Last month I was part of Leprecon 44, a sci-fi/fantasy convention held in Phoenix.  I ran my game, moderated some panels, and took some notes.

I moderated a Game Master panel. You have to be careful with these, particularly if the panelists are all also game designers (3 out of 4 of us were) because we are likely to slip out of running a game and into designing a game, which is a different panel. I’d give us a C+ for staying on topic.

Bottom line is a good GM works with the players to tell an engaging story. (Panelist Eric Wile stressed the term “engaging”). Ken St Andre (who wrote Tunnels and Trolls) felt it was more about stakes. If the stakes are high for the characters, engagement must follow.

You have to read your players. Getting a player to look up from the rules and actually use their imagination is a skill that can be taught, but not everyone wants to learn. And, alas young GM’s, there is no substitute for experience. If you want to become a good Game Master, run a lot of games.

I learned a lot from the Alex Pescador panel on scripting for comic books.

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Pescador is the sketch with a dialogue bubble.

I must confess that I have been to a lot of panels and am getting to the point where I rarely learn anything new. But Alex taugfht me about page layout for print (not at all straight-forward), the various bubble styles, and , as you can see, what a box-line is.

Also, he passed out free comics.

Comixology is doing to comics what Amazon does to the rest of media.

I did a panel on “Where Artists get their ideas” which was anecdotal, but not terribly enlightening. (Their heads – that’s where they come from). But I did meet Lubov and Annette Sexton-Ruiz who are both fascinating just to talk to.

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The screenwriting panel had only John Proudstar, and I merely attended. The notes above sum it up pretty well.

UPDATE LINKS: How to pitch a TV Show from TV Writer’s Vault.

ScreenCraft’s guide to Screenwriting Formats

And I sat on a panel, not as a moderator, but as an actual panelist about alternate  and fictional history, which is the general course of this blog, and took no notes, because I had to really pay attention. Sorry.

I guess you’ll just have to keep reading….

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