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Interactive Writing – A Tutorial on Gaming Terminology

Interactive Writing – A Tutorial on Gaming Terminology

Video games are a massive market for writers to explore: the recent RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 made £725 million in its first weekend and shipped 17 million copies in two weeks – the largest opening weekend in the history of entertainment! If you want to get into this market as a writer, this article is for you…

Video games might be lucrative, but it’s not always easy to figure out all the terminology means. If you don’t know the difference between an FPS and an RPG, or an emote and a cutscene… Well, you certainly wouldn’t be the first!

That’s why Mark Brendan, our Elite Consultant for video game writing, is here to help. Mark has put together a handy guide for anyone who wants to get involved in writing for this new medium that cuts through the confusion and explains what all the terminology means…

Game Genre Terminology

RTS = Real-time Strategy
Normally top down view, often wargaming, but could be running a power station or theme park. Involves managing resources in real time to achieve a goal.
Command and Conquer, Total War series

FPS = First Person Shooter
An extremely popular style of game where the perspective is first person, as if through the eyes of the ingame character. Sometimes nothing of the character is visible, on other occasions hands with weapons are visible and the player can see some of their body when they look down, or press to interact with ingame objects. Shooter refers to the style of the game play – the gaminig is predominantly fighting with ranged weaponry.
Call of Duty, Bioshock, Half-Life

RPG = Role-playing Game
While the FPS is predominantly concerned with fast-paced action, an RPG takes longer to unfold. There are likely to be action sequences, often combat, sometimes challenges such as climbing. The player will gnerally be required to have much more of a relationship with the ingame world than in an FPS. To advance the player will need to talk to NPCs (Non-Player Characters), find and use objects, and solve puzzles to advance. While an FPS often makes the main character invisible, most modern RPGs allow extensive modification of the player’s character to customize it to their own preferences.
Fallout 3, Oblivion, Mass Effect

Third Person
In a third person game the player can see the character they are playing onscreen. The action is viewed as if from behind the character’s shoulder.
Prince of Persia, Uncharted, Tomb Raider

MMO – Massively Multiplayer Online
An online game that involves many people accessing the same game world at the same time.
World of Warcraft, Guild Wars

Narrative Terms

Cutscene
A cutscene is a non-interactive section of a game. This is generally used to tell story and to set up the key gameplay points for the next level i.e. Get to that bridge!

Scripted Event
A scripted event is an interactive cutscene. Here the player retains control while an event they don’t control such as a building collapsing, a plane flying by, or someone appearing on a balcony takes place.

Ingame/Level dialogue/Barks
This is dialogue that happens during the interactive sequences. The player will retain control as they hear pedestrians talking as they walk by, enemy soldiers calling orders, or companions calling warnings.

Emotes
Emotes are sounds rather than words such as a scream, a grunt, the effort sound of lifting; these are emotes rather than lines.

Player Activated Dialogue
Dialogue which the player triggers themselves by pressing to interact with characters in the game.

Ingame Terms

Player Character
As the title infers, this is the character the player controls. There can be numerous player characters in the game and the ‘character’ can lack many of the key things that define a character in other fiction (backstory, personality, etc.)

NPC = Non-Player Character
A non-player character is one that the player does not control. They could be an enemy, an ally, or neutral in terms of their approach to the player character.

With any luck, you’ve now got a better grasp of the gaming terminology a writer needs. If you really want to take your writing to the next level, we’d recommend get Elite Mentoring from Mark Brendan himself!

Take a look at Jamie White’s thoughts on writing for video games too in this article, where there are plenty more hints and tips to be found!

This is a great time to be getting involved in writing for video games; WriteMovies is still looking for scripts for both films and games to be directed by 2x BAFTA winner and 2x Oscar nominee Habib Zargarpour, too, which can be submitted to our Winter 2019 Contest

Pitch meetings, success stories, and more VFX-driven scripts wanted for a 2x Oscar nominated director!

Pitch meetings, success stories, and more VFX-driven scripts wanted for a 2x Oscar nominated director!

We’ve been hard at work lately having pitching scripts to industry, having pitch meetings with producers and distributors about our many projects! Alex and Ian had a productive meeting at BAFTA recently, discussing the slate and future opportunities. So, what have we been up to? Let’s take a look…

  • Ian Kennedy at Bafta

    Ian Kennedy, our Director of Worldwide Development, at BAFTA

    Following on from Alex and Habib’s successful tour of Hollywood, we’re still looking for more great VFX-driven scripts for Habib to direct. We’re in discussion with many studios to confirm the next wave of projects and welcome more submissions through our Winter 2019 Contest.

  • The movie we made in 2007, THE LIST, is now back in our hands after ten years in a distribution deal with Warner Bros. This charming romantic comedy stars Wayne Brady (WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?) and Sidney Tamiia Poitier (DEATH PROOF), and includes a breakout role for Jane Lynch as a TV dating guru which helped lead to her iconic role in GLEE. We’ve had several meetings and enquiries with distributors and sales companies keen to take this project further.
  • THE LIST is a great example of our work as a full circle: script agency and production house. With our contests and consultancy services including elite mentoring, we offer entry to the market from just $39 and can carry your project all the way through production, distribution, and “the long tail”. Enter now with your VFX driven or any other genre of script to take it to the next level and break through to success.

We’ve also recently had pitch meetings with many companies including Film4 and several of our winners’ projects have been going from strength to strength!

We guarantee pitching to industry for the top three scripts from our competition – so enter our Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest today from just $44, and you can follow in the footsteps of our past winners and get your script out there!

Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest – Semi-Finalists and Best Studio Script, Indie Script and Short Script!

Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest – Semi-Finalists and Best Studio Script, Indie Script and Short Script!

We are pleased to announce the Semi-Finalists for our Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest – and the winner of our Best Studio Script, Best Indie Script, and Best Short Script Awards!

Screenplay

After another tough judging period, we’ve decided on the Semi-Finalists for our Spring 2018 Contest – plus three awards in new categories!

The scripts that advanced to the semi-finals impressed us for many reasons, with fantastic stories, well-crafted dialogue, and strong commercial potential – and as ever, a lot of great scripts just missed the cut. If yours is one of them, don’t feel downhearted – all of our Quarter-Finalists were impressive entries.

And don’t forget, if you want to find out why your script didn’t make it, and want to take it to the next level, all our Script Report services are on special offer until 31st August – and you get free entry to our next contest as a bonus!

Alternatively, check out our Elite Mentoring service: invaluable one-to-one advice from actual Hollywood producers and studio execs!

See the full list of Semi-Finalists below… but first, we’re announcing the best of those movie scripts that aimed themselves firmly at either a HIGH or a LOW budget which we felt could be the most desirable to producers at the budget it set… and, working to a different kind of constraint, we’re also announcing the Best Short Script! Writing a short film demands a particular skill: the ability to tell a complete, poignant story in the space of only a few short minutes – normally less than 15 pages instead of the usual 120.

Next week: we name our top ten and our Overall Winner! Who will take the big prize for the very best entry in our latest major contest?

Best Studio Script Best Indie Script Best Short Script
DESERT RUN, by Christopher Thomas!
With Honorable Mentions to: CHARMER, David Kurtz, and KLONDIKE MIKE, Thomas Zmiarovich.
FIRE ON THE ISLAND, by Timothy Jay Smith!
With Honorable Mentions to: LOVERS IN PARIS, Andy Conway, and THE UNDERTAKER’S CHILDREN, Natasha Le Petit.
ROLL WITH IT, by Rosie Byrnes!

A big congratulations to the latest winners; we’ll be in touch with them soon about their winnings! Meanwhile, these are all of the other SEMI-FINALISTS who are still in the running for the big one… congratulations to all of them!

Semi-Finalists
BLUT WIRD FLIEßEN, Urs Aebersold REMOTELY WORKING, William Baber ROLL WITH IT, Rosie Byrnes
PARDON MY GENDER: SUCH A FARCE!, Bob Canning LOVERS IN PARIS, Andy Conway UNE CHANCE POUR GUÉRIR, Christine de Chauvelin
LES NIOCKS, Edith Devillet THE GOOD CITIZEN, Joel Doty OPERATION BROTHER SAM, Gustavo Freitas
ON THE SPARROW, RW Hahn THE LAST KING OF AMERICA, Richard Guimond SOUL OF AN EMPIRE, Ryan Jaroncyk
THE SAX, Pascal Kulcsar HOLLYWOOD’S MOST WANTED: I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, ESE, Manny Jimenez Sr. SHOOTING ANGELS, RW Hahn
HOBBY AND FITZ, James Milton CHARMER, David Kurtz WINDSPIRIT, Paul Penley
MAUDITE ÉQUATION, Joel Prost THE UNDERTAKER’S CHILDREN, Natasha Le Petit THE MYTHICAL GOLDEN TROUT, Craig Peters
DESERT RUN, Christopher Thomas WHEN I WAS A CHILD, T. L. Needham FIRE ON THE ISLAND, Timothy Smith
THE LOST OPERA, Rachel, Thomas-Medwid THE ARIZONA BALLOON BUSTER, Mark Perlick and Steven Pripps THE ELECTRIC WAR, Arthur Tiersky
THE CRACK IN PEGGY SUE’S FLOOR, John Woodard CHILDREN OF EDEN, Raymond Just KLONDIKE MIKE, Thomas Zmiarovich
MANHATTAN MARILYN (book), Philippe Laguerre MASON, Andrew Marshall
Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest – Quarter Finalists, Book and Stageplay WINNERS!

Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest – Quarter Finalists, Book and Stageplay WINNERS!

We are delighted to announce the Quarter-Finalists for our Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest! And even more importantly, our next two winners…

 

ScreenplayThere have been a lot of great scripts for us to read for this contest, especially with our extended late entry running into June! The competition has been especially fierce, and we’ve enjoyed judging all the scripts we were sent.

So congratulations to our Spring 2018 Quarter-Finalists! Each script here deservedly advances in the contest. We’ll be giving every last one of them a fresh read as we consider which ones will make the Semi-Finals…

With so much competition this time around, a number of promising writers have unfortunately missed out – so don’t feel down if you’re one of them. A lot of the scripts that didn’t make it were strong contenders with a lot of positive features.

If you’d like to know why your script placed where it did, and how to take it to the next level, commission a Script Report from us to get a professional analyst’s opinion on what’s currently working and what’s holding it back. We provide large numbers of studio-quality Script Reports for writers and producers every year – and as an added bonus, you’ll get free entry into our next main contest!

Alternatively, check out our Elite Mentoring service: invaluable one-to-one advice from actual Hollywood producers and studio execs!

See the full list of Quarter-Finalists below… but first, here are the winners of Best Book and Best Stageplay!

BEST BOOK: BLUT WIRD FLIEßEN, by Urs Aebersold

BEST STAGEPLAY: THE CRACK IN PEGGY SUE’S FLOOR, by John Woodard

Hearty congratulations to them and everyone else who is still in the running for our other prizes! We’ll be in touch with them soon about their winnings…

Quarter-Finalists
BLUT WIRD FLIEßEN, Urs Aebersold REMOTELY WORKING, William Baber NICKERBACHER, Terry Barto
THE DAWN OF EVE, James Bingham HOPE IS NOT A BLACK AND WHITE RAINBOW, Harold L. Brown ROLL WITH IT, Rosie Byrnes
PARDON MY GENDER: SUCH A FARCE!, Bob Canning LOVERS IN PARIS, Andy Conway UNE CHANCE POUR GUÉRIR, Christine de Chauvelin
LES NIOCKS, Edith Devillet THE GOOD CITIZEN, Joel Doty RELENTLESS, Jay Fisher
OPERATION BORTHER SAM, Gustavo Freitas THE LAST KING OF AMERICA, Richard Guimond BIG BALLS aka FUTUREBALL, Richard Guimond
ON THE SPARROW, RW Hahn SHOOTING ANGELS, RW Hahn RACE, Justin Jackson
THE HAPPY PLACE, Justin Jackson THE BROKEN CYPHER, Justin Jackson SOUL OF AN EMPIRE, Ryan Jaroncyk
VIVA – A COLDPLAY MUSICAL, Ines Jimenez HOLLYWOOD’S MOST WANTED: I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, ESE, Manny Jimenez Sr. CHILDREN OF EDEN, Raymond A. Just
THE SAX, Pascal Kulcsar CHARMER, David Kurtz THE HEART OF A TIGER, SreyRam Kuy (book and screenplay)
MANHATTAN MARILYN, Philippe Laguerre (book and screenplay) THE UNDERTAKER’S CHILDREN, Natasha Le Petit INSPIRED, David Lawrence Lynch
HOBBY AND FITZ, James Milton WHEN I WAS A CHILD, T. L. Needham WINDSPIRIT, Paul Penley
THE SHADOW OF DHARMA, Mark Perlick THE ARIZONA BALLOON BUSTER, Mark Perlick and Steven Pripps THE MYTHICAL GOLDEN TROUT, Craig Peters
MAUDITE ÉQUATION, Joel Prost WHATEVER IT TAKES, Robin Regensburg THE LAST JOURNEY OF NOAH, Mark Rigoglioso
PERISH, Mike Rogers IMMORTALIZING RAYMOND, James Rosenfield FIRE ON THE ISLAND, Timothy Smith
DESERT RUN, Christopher Thomas THE LOST OPERA, Rachel, Thomas-Medwid THE ELECTRIC WAR, Arthur Tiersky
THE CRACK IN PEGGY SUE’S FLOOR, John Woodard KLONDIKE MIKE, Thomas Zmiarovich
Not-So-Famous Writers Of Famous Movie Scripts

Not-So-Famous Writers Of Famous Movie Scripts

By a new guest author…

Katie Porter is an aspiring writer, movie lover, and part of the team at Seatup.
The screenwriter is the often overlooked creator of the world we experience when we take our seat in the movie theater; ready to be dragged into the adventure, intrigue, comedy, and tragedy. The anonymity of the screenwriter is part of the attraction for many – living in the spotlight, under the scrutiny of the swarming Twitterati and critics isn’t that appealing to everyone.

There are lots of incredibly famous screenwriters whose work goes beyond the typewriter to other, more glamorous and more famous roles – Quentin Tarantino, Billy Wilder, Woody Allen, the Coen Bros, Francis Ford Coppola.

But there are just as many guys and gals who create the expansive world of our favorite movies – sending us to the extremities of the universe or the stories of friendships and achievements – who are just getting on with their normal lives: putting out their trash, cleaning their windows, and simply enjoying the luxury of being anonymous.

So buckle up, for this is quite an unexpected ride – our list of not-so-famous writers of movies that had big impacts at the box office.

Melissa Mathison

Melissa Mathison wrote the screenplay for one of the all-time favorite family movies – E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), in which she also played Elliot’s school nurse. She also wrote the screenplays for The BFG, and The Twilight Zone: The Movie, but lived a relatively anonymous life, out of the spotlight – despite being married to Harrison Ford. Unfortunately, she died at the age of 65 in 2015, but her stories continue to spread joy across the homes of millions of families all around the world.

Ted Tally

Ted Tally is responsible for the screenplay adaptation of one of the most notorious thrillers of the 1990s – The Silence of the Lambs (1991), rated number 23 in the IMDB Top 100. Based on the novel by the more widely known, Thomas Harris, Tally managed to extract every possible tension, bringing this classic monster movie to a climactic forte on the screen.

The real skill of the screenwriter is to give us enough to maintain our interest and hold off the climax until we can’t bear it – and The Silence of the Lambs is a perfect example of a man in control of the page. Ted Tally is also known for All The Pretty Horses (2000), Mission to Mars (2000), and Red Dragon (2002). After a sixteen year hiatus, he’s back with 12 Strong (2018).

Robert Rodat

Robert Rodat wrote the screenplay for Saving Private Ryan (1998) – currently rated number 28 in the IMDB Top 100. Very much the action writer, he’s also created the screenplays for Thor: The Dark World (2013) and The Patriot (2000). Away from the typewriter, Rodat has been the Executive Producer and writer responsible for the TV series, Falling Skies (2011-2015).

Michael Blake

Michael Blake’s finest movie hour was Dances With Wolves (1990). The screenplay was based on his own novel, and the movie is currently ranked at the number 59 spot in the IMDB Top 100. However, his movie zenith fizzled out almost as quickly as it began – but when one movie wins 7 Oscars, including Best Writing (Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium), and 36 other recognized industry awards, I guess it’s fine to pull out at the top.

Calder Willingham

Calder Willingham was one of two writers responsible for the screenplay to the Hoffman / Bancroft classic, The Graduate (1967). His other screenwriting exploits didn’t really shake the world; unlike his writing partner for the movie, Buck Henry. Henry went on to pen the screenplays for Catch-22 (1970), Grumpy Old Men (1993), and Get Smart (2008).

Larry McMurtry

Larry McMurtry is probably better known as a TV writer, having created many TV movies, and mini-series – none of which are particularly notable. However, he wrote the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain (2005) and the novel, Terms Of Endearment – which was brought to the screen in 1983, starring Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, and Jack Nicholson, and won 5 Oscars.

David Franzoni

David Franzoni wrote the screenplay for Gladiator (2000). His writing credits since have been few and far between, with a single screenplay for the rather mediocre King Arthur (2004). However, his mantelpiece is adorned with an Oscar for Best Picture, and a nomination for Best Writing (Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen), so you could say that he quit while he was ahead. More recently Franzoni has been the Executive Producer for Black and White Stripes: The Juventus Story (2016) – a documentary series.

Nearly all of these writers have been crowned with the glories that all writers strive for, but are happy to remain in the background. And sometimes, that’s for the best, isn’t it?

Being a screenplay writer might not necessarily get you a table in a restaurant, or spotted in the street, but who needs that anyway? For some, the satisfaction of having their work brought to life on the screen is all the recognition they need – as they can drift back into their blissfully anonymous lives.

Katie Porter is an aspiring writer, movie lover, and part of the team at Seatup. In her free time, she enjoys exploring her home state Colorado and plays in women’s amateur rugby league.