Speaking – 2009

Dec 06

What does a writer do anyway?

Game Connect Asia Pacific, Melbourne Convention Centre

Telling stories is an essential part of our cultural fabric, but in the face of a new medium, one in which mechanics, rules, and play are at the heart of the audience experience, we’re still learning how to work the thousands of years of accumulated knowledge in writing and storytelling to our best advantage.

An often-neglected discipline in video games, this session will look at the skills and craft that writers use when approaching storytelling, dialogue, structure, and characterisation, and how to apply those to video games without losing the particular strengths of the medium.  By dissecting the craft of writing, it will demonstrate the thought processes behind story creation, what does and doesn’t work within the medium of games, and why some of those boundaries exist.  It will also show how some of those core concepts are applicable to games without stories, informing mechanic, level, and systems design.

Looking to the future, the session will lastly speculate on the marriage of traditional narrative and mechanics, and the sorts of stories that can only be told in the medium of games by exploiting the fundamental gameplay forces of agency, choice, rules, and goals.

Dec 06

Games Literacy

Game Connect Asia Pacific, Melbourne Convention Centre

Today’s students have never seen a world without video games.  They’re an integral part of life now, becoming a new cultural artifact, a new entertainment medium, and bringing with them a whole slew of new employment opportunities.

But how do they work?  And what are the parameters for having a meaningful dialog about them with our students?

In this session, Paul Callaghan, a veteran game developer, will explore the elements that contribute to games literacy and how that can be applied to traditional literacy and numeracy skills.

Dec 04

Collaborate to Innovate: A Networking Opportunity for Producers to Meet Digital Media and Gaming Experts

World Congress of Science and Factual Producers

Taking linear broadcast projects to online and gaming platforms can present new possibilities in creativity, finance and audience reach. The key to a successful transition lies in the collaboration of teams with multi-disciplinary expertise. This session gives the opportunity to a limited number of experienced filmmakers interested in convergence to meet one-on-one with Australia’s leading digital media and gaming experts. The morning will provide an overview of techniques and possibilities followed by 15-minute one-on-one sessions for targeted advice and potential collaboration with any or all of the digital specialists.

Nov 10

Trends for local indies

IGDA Melbourne

An overview of local industry trends since 2000 and options for independent development.  More detail on the numbers can be found in the blog posts The State of Things and Collated data.

Oct 30

Take me by the hand

iDef, State Library of Victoria

Join game developers Craig Duturbure and Paul Callaghan as they walk you through their favourite games and reveal the highlights and hiccups of game development.

Oct 30

Do you have a game plan?

iDef, State Library of Victoria

The state of the industry worldwide by Tony Reed from Reed Interactive followed by an overview of the roles and career paths in development.

Oct 14

Independent Development

Academy of Interactive Entertainment

The shape of the local industry and opportunities for indie developers, including what to focus on, experimental gameplay models, and options for funding and distribution.

Oct 01

Innovation Session

Screen Australia

An overview of games as an industry and medium, their relationship to film, and their relative strengths and weaknesses.

Sep 08

Mechanics and Narrative

Games Program, RMIT

Lecture on symbolism and grammar and how that can be applied to traditional media and games.

Aug 28

Panel: Gaming & Learning

SYN Media Learning Week

Games Industry and IT experts will help you learn and experience the educational potential of video games and gaming culture. Starting with a panel discussion on how games help students learn useful skills and ending with a chance to get your hands on some gaming consoles and play!

With Vincent Trundle and Michael Woods

Aug 15

Where to from here?

Freeplay, State Library of Victoria

At the first Freeplay in 2004, there was no steam, no App store, no XNA, no Xbox Live Arcade, no PSN, and no WiiWare.

This panel looks at where we might be in another 5 years.

Aug 01

How I got a job playing games for a living

VITTA ICT Career Expo

An updated version of my talk from 2008

Video games don’t just appear from nowhere.  Somewhere, right now, there are people writing code, making art, designing levels and putting the finishing touches on games that will eventually find their way into PCs and consoles all over the world.  In Australia, there are around 2500 people doing just that and this number is expected to grow dramatically over the next 5 years.  In this presentation, Paul Callaghan, who has worked as a programmer, a game designer, and now a games teacher, will talk about how he found his way into the industry, how things have changed since then, how it’s possible to earn a living from it, and how it’s not all just sitting around playing games all day.

May 31

Computer Game Storylining

Emerging Writers' Festival, Melbourne Town Hall

In late 2005 Paul Callaghan found himself unsuccessfully pitching to the BBC for the new Doctor Who computer game. Eventually, he worked with them on developing the game – and what followed was a writer’s dream in aligning with the revamped TV show, and a nightmare of restrictions due to the differing viewpoints of the BBC.

In conversation with Daniel Ducrou

May 31

I can say yes now but in the end it will be no

Emerging Writers' Festival, Melbourne Town Hall

You spend hours deliberating over your punctuation, only to have actors, artists, directors and all and sundry throw out semi colons with barely a thought! This panel looks at maintaining ownership over your own words.

With Liz Argall, Angela Bentzien, Paul Callaghan and Luke Devenish

Hosted by Andrew Horabain

May 13

Writing for Games

Industry Overview, CAE Melbourne

As part of the PWE Industry Overview subject, an outline of what writing for games involves and how I found myself doing it.

Feb 26

Writing – It’s More Than A Game

National Screenwriters' Conference

The differentiation between games and films is blurring rapidly. As game graphics and other technical innovations reach a highpoint, games are depending more and more on character, story and plot… and traditional screenwriters are becoming a valuable resource for the games industry.

The major global film market (15-30yo) is spending more time and money on games than cinema – and the trend isn’t slowing. So is there a place for you in game writing? Do you have to be a user to appreciate the form? How do your skills translate to this exciting field? And is the sky really the limit? Find out how you can tap into this exciting writing opportunity from three internationally respected games writers.