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Saturday, February 06, 2010

Games: Getting work

Okay, so you're looking at the sources of games writing work and you've thought about the skills you have and what you need to develop.

But what do you actually do to apply?

Here are my three tips.

One: Know your job terms.
This is a potential nightmare. Not all jobs for writers say 'writer' or 'scriptwriter'. Worse still, I can't even tell you what the adverts may say instead. In film and TV we have more than our fair share of crazy job titles (Best Boy etc), but at least these are standard across the biz. There is no such uniformity or consistency in games. My current title is "Senior Creative Designer" and yet I do writing. So my advice must in fact be, explore deeper into the jobs and read the descriptions.

Two: Know where to look.
The 'writing' style jobs will normally be in the 'design' section of a website. Design means the games content. Design doesn't mean visual or graphic design, that is called 'art'. Sometimes the writing jobs appear in 'audio' if the work is writing spoken dialogue. Hunt around.

Three: Know how to approach a company.
Whether it is through an agency, through a website, a direct approach, or even a speculative approach then the advice of what to say is the same. In fact it is the same for ANY writing job. Stress your skills that are an exact match. Mention your skills that are transferrable and don't be afraid to join the dots - I can do x which will help you do y. But best of all get some relevant experience of any description. In descending order...

1 - Have worked on big budget games before
2 - Have worked on freeware games before - including mods or flash games.
3 - Have worked on other interactive products - CD-ROMs, large websites with entertaining content, non-linear narratives.
4 - Have been involved in games in some other way. In my case I was on the BAFTA games judging panel a couple of times.
5 - Have played a lot of games and know how they work, in detail.
6 - You are an ardent gamer and have been since the early days.
7 - You play a lot of games.

Obviously success in other fields of writing (comics, TV, films, novels) helps also.

Whatever your skills and whatever your background my final advice must be to keep emphasing how you can meet their needs for this current post. You may not have the requested level of experience (I didn't) but you will bring other things. Bring these to the fore.


flashgames said...

i can also suggest creating your own flash games.

the forums of and are full of games developers....

offer to write for them and your likely to get taken up on the offer...

Tim Clague said...

Thanks for the links. However I think you mean -

I like your own site too.