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I've loved sound ever since I was a kid, and for the past few years, I've been taking Electroacoustic courses at Concordia University and writing music and making sound effects for small animations, films, flash games, and Xbox games. Lately, I've also been building up both courage and a sound effect portfolio to apply at various big-name game studios here in Montreal for a sound effect designer position.
Any advice for someone who hasn't applied at a sound effect job at a huge company before? What has more weight - versatility and talent or job experience? What kind of portfolio would really stand out? I've never made anything for games whose gameplay is longer than 30 minutes. :(
Arrange the best of the works you have done so far in a showreel. Make it available online. Cut it short because usually big fishes out there has hundreds of those kinds of applications daily and they will not spend time reading/watching how you started on your Casio Keyboard when you were 5.
Continue your education, and never quit dreaming my friend. After all, it is our dreams that keep us going...
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You're better off than a lot of people, you worked on stuff with a gameplay shorter than 30 minutes ;)
Do video capture of cool gameplay moments, make a reel and go for it!
Watch out for the working conditions there. You may be held in higher regard as a creative person, but I understand that a lot of programmers that do game development work long hours for less pay than they could receive elsewhere. I think it's on the theory that it's supposed to be "fun", and therefore not worth paying competitively as compared to, say, writing business applications.
This may not apply to sound at all, I have no idea. It's just something to be aware of.