It has been a very full start to the year so far.
After months of stress about giving a talk, GDC 2018 has come and gone. People tell me the talk was a success, so that's really nice because, man, I was nervous. My memories of the whole thing are hazy, but it felt especially good at the Monday session - That was for the Narrative Summit so we had a great crowd that was at GDC specifically for that kind of narrative-focused talk. Should be getting the video from that within the next week or so, which will be fun to see and share with the rest of the Internet At Large.
GDC was such a funny experience. It was my first one I've attended (I know, weird) and it was nuts to go to restaurants and hear nothing but game-related conversations. I was hit really hard by imposter syndrome the whole time - Especially when talking to students or young people who wanted to know more about "breaking in" to the industry. This year marks my 7th year as a professional writer, but only the last 4.5-ish years have spent writing video games... and all of that experience has been exclusively at Telltale, so I don't feel like I've had the kind of "career" that the folks I look up to have had.
It doesn't help that the video game industry is changing so rapidly. Like store-bought guacamole that turns brown before you get it home, it feels like my advice or knowledge is out of date in the time it takes me to say it. The in-roads and paths into the industry are shifting constantly and it seems like no one "breaks in" in the same way twice. It reminds me of how I recently heard that more and more kids in school are declaring "Twitch streamer" as their dream jobs - Twitch didn't even exist a few years ago, who knows if it'll still be around by the time they graduate.
Just like the people streaming things on Twitch had no idea a few years ago that's what they'd be doing professionally, most of the people I know in the game industry kind of fell into it by accident. I think that's where a lot of my imposter syndrome takes root. I talk to these 17-, 18-, 20-year olds who want to be in the video game industry - who want to go from where they are to where I am - and I don't know how to draw that map for them because I was never a 17-, 18-, 20-year old trying to get into games. When I was those ages, I was trying to figure out how to make a living writing cartoons. My time in the career industry has been mostly spent trying to rapidly learn as much as possible, as fast as possible.
That's been especially true lately. In the last 4.5 years at Telltale I've helped write and make a very particular kind of content. Gotten pretty good at it too, if I do say so myself. Over the 6 or 7 projects I worked on we pushed and pulled the format a little bit, but were never allowed to move too far away from the core "Telltale Formula." For this latest project though? I'm not gonna say we're throwing out the entire playbook, but we are throwing out a LOT of preconceptions and "rules" that have accumulated at TTG over the last half-decade. It's super exciting, but also pretty stressful trying to ingest so much new knowledge (both technical and game-design-philosophical) so rapidly. That's all I'm going to say on the matter for now because I don't want to get in trouble... but I'm excited to share it with the world eventually.
Also under the category of "exciting... but stressful" is a certain big day I have coming up in June. I knew that planning a wedding would be a lot to take on, but I seriously underestimated just how much stress it would introduce into my life. The big things you hear about ("We need a venue!" "We need a caterer!" "Everything's so expensive!") and I had thus been prepared for them by a lifetime of watching movies and sitcoms. What I hadn't been prepared for were the million and one smaller things that threaten to fall through the cracks every day: "What will my groomsmen wear?" "What kind of wedding band do you want?" "What will the dessert sit on?" "Where will we find the frames to make chalkboard signs showing guests the schedule?" Molly has been utterly amazing in having a vision for how she wants this thing to look, but I'm trying to hold up as much as I can on my end too... definitely tough but I think we're keeping it together. (I've also got my fingers crossed that a few things come through that help pay for the dang thing.)
So... yeah that's my 2018 so far in a nutshell. Thought it would be fun to write some of this up as winter comes to a close and we move into summer. Self-indulgent? Sure. But you're the one that came to a website with an address of [myname] dot com. If you're still here, thanks for reading.