Episode 331 - Retconning your work

Jul 10, 2017

Starwars, Ender's game, Captain America… All these are great examples (or bad ones) of “retcons”. But what IS a “retcon”? What it means is that you go back and change an established work by adding new information that has the effect of changing it in a small or significant way. You might do it in your comic, or a director might do it to a movie series, like George Lucas did famously with Star Wars: introducing concepts like “midi-chlorians” as an explanation for the force, having Han shooting Greedo second, sticking Hayden Christiensen in Return of the Jedi, among other things. A lot of the time this has the effect of pissing off audiences who've consumed the story and enjoyed it because it alters or even destroys the understanding they've built up based on it and the relationship they have wit the work. Retcons happen frequently in the comic world because publishers have to keep their franchises interesting and saleable to audiences, so origin stories get updated all the time for example. A huge recent retcon was Captain America revealing he'd been a long time sleeper agent for Hydra, which has the effect of messing up stories going back over 50 years… The writer Orson Scott Card had a great deal of success with his novel “Ender's Game”, but for some reason he can't stop retconning it, going back and adding and editing new bits and re-publishing it every few years, and most egregiously penning prequels from another character's perspective that retcon the original story entirely. As web comic creators we have the role of god-author so we all have the temptation to retcon at one stage or another. Can it ever be a good thing? Is it worth pissing off readers who have an emotional investment? Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Optimum: the future is here and it’s in space! This tune is so upbeat, positive, fun and futuristic, it really exemplifies the cute colourful graphics of Skreem’s comic.

Episode 329 - Character Archetypes, the Jung ones!

Jun 26, 2017

4 likes, 6 comments

Welcome to the the yungle Characters make or break a story. In this quackcast Tantz Aerine brings all her skills as a head-shrink to bear and gives us the low-down on Jungian character archetypes! Jung was a clever Swiss bloke, a contemporary of that strange fellow Sigmund Freud, together they're credited as being the fathers of psychology. What we're chatting about here is a little system Jung thought up to evaluate people's personalities. People just like characters in books can be thought of a mixtures of particular character traits, to whit: The Innocent, The Orphan, The Innocent, The Orphan, The Hero, The Caregiver, The Explorer, The Rebel, The Lover, The Jester, The Sage, The Magician, The Ruler. These are the titles of the traits, the full descriptions can be found on Tantz's newspost, just follow the link bellow in the notes. We had a bit of fun trying to work out what traits define our own characters and then trying to do the same for major pop-culture comic and cartoon characters like Daffy Duck, Superman, Captain America and Batman. Gunwallace's theme for the week was The Dark Crusader: The sun rises on the vast metropolis, slowly sliding up a gleaming skyscraper, and standing heroically upon the very top, his cape blowing in the wind, is THE DARK CRUSADER!

Episode 322 - Comedycast

May 8, 2017

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Banes has been doing a series of very intelligent newsposts focusing on the mechanics of comedy over the past few weeks. Today in this Quackcast we go over the first three parts of these reports: Comedic Premise, Comedic Characters, and Good and Bad character traits! This one is just Banes and I… stripped down and simple, which is how people know us in these parts, which is embarrassing but we're used to it. If you want to get a better idea of the stuff we talk about then click on the links to Banes' newsposts bellow. The music for this week by Gunwallace is for the Silhouette Chronicles. It's somber, yet intriguing and somehow invigorating. A lovely duet of cello and violin!

Episode 316 - The Quirkcast!

Mar 27, 2017

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For this Quackcast we decided to chat about quirks- the things that stand out about a character, help you remember them, get interested in them, traits that pick them out as individuals and can ALSO be used to point at deeper character traits! These are so useful in so many ways and really help to define a character as well as giving them a handle for the audience to latch on to. The idea was nicked from a newspost where Tantz goes into it with a lot more depth, so check that out too if you can! the cover image is from the Nazi General sketch by Smith a Jones- it's all based on quirks. This was Tantz's fantastic idea for a newspost. Speaking of Tantz, this newspost was recorded around the time of Greek independence day! Happy independence day to Greece!

Episode 309 - boring action scenes

Feb 6, 2017

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What makes an action scene boring? Action scenes should be exciting and fun, but often it's just the opposite! In this Quackcast we discuss the topic of Tantz's newspost from the other day and tackle this hard question. These were Tantz's conclusions: - You don’t yet care enough for the characters involved in the action to worry about them; - If the action is introductory you don't get to understand what's happening enough to care; - The action is badly choreographed or ‘cut’ in a way that the audience can’t understand what is going on; - The action is too much too soon, and back to back; In this Quackcast we try to delve a little more into that :) The featured music this week by Gunwallace was for Starfox Adventures The Comic: Firing the main rockets and racing through space, laser pulses and bolts of plasma streak past in glowing lines of destruction as you smoothly barrel roll to avoid them.

Episode 306 - Culture club

Jan 16, 2017

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Patriotism, flags, nationalism, religion, politics, national symbols hijacked by racists! These are some of the unique aspects of our cultural identity and national differences we chat about on this quackcast. I was inspired by HippieVan's newspost on Friday (about Cultural identity and how it defines our writing), to dive further into the subject of cultural differences. We all share the illusion of a single, global culture, but there are regional differences for all of us that mean we don't see things the same way, and often some of the stuff we mean in our comics is influenced by where we come from in a way that people from elsewhere would never quite get in the same way. We chatted about how the use and wearing of national flags is very different depending on what country you're in. For example, in the USA proudly displaying the national flag is seen as normal and mundane, while elsewhere displaying the national flag can be seen as a sign of extreme conservatism or militant nationalism. Wearing the US flag in most countries is seen as something of a fashion statement, a very commercial one; wearing the flag of the USSR is seen as a statement of ironic rebellion; wearing the Union Jack is punk; but wearing the flag of your own country in Australia, Greece, Canada, Cambodia etc (and many other places) is seen as a gauche statement of too-overt patriotism, even though wearing the flags of the USA, USSR or UK is perfectly acceptable. These and other interesting facets of culture are what we chatted about. Gunwallace's musical theme was for Ayla Speaker For The Dead, it's a sad, sepulchral, grieving dirge-like requiem, with an uncomfortable sting of evil jazzy trumpet.

Episode 305 - Chekhov's phaser

Jan 9, 2017

3 likes, 3 comments

Chekhov's gun is the principal (as I understand it), that if you have some item, fact or piece of information introduced into your story that you draw specific attention to, then you'd better use it some how later on in your story. The simplest example is a gun: if it appears as a prop lying around in your story AND you draw attention to it, then by the end of the tale it should have gone off. This is because you've set up the parameters for your story in the mind of your audience and they develop certain expectations, if you confound those then they'll be disappointed and think that your story was poor. Having a “gun” on stage isn't so important here, it's the fact that you drew attention to it somehow. It doesn't have to “go off” either, as long as it plays a role in the story somehow. You can trick the audience very easily with these sorts of devices, making them think one item or piece of information will be vitally important, only to make it important in a way they wouldn't expect or to use it to hide the fact that some other thing was important instead. So that's our topic of conversation today! All based off of Tantz's newspost on Saturday. Gunwallace's musical theme was for Grow Up. It's repetitive, relaxing, punk reggae instrumental, with fuzz guitar. A lazy evening on a warm summer beach.

Episode 304 - eeeeeevil!

Jan 2, 2017

5 likes, 1 comment

What defines evil in fiction? I say the simplest one is bad guys are selfish, good guys are selfless. That is massively over simplistic but it's a good easy template for basic hero's and villains. Basic ones I was just doing a quick thought experiment to work out an easy way to define “good” and “evil” characters in fiction. The more selfless someone is the more “good” they are: the more they think of others, want to help people, put the needs of the masses first, the more willing they are to reach across to their enemies etc. The more selfish a person is the more “evil” they are: if they don't consider the needs or feelings of others, help out their own small group and let others suffer, help themselves first. Of course there are many other more advanced aspects, especially if you consider the relative nature of these things: the idea that everyone thinks they're the good guy from their own perspective, being cruel to be kind, being too authoritarian and heavy handed in the use of power, NOT using power when you should, helping in a way that only SEEMS destructive and selfish, trying to help but causing destruction and chaos in the process, which brings us to the dreaded “unintended consequences”. BUT, the selfless/selfish equation is a nice simple starting point to build from. In the Quackcast we discuss these aspects as well as more advanced notions about what makes a good evil character, what makes a bad one, humanising evil, and weakening you evil character by humanising them too much. Gunwallace's musical theme was for The Cull: Dark, haunting, and compelling- Eastern European Jewish, country and rock, reminds me of Tracy Bonham’s later work.


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