The members of the Games & Interactive Advisory Committee are: Teresa Crea (chair), Trent Kusters, Justin Wight, Matt Ditton, Timothy C. Best, Dr Christy Dena, Mike Jones, Liam Esler, Leena van Deventer, Nic Watt, Saul Alexander, Krister Collin, Dr Jens Schroeder and Anna Irwin-Schutze.
The Australian Writers’ Guild has launched a new group to support writers working in interactive media.
The new Games & Interactive Advisory Committee (GIAC) is dedicated to establishing the priorities of one of Australia’s fastest-growing creative industries.
The committee is chaired by AWG board member Teresa Crea, a cross media writer/director, and draws its membership from across the sector.
“The AWG has served the industries of screen and stage for more than 50 years and we are excited to contribute to the interactive industry in Australia,” she said. “We firmly believe that together with this advisory committee we can provide the games and interactive practitioners the rights and protections they deserve along with the professional space to grow and increase their craft.”
She pointed out that the Guild had once moved from predominantly radio writers to include stage and screen.
“Again we face a paradigm shift with the introduction of interactivity,” she went on. “And, as before, we aim to provide the same level of representation for the writers and narrative designers in the interactive space.”
The objective of the inaugural Games & Interactive Advisory Committee is to assist the Guild in developing activities and guidelines across a range of professional and industrial spheres, though this was described as “just the tip of the iceberg” of the type of engagement and role the AWG will be able to offer the industry.
“We want most of all for this committee to set its priorities, so that the Guild can apply our resources to what is most relevant to the industry,” she added. “This experienced group of writers, developers and designers we have on board will be invaluable in shaping the ways in which the AWG joins and contributes to the games and interactive community.”
Teresa Crea – a cross media writer/director who specialises in narrative for immersive environments. She has written and directed award-winning works for theatre, live art installation, radio, television and serious games. Teresa has a particular interest in live simulation and holds a doctoral degree in narrative dramaturgy.
Trent Kusters– his independent game development collective, League of Geeks, recently released its first title, the digital role-playing strategy board game ‘Armello’ to critical acclaim. Kusters is also the chair of Freeplay (Australia’s longest-running and largest independent games festival), has been named one of videogames’ rising stars by Forbes, the Melbourne Writers’ Festival, Triple J and more, is a lecturer at the Victorian College of the Arts and frequently speaks and consults on game development and design.
Justin Wight– company director at Monkeystack. Justin’s work has attracted a range of prestigious national and international awards including W3, AIMIA, AADC, Communicator and the Peter Rasmussen Award for Innovation.
Matt Ditton– the producer and programmer, director and founder of Many Monkeys and The Mighty Games Group.
Timothy C. Best– a games journalist for almost a decade before moving into game development. He works at sister studios Many Monkeys and Mighty Games Group as a writer and designer.
Dr Christy Dena– a writer-designer-director of playful stories as apps, installations, ARGs, live games and cross-media works. She won the AWG Interactive Narrative Award, the WA Premier’s Digital Narrative Prize, as well as Official Selections for the Electronic Literature Organisation and Freeplay Independent Games Festival. She was granted Australia’s first Digital Writing Residency at The Cube, QUT, and co-wrote “The Writers Guide to Making a Digital Living” for the Australian Literature Board.
Mike Jones– an award-winning writer and creative producer who works across a variety of mediums including books, screen, digital and interactive media.
Liam Esler– a writer, producer and designer for games who has written for titles such as Pillars of Eternity, Baldur’s Gate II: Enhanced Edition and Baldur’s Gate: Siege of Dragonspear. Liam is also Co-chair of the Interactive Game Developers Association LGBTQ+ SIG.
Leena van Deventer– a writer and game developer who has taught interactive storytelling at RMIT and Swinburne Universities. Leena also co-founded a grassroots not-for-profit organisation called WiDGET to help support women in games.
Nic Watt– the creative director at Nnooo. Former lead games designer at EA London, Nic is an experienced and dedicated creative designer, director and producer.
Saul Alexander– Saul was a co-founder and lead writer at Sydney-based SeeThrough Studios, where he worked on indie titles Particulars and Flatland: Fallen Angle, both of which won Freeplay awards for narrative. He now teaches screenwriting and game design at SAE Sydney.
Krister Collin– has worked for several years on contract in a wide array of roles, helping games get released on Steam, iOS, the App Store and the National Museum of Australia, often focusing on design, experience and narrative.
Dr Jens Schroeder– passionate about everything digital and video games in particular, Jens presented papers at a number of conferences, spoke at German and Australian Universities, and managed an award-winning creative media institute. He worked in a Berlin-based games studio, acts as an assessor for the NSW Government’s Interactive Media Fund and judges entries for the AIMIA Awards. Additionally, Jens is part of a start-up that explores game-based learning solutions for teaching English to students in developing economies in Asia, South America and Eastern Europe.
Anna Irwin-Schutze– the Director and Co-Founder of Sound Librarian. An experienced technical writer, Anna is now moving into more creative writing projects for games and other media. Anna is passionate about developing strong narratives and storytelling in interactive media.
The Guild would also like to thank the following people for significantly contributing to our interactive and games industry discussions: Dan McMahon, Peter Cameron, Mark Kozlowski, Michelle Osbourne, Epona Schweer, Leigh Harris, Stu Connolly, Catherine Fargher, Emilie Poissenot, Snow McNally, Brooke Maggs, Loki Davison, Vincent Trundle, Dave Lloyd and Neil Rennison.
The Australian Writers’ Guild is rolling out initiatives to break down the divisions between traditional and interactive media.
At its inaugural meeting on 31 March 2016, the AWG’s Games & Interactive Advisory Committee (GIAC) began planning for a number of events such as panels and workshops to cross the divide and further the craft of interactive writers.
The Australian Writers’ Guild (AWG) has welcomed a Senate Committee Report that recommends increased government support for the country’s video and online games development industry.
The report by the Senate’s Environment and Communications References Committee makes a number of recommendations including include: a new funding scheme based on the former Australian Interactive Games Fund; a refundable tax offset for Australian expenditure in the development of game titles, similar to the producer offset in the film industry; financial support for work spaces and federal support for dialogue between video games developers and user groups, especially with government departments.