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Chapter 6. Ideal Workflow > The Audio Team's Responsibilities

The Audio Team's Responsibilities

Speaking of choosing your battles, this book is about getting the respect you deserve as an audio developer—but to achieve that, you need to deserve it in the first place. You can do that by taking to heart the following lessons, learned by yours truly from personal experience. Use them well.

  • Realize you have finite time and a finite budget. You might have dreams of creating the best audio in the world, but unless you can fit it into the schedule and under budget, it won't happen. You and the producer need to see eye-to-eye.

  • Keep your nonaudio leads informed and educated. The leads won't be walking into the studio every few days, at least most of the time. They want you to be self-managing as much as possible. Make sure they know what your problems are. When you self-manage, you solve most of your own problems without their help anyway. More often than not, they will be happy to help you with the big ones.

  • Make sure the nonaudio leads sign off on decisions. Do not go behind backs. I've done this without realizing it, and what happens isn't pretty. In some cases it might take beating down a door and screaming to make it clear that you're going to make a decision about something that everyone might not agree with but that you believe is in the title's best interests. If someone else has made a decision that you're not happy with, and your opinion gets overruled after you bring it up one more time, it's usually a good idea to let it drop. There are other battles to fight, and as I hope I've taught you (actually, Sun Tzu, as well as others, taught me): Every battle is won before it's ever fought.

  • Don't be a yes-person. It's easy to give in to pleasing people, but don't agree to everything. Try to come up with a backup plan for things you can't do. For example, you might not be able to have as many sounds as others would like because of space restrictions. As a backup plan, you could determine which sounds in the game are vital and which can be deleted. Organize them accordingly in your sound asset spreadsheet, and you'll know which ones can be cut first. If you aren't sure whether you can fulfill a request, investigate it before you agree to it. Above all, be honest about your limitations or disagreements, even if you think you'll get a scowl or two.

  • Encourage the leads to make their decisions clear. As my friend and colleague Kurt Harland taught me, if a lead isn't clear—in fact, if anyone isn't clear—it's wonderful to be able to say, “I'm not sure what you're talking about.” Saying this has never gotten me in trouble, and it helps tremendously in everyday conversation as well as in meetings and e-mails.



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