Episode 416 - Making cuts

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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Featured comic:
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/

Featured music:
Aikonia - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Aikonia/, by Aikonia, rated E.

Episode 388 - Coding for Men and women

Aug 15, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

In this Quackcast we discuss the artistic coding used to represent males and females in comic art in a simple, minimal way. Pitface joins us, along with Banes and Tantz Aerine! Much like an expert physicist is able to simplify enormously complex equations into something seemingly simple like E=MC2 a good comic artist simplifies the essence of what they're drawing into something that's immediately recognisable without a lot of complexity. We're mainly talking here in terms of drawing men and women. It sounds like the most basic, silly thing, but even pros with years of experience have trouble with it. Some of the art for the new She-Ra cartoon is a great example of that.

Episode 387 - History and Pastiche

Aug 7, 2018

6 likes, 1 comment

In this Quackcast Tantz and I chat about the differences between working with historical settings and the different approaches we take. Tantz's comics (Without Moonlight and Brave Resistance), are both set in a real period of history: Nazi occupied Greece during WW2. Pinky TA is set in the 1920s in an alternative version of history, with Pinky coming from the fictional “Crimean Empire”. Tantz has to keep times, places, and details close to real history while with Pinky TA I can pick and choose the things from history I like the best and create my own idealised pastiche. The advantage of Tantz's approach is that everything is there, nothing has to be invented, just researched and reproduced, whereas my approach involves a lot of creation which slows things down and makes it harder. On the upside Pinky TA is much more flexible, I can easily fit whatever I want into the story, whereas Tantz's comics are bound by the rules of the history she's presenting.

Episode 353 - Beautycast

Dec 18, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

This is the Beautycast. We decided to have a chat about beauty. What IS beauty? is it universal? I would contend that it's not and that's what we tended to agree in the Quackcast. Beauty is a highly relative concept dependent on many factors like symmetry, rarity, ethnicity, time, geographical area, economic conditions, exoticism, what you're used to, aspiration, age, clothes, hair, health, fashion etc. Add to the fact that it's not really just based on what a person looks like but what they look like in relation to others around them. There's also the much derided old aphorism that “beauty comes from the inside” or that it's based on personality. We discus the fact that this is surprisingly actually quite true! Personality, expression and the way a person conducts themselves hugely influences your perception of their beauty or lack of it. This was a very interesting and enlightening discussion. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Mercenary Bound: This one has a slightly disco, early 1980s feel to it. It pumps along with the nice easy pace of a trained fighter, with a hint of threat and a touch of danger, like the music to a level of a side scrolling beat-em-up videogame. —————————————————————————— Don't forget our campaign to give YOU comment and reply notifications so that you can see who has commented on your comic pages easily, you can respond to them right away, then they'll KNOW you replied and they can respond back and so on. But before we can do that we need to raise money via Indiegogo to pay for it. YOU will be helping to pay for a feature that you want. That's how the site works these days, it's our site: yours and mine.

Episode 351 - PLAY time

Dec 5, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

We asked for scripts and we got 'em! We have five different scripts in this Quackcast performed by the Quackcast players: A realistic, dramatic one to start with Usedbooks where murder is on the menu. Yuki, played by Pitface, is doing a bit of detective work, questioning her dangerous brother Lee, played by Banes. Crater's Edge gives up a dose of fantasy and monsters. Keego, played by Ozoneocean, is a young boy looking after his ailing mother, played by Tantz Aerine. Daryl and Susie is all about gentle comedy. Daryl, played by Pitface, is a dragon with monsters in his head and he lives with a mischievous 9 year old girl named Susie, played by Banes. Constellation Chronicles gives us dark, scary SciFi. Wainwright, played by Ozoneocean, with Marcel, played by Tantz, are two astronauts investigating a mysterious distress signal from an old drifting derelict space hulk… We finish up with The KAMics for a dose of satirical comedy! It's awards time at the Muzzy Mallard and Rosemary, played by Tantz, and Beth, played by Pit, are up for some honours… or are they? It was a lot of fun to act these out! We can't wait to do more. They all have SFX and we've tried to do as good a job as possible on them. Please send us more scripts based on your comics so we can bring your work to life, just contact me directly to find where to send them! Have a look at the link to the newspost on scripts bellow to know what to include with your script. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to The Cosmic Star: Fly on out into the deepest reaches of far outer space with us. This tune will groove you on out there smoothly, past glittering star systems and vast, swirling galaxies. Just lie back, get comfortable, relax, close your eyes and let the universe roll on by…

Episode 262 - DUCK Radio 3

Mar 14, 2016

6 likes, 5 comments

WELCOME to the final part of the Radio D.U.C.K. trilogy! This is where we put all the rest of Gunwallace's amazing songs AND a special treat for you as well listeners: Jimmy's Folly. Our radio DJs have gone just a little crazy this time… the brutish, hard rocking Jimmy Storm, demonic Anastasia Ravendale, and dried up old Rhet Blanket battle it out over the on air turf in the strangest way possible… BRINGING THE THUNDER! Gunwallace's amazing comic themes meanwhile are just as juicy as ever.

Episode 242 - Scary Monsters or Serial Creeps

Oct 26, 2015

5 likes, 0 comments

Continuing with our Halloween themed Quackcasts for the month of October, for Quackcast we decided to try and record a full length video of the event, with most of us dressed in hastily assembled costumes. The subject was about the different kinds of antagonist in horror films and which ones people like the best. We had many contributions from people! We even have a full length video of the entire Quackcast. It's not great because I'm STILL learning with this stuff but here it is, probably the only full length vid of a quackcast I will ever do: https://youtu.be/Q8ZSBFqgXiE Gunwallace has given us a smoky, groovy, late night rocking tune for the vampy comic Blood Bound!

Episode 184 - The Trevor Mueller Hour

Aug 18, 2014

4 likes, 3 comments

Trevor A Meuller, author of many astounding comics including Albert The Alien, @$$hole and Temple of a Thousand Tears came on to tell us about some of the different projects he's working. Banes and I were highly impressed by his professional approach and his amazing radio voice! Trevor is a Drunk Duck graduate who you might remember working on @$$hole and Temple of a Thousand Tears in the early days, he's since moved on to bigger and better things, working with the award winning artist and colourist artist Gabriel Bautista Jr on the gorgeous all ages comic Albert The Alien. He's also involved in the great comics based educational reading initiative readingwithpctures.com as well as may other joint projects. he's definitely worth listing to for his exciting motivated approach and the advice he has to offer beginners in the field.


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