Final Week | What Have I learnt?

As the final week draws to a close and all of the projects for this trimester are finally in, I can see a window to reflect on everything I think has gone wrong and what I could do better. I began the trimester with a huge amount of enthusiasm and unshakable confidence that this time I was going to get it right. It wasn't until half way through the trimester, that I realised things weren't as on track as I thought. Here is a list of the things I believe held my projects and workflow back this trimester, and my analysis of them. 

#1. Team conflict in project number 1

In my first sound replacement project for the trimester, I paired myself up with Liam to replace the sound in a Bojack Horseman episode. Everything was chipper at the very start and I immediately through myself into organising the project with spreadsheets and gannt charts. This did keep us on track for the first few weeks, but something blew up and halted our progression. A small argument ensued in one of our meetings, and that ended up costing us an entire week of work. I realise that we were both under a lot of stress at the time, and it's easier to think about it now, but it can't go without saying that a good plan includes one that will let your mid breathe and when things break down there msut be procedures to handle it. 

I've had my fair share of blow ups in the past and Liam has always invited me back into his network with open arms. We have both moved on from that situation and prefer to think of it as a learning curve and a wake up call to our egos. 

Analysis of the situation - 

I came into some of those meetings with a lack of input creatively. My head was in the administration element of the project and I hadn't moved on soon enough. This could have been avoided if I had started producing assets sooner, rather than focusing on dates and deadlines for too long. When it did come to the final product, we finished strong but I can't help but think that if we had an extra week, our product would have been amazing.  

Next Time...

Create a plan to begin work on a specific date. This will allow me the freedom and time to plan the project without neglecting the creative aspects of the project. While not neglecting the creative processes, it is just as important to not forget about my mental health. I will be going to a psychologist later this year who will work with me to keep my stability intact when times get hectic.  

#2. Letting My Ego Ruin Learning Enviroments

There has been situations this trimester where I have felt a little too confident and gone on auto pilot. Those are the times where I believe I mess up the most, if I'm not concentrating then I can overlook things and give less attention to detail. This is more likely to happen in a recording environment within a studio, but it can happen in class or at home. I've noticed this trimester, it has caused me to chase my tail on many occasions and has made more work for myself whilst on project. I wouldn't be able to tell you what others thought of me, when I act this confident but I can't imagine it is nice for them. 

Analysis of the situation

When my schedule is full, I tend to pick up more and more work without thinking of the consequences. More work means less time to think, and when I have less time to think I create shortcuts in my mind that lead me to poor time management practices. 

Next Time...

Stay on schedule and do one project at a time. Try to finish projects fast and with quality and allow time for reflection. This will help with my learning and project workflow. 

#3. Working with FMOD and Unity

When I began my first project with FMOD this trimester I never imagined the possibilities and the creative freedom I could have with a DAW, however, I had no idea what I was doing. I faced problem after problem that had no solution anywhere I on the web, and in some cases I couldn't fix them. It wasn't until my last FMOD and Unity session that I realised how important it is for a sound designer to be there on the ground with the game devs. It was my plan to wait until the game was done before I began my implementation and it is a huge disappointment for me that I may not get to work on a 3D game.

Analysis of the situation

A week into the 2nd game project that has themes based around 'Home', I got myself a part time job. It is 30 hours a week and to be honest when my other 30 hours is at uni, it is a bit much. This really derailed me as I began work on this game, and it meant I could not be at all the meetings that the game teams were having. It made me feel like I was on the outer, and it had an effect on how I performed within my team. Some other members had some personal issues that popped up throughout the tri, but the project has nearly been completed to a smaller scope than was originally intended. Downscoping was a good thing for the team in the end, but it meant we couldn't release a commercial product and we were over-ambitious. 

Next Time...

Think smaller scope and expand as the project progresses. It can get hard at the start of a project to sit and wait for assets and communications on what needs to be done, but for myself it would be worth just having a minimum scope of things I need to achieve within a certain amount of time. I dreamed too big this time and I dreamed too big last time. I realise now that project quantity is not as important as quality. 


I hope by writing my project reflections down in this format will allow me to continue to grow and become a better team member. Becoming a valuable team member is the most important attribute I hope to gain out of this degree, and if I can hone these skills in future projects then I'm sure I will make friends and network within my teams effectively. 

Stephen Rumph