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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Realities of the Hidden Freelance Crunch

Austin Wintory  (Composer, Austin Wintory)

Jesse Harlin  (Composer, Dunderpate Music)

Lena Raine  (Composer, Radical Dreamland)

Date: Thursday, July 22

Time: 9:40am - 10:40am

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Core Pass, Audio Pass

Topic: Audio, Production & Team Management

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

Veteran composers Jesse Harlan and Austin Wintory discuss the hidden realities of crunch faced by freelancers. Having dealt with a range of difficult situations, the pair will share stories of this taboo subject when work piled up, overlapped and undermined general health and sanity. Much of the source of this problem lies in its never being discussed, so this session aims to address that, while also examining possible long term strategies for coping, and improving it.


The are two primary goals of this talk: 1) To discuss the taboo subject of freelancer crunch and strategize on ways to mitigate those problems; and 2) to make it clear to every other composer in the industry that this is not an issue they face alone, and should no longer feel taboo about.

Intended Audience

All freelancers, composers especially, represent the target audience for this talk. Proposed strategies and discussion thereof may also prove useful to game producers when planning their own composer collaborations