Mar 4, 2019
The entire team is here this time, no one was cut… So we're chatting about CUTTING, as in cutting out scenes to make a story cleaner, leaner and less flabby, but also NOT cutting because in a webcomic you don't have to, and when you cut badly you end up with a “D movie” effect where story scenes don't follow, don't make sense and plots seem to go nowhere or happen for no reason.
Topics and Show Notes
In most stories you can cut out lots of bits and pieces and get a leaner, more streamlined result: the reason is that an audience will interpolate the missing information between two factors and create their own rationalisation for the events that lead from one to the other. Often this can get them a little more involved and invested in the story because of it. You can trick them into thinking it's a better, cleverer story than it is because they did some of the hard work themselves. Introductions and long establishing scenes can be cut, but also the “things” that happen between or lead up to something:
A murder for example. You don't need to show how it was done, just the intent to commit it and the discovery of the body the next day.
You have to be careful when you cut too much though because events and motivations will stop making meaningful sense and your story will turn to garbage as the structure begins to collapse. I'm sure we've all seen the DVD special features where scenes were cut to streamline the story and you realise WHY the finished product didn't quite make sense in its final form and that it would have been SO much better if they haven't cut that bit out…
Webcomics are a unique medium: they thrive on content. Commercial products have a lot of boundaries and rules they have to stick within, especially movies, so cutting content makes much more sense for them than it does for webcomics. But it's still an interesting thing to try, especially if you want to make your work more commercial in future, i.e. write it up as a screenplay, release it in 30 page printed issues, or even just go for a more cinematic feel.
Don't fall into the trap of pruning a story just for the sake of one element like “action” though, or because you want to rush from one scene to another. Stories benefit from having variation in the pacing. This is why action movies like Ronin and Diehard are so awesome: extreme action is beautifully contrasted and set up with slower scenes that let you take stock and rest (- https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/feb/22/the-action-non-action-ratio/ as in Tantz's newspost last week). The film Van Helsing was well made and entertaining but the breaks between the non-action parts were insufficient, meaning that the impact of the action suffered because of it.
You often hear on DVD commentaries “We cut this part because we thought it was diverting from the main plot” among other rationalisations… Well sometimes that works in film and sometimes it doesn't. Webcomics though often benefit from the freedom to explore side-plots so be careful what you choose to cut.
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Aikornia! Double, triple, contrabass, octobass cello! The big guns are coming to play for you now, ushering in the footsteps of doom. It’s like the knight’s dance from Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev, but as if it were written for ents instead!
Topics and shownotes
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My Cute Wish - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/feb/26/featured-comic-my-cute-wish/
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Pit Face - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/
Aikonia - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Aikonia/, by Aikonia, rated E.
Feb 4, 2019
A huge thank you to the fantastic Amelius, creator of Charby the Vampirate! We mined her great newspost on the topic of the comic hiatus for this Quackcast. When you're reading a comic and it goes on Hiatus it's an awful thing… suddenly all progress stops and you don't know for how long it will be gone for. Some authors are great, they'll reach a point where they can't work anymore for some reason or they'll take a little break, but they will tell you they're going on a hiatus and when their comic will return- and Lo, it comes back exactly when they said it would. Crappy authors will say they're going on a hiatus and never return.
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.
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.
Oct 15, 2018
Amelius of the magnificent and eternal Charby The Vampirate returns to the Quackcast today! Amelius was the first person we every interviewed and Charby the Vampirate has been on Drunk Duck exactly as long as Pinky TA: since January 2004! Tantz and I chat to her about the new Patreon she has going for Charby and all the amazing bonus perks you can get on it. If you're a Charby fan you should definitely get in on that. Amelius has also agreed to join us on DD to do newsposts every week! So you will be seeing some cool content from her regularly. She has a LOT of comic making experience to impart.
Oct 8, 2018
Fighting ladies, female bad-ass characters… There are a lot more of them around now, but once upon a time they were pretty thin on the ground. I love a good badarse lady, my own comic character Pinky TA exemplifies that character type. There's something about a tough lady who can kick butt with the best of them that's especially compelling. They evolved from something a little more exploitative, ladies fighting in bikinis basically, then we had ladies that were just the female version of a male character (Batwoman, Supergirl etc), which is something we're starting to see a little more of unfortunately, but on the good side of things we ARE actually getting fighting ladies who're their OWN women: Original characters. In this Quackcast we talk about some of our faves and some of the earlier incarnations of the character type, from Robert E Howard's Red Sonya and Valeria, to Catherine L Moore's Jirel of Joiry, to Wonder woman, then later characters like Red Sonja (from the comics), She-Hulk, Sarah Conner, Ripley, Buffy, Xena, Aeon Flux… What are some of YOUR faves? Mine are Tank Girl, Lara Croft, Motoko Kusanagi, Garnet and many more :) This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Dolphin Bros: Jump, jump, jump up and down to this mad dolphin party scene. It’s all over the place but all it wants you to do is MOVE!