End of Summer 2017 Update

Man what a crazy year it's been so far. I started the year working in total secret as the lead writer of Minecraft: Story Mode Season Two, which finally debuted in July. Now two episodes down with the third one on the way in the next few weeks, it's been so exciting to see the fan response so far and to see how much everyone has been digging the story we're laying out this year. It's been really tough learning how to be a leader, but I think I'm slowly making strides. See, in the past when I've been working on an episode at Telltale I just end up writing everything or rewriting everyone to make sure I'm getting what I want, but with 5 episodes going there's just not the time (and I don't have the energy). So while I wrote 100% of episode 1 and the majority of episode 2, with episodes 3-5 I'm trying really really hard to just coach and help the other writers. I'm hoping to write a whole blog post about that down the line.

Outside of my work at Telltale, I've had a couple of side projects come and go. I was developing a pair of feature films for a nice production company (had to get tabled for now; financial reasons, c'est la vie), and I've had a couple of features in development myself. Working with my dear friend and collaborator Osric Chau to see if we can get one of them off in the ground in 2018. Fingers crossed! Additionally I've started poking my toe into some other mediums - I have a couple comic book pitches floating around out there, I pitched an idea for a VR series... like with most things in this crazy business nothing has come of it yet, but it's fun to stretch my creative muscles and try things out.

On the non-work front, I've got some really exciting trips coming up in the fall which I can't wait for. In October, I'm accompanying my partner Molly to Bergen, Norway, where she's going to be speaking at Konsoll about Narrative Design. We visited Norway last year for her birthday and it'll be really fun to go back again. And then in November, I'm making a lifelong trip come true and going to Japan for two weeks!! We're flying into Tokyo, spending a few days there, then spending a week traveling the countryside before returning to Tokyo and flying home. I'm so so excited.

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I was thinking about embracing being hipster trash and buying a 1970s Instamatic Super 8 movie camera to record my Japan journey but I can't quite bring myself to pull the trigger. There are lots of them available on the cheap on Etsy but the film is expensive... still haven't decided yet but knowing me I'll probably end up just doing it. I think it could be pretty cool. :)

Anyhow. I just wanted to put an update on here so that if folks visited here it wouldn't look like a TOTAL ghost town. Maybe I'll try and actually post on here with a teeny tiny bit more frequency. We'll see.

See ya later, Jesse. Hello, Master Bruce.

Back in June 2015 when I first joined the Minecraft: Story Mode team I had no way of knowing what an insane adventure I was in for. Originally just a punch-up writer for episode 1, I was very pleased to be asked to develop and lead episode 3. I got to cook up weird ideas like Soren's Wool World, his obsession with Endermen, and crazy schemes involving Super TNT... Of course, that was before episode 2 had a bit of a crisis that they wanted my help fixing so, long story short, I ended up the lead writer of episode 2 while talented writer Mike Choung led episode 3 in my stead.

Unbelievably, all of that took place before October, so... it was a hectic few months, to say the least, after which I took a much-needed vacation to Hawaii with my partner-in-crime, Molly Maloney. Hawaii was fantastic.

When I returned Molly and I were both assigned to episode 5 of Story Mode and got to develop its story from scratch, which was a wonderful experience. Episodes 1-4 of Story Mode dealt with the Witherstorm and, having wrapped that up, the execs wanted episode 5 to be sort of a "reboot"/pilot 2.0 for the mini-series, which was also a big question mark at that period of time.

One of our first pitches for episode 5 involved Jesse discovering portals to 3 different dimensions, which she had to hop between to solve various problems... Upon pitching it to the execs, they loved it so much that they wanted that to be the premise of the entire mini-series - So we picked our favorite of the 3 worlds we'd developed (Sky Kingdom) and built that out into an entire episode. It was a blast.

As we finished up episode 5, different teams began developing their own portal adventures for episodes 6-8 and I was lucky enough to get to help them. With episode 5 acting as something of a "reboot", it was an opportunity to retool some of the characters, tweak their personalities, and also really focus on the exciting, funny aspects of the series and its cast. This meant that, crazily enough, the flavor of the series ended up infused with a lot of, well, Stirpe-ness.

To keep that flavor consistent across the mini-series, I got a battlefield promotion to "Season Lead Writer" and ended up writing the majority of episodes 6-8. It was a ton of work, but it was a real honor to get to be part of shaping a series like Story Mode and I'm insanely proud of what we've made out of the portal hopping mini-series.

After I turned in my last VO script for the finale I sat back and realized that, for the first time in a year, I had no idea what I'd be doing next at Telltale. Maybe I'd be asked to help do pre-production on [SECRET PROJECT 1] or [SECRET PROJECT 2]? Or maybe I'd be asked to help do an episode of Walking Dead Season 3?

But lo and behold, the Bat Signal came for me and, as of this past week I am officially working on Batman: The Telltale Series. Stressful and super crazy so far, but also very exciting. I’m writing episode 4, which means I have a lot to catch up on but the team has all been incredibly welcoming. 

Having dreamt of writing Batman since I was, like, 4, I'm a little nervous but also excited and super honored that I get to be a part of writing for Bruce, Alfred, and all the rest of them... My episode doesn't come out for a while, so I'll be going a little quiet until then, but you better believe that I'll still be talking up Minecraft: Story Mode, especially as that big finale gets closer and closer.

Wish me luck everyone!