Ask @benprunty:

Why did you go to GaymerX? (I feel obligated to add that this is just out of curiosity and I have nothing against homosexuality)

Honestly I simply try to go to every game event that I can. I have *a lot* of game developer friends and events are a great way to hang out with everyone, and to meet a lot of the people I interact with on twitter. It's a great way to meet fans, too.
Also, I really like the message of inclusiveness that GaymerX stands for. Many of my game dev friends are from marginalized groups and have directly experienced some truly horrific shit just by being different. I want things like GaymerX to continue to exist, so showing my support by buying a ticket and attending is important. This is my industry, and I hope to be in it for the rest of my life, so working towards making it a cool place for everyone works out for me, too.
I wasn't aware that GaymerX happened 15 minutes away from my home until a few days before the event, otherwise I would've attended for more than just one day!

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How do shoes work?

Shoes use a specific kind of lining, called Gnomic Repulsor, to keep gnomes away from your feet. Gnomes, as everyone knows, love feet. Gnomic Repulsor was invented by French engineer Dimitri Larousse in 1910, when he got sick of constantly swatting gnomes away from his feet with his cane. Keep in mind that before 1910, everyone was barefoot.
Larousse used a special kind of leather with hidden magnets sewn into it at key locations around a foot covering that Larousse called a "choeughx", (the original French spelling of the Anglicized "shoe"). The magnets repel each other and resonate at a specific frequency, which is the resonant frequency of a gnome's eardrums. Any gnome that comes within 30 feet of a shoe is driven away in pain. Larousse's original invention was so effective that shoes remain, using more or less his original design, in wide use to this day.
Shoes have been such a huge success that neither you nor anyone you've ever known has ever even SEEN a real gnome, though some people will still put little memorial statues of them on their lawns out of respect.

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Also starting out, is it enough to have headphones for mixing ( I got Sennheiser HD 280 Pro) or should I get monitors? Any recommendations? Thanks! :)

Headphones should be fine for now. Remember the most important aspect of mixing is listening to your work on multiple speaker setups. Make a quick mix down, listen to it in a car, on laptop speakers, a stereo system, anything you can find. You'll find lots of issues that way. Write them down and then fix them when you get back to work.

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Hi Ben! You're amazing! At what point in your career did you start actively promoting yourself and building your name? How did you go about that? Was there a point where you thought, "I can say that I'm skilled enough to do so?"

Victor Cortes
Thank you! I started actively promoting myself around 2008-2009, about 9 years after I started making music for the first time. I wasn't entirely sure I was skilled enough to do it, but I had some hints:
1. I was way more proud of the work I was doing at the time than in previous years. I was less frustrated with how each piece turned out.
2. I had some friends who actually wanted to listen to my music on their own time, not just when I begged them to listen to give me feedback. When I would post things for my friends to listen to, they would leave comments like, "this is actually really good." These were signs that they were genuinely impressed and not just being polite.
These things helped give me the confidence to keep going even if I didn't get any actual work for a while. You can read more about this here: https://benprunty.com/2014/03/03/the-most-important-advice-i-can-give-to-an-aspiring-game-musician/

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How do you stay motivated to keep working when feeling down?

If it's bad enough, I'll simply stop working and read, play games, go for a walk, watch goofy youtube videos (this can help a LOT), or start texting some of my close friends, just to connect with them. At this point in my life I know that the low state will pass at some point and I just need to ride it out.
If it's not *that* bad, I'll often just work on easy, non-music stuff, like writing promotional tweets, answering emails, planning future work, or simply engaging with fans on twitter, all while listening to music. When you're an indie and a one-man operation, there's *always* something mundane and pretty easy you can do to keep the business running.
Sometimes I'll clean parts of my house or organize stuff. This might just be because I get very real anxiety from clutter, but you might find that you feel less depressed in an uncluttered home or work space, so maybe give it a try when you're down.
Tips on minimizing time spent feeling down:
- Eat well! Do not ever skip meals, and eat more unprocessed foods. You will be amazed at how much 'feeling down' is often just 'feeling hungry'.
- Exercise every day if you can. You'll sleep better and feel more relaxed the rest of the day.
- Write down your accomplishments, even if they're just "answered 5 emails" or "exported an album to a new file format". Do it every day, and maybe compile a list of all your accomplishments every week. This does wonders for making you feel like you're spending your time well, and will motivate you to work more.

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What makes you so active in the community?

Cameron Csaszar
Do you mean why am i so active in the community? There are a couple of reasons:
1. When I was in college and hoping to become a composer, I was a huge fan of game composer Jesper Kyd. He had a little forum on his site for fans to ask questions. This was a HUGE help for me. At the time (2001-2003), there just weren't many resources available to aspiring composer. I want to give back to the community in a similar way. There STILL aren't a whole lot of resources available.
2. I'm a one-man operation, and engaging the community directly affects my business. ALL of my income comes from my music, and I don't have a marketing team. So being present, having a face, being friendly, and helping out all builds a community that will hopefully support me forever.
3. It's really fun talking with fans! I have the best in the business. :)

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hey ben how much would it cost to have your music in my project, we are a small studio and im a big fan of your work! just for some background about the project its like galaga.

Hi! The cost of my work varies depending on the project itself, the scope of the music needed, and how busy I am. Business inquiries should be sent to benprunty at gmail. Thank you!

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Hey Ben, just finished reading your post on “How useful is my degree? Should you go to college?” Do you think aspiring composers/sound designers who go through game development for two years are wasting their time and should instead focus on just write music and only music?

Francisco Ortiz
Do you mean a game development program at a university? Learning about game development is always useful for someone working in games. I was programming and designing games for a few years before I started making music, and that experience in development has been invaluable.
The point of the blog post was to compare crippling debt + degree versus self-teaching, not the advantages of learning different disciplines. Game development brings together a massive variety of disciplines, and the more you know, the better you can contribute to the projects you work on, regardless of what your actual job is. You'll simply make better decisions.
Learning new things always means you are sacrificing time that could be spent on other things. I think spending time on game development in general can be worth it, but yeah, then you are spending less time on music. This is going to come down to your own judgement and how much you think you can juggle in your life.

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Hey Ben, short question. I'm trying to get setup at my deskop with a keyboard. I'm using a picture of yours as a reference. Are you using a wireless computer keyboard infront of your piano-keyboard or is there a way to get the cable underneath or around the Nova Launchkey?

I use a wireless keyboard, just so I don't have to worry about where to put the cable. Thinking of getting a wireless mouse, too, for the same reason.

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What's your take on the current state of VR? Do you own any VR hardware / have you tried any?

Alexander K
VR is pretty cool, but it is currently way too expensive to be anything other than a toy for affluent people. I have a retail Oculus and it using has been a cool experience. I played a good amount of Chronos, a really wonderful Zelda/Dark Souls style action/adventure game for Oculus and I love it.
If there is enough support for them, I'll consider getting the Oculus motion controllers too. I'd love to play all the newer, weirder VR stuff that's so prominent on the Vive.

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Do you want to become popular with everyone and anyone with your music, or are you happy with the simple, small, like-minded community that you have now?

Kailan Walker
I would definitely like to be more popular than I am now, simply because being more popular directly translates to more financial security for me and my partner Allison. That said, I do enjoy my tiny community of fans. It's nice to be able to engage with everyone. Past a certain point in popularity, I would no longer be able to talk with everyone so easily, which would be a shame.

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Ben, thanks for being so involved with your community. You inspire me, and you've given me lots of helpful advice through your blog :)

You're welcome! It's really important to me to be helpful, and I'm glad it can be useful to you. :) hope you're able to watch the livestreams too! Twitch.tv/benprunty YouTube.com/benprunty

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Do you have any advice on time management? How to you keep track of your tasks, projects, goals, etc., especially for personal stuff? Do you use an app or paper? How much time do you carve out weekly for composition, promotion, health/fitness and whatever else? :)

Yeah, that's a big one. I am CONSTANTLY trying to improve my time management. Lately I've been trying to, at the beginning of each week, decide on a 'focus' for each upcoming day, for example:
Monday - Darkside Detective
Tuesday - Skytorn
Wednesday - Emails/business stuff
Thursday - Free day
etc.
On a free day I can work on whatever I want. Maybe I'll work on my D&D campaign, maybe I'll work on an article for the blog, or maybe I'll work on live performance.
This whole idea came from Amora Bettany (@amora_b) and I love it so far.
I use Trello to track all my projects and keep a little to do list with a day for each week so I can place tasks on the days I plan on taking care of them (see above). Anytime I think of anything I need to do I add it to the Trello to do list and worry about sorting it out later, which I usually do at the beginning of each day.
I try to only work 4 days a week, but this doesn't always happen.
I exercise by running 3 miles and doing weight training in the morning, and I try to do that 4-5 times a week.
I try to integrate using twitter, my main connection with my fans, into my whole life. It's really hard to come up with interesting stuff to say all the time. My partner Allison manages my public Facebook page (facebook.com/BenPruntyMusic) which has all sorts of cool stuff going on at any time.

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Do you still recommend Cubase or have you moved on to Ableton since? I thought I read you mention it on twitter or your blog once.

I still use Cubase as my primary DAW. I'm still just learning Ableton, and it's more of a side project than anything really serious. I would recommend either, really. They're both great pieces of software.

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Hey Ben! Was wondering what the chain of events were that made you feel comfortable quitting your day job. I know you said on Twitter 3 years ago your music career took off and you left the employment world. Do you ever get scared and think that you might have to find a normal job to make ends meet?

Tyler
It was my lifelong dream to work for myself, so being able to quit my job was something I was ready for. That said, it was a combination of seeing how much money I was making from soundtrack sales and the attention I was suddenly getting (i.e. people wanting to interview me for articles). I took these things as a good sign that I could make this work as long as I kept working hard and kept a good eye on my money.
Pretty much every day I'm scared that someday the income will dry up and I'll no longer be in demand and I'll have to go back to a normal job. It's a very good motivator to keep working hard, taking on new projects, challenging myself, and releasing new albums. :)

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Do you ever listen to your older songs to see how much you have improved your skills since then?

Yeah! Every six months or so I'll go back and look through my REALLY old stuff and try to analyze it all in the context of my whole career. I also try to see what I still like about my old stuff, and think about what I DON'T do now that I did better back then.
Sometime I'll write an article on my blog and post some of my earliest pieces so you guys can see how I used to suck and then slowly got better over time. Gotta break that misconception that successful musicians are all musical prodigies! :D

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