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QUACKCAST 402 - Audience expectations with characters

ozoneocean at 12:00AM, Nov. 27, 2018
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We're all back together this week and we're chatting about audience expectations for characters versus the intentions of the creator. Which is more important? Well it's a bit of a balancing act… You don't want to pander to your audience because that's not fun and they won't enjoy it anyway, but by the same token you shouldn't just do whatever you feel like regardless. As a creator you build up a contract between yourself and the audience; if you betray that by subverting their expectations with characters in ways that are very “OUT of character” just because you feel like it then you can start to lose their respect and attention. Killing off characters all of a sudden can be a big responsibility too, try not to take that lightly.

Taking characters in unexpected directions is fine and can energise your audience, but you should try and set it up or give plausible reasons for it after the fact. As the creator it's tempting to just think of yourself as the absolute monarch-god-emperor of the world you've created, with license to make any changes and do whatever you want, but if you want people to read, follow along with, and enjoy your work then you have to take a little more care. Don't abuse your audience because without them, what's the point?

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Froggtree Comics. Slip into the shadowy club, sidle into a booth and watch the action on the dancefloor. Quiet, subdued disco. This track wants to party but not be too obvious about it… till it gets up the courage to join the throng and strut its stuff!

Topics and shownotes

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Featured comic:
The Muscle Corps - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/nov/20/featured-comic-the-muscle-corps/

Links:
From Mks monsters forum thread here - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/forum/topic/178044/
Mks monsters - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/mks_monsters/

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
Pitface - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean

Featured music:
Froggtree Comics - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Froggtree_Comics/, by Skreem, rated E.



comment

anonymous?

ozoneocean at 12:00AM, Nov. 29, 2018

Getting others to read or comment on your work can very hard!

usedbooks at 6:24PM, Nov. 28, 2018

I'm glad I have a few people to bounce ideas off of for Used Books. Although my sister usually just hates all of my ideas, she does have some useful reactions sometimes (and questions; like asking about a character or relationship I hadn't put much thought into).

ozoneocean at 4:32AM, Nov. 28, 2018

I hate loved characters being killed off. Raymond E Fiest faked me out that was going to happen in his first Riftwar saga book Magician... One of the characters looked like he was going to unexpectedly bite it, and he SHOULDN'T have because you invest a lot emotionally in him... but it was a really clever fakeout. So clever infact that it got me AGAIN when I read the book a second time many years later. Well played.

JaymonRising at 9:02PM, Nov. 27, 2018

The sad thing is whenever I was spoiled a character death in the Harry Potter books, I still toughened up and read them. When I was spoiled the obvious death in the Mockingjay book, however, nope. Didn't even read nor watch the films. I guess it was because Harry Potter was a secondary to High School essential and I had spoiled/fubarred myself with the Battle Royale manga after graduation. XP

anonymous at 8:14PM, Nov. 27, 2018

Oh, you'd be surprise by the cartoon creators who abuse their audience. G̶o̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶a̶s̶ ̶f̶a̶r̶ ̶a̶s̶ ̶g̶e̶t̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶h̶e̶l̶p̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶m̶ ̶4̶c̶h̶a̶n̶.̶

ozoneocean at 5:08PM, Nov. 27, 2018

Good points. The time it takes for a character to come back isn't that important though since the first films are always immediately available to people, basically very little substantial time has passed for us since his first appearance so without actually indicating it in some way you can't really use it as much of a justification. Film and book characters just don't exist in real time generally.

Banes at 4:31PM, Nov. 27, 2018

Yeah, Luke is a special case (as are the other OG characters who came back for the new Star Wars). There aren't many instances of characters that beloved coming back after so long a time. Some people liked what they did with Luke, I realize. But in my opinion, if they couln't justify the changes, they shouldn't have made 'em!

irrevenant at 12:54PM, Nov. 27, 2018

The pictured example, Luke Skywalker, is an awkward one because there was a time jump of 30 years since we last saw the character. People *can* change dramatically in that much time, and in some ways it's unreasonable of us as an audience to require justification for it. But we do. In this particular case the gap between point A and point B is entirely plausible. But demonstrating that plausibility onscreen would've taken considerably more time than they allowed for it. Possibly more time than they reasonably *could* allow for it.


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