their race. I've never see one. Again, I've never observed this. Nope. It's just how good you are.
  3. Yep, but added a few other points in so that it better applies to this discussion. :)
  4. There is no "best music sequencer" out there. Questions like this are really flawed because they're just too broad, just too vague. It's like asking "what's the best color?" Depends on what your needs are and what the situation is. Each has it's own pros and cons. It's alot like shoes actually. Thousands of different brands and made from all kinds of different materials but they all have the same core function. Some work better in different situations than others will. So the best approach for you to take is to inventory your entire situation: *What type of music do you want to write? Does it involve realistic samples or synths or both? *What type of computer will you have to work with? PC or Mac? What are the specs of that computer? *What are you goals for your music? Just to pop on the web and have folks enjoy? To score a film? To be used for sketches for hopeful live performances later on? *How much money do you have to spend on something like this? *What type(s) of third party plug-ins do you want to use with this program? *How serious about this are you? Is this just a passing curiosity or something you're willing to dive head first into? (This helps us assess your willingness to take on steeper learning curves.) From there you'll have a better idea of what your needs are then start looking into each application and seeing how they measure up. This will give you MUCH better results than just hearing a bunch of folks proclaiming "program X is the bestest!" without any consideration to your situation and your goals. Finally let's say the OP is throwing this question up just to debate. Well the same applies because the better you present and defend your stance in a debate the stronger your case. Instea of just saying "I think Logic Pro is the best!" I could say "I think Logic Pro is the best for those working with Macs because it's $500 for the full pro version, comes bundled with four other programs and a slew of VST instruments and signal processing plug-ins, has strong video-scoring capabilities and features a wide variety of MIDI input like Event List, Piano Roll, Notation View and Hyper Editor." This way folks know that my answer applies to those with Macs and that budget range and not folks on PC with billions of money to blow. In that case, I'd recommend something else. It's all about context. Thanks, Nate
  5. My first full time gig as a composer-sound designer for FUNimation was with a demo reel of 12 short samples of my work. Not having some kind of reference of your work almost ensures not getting considered for the spot. Why? Because hiring managers (or HR depts tasks with filling a new spot) have a limited amount of time to check out each applicant and there are always NUMEROUS applicants. If you provide no samples, or a very small amount of material for review, then you're raising the odds that you'll be looked over for someone else with a larger demo reel. Every single full time position required a test run. For FUNimation I scored two trailers and provided sound design as well as voice overs. I was given a week to turn this in but I got it done in 48 hours. For my current job with NetDevil I was given a video reel to provide music and sound design. Again I was given a week to do this but completed it within 24 hours.
  6. Clearly you haven't tried teaching in public schools in the US. Put yourself in the situation I was in while I was a teacher: *Sports rules everything. Half of my band would leave for sports practices that happened every day before AND after school. When I brought this up to my principal he said "Get over it." *While teaching over 500 students grades K-6 I had no curriculum for half of the year. (There was some kind of hold up down in the state capitol.) Also my budget for the year was $300. Yes, that is for ALL of my classes. *Also while teaching at the elementary school, my subject was classified as a "specials" course just like the P.E. and Art classes were. This means that regardless if the students flunked every 6 weeks in my class, they would still advance. The students and parents knew this. So this means even if I did threaten to flunk a student for doing NO work- in the end it was meaningless. It didn't affect their academic career. *During all of my years as a teacher I was forced to attend numerous clients and meetings that, in all reality, dealt very little with my subject or teaching experiences. This took away time that could have been spent creating lesson plans, rehearsing a special student ensemble and enriching my subject area as well as my students. *I was also forced to assist in reading and math tutoring after hours as well as teach a rudimentary reading class on top of my music classes. *While at a private school I was forced to teach two Bible classes (the church wasn't part of my religion by the way and I was bound by contract not to "preach against them") as well as be a JR class sponsor. By the way, this wasn't brought to my attention until my first day on the job. That was after 5 interviews.... VERY unprofessional. *Most art-related programs (music, art, etc) are the first to be cut or replaced. They also typically get the least amount of funding, resources and time. A few districts might be different and that is truly rare and very lucky for those teachers and students involved in the fine arts. What does all of this mean? No it isn't a scallop fest. (well...... maybe a little bit! ;) ) It's to show that a teacher can try really, really hard but the SYSTEM and NOT the teachers is broken. Sure there are crappy teachers. Get rid of them. But when the system is so broken that even great teachers (especially those outside of the reading-math-science) fields are inhibited.... then it's really bad.
  7. Young Composer for me is more about networking with young(er) composers and helping those that want to follow in the same career path I've laid out for myself. I try to give helpful advice and answer questions when possible. I've also had several very "interesting" conversations with folks about a flurry of topics which is always fun.
  8. One key thing for a composer to avoid is focusing too closely on a micro scale too heavily at the first pass of a piece. Don't stare too much as the small picture when starting off, focus on the large picture. Create your large sections and your broad ideas first. Get some good stuff happening and later do the fine touches on the smaller scale. Focusing too much on a measure at a time can not only waste time and create an unbalanced piece, it can totally kill any inspiration you may have had at the start.
  9. I do several things: 1) Just work through it- brute force. This doesn't always work because this can sometimes leave you more frustrated and shut you down even more. 2) Change instruments. Like Bolanos mentioned, this can sometimes make things more fresh. 3) Change song styles. If I'm struggling to write a jazz piece, I'll work on a classical piece for a while. This can give your ears and mind a break. 4) Listen to other works. Often times this is while I'm jogging to help get rid of physical stress as well. 5) Stop writing completely and do something else. Watch a movie or play a video game for a while. Then come back later and see how things are working out. While you may not be deeply inspired every time you compose, composing regularly helps your development and strengthen your ability to work and create. Finally it is important to save all ideas. I cannot tell you how many times I've stumbled across an old idea that I thought sucked at the time. Later I've found many ways to make it work or incorporate it into other ideas. Hang on to all ideas because they may help out a good deal later. Thanks, Nate
  10. My best advice is: Purchase a variety of sample libraries- given that you have enough funds. If you're just starting out then this might need to be a "one at a time" kind of deal. Having a variety of sample packages will give you a wider variety of samples to draw from. The way the strings sound in VSL vs East West vs Project SAM vs GPO varies greatly. This is especially true with articulations and effects. GPO, as QCC stated, is a good starting point. From there, branch out into other collections. If you're going for realism, I've found using a combination of libraries can present the best illusion of reality. Take care, Nate
  11. Interesting topic SSC. For me I license my music often for clients- with either exclusive or non-exclusive rights offered. Before I started doing this "seriously" I would write music just for friends and family. At that time, I'd post my music for feedback, enjoyment and sometimes collaboration with other artists. Didn't bother me at all. All of my music was free and I shared it openly. Now that I'm making my sole living by my work, I'm much more protective of it. Not only do I have to pay the usual living expenses and such (food, bills, rent, car payment, ins bills) I also have to maintain my studio and keep up with gear (both hardware and software wise). This gets very, very expensive very fast. My next system I'm looking to upgrade to is $11,000. Yeah. Ouch. But its worth it. This comment confuses me because I'm not sure what "traditional copyright" means to you. My works are copyrighted because: A) I own the licenses to the hardware and software used to create the content B) I created it, therefore I own it unless I sign something transferring the rights to a client or group of clients. (Side note: I can keep all rights if the client doesn't fulfill their obligations even if I've signed something.) C) I can provide tangible proof (DAW sessions and multiple drafts of the content) to any court proving that I am the author of the material. D) When writing for a client, I draft up a contract that clearly states what kind of license I'm offering for the agreed terms. The contract is very clear on how long the license stands as well as what the client is and isn't allowed to do with the content. It also states that I'm to be credited as the author (or composer) of the work in all of the project's materials (packaging, literature, websites, etc). As someone who has done extensive work under contract and has much of his work copyrighted, I think it is possible to work with "traditional copyright" in this age. The key is to aware of what you're signing, what your rights are and what others can and can't do with your material. But I'm not a copyright lawyer. :) Nate
  12. I went to Texas Christian University (in Ft. Worth TX) for my masters. It has a strong music program- and no PhD/DMA students. Dr. Blaise Ferrandino was my comp professor while I were there and he is AMAZING! The great thing about the music program there is if you're a good enough player (or student) you can often get a full ride. I did. I actually made money while getting my masters instead of having to get loans or pay the university. Check it out- Nate
  13. Witness the mysteries of the Internet. :D Perhaps I just misread you completely. That's the hard part about only reading text on a screen without voice inflections and facial expressions. Let's get back to the main point of this thread, shall we: work spaces.
  14. I'm not going to start a flame war with you- but you've proven my point. It doesn't matter if you say "Yeah... I like putting the thought back in composition rather than putting the, "LOLZ I LOVE COMPOSER X AND WANT TO SOUND LIKE HIM," into it." it still implies that many don't put thought into their compositions and that they only sound like and aspire to just be like other composers. My point is that there are many composers that strive to find their own voice and put tons of thought into their works. There are also composers that strive to become clones of others- for whatever reason. Other composers put a ton of thought into their works, but perhaps they're just not very talented or knowledgeable at composition so their work suffers. I have nothing against your method- mainly just with the last part of your statement. That could have been left out because to me, and perhaps I'm wrong here, it reads like its putting all of the other composers in that box. But let's not derail the thread any more. Back to workspaces and Corbin- you can PM me if you feel the need to discuss this any further. From my end- we're cool. :)
  15. Just because you have a different method or practice (which actually I've done before myself) doesn't mean every else doesn't put thought into their pieces or only aspires to sound like John Williams. Please. Side note: If that was a joke- then okay. Hahaha. But it's kinda hard to tell with the caps and the lack of comical context. If it wasn't a joke, then you'd do yourself a huge favor to avoid making such obvious blanket statements and can easily be proven false. Just saying.
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