Music plays a crucial role in the gaming experience - whether it’s ramping up the tension at a key moment or creating an emotional connection with a character and their story.
BU graduate Joe Thwaites is involved in all stages of creating the perfect gaming soundtrack through his job as a Composer for Playstation Creative Services Group.
“I’m often given a project (game) to look after and will see it through from concept to implementation,” said Joe, who completed his BA (Top-Up) Music for Film & Television degree at BU in 2009, before undertaking an MA in Sound Design for Moving Image at BU.
“This will involve designing a creative brief, working with the audio department to develop a creative vision, sketching ideas and mock-ups, working with the programmers to design audio systems, implementing the music into the game, scoring & orchestrating music, dealing with external talent, music supervising, and various other things!”
It’s a jam-packed role, but one which he feels his time at BU helped him prepare for – both through his degree courses and his extracurricular activities.
“The Media School facilitates creative collaboration and supports a culture of experimentation & innovation,” Joe said.
“I worked on a number of projects with a variety of different students in different fields, collaborating with people from the animation, film, and computer programming courses.
“The collaboration that was promoted between the different courses was particularly useful at BU, giving me the skills to work with other disciplines to achieve a creative vision.”
He added that the flexibility of his course and the support offered helped him recognise and pursue a career in the games audio industry.
“The flexibility of the course at Bournemouth allowed me to explore a variety of different audio disciplines, which meant that I could focus on the different areas of game audio I was interested in pursuing as a career.
“The lecturers helped me develop these skills whilst also offering invaluable advice and guidance in preparing me for getting a job after the course.”
Joe, who also worked as a web developer while studying at BU, added: “In my degree I realised that I could incorporate my technical skills as web designer with my creative skills in music and sound to create audio for media.”
After graduating from BU, Joe became a runner for a production company - working overtime to help assist on sound editing for various TV shows.
After freelancing on small indie game projects, Joe decided to freelance full-time and spent time networking and attending industry events.
“At a game developers’ conference in San Francisco I met my current boss at Sony, who bought me on as an assistant music producer,” he recalls.
“At Sony, I worked as music assistant helping score and implement the music for various games which gradually turned into being a full time composer and music producer for Playstation’s Creative Services Group.”
Joe’s advice to those wanting to pursue a similar career includes building communication skills and a strong portfolio.
“Having a solid portfolio of work is one of the most important things when looking for work,” he said.
“Try to get involved with as many diverse projects as possible, expanding your skillsets and building a strong base to build upon.
“Good communication is a universally important skill to master. Being able to articulate what you want to achieve, accurately and efficiently, helps everyone to work off the same page.”
Joe encounters many BU graduates within the sector and believes the experience and expertise gained through a BU degree stands alumni in good stead for pursuing a career in industry.
“BU has a great reputation for nurturing talent and is one of the best places to study media courses,” he said.
“One of the other composers here at Playstation did the Music for Moving Image Course and I know a number of the animation graduates in the industry.”
He added: “Almost all of the graduates I know from BU have gone on to pursue a career in the field that they studied in. This wouldn’t be the case if they didn’t leave BU motivated and passionate about their field of study.”