At Melbourne International Games Week 2022, the Australian Writer’s Guild (AWG) has thrown its proverbial hat into the ring for the first time with an in-person Narrative Design Workshop, taking place on 1 October 2022 at ACMI X. An already sold-out event, its hope is to offer writers not already in the space an opportunity to understand some of the practical skills required in the world of professional narrative design in video games.
The workshop is part of the guild’s motivation to reaffirm long-term engagement with those working in the video game sector. Previously, the guild released a minimum rate card for freelance narrative designers working on low to medium-budget projects from independent game studios in Australia. The rate card was designed in consultation with those actively working in the industry.
In a provided statement, Executive Director of the AWG Claire Pullen remarked, ‘Before we released the minimum rates card, narrative designers contacted us to say they felt lost in remuneration discussions with companies.’
‘One member likened contract negotiation to being in the Wild West. Games writers weren’t sure if they were being paid too little, or what they should ask for, making negotiations difficult. Our Guild brought together members to design their rates, giving narrative designers a unified voice.’
‘The AWG is all about supporting Australian content and its talented creators. We bring together narrative designers to ensure fair treatment and payment, and to equip aspiring writers with the skills they need to forge opportunities and careers in the sector.’
Pullen urged writers and narrative professionals working in the games industry to join the Australian Writer’s Guild, which provides services such as contract reviews, legal advice, as well as collective bargaining. Pullen also points to the AWG’s involvement in making recommendations to the National Cultural Policy, where it barracked for an increase in small-scale funding for the game sector amid the Digital Games Tax Offset.
‘This weekend’s Narrative Design Workshop at Melbourne International Games Week is just the beginning,’ said Pullen. ‘There are more professional development initiatives in the pipeline.’
The AWG advises that those interested in being added to the waitlist for the Narrative Design Workshop during Melbourne International Games Week 2022 should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In other games industry collective news, Game Workers Australia, the country’s first dedicated workers union for games industry professionals, is also running a series of events during Melbourne International Games Week, beginning with a networking event on 4 October 2022.