Oct 5, 2020
What is the worth of human life in your stories? This isn't something people often consider, we just tend to have a fairly accurate guess based on our experience of the real world, but sometimes stories get it really wrong and that can harm suspension of disbelief.
Topics and Show Notes
A few prime examples are gritty SciFi stories, westerns, war stories, and hospital dramas.
The first three dramatically undervalue human life so it doesn't make logical sense within the world it depicts: In deep space human life would be extremely valuable because it's a rare and practically non-renewable resource. The only way that changes is when you run out of survival resources (air, water, food) or it's a life or death situation, a casual attitude to life though doesn't make sense. In the old west it was the same situation for other reasons, murderers would be tracked down for thousands of miles and across many decades, the only exception was native Americans who shamefully weren't considered people for all intents and purposes, even slaves had more value. In war stories, especially historical ones, typically soldiers have no real survival instinct or self worth, they're happy to always fight to the last and run headfirst to their deaths, which is silly since battles were usually won when one side broke and ran after only a few deaths. Full scale slaughter only happened rarely and that was usually when the fleeing side was caught or captured.
Finally, hospital dramas tend to overestimate the value of life, where all stops are pulled out to save people who society doesn't value and can't afford to pay for the expensive and experimental treatments (with hundreds of thousands dollars worth of care given to them), or people too sick or old are given care they'd never recover from.
There are a lot of complex factors that influence the value of life in a story actually (emotional attachment, status, class, caste, gender, religion, politics, scope etc), but it's important not to get it too badly wrong or your story won't work as well.
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Era of Iridore - Come through the sweeping tapestry curtains of copper and silicone, into the vast techno hall, past lords and ladies bedecked in flashing LEDs of many colours, knights fencing with glowing plasma blades, jesters toying with antigrav balls, and watch the minstrels play their laser harps and electric lutes!
Topics and shownotes
Life's worth thread - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/forum/topic/178520
Raising Cain - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2020/sep/29/featured-comic-raising-cain/
Era of Iridore - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Era_of_Iridore/, by Deno 85, rated M.
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
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Nov 24, 2019
This week we look at the famous quote by respected film director Martin Scorsese that “Marvel movies aren't Cinema” and also the quote by fellow director Francis Ford Coppola that Marvel films are “despicable”. We try and look at the proper context of these remarks outside of the twitter garbage and social media outrage to see if either had any point or whether they're way off the mark and deserving of criticism.
Aug 12, 2019
Tantz's clever idea was that the weather isn't just a backdrop… it's an important prop in it's own right. Weather can be used to drive a plot: the wind snatches a hat and makes a person chase it, which causes them to meet another character. It can be an antagonist: people fighting a storm for example or running form a tornado. It can signal and enhance emotions: rain for a sad funeral or sun for happy for a happy event. Growing shadows can signal an ominous turn of events, wind billowing out a cloak signals a dramatic character! You can just use it for fancy visual effects if you like, snow and rain are great fun to draw, and stormy skies are the best! We chat about all things weather and give examples of how we've used it ourselves.
May 27, 2019
What are the different expectations for female and male audiences? This almost entirely a culture based thing, it changes depending on where and WHEN you are from as well as your age and experience… but some obvious things are determined by our physiology: sex sells, but there are slight differences based on gender. I wasn't interested in the “why” (genetic predeterminisim or evolutionary psychology), just the “what”.
May 6, 2019
In this Quackcast we chat about set-ups. pay-offs, and rip-offs. To make your climaxes and endings more satisfying you have pay-offs for audience expectations: set them up in the story and pay them off at the end. If you fail to pay-off then you get a rip-off, it's pretty simple. Your audience will be really disappointed. That's not to say disappointing and unsatisfying ends to stories are wrong, not at all! Often those are fully intended. We're just talking about satisfying audiences, not “good” endings.
Feb 26, 2018
Jason Moon, author of Crater's Edge, messaged me about some comments he had. He was perturbed about reader reaction to his storyline and wasn't sure how to handle the comments. I told him that those sorts of comments are the very greatest compliment an author can get, because once you get them you've reached the stage where people care about your work enough to get angry: they're invested emotionally in the characters. Yes. It is initially confronting to have someone commenting like that but what you really need to do is step back for a moment and realise what a gigantic compliment it is in actuality. It means you affected them strongly, and that's quite an important thing to be able to do. It doesn't happen much but it's quite a GOOD thing when it does. It's not an easy thing to do to get people that invested. What it really means is you have succeeded as a writer and reached an important milestone. We also have a chat about getting comments in general and also GIVING comments! Hopefully our new comment notification feature will be a boon for this kind of interaction. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Kitty Kitty Bang Bang: Multilayered Chinese video-game war anthem with a modern twist! That’s how I’d describe this complex little piece. It’s the final boss battle, you’ve got no spare lives, you’re down to your last powerup and time is running out!
Sep 18, 2017
In this Drunk Duck Quackcast we chat about the importance and the process of reviews! Good ones, bad ones, why they all matter, and also why they often don't! ;) Reviews are an interesting animal, they're a parasitic form of entertainment. They rely wholly of other forms of entertainment for their existence, while those forms do not require reviews at all! But reviews also serve a good function, they tell us what's bad or good, what fits with our tastes and emotions, and lets us know what we may be interested in seeing. They can also save us from wasting time on horrors. Sometimes though they can drive us away from something magical… Here we discuss all that and more! Gunwallace's theme this week was for Reversion, This is a really dreamy, evocative tune about warm, faraway places, it’s squinting into the distance down a long dusty deserted highway and sighing.
Sep 11, 2017
Tantz Aerine did a great newspost the other day about how the clothing of comic characters can be used to communicate information and emotions just as much as any other element in your comic making arsenal. And that's what we discuss in this Quackcast! Clothing can communicate state of mind, occupation, status, personality, era, class and a host of other things. Have a listen to our Quackcast to learn more! Gunwallace's theme this week was for RUNRUN - a symphony of urgent electronica. This track wants to get you moving in a linear fashion, faster and faster, rhythmic and regular like the pace of a runner. Run into a bright, white high tech future with RUNRUN!