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“. . . And Make It Snappy!” Crafting Concise, Effective Dialogue for your Game “. . . And Make It Snappy!” Crafting Concise, Effective Dialogue for your Game Evan Skolnick Producer and Editorial Director Vicarious Visions / Activision [email protected] com

All characters and works in this presentation are trademarks of and/or copyrighted by their All characters and works in this presentation are trademarks of and/or copyrighted by their respective owners. Except where noted, they are used without permission for educational purposes only, under the Fair Use provision of the United States Copyright Act.

Lecture Overview • • Getting Over Yourself! Game Dialogue’s Main Function: Exposition – Plot Lecture Overview • • Getting Over Yourself! Game Dialogue’s Main Function: Exposition – Plot – Character • Voice • • • – Emotion Other Considerations – Humor – Naturalness vs. Compression – Audience Your Writing and Editing Process – Cutscenes – In-Game Case Study: Over the Hedge DS cutscenes

Getting Over Yourself • You’re not the next Hemingway • Even if you are, Getting Over Yourself • You’re not the next Hemingway • Even if you are, this isn’t the place to try to show it • Write tight, effective, serviceable story content • Attempting anything beyond that is a distraction and a disservice • Gameplay is king – Story should always support it, never supplant it

Dialogue’s Main Function Exposition • This fact is a big reason why many writers Dialogue’s Main Function Exposition • This fact is a big reason why many writers overwrite on dialogue • “I have so much to tell the viewer and so little time!” • In fact you probably have more time than you realize

Dialogue’s Main Function Exposition • Plot • Character • Emotion Dialogue’s Main Function Exposition • Plot • Character • Emotion

Exposition Plot Story and Dialogue are inextricably linked, so there will be some overlap Exposition Plot Story and Dialogue are inextricably linked, so there will be some overlap in this discussion

Exposition Plot How much story does your game actually need? Chart adapted from Andrew Exposition Plot How much story does your game actually need? Chart adapted from Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design, Rollings & Adams, 2003

Exposition Plot How much story does your game actually need? Chart adapted from Andrew Exposition Plot How much story does your game actually need? Chart adapted from Andrew Rollings and Ernest Adams on Game Design, Rollings & Adams, 2003

Exposition Plot • Dialogue is a tool the writer can use to provide plot Exposition Plot • Dialogue is a tool the writer can use to provide plot exposition, but. . . • Always better to show than tell • It’s possible to convey a complete story with no dialogue at all

Exposition Plot • If art/animation is already providing adequate plot information, don’t duplicate that Exposition Plot • If art/animation is already providing adequate plot information, don’t duplicate that effort • Instead, use dialogue to support the ancillary functions: – Character – Emotion – Humor • However, when necessary, you’ll need to convey plot exposition via dialogue – Don’t explain what is obvious or irrelevant – Try to subtly weave exposition into your dialogue

Exposition Plot • First cutscene is often the longest • Writer struggles to establish Exposition Plot • First cutscene is often the longest • Writer struggles to establish world, characters and conflict all at once • Common area of overwriting

Exposition Plot Opening Cutscene(s) • How much is enough? Example 1: Grand Theft Auto Exposition Plot Opening Cutscene(s) • How much is enough? Example 1: Grand Theft Auto III

Exposition Plot Opening Cutscene(s) • How much is enough? Example 1: Grand Theft Auto Exposition Plot Opening Cutscene(s) • How much is enough? Example 1: Grand Theft Auto III

Exposition Plot Opening Cutscene(s) • How much is enough? Example 1: Grand Theft Auto Exposition Plot Opening Cutscene(s) • How much is enough? Example 1: Grand Theft Auto III Total required viewing time: 2: 55

Exposition Plot Opening Cutscene(s) • How much is too much? Example 2: Metal Gear Exposition Plot Opening Cutscene(s) • How much is too much? Example 2: Metal Gear Solid 2

Exposition Plot Opening Cutscene(s) • How much is too much? Example 2: Metal Gear Exposition Plot Opening Cutscene(s) • How much is too much? Example 2: Metal Gear Solid 2 Total required viewing time: 12: 48

Exposition Plot Opening Cutscene(s) • How much is too much? Example 2: Metal Gear Exposition Plot Opening Cutscene(s) • How much is too much? Example 2: Metal Gear Solid 2 Total required viewing time: 12: 48

Exposition Plot • First cutscene is often the longest • Writer struggles to establish Exposition Plot • First cutscene is often the longest • Writer struggles to establish world, characters and conflict all at once • Common area of overwriting • Generally the viewer needs much less exposition at the outset than you’d think • Focus on providing only “need to know” info, especially up front • Providing barely enough information can actually increase drama and viewer interest

Case Study: The Terminator Written by James Cameron & Gale Ann Hurd Additional dialogue Case Study: The Terminator Written by James Cameron & Gale Ann Hurd Additional dialogue by William Wisher

Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the man who will lead humankind’s resistance against the machines that rule the world in 2029.

Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the man who will lead humankind’s resistance against the machines that rule the world in 2029.

Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the man who will lead humankind’s resistance against the machines that rule the world in 2029.

Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the man who will lead humankind’s resistance against the machines that rule the world in 2029.

Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the man who will lead humankind’s resistance against the machines that rule the world in 2029.

Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the man who will lead humankind’s resistance against the machines that rule the world in 2029.

Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the man who will lead humankind’s resistance against the machines that rule the world in 2029.

Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the man who will lead humankind’s resistance against the machines that rule the world in 2029.

Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time Case Study: The Terminator’s plot: An unstoppable murderous cyborg has traveled back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of the man who will lead humankind’s resistance against the machines that rule the world in 2029.

Case Study: The Terminator Plot Exposition: • It’s OK to delay • Focus on Case Study: The Terminator Plot Exposition: • It’s OK to delay • Focus on “Need to Know”

Exposition Character • What your characters do can drive plot and character exposition • Exposition Character • What your characters do can drive plot and character exposition • What your characters say often drives plot exposition • How your characters say it drives character exposition

Character Voice • Each important character must have a unique voice Affected by: • Character Voice • Each important character must have a unique voice Affected by: • Intelligence • Vocabulary • Ethnicity/Accent • Economic Background • General attitude toward life • Specific attitude toward the recipient – Can change depending on: • • Current situation Current emotional state Current goals A change due to character growth or new information

Character Voice • In all cases, characters’ voices should differentiate them from each other Character Voice • In all cases, characters’ voices should differentiate them from each other • A line that could be spoken by any character could probably be improved • (Or your characters may just be too bland)

Case Study: X-Men Voices “X-Men, we have an emergency. Please come to my office Case Study: X-Men Voices “X-Men, we have an emergency. Please come to my office at once. ”

Case Study: X-Men Voices Nightcrawler “I am coming, Professor. ” Wolverine “Ja vohl, Professor. Case Study: X-Men Voices Nightcrawler “I am coming, Professor. ” Wolverine “Ja vohl, Professor. I vill be there in a flash. ” “Comin’, sugah. ” Rogue “On my way, Professor. ” Cyclops “In a minute, Chuck. Got business to deal with first. ” Storm

Case Study: X-Men Voices Nightcrawler “Ja vohl, Professor. I vill be there in a Case Study: X-Men Voices Nightcrawler “Ja vohl, Professor. I vill be there in a flash. ” Wolverine “In a minute, Chuck. Got business to deal with first. ” Rogue “Comin’, sugah. ” Cyclops “On my way, Professor. ” Storm “I am coming, Professor. ”

Character Voice Finding each character’s voice • Licensed characters: research – Find out everything Character Voice Finding each character’s voice • Licensed characters: research – Find out everything you can about the character – Read the prior dialogue • Transcribe if necessary • Note sentence structure, dialect, etc. – Write, then read out loud (or “out loud in head”) • Check for authenticity vs. established character voice • Original characters: over-develop – Create detailed background upon which to draw

Character Voice • Some things to know about your original characters – – – Character Voice • Some things to know about your original characters – – – – – Where was I born? How old am I? Where did I grow up? What’s my educational background? Do I have an accent? Do I have a speech impediment? Do I have any pet phrases? What do I do for a living? What are my hobbies? What do I love? What do I hate? Am I personality type A, B, or C? Am I married? Have I ever been? How do I feel about the other characters in this story? Who is my best friend and why? Who is my worst enemy and why? What makes me special and unique?

Exposition Emotion • Emotion mainly conveyed through character action – Again, show don’t tell Exposition Emotion • Emotion mainly conveyed through character action – Again, show don’t tell • Dialogue usually reinforces emotional states • Emotion increases stakes and adds weight to gameplay situations – Resolution of conflicts must personally matter to the playable characters to add weight – Direct investment in the outcome of the overall conflict – Pepper sub-conflicts which tie into main conflict

Exposition Emotion A simple turn of phrase can move the characters’ emotional state all Exposition Emotion A simple turn of phrase can move the characters’ emotional state all over the place APARTMENT, DAY. JANET, a 35 -year-old woman, slumps in her chair at the kitchen table smoking a cigarette. She glances at the CLOCK on the wall, then takes another drag, looking unhappy. The front door opens and BRAD enters carrying a brown paper bag. JANET looks up. JANET I’m not happy, Brad. You’re late. Worst possible choice; character is stating what the action is already making obvious.

Exposition Emotion APARTMENT, DAY. JANET, a 35 -year-old woman, slumps in her chair at Exposition Emotion APARTMENT, DAY. JANET, a 35 -year-old woman, slumps in her chair at the kitchen table smoking a cigarette. She glances at the CLOCK on the wall, then takes another drag, looking unhappy. The front door opens and BRAD enters carrying a brown paper bag. JANET looks up. JANICE Where the hell have you been? Clarifies unhappiness to be anger; implies a lack of knowledge of what Brad’s been up to

Exposition Emotion APARTMENT, DAY. JANET, a 35 -year-old woman, slumps in her chair at Exposition Emotion APARTMENT, DAY. JANET, a 35 -year-old woman, slumps in her chair at the kitchen table smoking a cigarette. She glances at the CLOCK on the wall, then takes another drag, looking unhappy. The front door opens and BRAD enters carrying a brown paper bag. JANET looks up. JANET “Half an hour, ” huh? Implies an prior understanding of how long Brad would be gone; reinforces his lateness

Exposition Emotion APARTMENT, DAY. JANET, a 35 -year-old woman, slumps in her chair at Exposition Emotion APARTMENT, DAY. JANET, a 35 -year-old woman, slumps in her chair at the kitchen table smoking a cigarette. She glances at the CLOCK on the wall, then takes another drag, looking unhappy. The front door opens and BRAD enters carrying a brown paper bag. JANET looks up. JANET Thank God you’re back! I was worried about you. Unhappiness revealed not as anger but worry and concern

Exposition Emotion APARTMENT, DAY. JANET , a 35 -year-old woman, slumps in her chair Exposition Emotion APARTMENT, DAY. JANET , a 35 -year-old woman, slumps in her chair at the kitchen table smoking a cigarette. She glances at the CLOCK on the wall, then takes another drag, looking unhappy. The front door opens and BRAD enters carrying a brown paper bag. JANET doesn’t even look up. JANET You know, Brad, my last husband was late once. Once. Clarifies unhappiness to be anger; implies feigned indifference, possible veiled threat

Exposition Emotion APARTMENT, DAY. JANET , a 35 -year-old woman, slumps in her chair Exposition Emotion APARTMENT, DAY. JANET , a 35 -year-old woman, slumps in her chair at the kitchen table smoking a cigarette. She glances at the CLOCK on the wall, then takes another drag, looking unhappy. The front door opens and BRAD enters carrying a brown paper bag. JANET looks at her watch then glares furiously at BRAD. Clarifies the unhappiness to be anger

Other Considerations • Humor • Naturalness vs. Compression • Audience Other Considerations • Humor • Naturalness vs. Compression • Audience

Other Considerations • Humor – Even the most intense story experience needs the occasional Other Considerations • Humor – Even the most intense story experience needs the occasional stress-relieving laugh – Many properties require a significant amount of comedy writing – Few things are as subjective as comedy – Test your material – Humor extends length

Other Considerations • Naturalness vs. Compression – Writing natural-sounding dialogue comes easily to some, Other Considerations • Naturalness vs. Compression – Writing natural-sounding dialogue comes easily to some, but most writers need to work at it – Real-world dialogue is not the same as effective, naturalsounding story dialogue – Exercise • Record people talking and transcribe it • Rewrite the conversation for clarity and brevity

Other Considerations • Audience – What is your target audience? • • Age Sex Other Considerations • Audience – What is your target audience? • • Age Sex Interests Pop culture knowledge – ESRB • Are you writing at a level appropriate for the target ESRB rating (E, E 10+, T, M? ) – Research and read entertainment experiences targeted at the same audience

Your Writing and Editing Process • Cutscenes • In-Game Your Writing and Editing Process • Cutscenes • In-Game

Process Cutscenes • First Pass: Blocking Out – Work with designers to determine what Process Cutscenes • First Pass: Blocking Out – Work with designers to determine what each cutscene MUST convey in order to: • • • Pay off previous game experience Set up / support next game experience Continue to move the overall game plot forward Establish important character and relationship info Otherwise support design or storytelling goals – Do a rough first pass on all cutscenes in the game before beginning to edit or polish any of them

Process Cutscenes • Second Pass – After first pass, evaluate to make sure all Process Cutscenes • Second Pass – After first pass, evaluate to make sure all requirements of each cutscene are being met • • • Pay off previous game experience Set up / support next game experience Continue to move the overall game plot forward Establish important character and relationship info Otherwise support design or storytelling goals – Flesh it out – Your second pass might be longer than the first! – Before you start to cut the fat, make sure all the muscle is there

Process Cutscenes • Editing – Now it’s time to pare dialogue down to its Process Cutscenes • Editing – Now it’s time to pare dialogue down to its essence – Look at every sentence and challenge it to justify its existence • • • What purpose do you serve? Could you be replaced by a shorter or better phrase? Are you being spoken by the best choice of character? Are you trying to communicate too many things all at once? Do you sound natural? Are you surrounded by sentences of similar length? – Shorten, replace, remove wherever possible. Cut until it starts to hurt!

Process Cutscenes • Editing – Second Round – After challenging sentences, move onto challenging Process Cutscenes • Editing – Second Round – After challenging sentences, move onto challenging the individual words – Shorten, replace, remove wherever you can – More words = more likelihood player hits “skip” button

Your Writing and Editing Process • Cutscenes • In-Game Your Writing and Editing Process • Cutscenes • In-Game

Process In-Game Dialogue • In-Game Dialogue – Same rules as Cutscene dialogue apply – Process In-Game Dialogue • In-Game Dialogue – Same rules as Cutscene dialogue apply – Emphasis on providing very specific direction • Objectives • Hints • Means to the end – Use the “challenge each word” process here, too – Shorten, replace, remove wherever you can – However, “timeout idle” and similar throwaway lines are fun to write and pure gravy for a writer. Have fun!

Your Writing and Editing Process • Getting Feedback – Don’t do all edits yourself Your Writing and Editing Process • Getting Feedback – Don’t do all edits yourself – If your company has no editors, find another writer to read your work – Don’t prep them any more than you must • The “colder” they read it, the better – They can help you check: • Is your work confusing or clear? • Is exposition coming across? • Is your writing entertaining?

Your Writing and Editing Process • Becoming a better dialogue editor – Look at Your Writing and Editing Process • Becoming a better dialogue editor – Look at how other writers handle their dialogue – Movie scripts are generally tight: read lots of them • In particular, look to good movie adaptations of novels to see how the masters cut something big down to size

Case Study: Lord of the Rings: ROTK Novel by J. R. R. Tolkien Screenplay Case Study: Lord of the Rings: ROTK Novel by J. R. R. Tolkien Screenplay by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson

Case Study: Lord of the Rings: ROTK Book Movie Where are you going, Master? Case Study: Lord of the Rings: ROTK Book Movie Where are you going, Master? Frodo: To the Havens, Sam: What does he mean? Frodo: We set out to save the Shire, Sam, and it has been saved. . . but not for me. . . You don’t mean that - you can’t leave. And I can’t come. Frodo: No, Sam. Not yet, anyway, not further than the Havens. Though you too were a Ring-Bearer, if only for a little while. Your time may come. Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do. Sam: But I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done. Frodo: So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: someone has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them. But you are my heir: all that I have and might have had I leave to you. And also you have Rose, and Elanor; and Frodolad will come, and Rosie-lass, and Merry, and Goldilocks, and Pippin; and perhaps more than I cannot see. Your hands and your wits will be needed everywhere. You will be the Mayor, of course, as long as you want to be, and the most famous gardener in history; and you will read things out of the Red Book, and keep alive the memory of the age that is gone, so that people will remember the Great Danger and so love their beloved land all the more. And that will keep you as busy and as happy as anyone can be, as long as your part of the Story goes on. Frodo (handing him the Red Book): The last pages are for you, Sam. Frodo V/O: My dear Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much enjoy and to be and to do. Your part in the Story will go on.

Case Study: Lord of the Rings: ROTK Book Movie Where are you going, Master? Case Study: Lord of the Rings: ROTK Book Movie Where are you going, Master? Frodo: To the Havens, Sam: What does he mean? Frodo: We set out to save the Shire, Sam, and it has been saved. . . but not for me. . . You don’t mean that - you can’t leave. And I can’t come. Frodo: No, Sam. Not yet, anyway, not further than the Havens. Though you too were a Ring-Bearer, if only for a little while. Your time may come. Do not be too sad, Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole, for many years. You have so much to enjoy and to be, and to do. Sam: But I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done. Frodo: So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: someone has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them. But you are my heir: all that I have and might have had I leave to you. And also you have Rose, and Elanor; and Frodolad will come, and Rosie-lass, and Merry, and Goldilocks, and Pippin; and perhaps more than I cannot see. Your hands and your wits will be needed everywhere. You will be the Mayor, of course, as long as you want to be, and the most famous gardener in history; and you will read things out of the Red Book, and keep alive the memory of the age that is gone, so that people will remember the Great Danger and so love their beloved land all the more. And that will keep you as busy and as happy as anyone can be, as long as your part of the Story goes on. Frodo (handing him the Red Book): The last pages are for you, Sam. Frodo V/O: My dear Sam. You cannot always be torn in two. You will have to be one and whole for many years. You have so much enjoy and to be and to do. Your part in the Story will go on. Scene time: 4: 35 It wasn’t cut down for time, it was cut down so that they could show the emotional impact, instead of telling it

Putting it all together Putting it all together

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Developer: Vicarious Visions Publisher: Activision Licensor: Dream. Works Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Developer: Vicarious Visions Publisher: Activision Licensor: Dream. Works Animation Release Date: May 2006 Game Scope (single-player) • Three playable characters • 23 missions • Stealth/action gameplay, full 3 D roaming Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Developer: Vicarious Visions Publisher: Activision Licensor: Dream. Works Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Developer: Vicarious Visions Publisher: Activision Licensor: Dream. Works Animation Release Date: May 2006 Story Concept • Direct sequel to the movie (original story) Story Scope • Two intro FMV cutscenes separated by a training mission • Length 1: 09 and 1: 19 (2: 28 total) • 78 Fully-rendered stills with caption text • Multiple in-game NPC discussions Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Goals of Cutscene 1 Assumption: Player has not Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Goals of Cutscene 1 Assumption: Player has not seen the movie Limitation: All remaining story will be conveyed via stills with captions Limitation: Must focus mainly on talking heads vs. complex action sequences

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Goals of Cutscene 1 • Establish personality and Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Goals of Cutscene 1 • Establish personality and voice for all the main OTH characters • RJ (raccoon) * • Ozzie (opossum) • Verne (turtle) * • Lou (porcupine) • Hammy (squirrel) * • Stella (skunk) * Playable characters

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Goals of Cutscene 1 • Establish personality and Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Goals of Cutscene 1 • Establish personality and voice for all the main OTH characters • Establish main characters’ general status quo following the events of the movie • Woodland creatures surrounded by a new housing development, forced to steal food from humans in order to survive

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Goals of Cutscene 1 • Establish personality and Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Goals of Cutscene 1 • Establish personality and voice for all the main OTH characters • Establish main characters’ general status quo following the events of the movie • Directly set up first training mission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Original Draft: Tight, but assumes too much prior Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Original Draft: Tight, but assumes too much prior knowledge of the property FV- Intro: Scene 1 Establishing Exterior Shot of Hedge- Outside the hedge. RJ Monster Movies! Verne Yarn Documentary! Establishing Interior Shot- Animals watching TV at the hedge. RJ and Verne should be easily distinguishable fighting over the remote (tug of war) while hammy holds a gigantic pail of pop corn. RJ Monster Movies! Verne Yarn Documentary! RJ MONSTER MOVIES! Verne YARN DOCUMENTARY! Hammy Pop Corn anyone?

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot Location: Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot Location: American suburbia Shown Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot Talking Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot Talking animals steal human food Shown Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot They Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot They risk life and limb to steal this food Shown Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot They Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot They do this on a regular basis and “always make it” Told Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot Their Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot Their “safe zone” is on the other side of a hedge Shown Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot Humans Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot Humans built houses all around the animals, which is the cause of their current situation Told Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot Upcoming Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot Upcoming gameplay experience: RJ to look for more food Shown and Told Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot • Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot • • Location: American suburbia Shown Talking animals steal human food Shown They risk life and limb to get this food Shown They do this on a regular basis and “always make it” Told Their “safe zone” is on the other side of a hedge Shown Humans built houses all around the animals which is the cause of their current situation Told Next game mission: RJ to look for more food Shown and Told

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Characters identified Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Characters identified by name

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character RJ Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character RJ Now, Verne, there’s no reason to start picking on Hammy just because— Characters identified by name Verne (turtle) Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character RJ Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character RJ Now, Verne, there’s no reason to start picking on Hammy just because— Characters identified by name Verne Hammy (squirrel) Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character LOU Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character LOU Ya, but Verne, what choice do we have? They built their houses all around us. We can’t just roll over and play dead, y’know? No offense there, Ozzie. Characters identified by name Verne Hammy Ozzie (opossum) Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character OZZIE Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character OZZIE (checking his own pulse) Huh? Oh, none taken, Lou. Characters identified by name Verne Hammy Ozzie Lou (porcupine) Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character RJ Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character RJ (already on his feet; enthusiastic) Whoo-hooo! That gets the ol’ adrenaline goin’, huh? There is a raccoon who is an enthusiastic, cheerleader-type leader Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character STELLA Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character STELLA (picking a hedge leaf out of her “hair”) Yeah, just great. Ain’t no way that was worth three bags of chips and a packet of cookies. . . There is a skunk who seems sarcastic and sassy Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character VERNE Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character VERNE (still trying to get up; he rolled onto his back) Yes, what we’re faced with here is a lack of intelligence. That’s for sure. Verne is a sardonic turtle. . . who thinks it’s ridiculous the animals are forced to resort to this Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character VERNE Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character VERNE (finally on his feet) Nothing, Hammy. Forget it. It’s just crazy, us constantly having to steal food from the humans in order to survive. Verne is a sardonic turtle. . . who thinks it’s ridiculous the animals are forced to resort to this Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character RJ Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character RJ Now, Verne, there’s no reason to start picking on Hammy just because— HAMMY Hunh? What’d I do? Hammy is a squirrel who is referred to as unintelligent and seems to confirm this Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character LOU Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character LOU Ya, but Verne, what choice do we have? They built their houses all around us. We can’t just roll over and play dead, y’know? Lou is a porcupine who seems to be a realist. . . and somewhat apologetic Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character LOU Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character LOU Ya, but Verne, what choice do we have? They built their houses all around us. We can’t just roll over and play dead, y’know? No offense there, Ozzie. Lou is a porcupine who seems to be a realist. . . and somewhat apologetic Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character OZZIE Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Character OZZIE (checking his own pulse) Huh? Oh, none taken, Lou. Ozzie is an opossum who might be offended at Lou’s “roll over and play dead” comment (but isn’t) Over the Hedge ™ and © 2006 Dream. Works Animation, LLC. Used with permission

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot • Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Final Version Exposition Plot • • Location: American suburbia Shown Talking animals steal human food Shown They risk life and limb to get this food Shown They do this on a regular basis and “always make it” Told Their “safe zone” is on the other side of a hedge Shown Humans built houses all around the animals which is the cause of their current situation Told Next game mission: RJ to look for more food Shown and Told Exposition Character • • Named in dialogue: Verne (turtle), Hammy (squirrel), Ozzie (opossum), Lou (porcupine) There is a raccoon who is enthusiastic, cheerleader-type leader There is a skunk who seems sarcastic and sassy Verne is a sardonic turtle who thinks it’s ridiculous they must resort to this Hammy is a squirrel who is referred to as unintelligent and seems to confirm that Lou is a porcupine who seems to be a realist, and somewhat apologetic Ozzie is an opossum who might be offended about “rolling over and playing dead” comment

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Initial Version Exposition Plot • Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 1 - Initial Version Exposition Plot • • Location: American suburbia Talking animals live in a tree, watch TV and eat popcorn Exposition Character • • • There is a raccoon who wants to watch monster movies There is a turtle who wants to watch yarn documentaries There is a squirrel who likes popcorn and is willing to share

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Goals of Cutscene 2 • Pay off previous Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Goals of Cutscene 2 • Pay off previous gameplay mission success • Introduce new threat to the animals and their status quo • Introduce Gladys Sharp (main villain from the movie) • Establish the beginnings of the animals’ plan to address the crisis

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 2 Exposition > Plot • • • Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 2 Exposition > Plot • • • Huge unknown sound scares the animals A giant bulldozer is approaching the animals’ home A nasty woman is anxious to clear out the trees The work cannot start until the morning (future mission set-up) The woman’s name is “Ms. Sharp” The animals recognize Ms. Sharp and are not happy that she’s back Ms. Sharp is building a new house and wants to add a pool that will obliterate the remaining woods She is planning a triumphant return to the neighborhood RJ has an idea of how to address the situation, having something to do with endangered animals Verne is untrusting of RJ’s plans Exposition > Character • • Ozzie demonstrates his predilection for playing dead in a crisis The raccoon is a natural leader, unafraid to investigate strange phenomena Hammy will unthinkingly follow the raccoon Verne is cautious

Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 2 Exposition > Plot • • • Case Study: Over the Hedge DS Cutscene 2 Exposition > Plot • • • Huge unknown sound scares the animals Shown A giant bulldozer is approaching the animals’ home Shown A nasty woman is anxious to clear out the trees Shown and Told The work cannot start until the morning (future mission set-up) Told The woman’s name is “Ms. Sharp” Told The animals recognize Ms. Sharp and are not happy that she’s back Told Ms. Sharp is building a new house and wants to add a pool that will obliterate the remaining woods Shown She is planning a triumphant return to the neighborhood Told RJ has an idea of how to address the situation, having something to do with endangered animals Told Verne is untrusting of RJ’s plans Told Exposition > Character • • Ozzie demonstrates his predilection for playing dead in a crisis Shown The raccoon is a natural leader, unafraid to investigate strange phenomena Shown Hammy will unthinkingly follow the raccoon Shown Verne is cautious Shown and Told

Recap • • Get Over Yourself! Game Dialogue’s Main Function: Exposition – Plot – Recap • • Get Over Yourself! Game Dialogue’s Main Function: Exposition – Plot – Character • Voice • • – Emotion Other Considerations – Humor – Naturalness vs. Compression – Audience Your Writing and Editing Process – Cutscenes – In-Game