The stars of Hollywood would have you believe that every set they've ever been on is made of the best crew, and that every script or screenplay was one of the best they'd ever read. Sometimes, if they're really lucky, they've had the opportunity to read a script that is one of a kind, a rare treat. This goes for just about all of them. It goes for the people on the set of Sniper 3 all the way up to the set and cast of Moon.
I honestly don't know where I was going with that. There was a point to be made and I lost it. Instead, I want to talk about what I think a lot of film and video game scripts are missing. Right, I remember where I was going with that whole opening paragraph.
Everyone has a different opinion on what they think is good. Unfortunately, the majority of people who see films and play video games enjoy crap. They have low standards and settle with explosions and paper thin, meaningless stories. Until we can raise moviegoers and gamers standards, we are all doomed to suffer through what they like. Occasionally a gem makes it through their filter and we get to enjoy something with some substance, but that is a rare occurrence.
I can see someone reading this wondering "If you're so smart, why don't you write something better?" Nice one you. Let me first explain what I think is missing and then I'll get into how I intend to fix it. I think the two mediums lack the human element. When I sit down in a theatre or in my chair at home to play a game, I want to be touched. I want to feel something for someone or something. If I don't feel, what is the point? Isn't that a pretty important part of being a human being?
"You can feel explosions, those are cool." Right, those are certainly cool. However, that isn't what I meant. What I meant was that I want to feel something using my emotions. If you've seen The Kings Speech there is a scene, the opening scene, in which the main protagonost is to give a speech to thousands of people in person and over the radio simultaneously. Spoiler, he has a speech impediment. As soon as he starts talking his failure is echoed over loudspeakers and over the radio. It's heartbreaking to say the least. I felt terrible for the guy. I'm not ashamed to admit it, I got choked up. Honestly, how terrible a feeling that must have been to stand there in front of these people as a figure of the ruling class and fail in front of all of them.
Anyway, you should have a better understanding of what I mean when I say I want to feel. As I said, these moments are few and far between in film and games. Both mediums have their upsides and downsides. Films are a passive experience so you can only give so much of yourself to it. At the moment games are still about entertainment. Should games grow up and take their storytelling more serious? I think so.
Upsides and downsides, remember when I said that? Film has a definite advantage over games and that is the passive experience. It does not allow for interaction, therefore we cannot get our hands on it and foul up the vision the writer/director had for the story. I used to be of the opinion that bending the story to my will was the way to go in games, but now I'm not so sure. I think I prefer a story that is set in stone that allows for only a passive experience. I've yet to learn how to craft a great story, so if you are a game developer or writer, remember that gamers are terrible story tellers. If you think you have a great story and build a game around it, make sure to make it a passive experience.
So, I've decided that a passive experience is best for games and that film has the upper hand when it comes to storytelling. That fact was never questioned I suppose, but I felt it important to take a stance. So I did. Now, do I intend to make a difference? And if so, how? Well, yes. I do intend to make a difference. I've always enjoyed telling stories and I certainly have a creative imagination. That's the beautiful thing about writing isn't it? There are no limits.
I suppose if you're writing a film script you have to take into account the budget. But, when it comes to games, novels, comics and the like there are no limitations. As J.J Abrams once put it in a TedTalk, "THERE ARE NO LIMITS. GO AND WRITE." Okay, I paraphrased, but you get the gist. There are no limits, nobody can keep you from writing. Be you a homeless person, a student, a young adult, whatever. Just go and write.
That is what I've done. I had forgotten how liberating writing a short story can be. Maybe that is part of the problem in Hollywood and the games industry among writers. There are a lot of older members who maybe are set in their ways and have lost their imaginative touch due to budget constraints or a publisher has said "this is what the fans want, make another." Whatever the case, both industries are in need of fresh blood and fresh ideas.
So if you are reading this and are as fed up with the mindless, repetitive drivel that is being pumped out as I am, I urge you to pick up a pen or pencil and start writing. Write about what you know. Slice your heart open (not literally) and let it bleed onto the page in front of you. For those using digital pen and paper, smear a little on the screen. Either way, be the change you wish to see.