..Cynthia Pierce..

When The Going Gets Tough,
Go to Work -- For Yourself

When the going gets tough, the tough generally get going. But where can you go when you've got no job and no prospects? The initial response might be to get right back out there, to revamp the resume and scour job search websites. Yet, as we know too well, over the last couple of years the US job market has been so gloom and doom that even if you did get right back up on your horse, chances are he'd be shot right out from under you. Or more likely, you couldn't even afford a horse on those measly unemployment checks.

There is possibly only one advantage to being at the end of your rope: there's nowhere to go but up. That was the contention of Devin and Katie Maxwell anyway. Not long ago, the Maxwells drove from California to Philadelphia for a position at a friend's software company. Devin was going to create music for video games -- he was to be the new Creative/Audio Director. Seems worth the move for an impressive sounding title like that, right? Not long after the drive, however, and after the two of them purchased a large amount of expensive equipment to support the new career, it was decided the company did not require a Creative/Audio Director any longer. So, Devin became yet another job market statistic.

What did Katie and Devin do when their plans went awry? "We threw Loud, Louder, Loudest [Music Prod. Co.] together in two weeks. The game industry is a really hard industry. Most people in it are independent contractors, so we thought, 'Let's be independent contractors.' We made a website, composed a game music demo and took off to San Jose to the Annual Game Developers Conference. We also hooked up with the Game Audio Network Guild (GANG), who were putting together the first ever Game Audio Awards Ceremony. They wanted live acts, so Devin arranged all this music from classic games -- Ms Pac Man, Mario, Sonic, Metroid -- for clarinet, xylophone and bass.

"We went to this huge conference and gave anybody and everybody our Demo, and met all these Game Developers and it was great. And then we played our little arrangement at the awards ceremony. The Retro Game Music Medley was a hit! We got a standing ovation from like 600 game industry people. It was crazy and memorable." That is Katie's account of what she and Devin did immediately upon his layoff. Katie is the President of Loud, Louder, Loudest Music Production Co. That title sounds pretty impressive too, eh?

Katie and Devin have since relocated to Williamsburg in Brooklyn, NY, a neighborhood touted for its independent, artistic spirit. In a short time, they have continued to establish a number of promising contacts within the game world and are constantly at work: both on new projects and on developing marketing strategies to establish their niche image in a field where big companies already roam like buffalo. "We were recently nominated as a new business in technology by the New York New Media Association and we go to Vegas in October to meet with more people in the industry. Hopefully they will love our music and we'll get more work! Things are good."

Given the current state of things, Katie's excitement is refreshingly contagious. When they were rejected by the workforce the Maxwells' response was to go straight to work -- for themselves. So far, their return seems to totally outweigh their investment. It's nice to know that even when economic times are so bad, things can still be good.

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Visit loudlouderloudest.com to see all the services offered by Katie and Devin Maxwell.

The writer of this story, Cynthia Pierce responded to being laid off by starting her own production company (www.blondebuddha.com), which also offers marketing consulting services to other artists. Loud, Louder, Loudest is her second client.

CP is a performer and resides in NYC.