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 45: Molly Maloney & Eric Stirpe

    It's 2019 and we've got Molly and Eric here to talk about how choose your own adventure is the dominant influence on interactive narrative at the moment, choice timers, the marriage of writing and narrative design, working relationships, players forgiving bad writing more than bad narrative design, what made Telltale work, finishing a project and feeling like you just spent a lot of time making an asset for somebody else, Bandersnatch (SPOILERS), the problem of having “good” and “bad” endings in branching narratives, fail states, making people feel like their choices matter, obfuscating branches from players, and what makes a good choice.

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    Ep 44: Rhianna Pratchett, Jill Murray, and Cara Ellison

    Happy holidays! We're sneaking in right before Christmas to give all of you the very special gift of Rhianna Pratchett AND Jill Murray AND Cara Ellison, who've joined us to talk prime writing hours, freelancing advice, how to network (and how NOT to), game writing agents, negotiating for yourself, being a narrative paramedic, red flags to watch out for on potential jobs, what they wish more people knew about the kind of work they do, skills to have that are unique for working in AAA, how to handle when people are constantly telling you that your work isn't good, being aware of studio politics, writing mistakes/failures that they've learned from, the state of the industry, worldbuilding, and a few other things that you'll just have to find out yourself!

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    Ep 43: Ryan Benno & Ellen Shelley

    We've got another art-focused episode for you this month as we're joined by Ryan and Ellen to talk about whether degrees are necessary anymore to find work, where do you start when making an environment, style guides, navigating creative disagreements, environmental storytelling, the overabundance of sci-fi hallways, narrative/visual techniques that games still haven’t tried much, soft cardboard boxes, starting with the blank page, the difference between making a twentysomething-year-old’s apartment vs Peter Parker’s apartment, what can’t you tweak when you’re building an environment that everyone knows, breaking walls that were not meant to break, readability, accessibility, and know that not everything you make needs to be at 11.

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    Ep 42: Ashley Swidowski & Claire Hummel

    We're taking a big ol' swan dive into character design and concept art on this week's episode, and so we're SUPER lucky to have Ashley and Claire joining us to talk about the misconceptions around what a concept artist does, how they each approach character design, what they want from the writers/creative director when they're starting out with designing one, working for the project instead of yourself, how they know when they're done, the importance of taking breaks and having personal projects, how to achieve good storytelling and character work through costuming, how "real" you can push things before it becomes so novel for players that they're distracted by it, cloth sims: the final frontier of video game character design, making art for VR, major influences, how to create characters that are lifelike and not superficial, the secret to navigating creative disagreements successfully, the importance of failing and making mistakes, which game stories they've responded to recently, and MORE!

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    Ep 41: Ben Esposito & Andrew Shouldice

    Puns are OUTLAWED on this episode as we talk with Ben and Andrew about skulls near toilets and environmental storytelling, designing a story where the player doesn't fully understand what's happening in the world, when to start thinking about theme, garbage chic, coming up with a game to match a specific feeling, freedom being a terrible thing for an artist, the emotional expense of investing yourself in someone else's project, the danger of snacks and working from home, when you know you’re done with something, games dictating their length, naming your game, keeping a good work/life balance when your boss is you, secrets decisions, and how to Twitter well.

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    Ep 40: Laura Michet & Cat Manning

    Freelancing! Blessing or curse? Today Laura (writer and editor of such games as Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, Frog Fractions 2, Swan Hill, You Got This, Brutadon!, The Brigand’s Story, and more, and is currently an editor at Riot Games.) and Cat (writer and narrative designer of video games and narrative fiction, who's worked on titles such as Invasion, Pathologic 2, What Isn't Saved (Will Be Lost), Where the Water Tastes Like Wine, and the forthcoming Leader of the Pack) join us to talk about that independent life with topics like how to find work, what to look for in contracts, rates, renegotiating, the importance of maintaining a social media presence, whether you should go to festivals, why you maybe shouldn't go to the Write Zone at GDC, and non-freelancer stuff like how to match another writer's voice, reflective choices and how to make strong ones, how to give a player the feeling that their decisions have an impact on a story (especially when the story isn't actually changing at all), writing mistakes, the importance of editing, getting feedback, and I dunno, a few more things.

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    Ep 39: Marc Laidlaw & Chris Gardiner

    Summer is here and so is a new episode! Today we're talking with Marc and Chris about storytelling transmedia synergy in 1990s Japan, what makes a good narrative director, planning a career as a writer, core skills writers should have, getting into writing with a team too early in your career, keys to good worldbuilding, creating the illusion of depth, the poop caves of Nottingham, having end goals in mind as a team, trusting your teammates, avoiding your first thoughts in writing, how expectations of more dialogue can put the wrong weight on characters, big failures, changes in writing processes, and player literacy.

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    Ep 38: Mitch Dyer & Demian Linn

    Going from a game journalist to a game writer isn't something you see too often, but today Mitch Dyer and Demian Linn join us to talk about their experiences doing just that, as well the freelance life, assumptions they had about game writing that ended up being incorrect, aspects of games we all wish fans and/or the media understood better, the biggest storytelling mistakes they've learned from, writing tests, how to stay objective about your writing, the approval process on big IPs, writing processes, toolsets, what takes them out of games, what to do when you're struggling with a writing problem, what's inspiring them lately, why comedy in video games is so hard to pull off, what they struggle most with with writing and how they conquer it, storytelling trends over the last decade, when we're going to see a AAA studio make a game with no combat, verbs they'd like to see more, and -- wow, this sentence is just going on forever, huh.

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    Ep 37: Charlene Putney & Jana Sloan van Geest

    Spring is here, and so are Charlene and Jana! They join us to talk about what makes a good bark, writing a good tooltip, finding inspiration in others, doing different types of writing at different times of day, solving a writing problem by articulating it to someone else, working with different team sizes, best practices for breaking through creative ruts, honing your judgment, the need for simplicity and clarity in game writing, the craving for more narration through items, and never retiring a tool in the storytelling toolbox.

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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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