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  • Re: Ask Remedy...

    Originally posted by MikkiRMD View Post
    So, in short -- before I started working at Remedy, I did video game journalism for a decade, edited a pen-and-paper RPG magazine, did a lot of translation and localization work, did some concepting and design work for RedLynx and a few other game companies (the only game that actually came out as a result of that is Trials HD, but that's a good one!) and did a whole bunch of other stuff as well, mostly, but not always, on a freelance basis. Remedy was looking for a freelance writer, I got in touch with them, it quickly turned into a full-time commitment, and here I am.
    Jesus, how did you manage to get so many composition oriented gigs? I'm fresh out of film school, and the only jobs I keep stumbling on are production centered. The exact opposite of what interests me. Any tips?

    Most of the writer gigs I spot, including the one currently open at Remedy, seem to target veterans rather than amateurs.
    Last edited by Olek; 02-03-2012, 07:20 AM.
    "But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?"
    — Mark Twain

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    • Re: Ask Remedy...

      Originally posted by Olek View Post
      Jesus, how did you manage to get so many composition oriented gigs? I'm fresh out of film school, and the only jobs I keep stumbling on are production centered. The exact opposite of what interests me. Any tips?

      Most of the writer gigs I spot, including the one currently open at Remedy, seem to target veterans rather than amateurs.
      Well, I'm not sure what to tell you. I've worked on films a little bit, but it's not really my field -- so this is really more about creative work in general. I've been writing stuff all my life, and I've tried to make it a point to constantly evaluate my work and improve on it. Where I am now is a direct result of that, more than anything else, and while that progression makes sense to me now that I look back on it, I'd be lying if I said I had a plan at the time.

      I don't think getting into games journalism (I'm using it as an example since that was part of my progression; obviously, there are many other paths) is necessarily that hard -- I mean, don't get me wrong, it's not easy, but if you keep approaching editors with good writing samples, chances are that sooner or later they need someone to review something and give you a shot. And you can certainly distinguish yourself by writing about games online -- there's no shortage of gaming sites out there, and someone's always looking for a new contributor. That probably won't pay the bills in the beginning, I know, but if you're good, it'll probably get you noticed, and suddenly it's a real job. That sort of thing happens a lot.

      The thing is, nobody's going to call you up and ask you to do it unless you give them reason to. You really need to keep working at it, and keep putting yourself out there. I won't deny that I've had a lucky break or two, but the significance of those may not be as great as it seems -- is it really "luck" if you make an effort to put yourself in a position where such a break would apply to you? I mean, take yourself for instance -- you went out and got yourself an education. You can get lucky and land a dream job right now, but that very same lucky break probably wouldn't be of any use to you four years ago, because you wouldn't be qualified for it the way you are now. I find that work begets work; most of the things I do today are very much a result of a fairly logical chain of events that I could have broken at any time by being lazy or stupid. (On the other hand, I'm glad to say that being lazy and stupid at certain points in my life didn't derail me too much. =))

      In the end, if you want to do creative work like writing, then do that -- write. Just write. Think about it, do it, try to improve it. That won't guarantee a career, success in that career, of course, but not doing it will pretty much guarantee failure. The good thing about this is that doing it isn't dependent of having a writing job -- you can write anywhere, pretty much, and I think that goes for most creative outlets.

      As for the writer position that we have open, obviously, all other things being equal, an applicant with the experience is going to have an advantage -- but let's face it, that's always going to be the case. But experience alone isn't the deciding factor for us in this particular position. (If it was, it would be listed as a requirement, not a plus.)

      I know I'm rambling more than a little here, this is a hard question to answer. Hope this is at least a little helpful.

      Good luck out there.
      Story Team Manager at Remedy. Like the occasional stupid remark? Follow me on Twitter: @MikkiRMD

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      • Re: Ask Remedy...

        Much obliged for the lengthy and thorough response, Mikki!

        Dedication, hard work, and patience, as with all things, seem to be the key qualifications.

        Journalism doesn't really interest me much, but I suppose I'll start looking into it (if for nothing else, to garner some experience). In relation to making a name, I couldn't agree more! To my experience, readers are very wary when it comes to reading huge blocks of text coming from a relatively unknown name, so I've jumped in the bandwagon of graphically embedded storytelling. Providing a visual cue seems to serve as a decent wall breaker in lighting up the initial spark of interest.

        Either way, thanks again for your response and I look forward to what else Remedy has up its sleeve! Your advice will not go in vain.
        "But who prays for Satan? Who, in eighteen centuries, has had the common humanity to pray for the one sinner that needed it most?"
        — Mark Twain

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        • Re: Ask Remedy...

          Remedy

          Im wanting to learn C#

          Can you recommend any books that i could read?

          Thanks

          Watch out. The gap in the door... It's a seperate reality... The only me is me... Are you sure the only you is you?

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          • Re: Ask Remedy...

            This was one book recommended by our tools team who have dabbled most with C# here.

            http://www.wrox.com/WileyCDA/WroxTit...470261293.html

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            • Re: Ask Remedy...

              Originally posted by MarkusRMD View Post
              This was one book recommended by our tools team who have dabbled most with C# here.

              http://www.wrox.com/WileyCDA/WroxTit...470261293.html
              Thanks Markus ill take a look at that now
              Watch out. The gap in the door... It's a seperate reality... The only me is me... Are you sure the only you is you?

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              • Re: Ask Remedy...

                Do you guys at Remedy consider the possibility of crowdfunding?

                It's a great, independent possibility for financing games (Slightly Mad, Tim Schafer, ...) and I think Remedy is perfect for this, because you guys are close and talk a lot with the community.

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                • Re: Ask Remedy...

                  It definitely is getting a lot of traction with companies and artists. I would love to see it work out for a Remedy project.
                  Remedy's currently known projects:
                  Quantum Break - 2016

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                  • Re: Ask Remedy...

                    Well, we're definitely following things with interest. I don't want to get too deep into this -- it'd be pretty irresponsible of me to speculate about our future business decisions in any way, so I won't even get into that. I think it's safe to say that everybody in this industry takes notice of something like this.

                    I will say that I personally love the concept of a developer successfully reaching out directly to their audience like this, but I also recognize that the money's just a part of it; to do something like that, I think you probably need to change the way you do things quite a bit. Clearly, the guys at Double Fine recognize that, and I think it's great that they're in a position where they can do that.

                    I have a deep and abiding love Tim Schafer and Ron Gilbert's fantastic work, and I think Double Fine tends to put out damn fine games, so I'm very eagerly looking forward to their adventure game, and yes, they got money from me (and, I'd bet, from a lot of others at our office). This has turned out very well for them, and I couldn't be happier about that.
                    Story Team Manager at Remedy. Like the occasional stupid remark? Follow me on Twitter: @MikkiRMD

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                    • Re: Ask Remedy...

                      Yeah, I think Double Fine had the right project, right team and especially the right fans for the Kickstarter project. Love to see that turn out so well and looking forward to the end result!

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                      • Re: Ask Remedy...

                        thanks for the answers guys.

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                        • Re: Ask Remedy...

                          Hey Remedy Team!

                          This is my first time posting here, so let me start by saying it's nice to meet you all. I have very little personal experience with collaboration as a writer, so I'm fascinated by the processes used by multiple writers to tell one story. I love what Mikki has written about the relationship between the technical and design teams and the writers, but the work done within the writing team itself is what really fascinates me. Specifically, how much work is done via committee and how much is done individually? Do you delegate certain scenarios or bits of necessary copy to your writers as needed? Do you workshop completed copy in order to ensure that it meets a certain standard and reads like a single voice?

                          Thanks a ton!
                          This Should Mean Something...

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                          • Re: Ask Remedy...

                            Hey Douglas,

                            Okay, this is a pretty big topic, but I'll try to get into it a little bit.

                            First of all, we're a relatively small studio, and our writing team is also fairly small -- it only consists of two people, so there's not a lot in a way of doing things by committee. I think your post kind of assumes that there are more of us than that. (Well, pretty soon there will be, we're hoping, as you know!) I'm just going to pretty much ignore outside influences for the purposes of this post -- I have talked about them before; suffice to say that game design, level design, the scope of the project, technical issues, etc. have a huge impact on what we do, and we constantly need to accommodate them in various ways. I'll just talk about what we do as writers.

                            First of all, we talk about story stuff a lot -- constantly. That's pretty much what we start out with -- just us and a whiteboard. We write stuff down, we wipe stuff off, and the things that stay on the board for longer than fifteen minutes feel like they have some traction. At this point we've typically already got some idea what we're doing -- a very high-level concept for the project, game design considerations we need to take into account, a budget we need to keep in mind, practical things like that. So we talk, and out of that talk comes a very rough plot synopsis. We don't really worry about details like locations or anything unless they are important to the plot -- so using Alan Wake as an example, at this stage we might know that Wake starts out at the sheriff's office and ends up at the dam, for example, but we don't really worry too much about how he's going to get there or anything, or even what happens on the way, unless it's a major plot point.

                            After that we typically start break it down into smaller chunks, and we come up with a more detailed scene outline -- so at this stage we'd start to think about what kind of obstacles there might be between him and the dam, what the other characters who're present might be up to at any given time, the pacing, etc. Once we've got a solid scene outline worked out on the whiteboard, we take that down, maybe flesh it out a little bit, so we get a document that has a fairly solid progression for the characters. At this stage, we don't typically have dialogue as such, although I often end up writing down specific lines if something that seems good occurs to me, and just slip them in there. Sometimes they make it to the finished product, sometimes they don't.

                            And then we use that scene outline document as a template and start to work on the actual screenplay. This is pretty much the same thing as a film screenplay -- we do have some notation that's a little different, and we know there's going to be a lot of gameplay in there that we don't know anything about when we write it, so we're very much aware of the fact that there's going to be multiple drafts of this document. In Alan Wake, we did twenty or thirty drafts of some sections -- some of those changes were very minor, others included the insertion or deletion of entire scenes. Our first draft and final draft can be very different, but the overall progression of events is generally more or less the same.

                            Things like ensuring that the characters' tone and voices remain consistent aren't very problematic for us, since there are just two of us -- we both know these guys really well, so it hasn't been a problem so far. Sometimes something feels a little off, but we catch that during our feedback rounds without too much trouble, and the actors often have a good eye for that sort of thing, too. That's another result of working together very closely.

                            So we workshop things a lot, but it's worth noting that within this process, there's quite a bit of space for individual ideas and expression. We go over each others' work all the time -- I give feedback to and edit Sam, and Sam gives feedback to and edits me, and we get constant feedback from others as well -- our other teams, the publisher, etc. We've worked together for years now, so we have a lot of trust and confidence between us, I think -- it's been a pretty good partnership, and by now we know each others' strengths and weaknesses very well, so if one of us gets a crazy idea, we have a pretty good idea whether the other guy should go "no, that's not gonna work" or "keep talking." We don't really do things by committee -- there's no voting or anything. Sometimes we argue about things and it can get a little intense, but I don't think there's ever been a situation where one of us wants to do something and the other one's dead set against it, and we can't talk it out.

                            If that did happen, though, in the end, Sam's my boss so it'd be his call -- but it's never come down to him pulling rank or something, and frankly, I think that'd be a failure on both our parts if it got to that. There are things he really likes to do, and things I really like to do, and we accommodate each other, and if something seems like a bad idea, we speak up. We're pretty reasonable people, and if one of us says that hey, I know what you're going for but it just doesn't work, I think we're generally willing to accept that and try to come up with something better. Generally, we have a good time, even when the deadlines are tight (and they're always tight -- if it's not a level designer waiting on a new screenplay draft so they can start implementing that material, we've got a recording session coming up and we need to wrap up the material so the actors can do their job). But it's fun and rewarding. And somewhere at the end of this process, there's a story, and a finished screenplay, and finally even the game!

                            Is that helpful? Please let me know if I was unclear on something, or if something else comes to mind. I'm very much aware that condensing what can be an extremely long and complicated process to a few paragraphs, but I really want to convey how much of this stuff is a collaboration, something we do together. We do write on our own quite a bit, but we always sit down and talk about it afterwards. And of course, that collaboration extends far beyond us -- as I've described before, I spend a lot of time talking to level designers and our audio guys, among others, and they make a lot of requests which has a huge impact on our storytelling. This is teamwork.
                            Last edited by MikkiRMD; 02-13-2012, 09:53 PM. Reason: Added the bit about finding the right character voices.
                            Story Team Manager at Remedy. Like the occasional stupid remark? Follow me on Twitter: @MikkiRMD

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                            • Re: Ask Remedy...

                              Ha, I registered to ask about the writing process and what do I find if not a lengthy post about just that. Very interesting too!

                              I was wondering if either of you, or maybe both, work directly with the actors when they are recording their parts? I don't think I've seen you mention it here, but it seems like something writers usually don't get the chance to do, so it'd be interesting to hear a few thoughts on it.

                              Also, hi! First post.
                              Last edited by Simon Österhof; 02-13-2012, 10:22 PM.

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                              • Re: Ask Remedy...

                                Wow! Thanks, Mikki. That's sounds like such a cool process. I hadn't realized that it was just the two of you. Thanks for answering such a broad question so exhaustively. It was really helpful.
                                This Should Mean Something...

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