At IPR audio production is more than just a hobby. Even so, it’s no surprise one of the most popular questions for IPR Admissions is “How much audio production experience do I need to go to your college?”
Yes, we’re a fast paced competitive college that’s part of a fast paced competitive industry, but it doesn’t catch us off guard when a student comes to us with little or no audio production knowledge. From beginner to intermediate, sometimes even seasoned veteran, we train students at all levels of the experience spectrum. And guess what…
It turns out sometimes the best candidates for a career in audio production are those who love music enough to turn a hobby into a career; IPR graduate Tyson Taylor has done just that.
Tyson is a great example of an IPR graduate who set his eyes on a goal and made decisions that put him in a great place to succeed. True, every student is different, but those who plan ahead and take advantage of the connections IPR has are the ones that typically turn their dreams into a career.
We didn’t do the work for him, but we offered Tyson the knowledge and the hands-on experience he needed to get where he wanted to go. And, though he’s just beginning his career, we expect him to go places. As it stands he landed a gig with one of the biggest names in video games as an Audio Artist with EA games (Electronic Arts), Salt Lake City.
With great pleasure, IPR presents Tyson Taylor’s graduate success story.
Tyson grew up in small town North Dakota. At a young age, he was fascinated with movies and video games, and he spent most of his time watching cartoons and playing Mario Bros. But music was on his radar as well; he was only seven years old when he purchased his first rap CD. His new found affection for Dr. Dre, and hip hop, made a lasting impression on his plans for the future.
In High School, Tyson spent most of his time playing sports. But whenever he wasn’t conditioning, he could be found holed away in his bedroom listening to music. With his attention torn between two competing passions, his junior year he acquired his first audio production gear: Ableton Live software and a MIDI keyboard controller. Even though sports captured most of his attention, it was clear for Tyson that music was becoming much more than just a hobby.
His senior year of high school Tyson was accepted to a traditional four year college; with years of experience behind him, he reasoned that football was his true passion… but it turned out he couldn’t get music out of his blood. In short order, Tyson discovered football didn’t speak to him on the same level as music and he changed direction. “When I was there, I wasn’t happy. I really wanted to pursue a career in audio and I knew I had to transfer.”
As Tyson looked for the right college, a friend suggested IPR. “I did some research and scheduled a tour. I knew that I had to go there the second I was done with the tour.” He transferred the following year and started at IPR in 2009.
At first IPR was a challenge for Tyson: “I had zero experience when it came to the audio world, I didn’t even know the basics. All I knew was that I had a desire to learn everything I could, and I was going to work hard.”
Within his chosen field, IPR helped open Tyson’s eyes to several career options. By third quarter he was introduced to the field of audio post-production. “I came to IPR wanting to be a music producer but after I took a class in post-production, I was hooked.” The field of audio post-production largely centers on tracking, mixing and editing for video, and this felt like a great fit for Tyson.
He went on to take electives that were geared toward video games and decided to focus his efforts there. Tyson researched video game studios and read a lot of success stories from people who had gotten their foot in the door. From all the research he’d done, Tyson discovered that many people got their start in game testing, or QA (quality assurance), and worked their way up. So his final quarter at IPR he started searching for QA positions.
Eventually he stumbled upon a QA opening at EA (Electronic Arts) Salt Lake City. He applied and was called for an interview in Oct 2010. By November 2nd, Tyson had landed a QA position at EA Salt Lake City. Tyson’s instructors helped him finish classes in time to start his new position that December.
During his time in QA he took the opportunity to introduce himself to the audio team in hopes of getting his name “out there”. After sharing his background and getting to know them, they had him help edit and record audio in his free time. Within four months there was an opening in the studio for another Audio Artist. Tyson quickly applied, and because of his education, background, and relationships within the company, he got the job.
After only one year, Tyson has worked on two games as an Audio Artist and is gearing up to start on his third.
What would IPR students and instructors say they remember about you?
I was a pretty quiet guy for the most part, but I think people would remember me just working hard and being in the studio a lot. Also, I think Mike Brown would remember how much he loved having me in his classes.
Were there any bigprojects you undertook in your classes that laid the ground work for some of the things you’re doing now?
I would say the Post-Production classes and the projects associated with them were the most beneficial for me. If I had to choose one project, I think it would be the movie clip that we had to do Foley for the entire thing.
Out of all your instructors who would you say worked most closely with you and had a special interest in your success?
That’s tough because I really feel like most my teachers taught me something valuable and I was able to take something away from each of them. I would have to say I remember Marcia Hines and how she was able to inspire me to start writing again and not be afraid to show people stuff I had created.
How do you feel your IPR education prepared you for the
What I learned at IPR prepared me more than I could have imagined. I was able to sit down and show the people at EA what I had learned and it ultimately led to me getting a full time job with them.
What types of things did you learn only after you started working in the industry?
I learned that in the game industry there is a whole other side to audio that sometimes gets overlooked. It isn’t all about just sound design. There are a lot of technical aspects like tuning prop files, converting .aif files to .snr, working with the game engine, and many other things that you may not know about until you work at a game studio.
What do you think it means to be successful in this industry? What advice would you offer to students who are either just getting ready to graduate or who are wondering how to find their place in this industry?
I think to say your successful in this industry, you have to be doing something you love and make some sort of money doing it. Whether it be recording musicians at your home studio, doing freelance work, or working full time at a company. My advice would be to get your name out there and throw as many darts at the target and hope one sticks, and when it does stick work your hardest everyday and don’t take it for granted. Also take chances and leave your comfort zone. You never know what could happen unless you at least try.
What types of industry work have you done so far?
I have worked on two triple A titles, Sims EP5: Pets and Sims EP6: Showtime, and I’ve done a lot of different things on both. I have done everything from sound design to integrating sounds into the game. The one thing I haven’t done alot of is recording VO for the games. They have a group of people who are the designated VO team.
Since you’re trained at IPR for many different industry roles, do you have experience with graphic design, web design, blogging, other…? Explain.
I have not been able to work on any of these things since I left school, but they are very important to the industry.
How important do you think attitude is when it comes to
success in the music industry?
It’s extremely important. You have to go in to work with a “yes man” attitude. You have to take every chance that comes your way to prove what you can do and to show people your worth. If you do what you are told and then some, you will force people to notice how big
of an asset you are and will ultimately be kept around.
What one trait/ability/skill do you feel has helped you more than any other to be successful in this industry so far?
I would say being a hard worker and being sociable. If you go into work and get it done every day and are fun to work with, people will genuinely like and trust you. If people like working with you and trust that you will get things done at a high quality, you are good to go.