So I want to write, what degree do I need?

90 Night Elf Druid
12980
89194993104:
I smell troll. All these career choices sound pretty lofty. If you are not a troll, you are a person living in dreamland.

No need to rain on his parade with all these posts. It's important to have dreams and goals because that's what you reach for when you're young and planning your future. There's really no telling how far it will go until you try. I quit my job to go to school because I decided that I wanted to build props for live theatre instead of working in retail. It's a dying field. There was never much money in it in the first place. And it's very competitive. But it worked out for me and now I'm not miserable all the time and drinking heavily because I settled for plan B.

@OP, If you want to be a writer then write. If you let everyone convince you you'll be flipping burgers. that's exactly what you'll end up doing. You can think about a backup plan if you want, but if you put too much emphasis on preparing for that you'll end up with your plan B job just because it's easier. Persevere.
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90 Blood Elf Rogue
13745
Undergraduate degrees matter very little in the workplace. As in, it is rare that a company won't hire you as a writer if you don't have a degree in English. They will be much more interested in your portfolio than your degree. Having a degree in a creative art does not automatically mean that one is exceptionally talented in that art. I knew many music students that got degrees and frankly weren't very good musicians. I am working now in music not because of my degree, but because of the body of work I created.

That being said, if you want to get into gaming, I would look at a degree dealing with game design, not for the sake of getting hired, but for your own understanding of the process and everything involved. I score film and television. When i first started, i had no idea how anything worked in that industry. As i look back, i regret not studying a bit of it when i was in school as it took me some time to learn the industry jargon and whatnot. I ended up going back to school for some post graduate classes in film/tv and that helped immensely. If i had that knowledge at the beginning, i could have opened even more doors at the start.
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I'd rather live in Dreamland than give up and go for something I would be miserable doing. :)

Thanks for all the advice and tips, folks. :3
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MVP - World of Warcraft
90 Gnome Warrior
12535
89192493116:
As in, it is rare that a company won't hire you as a writer if you don't have a degree in English.


Not true.

Writers write. Clips are more important than degrees. If you wish to write, you need to write. All the time. It's been said that writing is a disease. One that kills you if you fail to exercise the symptoms. If that's the type of writer you are, your degree doesn't matter.
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90 Human Priest
17090
You don't need a specific degree to be a writer. Get your degree in something practical, and preferably something you enjoy, so you can support yourself until your career takes off (or if it doesn't.) Maybe minor in English, and read and write every day.
Edited by Cylthia on 5/28/2013 4:27 PM PDT
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23 Night Elf Priest
0
89191893575:
I'd rather live in Dreamland than give up and go for something I would be miserable doing. :)

Thanks for all the advice and tips, folks. :3


Well, just don't get my order wrong at the drive-thru.
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89194993128:
No need to rain on his parade with all these posts. It's important to have dreams and goals because that's what you reach for when you're young and planning your future. There's really no telling how far it will go until you try. I quit my job to go to school because I decided that I wanted to build props for live theatre instead of working in retail. It's a dying field. There was never much money in it in the first place. And it's very competitive. But it worked out for me and now I'm not miserable all the time and drinking heavily because I settled for plan B.

@OP, If you want to be a writer then write. If you let everyone convince you you'll be flipping burgers. that's exactly what you'll end up doing. You can think about a backup plan if you want, but if you put too much emphasis on preparing for that you'll end up with your plan B job just because it's easier. Persevere.


You're right in that folks shouldn't speak too negatively about one's hopes and dreams, however there is nothing wrong with being realistic and being smart about it. Most successful writers were something else before they became successful. They didn't get a degree in writing and then immediately write for a living right off the bat.

Becoming is a successful writer is something that is far more dependent on sheer luck than actual skill. I know folks who can run circles around Dan Brown or J.K. Rowling in terms of quality of writing yet they can't get published. It's all about the right idea at the right time and having the right people see it.

Don't put all your eggs in that basket; if you also enjoy physics I'd suggest majoring in that instead. It'll give you a unique perspective on the world that should reflect in some creative storytelling!
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90 Blood Elf Rogue
13745
89194993104:
89192892748:
Well, it would be a good idea to have a fallback career. I'm torn between English and Physics, and I just can't decide which one I want to stick with.

If I go into Physics, I know that I could get into Boeing's space program, or I could work for the military (without being a part of it) developing new technology, or even somewhere like NASA. So I know the jobs are there for that side of it. For English, some of the authors out there are just outright terrible, and I know I could write circles around them, but I would write for a genre that's not as popular - fantasy. I could always write novels in my spare time as a Physicist, but I also grew up with video games, so it's something of a passion of mine. A lot of video games these days seem to just write out some garbage story in a hurry, just to make a quick buck. I'd want to write a story that's actually worth reading quest text and paying attention to. I'm not sure what to do. :P


I smell troll. All these career choices sound pretty lofty. If you are not a troll, you are a person living in dreamland.


And whatever you do, don't listen to this guy. Having goals is important, probably the most important thing, particularly if you are going for jobs like those. Those jobs are the kind that take highly skilled, motivated people and are highly competitive (as are many creative jobs). People without goals don't get those kind of jobs.

I ask the troll who posted that last response, where do you think those people who have those jobs come from? Those jobs do exist, wanting one is not living in dreamland, you just have to have the dedication to attaining one and not the defeatist attitude that you show in your response.
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23 Night Elf Priest
0
89192493116:
Undergraduate degrees matter very little in the workplace. As in, it is rare that a company won't hire you as a writer if you don't have a degree in English. They will be much more interested in your portfolio than your degree. Having a degree in a creative art does not automatically mean that one is exceptionally talented in that art. I knew many music students that got degrees and frankly weren't very good musicians. I am working now in music not because of my degree, but because of the body of work I created.

That being said, if you want to get into gaming, I would look at a degree dealing with game design, not for the sake of getting hired, but for your own understanding of the process and everything involved. I score film and television. When i first started, i had no idea how anything worked in that industry. As i look back, i regret not studying a bit of it when i was in school as it took me some time to learn the industry jargon and whatnot. I ended up going back to school for some post graduate classes in film/tv and that helped immensely. If i had that knowledge at the beginning, i could have opened even more doors at the start.


If you get a degree in Game Design, may as well ball it up and wipe your butt with it. Game Design is another word for "useless degree that has a fad name on it". If you want to work in the game industry, get a degree specialization in something particular. Programming, Concept Art, 3D Modeling, etc.

A Game Design degree is a mash up of everything and a concentration in nothing.
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90 Blood Elf Rogue
13745
89191293224:
89192493116:
As in, it is rare that a company won't hire you as a writer if you don't have a degree in English.


Not true.

Writers write. Clips are more important than degrees. If you wish to write, you need to write. All the time. It's been said that writing is a disease. One that kills you if you fail to exercise the symptoms. If that's the type of writer you are, your degree doesn't matter.


I think you misunderstood. What I probably could have said better is that companies hire due to portfolios, not because you have a degree in English. I meant to say that the portfolio is more important than the degree. The sentence before that one should have made that point more clear, but I didn't segue way too well.
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MVP
90 Night Elf Priest
10750
89191093276:
Having goals is important, probably the most important thing, particularly if you are going for jobs like those. Those jobs are the kind that take highly skilled, motivated people and are highly competitive (as are many creative jobs). People without goals don't get those kind of jobs.


I tend to agree. Set your sights high when you are young, because it really IS all possible, if you are willing to put in the effort.

My journey was more like this:

Them: "You'll never fulfill your dreams if you spend all your time playing video games and coding!"

Me: "... but my dream is to spend all my time playing video games and coding..."
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23 Night Elf Priest
0
89192892859:
89194993128:
No need to rain on his parade with all these posts. It's important to have dreams and goals because that's what you reach for when you're young and planning your future. There's really no telling how far it will go until you try. I quit my job to go to school because I decided that I wanted to build props for live theatre instead of working in retail. It's a dying field. There was never much money in it in the first place. And it's very competitive. But it worked out for me and now I'm not miserable all the time and drinking heavily because I settled for plan B.

@OP, If you want to be a writer then write. If you let everyone convince you you'll be flipping burgers. that's exactly what you'll end up doing. You can think about a backup plan if you want, but if you put too much emphasis on preparing for that you'll end up with your plan B job just because it's easier. Persevere.


You're right in that folks shouldn't speak too negatively about one's hopes and dreams, however there is nothing wrong with being realistic and being smart about it. Most successful writers were something else before they became successful. They didn't get a degree in writing and then immediately write for a living right off the bat.

Becoming is a successful writer is something that is far more dependent on sheer luck than actual skill. I know folks who can run circles around Dan Brown or J.K. Rowling in terms of quality of writing yet they can't get published. It's all about the right idea at the right time and having the right people see it.

Don't put all your eggs in that basket; if you also enjoy physics I'd suggest majoring in that instead. It'll give you a unique perspective on the world that should reflect in some creative storytelling!


Amen, that is all I am telling this kid. Don't count on dreams! Have them, but in a practical way. J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, while she was on welfare. Have a Job first, get a degree in something you can bank and write in your spare time.
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90 Goblin Hunter
7425
You do not need a degree in English to be a writer, but you do need to be talented at it. People would be surprised how many authors are out there that have rudimentary skillsets in the english language and who have never even completed a course at a local college. However, Blizzard for all intensive purposes has it's own criteria on what they want their employees to have as a skillset so your best bet would be to visit their corporate website and to click on the careers link to see what requirements you must meet in order to actually apply and be considered for a position on their creative team.
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90 Blood Elf Rogue
13745
89192093208:

If you get a degree in Game Design, may as well ball it up and wipe your butt with it. Game Design is another word for "useless degree that has a fad name on it". If you want to work in the game industry, get a degree specialization in something particular. Programming, Concept Art, 3D Modeling, etc.

A Game Design degree is a mash up of everything and a concentration in nothing.


He's talking about being a writer, not a programmer. I don't think he's interested in 3D modeling and things like that. I said game design because that is what he will need as a writer for games, an overarching view of the game design world.

As I said before, I score film and tv. It would have been pointless for me to learn something like color-correction when I do scores. It is important, however, for me to know how the industry works in multiple levels.
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90 Human Paladin
11280
It's a plus that you read all kinds of stories/books. Another thing to do is to join a writers' group and take creative writing classes as much for the informal interaction as well as what you will learn from others.

As a writer I've found my best source of learning how to write is to study people. Listen to them and watch how they move and interact. You're going to be writing about people, so study them.

I fell in love with the written word when I was about 10. I liked to read so much I would hunt out things with words on them and look them up in the dictionary if I didn't know what they meant.

I was sick with something that kept me housebound when I was 14 and the only interesting book in the house was an old collection of Shakespeare's works. Later I would see old movies and the actors saying what he had written. I was awed - and still am - by the music that man made with the simple word and how he could make each one speak volumes.
Edited by Ignatowski on 5/28/2013 4:55 PM PDT
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90 Blood Elf Rogue
13745
One more thing..

Writing for startups and independent games may be a good way for you to try out your craft.

Check sites like Gamasutra.com or Yoyogames.com (think that's the name..).

They have postings by game makers looking for a variety of talent, from writers to music and everything else.

There are many other sites like these as well. Find a game developer forum too.

As people said in other posts, a big factor in the creative field is timing and luck. While those things are indeed important, you can make your luck as well. Get yourself out there and be ready for when opportunity hits. Yes, many successful writers got lucky, but they also had a hand in that luck. It's not like someone just randomly walking down the street asked JK Rowling if she was a writer when she was homeless, she obviously let people know. People won't come knocking on your door if they don't even know you write..

Ok, I'm out.

Good luck with your ventures!
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You don't need a degree to write. If you seriously want to waste your money in college getting a useless degree then go for business. At least then your degree can get you an okay job if being an author doesn't work.
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90 Orc Hunter
14985
89194693084:
While you don't need a degree to become an author, a company will certainly expect some form of education.


I've hired people, including technical writers, translators and creative writers (advertising people) so heres my two cents based entirely upon that - no experience in video gaming.

If I look for a degree it is only as proof that a person *without any work history* can complete something. I do not care for degrees in and of themselves.

I focus in, instead, on samples of work... the same way that a raid guild recruiter might look first at parses. If I like what I see on a quick scan of your portfolio, I pass it along to people I trust in the department you'd work with and get their opinions, then perhaps hire two people - each with a one month probationary. I'd plan to keep the best of the two once the month was over, but be willing to maintain both if they were making me money.

I know one guy who publishs some of his work for Kindle on Amazon and he says he's very pleased with the process.

http://www.amazon.com/R.-Allen-Chappell/e/B00AVYI0RA/

I do not believe he has any formal training in writing. He just writes about things he knows. So in his case, knowing things worth writing about was the key. And that may end up being the case for you.

EDIT:

Just has another thought. As I've stated before on these forums, I believe video games to be PERFORMANCE ART where the "audience" becomes part of the performance.

Think of what Blizzard does as the stagecraft. They provide a venue, but it is we who are the performers. The act of leading, be it a pre-made BG or a heroic raid, is stage direction and choreography. Each player takes his direction, does his piece and together, we perform for our own consumption and enjoyment. Quests and "bosses" and such are laid out like extras and props in a play, but we, truly, become the stars and main characters.

If you want a formal education that might cross over well to this environment, you might consider a heavy focus on Theater... specifically, whats called avant-garde, participatory and experimental theater. These are forms of theatre in which the audience interacts with the performers or the presenters. Often, performers socialize with audience members before the show while seating them. Then, they surprise these members by inviting them to the stage.

For example, Bertolt Brecht wanted to mobilise his audiences by asking them questions and not giving them answers, thereby getting them to think for themselves; Augusto Boal wanted his audiences to react directly to the action; and Antonin Artaud wanted to affect them directly on a subconscious level.

Peter Brook has identifies a triangle of relationships within a performance: the performers' internal relationships, the performers' relationships to each other on stage, and their relationship with the audience.

The British experimental theatre group Welfare State International has spoken of a ceremonial circle during performance, the cast providing one half, the audience providing another, and an the energy in the middle.

This next generation of writers will define how we interact with the electronic arts... and its the writers, like you, who will orchestrate things in such a way that "the energy in the middle" is nurtured and maximized.

Good luck with what you do! We'll be watching (and participating)
Edited by Calliesta on 5/28/2013 5:40 PM PDT
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90 Human Priest
2060
Get this book: "The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design" by
Flint Dille and John Zuur Platten.

They've been writing video games for several decades. The book is FASCINATING. It shows, in great detail, exactly what it's like to write a game and help bring it to market.

Actually, I sincerely recommend this book to any gamer who plays more than causally. It's entertaining, engaging and sometimes - shocking. You'll end up looking at gaming a whole new way. Once read, playing video game will not only be way more fun but also way more interesting.

As far as getting a degree, each person has to make his own choices. If you want to write video games, many people in the industry today believe that a four-year English/writing degree is vital and basically required to break into the field. Write everyday and follow many of the suggestions in this thread. The Writer's Digest website has hundreds of resources (for instance there's an annual list of top writing blogs) that can be read free of charge. These resources will answer any question a writer will have when they are starting.
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