Dec 23, 2018
Merry Christmas one and all! And all that stuff. This year our release date falls exactly on the 25th! It was a busy year for us, lots happened. But in this Quackcast what we chat about is something rather different: the difference between pros and amateurs, specifically when it comes to comics. There's this common misconception that an amateur is a novice that will produce work of a lower quality, while a professional is an experienced person who knows what they're doing and will always produce things of the highest quality… The REAL story is more complex than that.
Topics and Show Notes
Professionals produce work for a living. It has to support them. Because of this they need to develop a high level of skill and proficiency. They need to learn how to produce work reasonably fast and to a consistent level of good quality on a regular basis. Time, cost and quality are the main factors, the pressure is on them to make things relatively cheaply, relatively fast, and at a good quality. This is very hard to do so they learn to make compromises and take shortcuts to achieve that. “Quality” becomes “good enough”, or basically with enough tricks and shortcuts to convince you that it IS high quality. In terms of art that involves tracing, pre-rendered images, photo backgrounds with filters, gradient fill colouring, cut and pasting, use of 3D assets, reliance on standard models. For writing that means sticking to formulas and story outlines someone else has come up with; tasks are split and delegated to teams: pencilers, inkers, colourists, background artists, creative directors, writers story editors and so on.
Amateurs come in many flavours. On one end of the scale you have the beginners who are learning, then you have casual people with just enough skill to do the job, and finally you have people with an extremely high level of skill, higher than any professional. Amateurs lack the pressure to make a living out of their work which means they have far more time to produce it in and experiment. They have the freedom to learn, advance and perfect, far beyond what is available to people stuck in the professional world.
But of course it's not a case of either/or. Both worlds can learn from each other and frequently do. There are many helpful tricks that amateurs can pick up from the pro world and pros have a LOT to learn from doing projects at a more amateur level. I hope this Quackcast helps to dispel the old myth that Pro = great, while amateur = bad. Reality is frequently a lot more interesting and complicated! ;)
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Lost Honey. Something epic is about to begin! Chords full of portent rise and flood your ears, creating a gorgeous blue backdrop upon which play the golden notes of the piano, full of stinging melancholy, joyful exuberance and wistful reminiscence.
Topics and shownotes
Only for Patrons who donate $5 or more, here:
Urban Legend - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/dec/18/featured-comic-urban-legend/
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/dec/19/merry-quackmas/
Emma Clare - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/dec/20/winding-down-and-looking-back/
Tantz - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/dec/21/a-most-awesome-dd-year/
Pitface riding in a TIGER TANK - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au8cImGEjhA&feature=youtu.be&t=948
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Lost Honey - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Lost_Honey/, by Fleebites, rated E.
Dec 16, 2018
On the 18th of December people who post things with nudity on Tumblr will be kicked off the site. That means all the adult bloggers, comicers and things that made that journalling site stand out above the rest of the vast sea of blog sites and image hosts are being screwed out of what they helped build up! The reason of course is to make the site more attractive to advertisers and so it can more easily fit the standards of puritanical companies like Apple and Google who have taken it upon themselves to scrub the world clean of anything that defines us as adult human beings.
Dec 10, 2018
We mined Tantz's Saturday newspost for our discussion topic: Strong characters and how to write GOOD ones! What is a strong character? Well it has nothing to do with physical ability, power, command, or anything so obvious and trite. Strong characters are well rounded and well realised, they're often active and opposed to reactive, they make things happen, the story hinges on them. Failed attempts at “strong” characters or obvious and often result in Mary Sues, whether male or female. People hand them traits that they THINK will make the character strong: make them a general, make them a great fighter, make them royalty etc. The problem comes when none of that is ever logically backed up in the story. You can't just title a character something or have other characters talk about how great they are without having them demonstrate a reason for it, or else all you have is a pathetic paper tiger and a really shizzy failed part of your story.
Dec 2, 2018
This Quackcast was inspired by a newspost by Tantz. There seems to be this prevailing idea at the moment that serialised storytelling is better than episodic style stories. Tantz informs me that it's one of the many Twitterverse controversies! So let me explain what I mean here: Episodic story telling is when most of the story you're telling can be parcelled into the course of an episode: you can have a strong beginning, middle and satisfying conclusion in the course of your episode, whether that takes the form of a comic chapter, a page, a strip, or a half hour TV show. The Serial style has things stretching over multiple chapters or TV episodes. What we talk about in this Quackcast is that it's an utterly false dichotomy: You do not have to have either or, in fact most projects have elements of BOTH at the same time and it's a little foolish to think that one style could possibly be inherently superior to the other since they're just tools for telling a story. It is up to the creator to pick which one is right for their own work and the context in which it's going to be shown.
Nov 25, 2018
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.
Nov 19, 2018
This is Quackcast 401! Error, error! Pitface and Tantz were absent so Banes and myself were left to go quietly off the rails and expostulate all sorts of radical, half formed, badly articulated thoughts. This is an interesting one! We cover the death of the great Stan Lee, titan of the comics and superhero world. Then we sidestream into talking about comedians trying to be political commentators (re: Bill Maher)… I must apologise for my Ad Hominems. And lastly our focus is on a “new puritanism” in some aspects of pop-culture. It all ties together, if a little awkwardly.
Nov 12, 2018
In this Quackcast DD members tell us about their history with us as well as the pros and cons of webcomicing. This is the 400th episode of the Quackcast! That means we've been doing these for over 8 years now. That's quite a milestone for a podcast. We have JustNoPoint over to help us out, he's a Patron at the $20 “Royal” level so he gets a few perks. JustNoPoint has been with us since 2006 with his comic The Devon Legacy. He managed the awards for many years and was crucial to us getting the site back online when we had our hard crash in August of 2013 that destroyed the site so thoroughly that it had to be rebuilt, a job which took us all TWO months!
Nov 4, 2018
How many characters is too many? Ensemble casts can be fun and the interaction between characters can be more interesting than the actual plot of a story! But keeping track of characters from the audience point of view or even from the creator's perspective can be hard when you have a lot. Characters can copy each other and just become bad clones or you can forget what some are meant to be doing and create plot holes, audiences can stop caring about some of them or just become really confused. So how do you keep track? I think breaking them into small groups can be one good way to do it… What are some others?