For the next few days, I'm neck deep in some of the more tedious parts of my job. Can't really talk about it; I promised myself I wouldn't talk about anything work related on here that hadn't been officially released in a press release. Suffice it to say, it's dull.
And it had me thinking about the job of a Game Composer and what it is versus what I thought it would be. My business card says "Composer" but that's too simplistic. It implies that I just sit around all day, hunkered over a piano, scribbling Opus No. Y down. I would imagine that most people's perception of what a composer is/does hasn't really changed much since the 1700's.
But writing music (or editing, as I've been doing mostly of late) is such a small part of it all. Particularly for an on-staff game composer. There are so many meetings: meetings with my department, meetings with the project teams, meetings with QA, meetings with the project's Sound team, meetings with Producers/Directors/Assistant Producers, etc. Accompanying the meetings are all of the thousands of hours I spend doing documentation. Excel docs, Word docs, emails outlining what Excel and Word docs I'm working on, emails outlining what the completed Excel and Word docs mean, PowerPoint docs, etc.
There's the scripting and implementation time it takes to get the music into the game. There's the QA time involved in playing through levels making sure that everything works correctly. I swear, if I weren't as good of a gamer as I am, I doubt I'd know how anything sounded beyond level 1. I don't know how people can do this job if they don't play/like games.
There's archiving work to be done. There's meetings and Excel docs to create about archiving work to be done. There's so much stuff that just has nothing to do with Plagal cadences or Drop 2 sax arrangements.
I suppose meetings are a historical part of any creative job that mostly goes ignored. Hell, even Michelangelo had to meet frequently with The Pope. It's this weird thing that every Professional creative person must know, and yet I don't remember the subject ever really being taught in school.
Does any job ever live up to what we think it will be when we start it?