Thursday 2 June 2011

Workshop: Interactive Narrative for Screenwriters @ Birkbeck College

This Saturday I've been asked to hold a day's workshop for screenwriting students on writing for games. It's being held at Birkbeck College, London, from 10am - 4pm, tickets open to the public, and the official blurb goes something like this:
"In this one-day workshop, you will evaluate existing games from a scriptwriting point of view and learn how new games are developed. You will also gain insight into the games industry and the potential for freelance or retained work within it. You will do practical scriptwriting exercises both individually and in groups, and will receive tutor feedback on these."
Strangely the one thing it doesn't mention is who's running it which (regardless of whether you think I'm an experienced narrative designer, or a small chap with a big mouth) seems like the single most important detail. Anyway, it's not super cheap at £70 (£40 concessions), but apparently not as expensive as they come at Birkbeck either. Assuming the university doesn't change its tune on profit sharing it's probably the first and last year I'll be running it (UK universities are run like businesses, but still cling to the guidelines when it comes to actually paying people), but that's not to say if it's a success I might not take the format elsewhere.

That format's as follows:

10am – Kick off
10:20am – How are games different?
10:50am – Write something: be innovative
11:15am – Game script examples
11:35am – Break
11:45am – Approaches to story
12:15pm – Lunch
1pm – Write something: HTML dialogue trees
1:45pm – Learning from indie games
2.15pm – Write something: more HTML dialogue trees
2:30pm – Break
2:40pm - How to get a job
3pm - Show off something: HTML dialogue trees
3:40pm – Questions
4pm – Pub

I feel a touch uncomfortable encouraging people to take up these things, just like I sometimes feel uncomfortable teaching at Southbank. The hard truth is that for 80% of takers the most valuable thing to do would probably be to tell them to give up now rather than sowing false hope, and for the other 20% there's a long uphill struggle that I can only nudge them towards. The flip side of the coin is that anyone should have the right to pay for anything, including education, and who am I to decide who can't?

So. There's your disclaimer, and here's your ticket link. Hooray!

1 comment:

  1. I went to this and I really enjoyed it (I was the one with the very poor unfinished script about gladiatorial combat). I can understand your apprehension about encouraging people to pursue a career in an industry that is notoriously hard to get into, but the advice you did give was practical and realistic. Also learnt a lot; play the game to contextualise dialogue and voice direction, tips on how to tie together story and game mechanics, how to write dialogue trees, the hurdles of indie development.

    Glad I attended. Well worth the money.