• Reverse Scripting to Diagnose Commentary

    Letís put off what I said in the title.

    Reverse outlining is a writing tool that helps you fix organizational problems. Basically, after you write the paper, you write a sentence for each paragraph that says what it's about. Chain those together in order and see if they fit their neighbors and the thesis. Fix the sentences that don't ó cut, move, or change them ó to see how to revise the paragraphs they represent. You abstract the essay to a few sentences, find the problems, fix them, then fix the actual draft.

    Great. Now let's apply this to LP.

    Your LP probably doesn't have a thesis. Instead we use your LP's purpose. (Yes, yours has one. Find and stick it on your wall like a fucking mission statement.) And paragraphs form the argument most writing makes, but your commentary doesn't work that way. Instead, we've gotta look at your jokes and info and youtube-isms.
    But this is all hard to work with. We need a better format than audio. We have to make the commentary easy to look at together. If you have voice-to-text software, use it. Otherwise, transcribe your commentary. Don't worry about grammar and shit.

    Next, list (in order) each part by an identifier (e.g. "..., joke about map character models, explain new enemy type ..."). Also include in game events (e.g. "enter boss room, ..., fight ends").

    Now go back over it. Should you really make that sleazy joke then? Does it even add to the purpose? Revise the outline. This gets a little tough because the game won't change for you; you can't explain the new enemy if you haven't seen one yet. You'll see structural problems. It's not a big deal if you make the joke before or after your explanation. That's not the point. You likely won't redo the commentary all nice this time, but if you find a pattern of mistakes, remember how you fixed them when you record the next video.

    Also, if you want to find problems in the details, script each label out. (e.g. "new enemy type explanation" to "Goombas waddle back and forth. If they walk into us, game over, but we can jump on them.") Contrast new and old. What patterns do you notice? Use the notes you make for the next part. Get specific or you won't get much out of this.

    This works for different LP styles. Streams too. You just have to look for different things. If you already script your videos, you can find problems with structure, tone, and how well it matches what's happening in the game.
    Reverse scripting diagnoses with the structure. Maybe you don't fix the problems now, but you can keep them in mind for the next video.

    Both parts take a lot of time. You have to transcribe the commentary and label each part before you can even start the work you want. Scripting takes work. A lot of work. Don't script often. But like successful people who aren't us reflect on their lives, we should occasionally reverse script LPs.

    Reverse scripting finds problems even better than I can. Impressive. Transcribe your commentary first, then abstract each part to that part's job (e.g. "explain the symbols on the map"). You can find structural problems in the list of labels, then you might script each part and compare it to what you originally said. That helps you diagnose two kinds of problems.