Getting started and staying in games writing – an evening with professional games writers
By Andy Walsh
On the 8th December I had the great pleasure of hosting a panel of games writers for an event put on by the Guild’s Video Games Committee together with the Writing Special Interest Group and London Chapter of the International Game Developers’ Association (IGDA). Held in a packed lecture theatre at London South Bank University the evening set out to describe how four writers had broken into the industry, the highs and lows they’d encountered and how they’d stayed at the coal face.
Aside from myself the panel was comprised of Tom Jubert, James Swallow and Rhianna Pratchett (chair of the Video Games Committee). Putting together a panel of writers that boasted well over a hundred games titles, four Writers’ Guild Award nominations and two wins among other credits, the Guild was able to offer up an evening of anecdote, advice and entertainment to both new writers and those new to the medium.
Starting with the different routes each panellist had followed before arriving in games writing (games journalism for Rhianna Pratchett, journalism and an ongoing career as a novelist for James Swallow, straight in at the deep end for Tom Jubert and theatre/television for myself) the evening moved on to cover subjects as diverse as the role of Narrative directors, the pressures of gameplay exposition and whether flattering or criticising a company’s previous titles was the best approach when seeking a job.
After the event the majority of the audience (which was well in excess of 100 and included people who’d travelled from as far afield as Paris) trooped off to the pub to continue the discussion and put questions directly to the panellists.
For those who missed the evening, the Video Games Committee intends to offer a further talk in the new year in association with BAFTA and IGDA’s Writing SIG and looks forward to seeing you there.