Notable Speaking Engagements


Game Developers Conference 2019
The Invisible Escape Room: Adapting Jack Ryan for Alexa
One hour.

This was about how to make interactive stories for voice platforms, how NOT to make them, and how to get away with it when you break all of your own carefully considered rules about how not to make them.

A video recording is in the GDC Vault HERE (currently requires a subscription).
It was ranked as the second best talk in the game narrative track that year, and fourth out of all 142 talks of the combined summits and VRDC. I got my picture on a playing card based on the sheer massive quality of this talk. Some anonymous testimonials from people who were there:
"Very practical and applicable info. Invite him back!"
"Such an informative talk!!"
"Dave is an excellent speaker - should be a presenter more often!"
(Pro tip: if you want me to quote you on my web site, use exclamation points.)

re:Invent 2017
How Earplay Architects an Alexa Radio Drama
With Cami Williams, an evangelist from Amazon.
One hour.

This was an AWS event with a whole section for Alexa developers, and we were showcasing Earplay's methods.

Hilarious detail: this talk suffered a catastrophic technical failure in its opening segment, and we had to deliver the rest of it from memory, without any slides, notes, or ability to do live coding, which was sort of central to the talk. We did an amazing job of it actually, one guy came up afterwards and said it was a shame about the screen but we were the best presenters he had seen at the show so far.

Game Developers Conference Austin 2011
The Hand of Fate: Authorial Voice in Game Design
One hour.

This was mostly about how to share authorship with the audience.

There's a video of it HERE, which unfortunately doesn't start until halfway through the opening demonstration, and there are some references that don't make sense if you didn't see that part. Oh well, these things happen.

Game Developers Conference Austin 2008
The Sandwich of the Month Club: Writing and Designing Successful Episodic Games
One hour.

Telltale was pioneering episodic games at this point in history; the talk was about the hows and the whys of doing that successfully.

The GDC Vault includes a RECORDING, which is unfortunately an AUDIO-ONLY recording. I generally use a lot of inspiring imagery in my talks. Caveat emptor.

PAX 2007 and 2009
Make a Scene with Telltale
One hour, sort of a talk/panel/workshop.

In 2007 we at Telltale decided to do a sort of a stunt talk at PAX, as a demonstration of what our toolset was capable of. With me hosting and managing the process, we improvised a scene with the audience, picking characters from one of our games and writing dialog on the spot. We cast members of the audience to play the parts and recorded them. And then some of us fielded questions while animators put the scene together. By the end of the hour we had a finished product. This was fun and popular, and we did it at PAX for the next several years, though I myself only managed one more appearance.


Game Developers Conference 2019
It's Not in the Writer's Manual: A Q&A Session for New Writers

Just like it sounds, a panel of four experienced game writers answering questions about whatever the audience wanted to ask.

Superbot 2018
The Future of Voice

A discussion of the future of the voice-first space, amusingly positioned at the beginning of the day of talks rather than at the end...

PAX Dev 2017
Voice, the New Gaming Frontier

Chatting about the emerging voice-first space, specifically within the context of making games for it.

San Diego Comic-Con 2009
Writing for the Computer Gaming Industry

I tried to attend this session, and when I couldn't get a seat in the audience, the speakers asked me if I'd like to appear on the panel instead. True story.

PAX 2007
Once Upon a Timeā€¦ Storytelling in Games Today

With Ron Gilbert and Nate Fox. This was the panel where I first talked about the "hand of fate" benchmark for authorship that became a critical part of my GDC talk four years later.

PAX 2007
Manageable Gameplay and Manageable Budgets: Why Episodic Gaming is Picking Up Steam

I wasn't actually scheduled to be on this panel, but our co-founder couldn't make it so I subbed in.

Private Talks and Workshops

I've been known to give the occasional talk or workshop at a private event. Can't really say too much about these, but clients have included Google and NBC Universal.