OMUK’s Matt Dear: ‘It’s important to understand the power that dialogue has in telling a story and immersing the player’

Matt Dear, audio engineer at video games recording studios OMUK, talks us through the skillset needed for such a position, discusses the power of dialogue and how working for yourself teaches you a lot

What is your job role and how would you describe your typical day at work?

My job title is audio engineer, which is a pretty broad brush stroke, but my general responsibilities include engineering recording sessions, dialogue editing, mastering edited audio, casting, managing freelance editors and miscellaneous ‘studio maintenance’. If we have a production on, I will usually be either engineering a dialogue session or serving as part of the editing team. If there isn’t a production on, I could be working on casting, putting together actors samples for our database, streamlining the studio pipeline or anything else that needs doing! We have a relatively small team so everyone wears quite a few hats.

What qualifications and/or experience do you need to land this job?

I have a BA in Music from BIMM in Brighton. This gave me a background in audio production that I solidified with three years as a self-employed game audio specialist. During this time I composed music, created sound effects, recorded dialogue, cleaned audio, built Wwise systems and worked as a freelance editor for OMUK.

The experience I gathered while working for myself, along with the familiarity I garnered for OMUK’s workflow while working with them, gave me the correct skillset for this position. I’d highly recommend working for yourself as it teaches you a lot about how you work and what the gaps in your knowledge are. Self-motivation is a skill that will help in any arena.

That said, I’d advise any freelancers to get out and work with larger teams where possible. It’s easy to get stuck in your own little bubble. Meeting and working with others in the field is an unmatched method of learning new skills and expanding your network.

If you were interviewing someone for your team, what would you look for?

We have quite a small team, so any prospectives would have to work well in a team, be personable and have a wide and flexible skillset. Computer literacy is a must as we work exclusively with Excel and Windows Explorer for our script and file management. If it is for an audio role we look for people fluent with Pro Tools and ideally experience with Audition 3 or similar editing software.

We also want people who are passionate about video game dialogue! It’s important that they play games and understand the power that dialogue has in telling a story and immersing the player.

What opportunities are there for
career progression?

I’ve already mentioned freelancers. Most engineers start here and move from trainee or junior roles to regular engineers. Further down the line are senior positions, studio managers and dialogue/audio leads.

I’ve also seen several companies specifically hire director-engineers – and I mean director in terms of directing an actor – in order to have someone who can inhabit both roles within a team, and run a whole session on their own. I know of several dialogue specialists who have carved niches for themselves by being able to serve two or more roles within a dialogue team.

Want to talk about your career and inspire people to follow the same path? Contact Marie Dealessandri.

About Marie Dealessandri

Marie Dealessandri is MCV’s former senior staff writer. After testing the waters of the film industry in France and being a radio host and reporter in Canada, she settled for the games industry in London in 2015. She can be found (very) occasionally tweeting @mariedeal, usually on a loop about Baldur’s Gate, Hollow Knight and the Dead Cells soundtrack.

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