Bungie had an opening for a Lead Writer.
Those of you who have followed my work know that I am a writer, but have yet to write anything for video games. However, I’m also unemployed and every application counts towards my weekly goal, so I figured I’d apply. I mulled it over, and finally did around three in the morning. Here is my cover letter:
This would be my first foray into writing for games. I have a very unique world that I believe would be excellent for a game, and unlike anything that has been created. My writing sample are some snippets from this world in prose.
If you want more examples, I have several books on my Amazon.com author page, including my novel “Love in a Time of Zombies:”
Some notes on what you’ve written in your description:
1) You’ll notice that the sample is written in the form of a novel, and I have written several in the past. I promise you that I see games as a destination, not a stepping-stone. If I were selected for this position and brought in as the writing lead with the purpose of developing my world, I would *not* seek to publish a novel that takes place in this world. Novels are simply my only outlet at the moment. If I were working with a company like Bungie, my creative fulfillment would be sated. The world of Conductor Shrike is completely suited for video games, and rich enough to spawn several sequels.
2) This is not my only world I’ve created. I have numerous settings and characters that could match your interests. In the same way, I can add richness and depth to worlds designed by others, and incorporate feedback into the design.
3) I am by no means a solitary writer. While I have completed numerous projects on my own I have collaborated with others on several projects.
I collaborated on this script:
Again, while I have written books, designed numerous role-playing game adventures, developed scripts with a team of writers, and created board games, I haven’t written a video game before. This is something I have wanted to do for a very long time. Let me prove it to you.
Thank you for your consideration.
I thought about this all day. I had essentially rushed the application, because I knew I wasn’t going to become lead writer with no games under my belt. But then it struck me that I actually WANTED the job. The fact that I wanted it made me even more aware of the fact that I wouldn’t get it. So, around 11pm, I did something I regretted doing even as I did it. I sent a SECOND application:
This is probably the most honest 2nd cover letter you’ll ever receive. Am I shooting myself in the foot? Maybe, but I doubt it. I say I doubt it not because this isn’t a stupid idea, but because I’ve got a pretty slim chance as it is.
I got laid off on November 11th, and have enough unemployment to scrape by for a while. As such, I’m only applying for jobs that I want, but for which my experience is minimal. That way, I’m making an effort to find a job and if by some magical twist of fate I get it, it’s completely awesome rather than a harsh shift from my current existence of working on personal projects and hanging out with my daughter.
Normally, I send my resume off and forget about it, but yesterday at 2:00am, I realized something. I want this job. Rather than sending my resume and samples, and forgetting about it as I’d normally do, I find myself obsessing about doing this right.
I don’t even know if you got past my first sentence, since I don’t meet the qualifications you’ve asked for. Five years of experience or 2 AAA shipped games? I don’t have ’em. Does my use of “foray” in my last cover letter make up for this fact? No and no.
Also, I’m completely aware that you’re Bungie. There are writers out there who have actually written games who are applying for this job. You may even have a resume sorter that will be able to tell that I’m not qualified, and you’ll never even see this.
So, I’m going to write some things contrary to every instinct I have when it comes to cover letter writing. I read my last cover letter this morning and thought I sounded a bit like an arrogant nobody. I’m hoping this will put things in the correct perspective, that I’m actually a somewhat delusional yet slightly amazing guy who is also somewhat of an arrogant nobody.
I meant what I said in my last cover letter. Writing for video games is a destination for me, not a stepping stone. Theatre attempts to harness reality by controlling space and behavior to create specific events for the viewer. Video games actually achieve this by constructing a virtual space and allowing people to interact with it. They also incorporate graphic art, creative writing, music…basically they contain all art forms and by virtue of their interactivity have the ability to surpass it.
I have to stop here. This is what I’m talking about. You guys already know all this. This is my attempt to let you know that I know it. If I had the correct experience, you’d know I know it.
My hand is on my forehead now. I’m staring at my daughter as she talks to me. She keeps asking me to use the computer. She’s not yet four, and she plays PBSKids all the time. When I got laid off, they took my computer, so I’m writing this on the one she normally uses. I’m leaning back, yawning, and she tells me I’m going to fall off the chair.
I’m rambling now. It’s because, I think, I see the ludicrousness of this situation. She really wants to use the computer, and I’m sitting here trying to come up with a way to make the fact that I have zero practical video game writing experience sound like it’s not that big of a deal by expounding on how video games are the pinnacle of all art forms and therefore incorporate all of them.
Sadder still, I am actually under the impression that *telling* you that this is what I’m doing will somehow work, because I’m still doing it.
In all honesty, I believe I have the ability to do this. I do. For all of my awareness of my lack of qualifications, I believe in my ability to shape coherent worlds. I’ve attached a new resume, focusing on my creative writing career. I’ve also attached new writing samples from a project I’m doing where I write a story in one minute. Finally, attached the entire script of a science fiction show I’m developing. It’s over the suggested word limit, so please consider it optional.
Please, just call me in for an interview. I’m sort of funny, you’ll get to see my incredible beard, and we may actually have a good time.
Thank you, again.
So, of course, I tell all of my friends connected with the game industry about my application. All of them equate my application to cold calling Hollywood studios trying to get a chance to write the screenplay for “Iron Man 3” or what have you. It is suggested to me by my friend Stephen that I write a third letter, that showcases my ability to be creative. I won’t get the lead writer position, he acknowledges, but maybe I can get them interested enough to think of me when some new opportunity comes up. I took his advice, though my final product was perhaps not EXACTLY what he had in mind:
Perhaps at this point, things have gotten out of hand.
Let me say, that I’m pretty positive you get things from unqualified folks all the time.
Everything points to the idea that I’m not actually doing anything unique here.
At least every week? Every month? How many of them try to entertain with codes and cyphers?
So many multiple applications, you must want to tear your hair out.
Even so, I’m really trying my best to keep this from being boring.
Can you imagine how I feel sometimes, that I’m a small mouse?
A small mouse with thumbs trapped in an ever-shifting labyrinth?
Labyrinth of alien technology.
Labyrinth of someone else’s memory palace.
2010 will be here, and there’s a good chance I’ll be unemployed.
0 responses so far from any of my job applications, although I haven’t given you a chance yet.
6 was better as McGoohan, because he was a self-assured prick.
9 times out of ten, confidence is what gets you moving forward.
3 times I’ve written you now, without giving you even the slightest chance to respond.
1 was 1 time too many, though.
5 years of game-writing experience?
2 two shipped AAA games?
5 years of playing games, maybe.
3 times, all of them assuming they won’t be read, much less answered.
There’s the issue, of course.
Here, I am imagining that you’re glancing through things, not looking very closely.
Especially if you’re at work.
Perhaps you’ve got hundreds of these to go through.
All of them are vying for your attention.
Still, maybe this is something more important.
Something that doesn’t have much to do with this particular job.
Would applying for a job and BUNGIE of all places when I’ve never worked as a game writer make sense?
Or is there another force at work here?
Read everything carefully.
Do your co-workers ever play tricks on you?
I am not your co-worker.
Still, I could be.
Before we assume linear time, ask yourself about your best day.
Also, ask yourself if it has yet to happen.
Because, frankly, we both know even an okay day can be something special.
Okay days are things you can remember for a while.
Or, strange days, if you prefer.
No one said you needed to exist purely on company time.
(Note, one of your clues cannot be transmitted due to the attachment filtering policy. I apologize for this unforeseen wrinkle. Can’t win ’em all. Eventually, it won’t matter.)
Of course, those of you who follow my work closely MAY know what’s going on here.
The “clue” I mentioned was this drawing.
HERE’S THE KICKER:
I was positive Bungie would automatically sort resumes, and it wouldn’t even get in front of a live person.
However, I received a really nice, personal response to day…
To my SECOND submission.
I’m very much hoping the recruiter is interested in the game built into the third response, or politely ignores it.
However, kudos to Bungie for actually responding to applicants.
It’s rare these days.
I’ll let you know if anything else happens.