Highlights: Nicky Case analyses screenwriting

Nicky Case summarised on this excelent article a screenwriting book. He thinks it may be applied to games because they are not different to other media.

Let me highlight the sentences I liked more:

“Is your work enriching, or escapist? We need less art indulging us with what we want, and art that gives us what we need.

Good stories are nuanced fables: The Wire shows us we’re affected by the systems we live in. Do The Right Thing shows us the duality of human nature. A Clockwork Orange shows us the brutality of retribution-as-justice. Breaking Bad shows us how slippery morality is. Telltale’s The Walking Deadshowed me how slippery my morality is.”

Art = Purpose. Stories are how we convey values, beliefs, and core human questions. Treat your story like a persuasive essay. A logical argument imbued with human emotions, making a strong case for its conclusion, your core message.”

The Humans of Stories: Explore logic through humans. The difference between a dry step-by-step logical argument and a compelling story is having characters go through the emotions and messy discovery of the logic. Characters should drive the plot.

“Be Economical. You want clear and concise arguments. And while stories definitely should allow for a lot more ambiguity, that ambiguity should be for a purpose. Clarity > Cleverness

“Things should serve overlapping functions. The best example I can think of actually comes from games — GLadOS. Take for example her line, “any contact with the chamber floor will result in an unsatisfactory mark on your official record, followed by death.” Not only is this a tutorial, it also characterizes her as cold, adds to the world as messed-up research lab, and is great deadpan black comedy. Four functions, one line. That’s impressive.”

A story has a message.

A story is a persuasive essay. The premises and logic is played out by characters, and given emotional stakes.

A story does this concisely and vividly, to really get us messy humans to internalize what would otherwise be a boring, didactic message.

A story is about people.

A story can make us better people.

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