It’s easy to see the videogame industry is making tons of money. Just looking at my own revenue streams, the game placements I’ve had rank up there with the most lucrative and the most payoff in terms of exposure to passionate fans (read: listeners who go and buy the music).
So I wanted to build where I had the most momentum. My idea was to expand on the relationships I already had in the videogame world, and strike out to find more. My search lead me to the arena of indie games, which was at once progressive, exciting and very inclusive. As an aspiring music supervisor for cool shit, it seemed like indie games were the way to go. But I had to build some type of value and proof that I could fit the bill.
The first thing I did was build the Precious Metals business umbrella, under which everything creative I do could live.
Then in 2013 I linked up with my good friend and amazing composer 414Beg , and we spent a few months putting sample reels together using footage from existing games. I guided the creative direction and editing, he produced masterful scores. Check this out
One Fall day that year, after working on reel stuff with 414Beg, I breezed through downtown Culver City, brainstorming on how we could enter the independent videogame space. I ended up stuck in traffic for a while, because the whole area was crawling with people out for a festival. Tons of folks in badges out playing videogames under the sun. I saw a banner reading “IndieCade” and couldn’t believe I had just stumbled onto an independent gaming festival.
Taking my cue, I went home and did my research on the festival and it’s history. I waited for a week, and then I proceeded to pitch myself to the kind, smart leaders of IndieCade. I wanted to get involved and meet the leaders in this space. God knows it wasn’t my first time pitching myself, and definitely wasn’t the last. I’m also surrounded by artist friends who have great ideas and vision that needs support from people and organizations with resources… but these friends also have all kinds of fears and hesitation about how to create opportunities for themselves. Now that pitching artists to brands is part of how I make my living, here’s what I’ve learned:
Do Your Research
Enter into pitches well informed about the people/company/entity you’re talking to. Whether it’s a game, a film production company, or a brand, do your homework. All of it. Know about the competitors, successes and failures of whomever you’re talking to. Know who makes the decisions, who writes the checks, who runs the social media accounts, and what other ventures the leaders might be into. Before the initial email or call.
Remove Your Ego
The past is a spectre that haunts us in ways we don’t see. Many times, because of the way other people treated us in the past, we’re salty about approaching new opportunities, or approaching the same opportunity multiple times. Many of us are scared of rejection. You will get rejected. You will get ignored. You will get brushed aside. Especially by big and powerful people and brands. Pitch yourself so often that it doesn’t affect you anymore and you just get better at doing it.
Know Your Value
Often in speaking to my artist friends, they are at the extremes of understanding the value they bring to the table. They’re either caught up in the poisonous mentality of staying “humble”, or they’re delusional about what they’ve actually accomplished besides being talented and sexy. If you have an accomplished resume, don’t be afraid to lean on it and shine light on it. If you’re talented but haven’t accomplished much on your own just yet, approach opportunities with hat in hand. Don’t be a dick.
Make Sure You Bring Value
If you promise value, bring it. One of the worst things you can do is make a bunch of empty promises to people who open doors for you. If you’re a real star, bring even more than you promised. I’ve found great reward in the adage of “underpromise, overdeliver”.
Have Your Pitch Tools Ready
You need a one-sheet, a website, an EPK, good pictures, and a breakdown of your numbers. Whether those numbers reflect your social media stats, your demographics, what type of money you are making or have made for other people… anything that can clearly outline for potential business partners and allies who you are, your accomplishments, where your strengths lie and where you’re going next. All in one place! I’d be happy to share my pitch tools with you, just let me know.
Don’t Be Afraid of Coming On Too Strong
In Robert Greene’s seminal offering, The 48 Laws of Power , Law 28 is perhaps my favorite, and one that I continually live by. The most awesome doors I’ve opened came from boldly and unapologetically asking for or telling people what exactly I want. At unexpected times. All tastefully, of course. People in positions of influence and power appreciate boldness. Often times they got to where they are using a similar approach.
This year I’m looking forward to acting as Music Director for the 2015 IndieCadeFestival! I’m thankful to the great folks over there for hearing me out, and giving me a shot where many before did not. Now I can pay it forward and help open doors for other artists. We’re taking submissions for another week (9/29 deadline!), and I’m looking forward to hearing what all the brilliant minds are cooking up. Find the details here: https://soundcloud.com/groups/indiecade-2015-festival-music-submissions