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Storytelling Fundamentals in a Day


Evan Skolnick (Game Writer / Narrative Designer, Independent)

Location: Room 2006, West Hall

Date: Monday, March 19

Time: 10:00am - 6:00pm

Pass Type: All Access, GDC Conference + Summits, GDC Summits - Get your pass now!

Topic: Design

Format: Tutorial

Tutorials: Storytelling Fundamentals in a Day

Vault Recording: Not Recorded

Audience Level: All

This dynamic, engaging presentation on the fundamentals of story development is designed for anyone and everyone interested in improving the narrative quality of their games. Hosted by Marvel and Telltale writing veteran Evan Skolnick, this comprehensive tutorial covers narrative structure, vibrant character development, storytelling best practices, and more.

Nearly every member of a development team ultimately contributes to the implementation of the game's narrative, and so becomes, to one degree or another, a storyteller. But without a shared language of story spoken by all team members, an unfocused narrative result is almost inevitable. This session is designed to provide that common frame of reference, so that everyone on the team is driving the game story in the same direction.

Prior attendees of this popular, long-running tutorial (a broad mix of designers, artists, engineers, producers and writers) have called it "amazing" and "essential knowledge to further the medium."


Attendees will gain understanding of narrative's place in games and some of the main theories of story. They will also learn vital rules and tools related to characterization, exposition delivery, believability, and impact on the audience. Concepts are reinforced via insightful lectures, entertaining examples, skill-building exercises and practical case studies.

Intended Audience

This tutorial is mainly intended for game developers with limited fiction writing experience. No prerequisite knowledge is necessary to understand the content of this session. However, familiarity with foundational "nerd culture" movies (Star Wars, LOTR, Aliens, Terminator, etc.) and landmark story-centric games (BioShock, Portal, Half-Life, Uncharted, etc.) will enhance the experience.