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Question about game studio's Writer's Test

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Today l heard back from a pretty established game studio about a Game Writer position l applied for. They responded 2 weeks later with a writer's test in 3 parts and said l have a week to complete it.

This is a job that could pull me out of a shitty longterm situation, change my life, and allow me to actively chase my dream in the game industry.

So l sort of wanna try to not fuck up

l was hoping some of you guys could answer some questions l have about this test. l'm a lifelong gamer/writer, but l'm still wet behind the ears working in the game industry:

  • Part 1 is a Q&A composed of 18 questions starting with my gamer history and knowledge, then my general knowledge as a creative writer, then into specific behavioral and industry-relevant questions.

How long do you suggest my answers be for this part?

  • For Parts 2 & 3 l need to create a character that would fit into the cast of one of their published games as well as a major quest for said game. These parts are pretty straightforward... but what l'm lost on is that they want me to treat them as if l'm developing a "presentation of the character/quest" for the art direction and/or production teams.

ls there a specific format for this kind of presentation? lf not, can l just format it however l prefer to?

l seriously, really appreciate any advice you guys have to offer. Thanks in advance

-BVA

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1 hour ago, BVAaron said:

How long do you suggest my answers be for this part?

Long enough that you can convince them that you can do the job. 

There is no universal answer to how long your bio should be, how long your experience list should be, or how to best describe your background.  

I imagine some people could write a few words to get the job.  For example, I imagine this would be an amazing answer that satisfied the bulk of those questions:  "My name is Erik Wolpaw, I wrote the scripts for Portal and Portal 2, Half Life 2, and other games. " With that alone there is a good chance he'd land the job, or at least an interview.  But chances are good you'll need to write much more than that.

1 hour ago, BVAaron said:

ls there a specific format for this kind of presentation? lf not, can l just format it however l prefer to?

I'd ask them if they have a writing template so you can match their studio's style.  They may hand over a ready-made template.

If they don't have one, your favorite search engine can find a bunch of formatting templates for outlining a character or building quests. Use those as a guide or make up your own based on what you see.   If you make up your own be careful that you include all the details. It would be a sad mistake to build your own character sheets to only include positive traits, but have nothing of the character's quirks or flaws, worries and regrets, or individual insights.   For quests and groups you can give story arcs and the way the individual traits, quirks, and flaws are layered in the text to draw emotion.  In that case design it however you think would best convey the writing and at the same time be immediately useful to the other developer disciplines.

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On 7/12/2017 at 6:57 PM, frob said:

Long enough that you can convince them that you can do the job. 

There is no universal answer to how long your bio should be, how long your experience list should be, or how to best describe your background.  

I imagine some people could write a few words to get the job.  For example, I imagine this would be an amazing answer that satisfied the bulk of those questions:  "My name is Erik Wolpaw, I wrote the scripts for Portal and Portal 2, Half Life 2, and other games. " With that alone there is a good chance he'd land the job, or at least an interview.  But chances are good you'll need to write much more than that.

I'd ask them if they have a writing template so you can match their studio's style.  They may hand over a ready-made template.

If they don't have one, your favorite search engine can find a bunch of formatting templates for outlining a character or building quests. Use those as a guide or make up your own based on what you see.   If you make up your own be careful that you include all the details. It would be a sad mistake to build your own character sheets to only include positive traits, but have nothing of the character's quirks or flaws, worries and regrets, or individual insights.   For quests and groups you can give story arcs and the way the individual traits, quirks, and flaws are layered in the text to draw emotion.  In that case design it however you think would best convey the writing and at the same time be immediately useful to the other developer disciplines.

Thanks! Will do all of that

Could you possibly explain what you mean by, "
For quests and groups you can give story arcs and the way the individual traits, quirks, and flaws are layered in the text to draw emotion"?

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18 hours ago, BVAaron said:

Thanks! Will do all of that

Could you possibly explain what you mean by, "
For quests and groups you can give story arcs and the way the individual traits, quirks, and flaws are layered in the text to draw emotion"?

That was in response to this:

On 7/12/2017 at 7:13 PM, BVAaron said:

 l need to create a character that would fit into the cast of one of their published games as well as a major quest for said game. These parts are pretty straightforward... but what l'm lost on is that they want me to treat them as if l'm developing a "presentation of the character/quest" for the art direction and/or production teams.

If you're developing a character to fit in to the game you'll need all the aspects of the character.  If you're adding a major quest you need to write about fitting it in to the game.

As you hopefully know as an aspiring game writer, every major character should have a few facets. For most writing it is 1-3 key motivators (find lost parents, seeking fortune, protecting homeland, destroying a magical ring, searching for perfect ingredients, change the past to prevent disaster), a quirk or oddity of the character (lusty womanizer were everything is flavored by innuendo, depressed where everything is flavored by depression, shifty unknown background where everything is flavored by guesses about bizarre background) and flaws (Loyalty flaws where they eventually leave the party and may or may not return, envious flaws where they may cause problems by longing for something, recklessness flaws where a game character may take excessive action that harms the party).  Those should play well both with an art direction and with production goals.  In Pirates of the Caribbean they were all pirates, some dressed in dirty clothes with scars and a wooden leg and bad teeth, another who is dressed to the nines and could seduce twenty women with a smile.   

The same thing for a quest. You need to know how the arc of the quest will play out with the story line. Since it needs to integrate with an existing game, you'll need to figure out how to work it in to the universe in a believable way. You'll also need to figure out how it would affect the game after the quest is complete. It may be as simple as gaining an epic item, or it might change the game in a more dramatic way.  Quests can be tiny independent elements, or they can have large emotion-evoking elements.  That is all up to you, as the writer, to handle.

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