Interview: Chris Jalufka, Artist and Screenwriter

Chris JalufkaSince I’m preparing for the Austin Film Festival (AFF) 2015, I thought it’d be fun to rehash my interview with Chris Jalufka, who I met my first year at the AFF. It’s been a long journey, and a fun one! I hope to meet many of you at the AFF this year, and if you are able to make it, come find me (I’m one of the panelist on the writing for games panel).

To find this interview and many more like it, check out my book: Creative Writing Career.

Chris Jalufka is a former script reader and collector of other production and post- production jobs in the film and advertising industries. Currently he is the writer and keeper of the art focused site Evil Tender Dot Com. He is included here for his views of structure, conferences, and as a professional reader.

Justin Sloan: Chris, you have worked as a reader in Hollywood and elsewhere, and done well in some contests, to include the Austin Film Festival’s screenplay contest. As a reader, what have you learned about screenwriting that you may have not been aware of before?

Chris Jalufka: The one thing that years of reading unproduced scripts teaches you is in fact the greatest lesson a writer can learn—no matter what, this is all subjective. Getting good feedback doesn’t mean anything. Bad feedback doesn’t mean anything. Write what you want to write. Don’t get hung up on the opinions of others, good or bad. Move forward, always. Continue reading

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Creative Mentor Series

BookCoverImageAs the second book in my Creative Mentor series is about to hit the shelves (and the 3rd in a couple of months!) I thought I would share with you all some highlights from book 1. The book has done fairly well, including nearly 100 audiobooks sold and reaching Top 3 Best Seller in Job Hunting, December 2014.

For more information on the book, see below. And I recommend you check out other audiobooks by the narrator, Thomas Block. 

The Book:

Want to be a writer of video games? A screenwriter? A novelist? This book will guide you as you position yourself for a career as a writer.

Based on a lifetime of struggling to make it as a creative writer, “Creative Writing Career: Becoming a Writer of Movies, Video Games, and Books” is a guide for aspiring writers to help them position themselves in an extremely competitive field. The book includes information on the writing process and ways to improve one’s craft, but mostly focuses on how to get discovered and where to concentrate energy in the meantime. The content of the book is supplemented by writer interviews, featuring some incredibly gifted people who share the wisdom they have gained. With writing, as with most aspects of life, I have chosen to rely on those with demonstrated wisdom to move ahead. This book presents that wisdom for the reader to do the same. Continue reading

Interview: Toiya Kristen Finley, Video Game Writer and GDC Presenter

FinleyAuthorPhotoNashville native Toiya Kristen Finley is a writer, editor, game designer, and narrative designer/game writer. She holds a Ph.D. in literature and creative writing from Binghamton University. With nearly 70 published works, she has 20 years of experience writing in a range of genres, tones, styles, and voices. She gained editorial experience interning at Henry Holt’s imprint, Owl Books. At Binghamton, she founded the literary journal Harpur Palate and served as its managing/fiction editor. She has been a writing center tutor, writing mentor, English tutor, and an instructor in both traditional and online classrooms. In 2011, she co-founded the Game Writing Tutorial at GDC Online with Tobias Heussner and served as an instructor in 2011 and 2012.

In videogames, she has worked as a game designer, narrative designer, and game writer (or some combination of the three) on several unreleased indie, social, and mobile games for children and general audiences. Some of these games’ existence shall remain forever a secret (hey, that’s the game industry for ya). Published games include Academagia: The Making of Mages (Black Chicken Studios) and Fat Chicken (Relevant Games). She is currently a member of the IGDA Game Writing Special Interest Group’s Executive Board. The Game Narrative Toolbox (Focal Press), a book on narrative design she’s co-authoring with Jennifer Brandes Hepler, Ann Lemay, and Tobias Heussner, will be out in June 2015.

Continue reading

Interview: Eric Bratcher – Video Game Writer, Freelancer, and Author

EHead2Eric Bratcher spent more than a decade as a pop-culture journalist specializing in music, videogames, and technology, then switched hats from critic to creator. Like a super-hero, he now lives multiple lives; he’s a videogame consultant by day, a novelist by night, and a musician on weekends. Unlike a super-hero, not one of these roles requires him to wear a cape. But he wears one anyway.

Eric provided me with wonderful advice when I was looking into entering the world of writing for games, including a great list of games I had to play (most of which I have now played and loved). I am happy to share his thoughts here with you all. Continue reading