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An education in music can take you to some interesting places. After completing the Creative Sound Design Degree here at ACM in 2014, Ben Scholey has landed an internship with Guildford based games developer Supermassive Games. We sat down with Ben to discuss everything he’s been up to since graduating and to delve deeper into his portfolio…
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I started getting into music from quite a young age – I always loved the films and games soundtracks I grew up with. Originally, I joined ACM interested in music composition, but after learning about game audio and writing a dissertation on the role that audio plays in adaptive environments (fun geeky stuff), I felt that audio design was where I wanted to specialise. I still love linear audio though!
What’ve you been involved with since graduating from ACM?
Mainly working on my portfolio and networking. I spent a long time trying to get my portfolio as great as I possibly could. Even now however I’m always tempted to add more and improve it in some way. I also spent a bit of time on creating business cards and a website as well as other social media pages (such as Soundcloud). I have also had the opportunity to record some supercars at a dealership with a friend which was good fun. It was also a great addition to my CV and something to talk about in interviews. Any extra work which shows that you’re passionate about what you do is really helpful.
You’ve recently landed an internship at Supermassive Games. How did the role come about?
It’s a cliché, but I just did a lot of networking and eventually spoke to the right people. The ACM Industry Link team gave me the email of someone in the industry who was happy to meet and chat about their job, and tips for getting my foot in the door. He introduced me to some friends and other audio designers/directors in Guildford (which there are a lot of!). That’s how I met my boss. I had spent quite a while designing a USB business card (which included my CV, portfolio and website link) so I could hand something out which was a bit more unique than the usual card. Leading on from the first introduction, I was invited to more and more events where I met people who provided really valuable feedback on my portfolio. When the internship position came up I emailed my contact at Supermassive letting them know I was interested. After passing an audio test phase, I was invited in for a few interviews. I created and implemented some audio into ‘Limbo’ via ‘WWise’ beforehand so I could show off my in-game audio skills and have something extra to talk about in the interviews.
What are your aspirations for the future?
I would love to continue working for Supermassive Games if there’s a position available at the end of my internship. From the short amount of time I’ve spent working there, I’ve already learnt a lot and I have had a huge amount of fun playing and getting involved with our current project. I hope to continue working in the audio industry wherever that may be, and maybe get involved with the music side too.
How did ACM prepare you for the business world?
I learnt a lot from my tutors at ACM ranging from recording techniques, foley, sound design, composition and even how to present myself. I’d say that the most beneficial part was getting involved with other activities, such as messing about in the SSL room with friends, as well as doing my own projects at home. Learning how to use the software, hardware and other techniques from the tutors, and then going to have a play on my own or with my peers helped me to get a further understanding.
Do you have any advice for current students looking to get a foot into the industry?
I have only really just got into the industry, so there might be a few better people to ask, but I would have to say getting yourself out there and not being afraid of feedback is the best way to get your foot in the door. That goes for all areas of the music industry too. I got a huge amount of useful feedback on my portfolio and that really helped me improve and grow more confident. If I could go back to my time at ACM, I wish I would have thrown myself out there and started networking sooner. Making sure you’re prepared beforehand is always a good idea. It’s important to create websites, business cards, and a good portfolio so that people actually take the time to have a look.
ACM would like to thank Ben for taking the time out of his busy schedule. If you would like to keep up to date with Ben’s progress, make sure to keep an eye on his website.