Jan 16, 2017
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.
Topics and Show Notes
Topics and shownotes
Salamander - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2017/jan/10/featured-comic-salamander/
Based on Hippy's newspost - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2017/jan/12/cultural-background-and-comicking/
Canadians in Spaaaaaaaace!
Dee Reluctant Space Tourist - Hippy's comic: http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Dee_Reluctant_Space_Tourist/
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Banes - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
Pitface - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ayla Speaker For The Dead - http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Ayla_Speaker_for_the_Dead/, by JohnH985, rated M.
Jan 9, 2017
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.
Jan 2, 2017
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.
Dec 5, 2016
We finally did it! We got to 300 Quackcasts! We've been doing these non-stop for SIX years! Wow… That's pretty incredible. We couldn't think of anything clever do do so we had another DD electronic meetup. The 3rd DD meetup on the 3rd of December on the 300th Quackcast. So the DD family got together, which is what families do around Christmas, well a few of us anyway! In this Quackcast you can listen to an hour of our blather and carrying on and vicariously experience what it was like if you missed it or listen again if you were a part of it. It's always a blast to have the DD community together, we're spread out all the way across the planet so this is really the only practical way for us to come together. We tried doing it with DD hangouts this time instead of Skype, which was interesting but there were way too many hoops to jump through for people to get into it. We could only have 10 people on the call at the time, With Skype we could have 10 people on video chat and others with voice only and chat was so much better… So NEXT time we will go BACK to Skype. Screw you Google hangouts! It was so nice to see people! I tried to stay up for 10 hours from 11am EST (New York time), to 9pm, but I didn't make it. I fell asleep 2 hours short. :( Gunwallace's musical theme was for Lady Unlucky: a minimal white landscape, furnished with electronica, hints of piano and subtle grandeur.
Nov 14, 2016
In this Quackcast we tackle the topic of fandom. Fandoms can be interesting, fun, helpful, fascinating, inspiring, or even bizarre and disturbing. Fandoms are frequently great resources for information about their subject and can really enrich your experience of whatever you're into. Fandoms are also a hotbed of creative energy- some of our most iconic literature was written by people who started out as ardent fans- even the great H.P. Lovecraft was part of a fandom of Gothic horror fiction along with fellow writers Robert Bloch, Clark Ashton Smith, and Robert E. Howard. These highly influential writers were influenced by such greats as Arthur Machen, Robert W. Chambers, Edgar Allen Poe, and Lord Dunsany to name a few. And of course Lovecraft and his group went to to influence legions of fans who changed the face of 20th century pop culture. Looking at fandoms gives a cultural roadmap so we can follow influences, where ideas originated, how they changed, how pop-culture was created, and more importantly: they give us great clues about what other stuff we might like to read! No music this week I'm afraid. Mr Gunwallace is dealing with the fallout from a huge earthquake in his native New Zealand.
Aug 29, 2016
Do you worry about offending specific people with your writing? Where's your line between honest expression and regard for other people's feelings? This was Bane's brilliant idea for a Quackcast. We touch a little on the idea of a “culture of offence”, where it seems that people look for things to be offended by, perhaps on behalf of others, but also about things that really CAN cause offence and how to avoid that. On one hand you have people complaining that everything is too “PC” these days, but on the other it's really not OK to be a dick to people just because you like to cling to the old days when it was fine to put down people on the basis of ethnicity, skin-colour, gender, or sexuality… But we can also cause offence accidentally, unintentionally, unknowingly… Should you compromise your vision to appease people, or should you forge ahead regardless? Keep in mind that some things that are fine for SOME audiences are offensive to others, so rather than fight with your audience or appease them perhaps it's better to try and actively direct your work at the CORRECT audience it's intended for? - speaking in terms of sex scenes, politics, etc. Listen to the theme Gunwallace concocted for us THIS time! Geminni: Get down to the bad sounds of this classic funk rock tune! Danceable!
Aug 22, 2016
Comedy anti-heroes are a great deal of fun. My faves are characters like Tankgirl and Flashman; they can be selfish, greedy, violent, lustful, out for their own needs first but they still manage to do the “right” thing and vanquish the bad guy along the way regardless, or a character like George Costanza from Seinfeld who's jealous, pathetic, cowardly and greedy but we still love him anyway because identify with him and root for him against the unloving forces of the universe. To be a GOOD comedy anti-hero you have to keep the audience on their side though and that can be a tricky balancing act, you have to surf a number of factors (especially in a long running project), since to actually BE an anti-hero they need to have things about them that an audience would normally despise, these need to be counteracted by things like sympathy and pathos, traits we strongly identify with, intelligence, luck, charm, humour, sexiness, coolness, allowing them to win sometimes, or even redeeming some of their anti-hero behaviours occasionally. Get that balance wrong and they can so easily completely lose audience favour and sour the rest of the story/show/film. Pitface, Tantz, and Banes weigh in on this with me. And there are more opinions in the forum thread from which this evolved. Gunwallace's musical theme this week was for Pestilent. It's thoughtful, haunting, reminds me a little of a classic horror film soundtrack. Pretty scary!
May 22, 2016
State your business! Venerable Drunkducker Ayesinback suggested we have an open electronic meetup of DD people, so that's exactly what we did! We all met up in a long Skype session that lasted 10 hours- various DDers dropped in and out over that time and we chatted away about everything and nothing on videochat, meanwhile I tried on a never ending series of antique and novelty hats, one after another… It was really lovely to see old and new DDers all together, to see their faces and hear their voices. A big thankyou to everyone who took part! It was a big success! We will try it again and again in the coming months. The proposed date is the 3rd Saturday of every month, so the next one will be the 18th of June. The session starts at 11am New York time and runs for 10 hours until 9 pm New York time, so you can drop in any time during that! You can get Skype for free here: www.skype.com. It works on all computers, phones and tablets. It can even work just in your web browser alone! You just sign up and install it. Then make sure you add “ozoneocean” as a friend. Gunwallace's track this week was for Darklings. It's nice and long one with a good progressive rhythm. Some of the genius things we discussed: The measure of distance is time. Inbreeding leads to contagious genetic deformity. Direct democracy VS Harkovast. We beet the sugar! Pineapple and artichoke, why eat them?