VideoBrains updates!

Sure, it’s been a long time since I’ve written one of these, but I’ve got good news so let’s focus on that shall we?

New Resident Speaker: Grant Howitt

Alice is leaving us as resident speaker in February, leaving behind a legacy of talks with the word fuck in them, several hidden penises, and an appreciation for Bioware games that I’m afraid I just can’t share in good conscience.

Taking over the role from March will be Grant Howitt. I made him write us a bio.

Grant Howitt is a games designer who lives and works in London. He’s written a few successful roleplaying games (Goblin Quest, Unbound, the new edition of Paranoia) and some less successful roleplaying games (Drunken Bear Fighter, Doctor Magnethands, Hey Kids: Let’s All Meet The Gin Wizard), as well as running live events, writing story content for Zombies, Run! and spearheading the weirdly under-subscribed Gonzo Tech Journalism movement. In a previous life he was a games journalist and he’s been mildly obsessed with all sorts of games ever since his parents made the mistake of buying him a Mega Drive when he was seven years old.

If that doesn’t excite you, I don’t know what will, except perhaps the details of his residency.


Big stupid games about blowing things up form the cornerstone of our industry. But what can we learn from the mechanics behind them, masked as they are by the cavalcade of explosions and gunfire? Over the next six months, Grant will be pulling a single ingenious mechanic from a AAA action title and examining it in detail each session, seeing what sort of impact it’s had on games as a whole, where we can take it in the future, and why it feels the way it feels.

New information

We’ve been around for a couple of years now, and we’ve finally acquired enough equipment and experimented enough to hit the point where we’re “sustainable”, which is great. Anyway, it’s time to start paying speakers, which means that from this month — February — all speakers will be paid £30.

This has taken us ages to work out, because we previously have paid for speakers travel, but I think the general plan is that we’ll pay £30, and if your travel costs more than £30 then we’ll reimburse that instead.

This is “the start” of paying people in my mind, and we’re looking to eventually increase this to £50 if we increase our audience. That seems a fair price for the half-day it usually takes to put a VideoBrains talk together and is in-line with what several nearby universities pay for lectures.
Luckily, it also happens to be roughly what we can afford. Some rough napkin maths that we worked out and then checked repeatedly to settle on 30 as our initial figure: We sell around 35 tickets per event, with 10 selling for five pounds each and the rest at 7.50 Generally we’ll get somewhere in the margin of £250 a month from the event, but have to pay £100 from this for editing services, which could be increasing shortly as we aim to do more with video. We divided what’s left by 6, and came up with £25, but £30 feels like a better number, so we’ll agree to pay £30 and make up the shortfall from Patreon. In the meantime, what’s coming in via the Patreon will be used to upgrade equipment and let us try out new ideas.

Hell, if the pound gets any weaker we’ll use the Patreon dollars to be a mansion and you guys can all come and stay in it. We can hope, right?

Anyway, that’s us. Tickets are on sale and we’ve got some December videos for you, too.