04 Jul 034: How to become a game writer
Game Writer Jordan Defazio talks about the opportunity for western game writers in China. He also discusses the freedom game writing offers over screenwriting.
Game Writer Jordan Defazio discusses the freedom game writing offers over screenwriting. He also shares that foreigners don’t need to move to China to get a job with a Chinese game maker.
THREE KEY POINTS
1. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GAME WRITERS AND SCREENWRITERS
Jordan says the main difference between game writing and screenwriting is in game writing you add game mechanics. How does the player play? What is the path they go down? Thus you need a big story engine since (unlike film scripts) the story needs to be endless.
In film scripts – you know the ending. If you pitch a game story – you may just have a synopsis. The story isn’t complete.
2. GAME WRITERS – SHOULD YOU LEARN CODING?
Despite the nature of mobile games, you don’t necessarily need coding and design skills. But be smart and take a class or two. Know the limits of a game.
3. DO I NEED TO MOVE TO CHINA?
Conversely, many westerners are unaware that the games they play are made in China. This is an opportunity for western game writers. China needs native speakers and western narrative designers – where they design the story, plot, the characters for the local market and/or an international market. And no, you don’t need to move to China to be hired by a China game maker.
See my post Writing for China and Hollywood.
1. BE FLEXIBLE
Furthermore, in film and TV scripts – maybe you lose a location or for budget reasons – you need to rewrite a scene. In games – like in film and TV – you need to be flexible and write quickly.
2. THREE ACT STRUCTURE
Moreover, in the west, we write stories with a three-act structure or The Hero’s Journey. There are other formats – The seven-point structure, the 8 sequences. Namely, it’s all based on a beginning, a middle, and an end. In the film and at the end of a TV series – there is a climactic endpoint. However, this is not the case in games. Therefore you need a strong and never-ending story engine.
3. THE HEROINE’S JOURNEY
Consequently, I was very glad to hear about this. Some people say The Hero’s Journey way of writing screenplays does not adequately address the psychological- spiritual journey of women. Other critics say The Hero’s Journey does not give women the power to carry stories that follow a different path to self-actualization. You can read more about The Heroine’s Journey in the article Why Screenwriters Should Embrace The Heroine’s Journey which I linked to in the show notes.
China Hollywood Greenlight Podcast – Episode #34
Jordan DeFazio – Game Writer and Screenwriter
Host: Caryn McCann
Website: The China List – where Hollywood and China meet https://chnlist.com/
Guest: Jordan DeFazio