Script Lock

Script Lock

Writers Max and Nick Folkman sit down with other writers and developers for an informal discussion about storytelling in video games.

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    Ep 36: Janina Gavankar & Sarah Elmaleh

    GET IN, LISTENERS! WE'RE GOING TO ACTING CLASS! And joining us on this fantastically illuminating trip are Janina Gavankar and returning guest Sarah Elmaleh! We chat about letting actors become collaborators (and why it doesn't always happen), rehearsals, falling in love with Don Johnson, the audition process, what makes a good director, the worst piece of direction they've ever gotten, what takes us out of game stories, the kinds of roles and characters they'd like to see more of, the era of the antihero and its end, knowing the medium, not making decisions out of fear, if it's ever possible to know too much about a character you're playing, the film industry chasing the games industry, and so much more you don't even KNOW.

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    Ep 35: Tyler J. Hutchinson, Ken Wong, Jolie Menzel & Emily Grace Buck

    Arriving fashionably late for Valentine's Day, our relationship-focused episode is here! Joining us are Tyler, Ken, Jolie, and Emily to talk about our favorite relationships in games, could you make the Final Fantasy 15 bro roadtrip game without any combat, the possibility of making a AAA relationship game, building more relationship-based mechanics, being a martyr cupid in Mass Effect, do relationship games work better as shorter experiences, habits of real relationships manifesting in-game, aspects of relationships not seen in games, the skewed expectations players can have, can relationships become too gamified, acting different in games vs real life, and butthole simulators.

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    Ep 34: Alex Neonakis & Olly Moss

    A NEW YEAR means NEW GUESTS! Alex (former UI designer and current character concept artist at Naughty Dog, as well as a freelance children’s book author. Her credits include The Last of Us, The Last of Us: Left Behind, Uncharted 4, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, and NBA Live 09) and Olly (Art Director on Firewatch, and graphic designer best known for his work w/ Mondo, Harry Potter, Star Wars, the Academy Awards, and much more) join us to talk about growing up on message boards, NBA Live 09 and the UI of sports games, whether knowledge limits your creativity, communicating a feeling through art, being critical of your own work, creating Garfields for fun, experimentation, UI in a background role, creating spaces in Firewatch that felt natural and not meticulously designed, how to lead the player without being too obtuse or explicit, creating Drake's Journal in Uncharted 4, misconceptions about work, why Breath of the Wild is great, and Tom Bombadil.

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    Ep 33: Halley Gross & Graham Reznick

    2017's coming to a close and who better to spend it with than Halley and Graham! They join us to talk moving from TV to games, writing solo vs with a partner, staring at the ceiling being work, pacing for the player’s time, garbage passes, Steven Soderbergh’s Mosaic and his thoughts on video games, what makes something a game vs an interactive experience, how everyone is gaming literate now, lining up performances in a modular narrative, writing and recording out of order, trusting your actors and going easy on those parentheticals (unless you’re making a modular narrative), fan expectations, fan fiction, getting the audience to trust you, writing exposition, story burritos, characters saying their feelings, and challenging your audience.

    Note:

    • This episode has spoilers for Inside
    • Halley said she played a Game Gear game called Gems, but she wants you to know that she actually meant to say Columns.
    • Halley was right about Playwright’s Horizons.
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    Ep 32: Samantha Wallschlaeger & Brooke Maggs

    Samantha and Brooke call in to talk about breaking into the industry, binging the Mass Effect trilogy, writing processes, why character should be the plot, trying to get a story across without using text or speech, creating well-rounded characters, transitioning from a literary writer to a narrative designer, writing for MMOs and the writing process working on The Old Republic, episodic and 100+ hour narratives, special difficulty modes for people who just want to experience the story in a game, NOT being able to kiss Nick Valentine in Fallout 4, different approaches to storytelling within Bioware, career advice and tips for breaking into the industry, and oh man so much more it's crazy.

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    Ep 31: Michael Choung & Laura Jacqmin

    Michael and Laura join us to talk about moving between theatre, TV, and video games, switching fonts and other strategies when you're narratively stuck, the best times to write, jumping from selling shoes to Telltale, player agency, approaching storytelling differently for different IP, Night School’s storytelling philosophy, story being an endlessly renewable resource, work-life balance, giving the illusion of choice to players, making choices feel big, responding to players while making episodic content, and the need for more character moments in AAA.

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    Ep 30: Ashly Burch & Kate Dollarhyde

    Ashly and Kate are here to talk fan fiction, writing processes, letting your work breathe vs brute forcing it, whether games need their stories to be great or not, dealing with bad notes, voice acting and having too much or too little info to work with when you go into the booth, staying true to an IPs voice while also bringing your own, writing as a fan, ways to handle the problem of crafting stories when players might not be paying attention to/remembering key information, making players feel helpless, and much more!

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    Ep 29: Kim Belair & Harrison G. Pink

    Kim and Harrison are here to talk about whether modern games leave enough to the player’s imagination, introducing a New Game Minus feature, if you have a lot of money, you can’t afford faith (from a corporate level), the weirdness of Earthbound, feeling obligated to share lore because you have it instead of holding it back, studios valuing plot logic over emotional logic between characters, open world design problems, giving players more verbs, being able to ask for help more in games, making choices explicit to players, too many twists, and the need for lower stakes.

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    Ep 28: Josh Mosqueira & Darby McDevitt

    Josh and Darby call in to discuss tabletop gaming, the benefits of an english degree, being a game director at Blizzard, the business realities of game development, the relationship between narrative design and game design, the importance of the player's story, the problem with plot in video games and how to deal with it, the storytelling of PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, whether games will ever be remembered for their stories, bad writing, working with established franchises, dealing with the expectations of players, and much more!

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    Ep 27: Sean Vanaman & Jesse Stern

    We've got Sean and Jesse in to talk about joining the industry with no preconceived notions, the importance of having somebody with strong storytelling sensibilities in a senior leadership role, how building scenes first and then finding a writer NEVER works, generating trust with your team, trusting the process, the skills you improve over making games, staying usefully ignorant of the process, the hardest scene to write in games being two people talking to each other, maintaining a professional curiosity, when is the right time to share ideas with your team, the problem of people mortgaging fun and entertainment for subtlety, and Sean’s experience working on Mickey Epic.

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