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  • Leading A Game Writer's Room

    - Gabriel Padinha

  • Set a brainstorm dynamic

    Despite having its own techniques and a much clearer objective, a script room is still a brainstorming, with ideas being presented all the time by those involved and with a mediator who will have the job of filtering them more evening.

    • Like any brainstorming, your writer's room must have some well-defined rules:
    • Don't spend too much time in the same session, your mind gets tired and ideas start to take longer to come up. It's okay to do more than one session!
    • Make it clear to people what exactly you are trying to achieve so that they will have more clarity when it comes to listing their ideas.
    • Make everyone feel included, praise ideas, and invite people to explain their suggestions better.
    • Do not judge! Ideas are ideas and limiting them can make someone who would have a great idea later sneak up and say nothing on your next topic.
    • If possible, take food!

    Besides, it is good to research some dynamics that match the goal you defined earlier, remember that no matter how good the dynamic seems, if it does not serve to achieve your goal, it was worthless. This site contains a huge list of brainstorm techniques:

    Define a direction before the session takes place

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    It's hard to come up with ideas totally out of the blue, but if people have a theme or piece of stuff to work on, then it`s much easier. 

    Some people may have trouble coming up with ideas out of the blue. In one of the sessions that I conducted, I looked for some references that already had to do with the world that we had idealized on top and compiled in order to create a summary and write a short story, this served for everyone to arrive with a clear idea of what direction they had to aim, even if the world was poorly defined.

    Divide people into groups

    This was an experimental technique that I tested and it worked very well! People, when part of the same group, naturally tend to walk in the same direction. As ideas come up, they all tend to go to the same place. Dividing people into two groups not only makes each group take different paths, but also creates debate.

    For two groups, I'm not saying to put in two corners of the room, but rather choosing who is "Machine" and who is "Human", for example, so that people will give answers about the world from that point of view.

    For this division, any two antagonistic groups (or those that are not close) will serve Herbivores and Carnivores, Machines and Humans, Poor and Rich. Just remember that these two groups have to have something to do with the theme already pre-established for your story.

    Make the rules of the session very clear.

    As soon as you start, remember to make it very clear which rules should be followed, so your session will spend less time with questions and will have more focus. Also remember to make it clear to the people who are participating in your script room which questions should be answered, so that the focus does not get distorted.

    This was the initial slide of our brainstorm session, containing all rules and goals we wanted to achieve in those few hours.

    Compile, analyze, filter, and create!

    Most of your work happens after the session, when you find yourself with a tangle of post-its and, depending on how many people you have invited, hundreds of ideas.

    Compiling ideas is your job, put them all on a spreadsheet that crosses questions and groups, mark the most interesting ones, analyze those that, despite being not so fitting, have potential to turn into something good, cross ideas with each other and see if they complement each other (or create interesting disparities for your script) and take the opportunity to gain insights and create new things.

    From here, ideas will emerge and you can share them with the team.

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    Well... Good luck. 

    Check if those ideas make you change your view from that narrative point and if it's necessary to have an additional session. In the end, take time to play with the ideas and use them in the best possible way to take your script, world, and characters to a place that makes sense for the story you want to tell.


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