Episode 539 - Schemers

Jul 11, 2021

Schemers can be part of some great stories when they're done well! When they're done badly though they're very annoying! Schemers, plotters and planers have become a super annoying trope in anime: at the end of the first or second episode a person will show up in the shadows and say that they're amused how things are all going as predicted and planned…. They'll appear again at the half way mark of the series and again 3 episodes before the end in the run up to their climactic battle with the protagonist. It's a trope and a formula. Sometimes it works, often it doesn't.

Topics and Show Notes

REAL attempts at schemers can be found in things like Yes Minister, House of Cards, The Usual Suspects, Dune and many more examples where you get to marvel at the plotting, planning and behind the scenes manipulation that leads to results that really ARE exactly as predicted. But how do you show that? The theatrical approach in anime is bad, unless you have the results to really back it up (which they rarely do), Telling us about the scheming after the the fact as in (the movie) Watchman is anticlimactic and unimpressive. Not even letting us in on the scheming and just mainly showing the results as in DUNE also leaves us out of the cleverness of that part of the story.
The best approach seems to be in House of Cards (at least the original, I haven't seen the remake), where Francis Urquhart schemes and plots to destroy his enemies and rise to the top in his own beautiful game of manipulation. We see the setup AND the result.

The king of schemers is seen as the 15th century Italian renaissance man Niccolò Machiavelli because of his famous work “The Prince”, which details all the different ways to govern for a 15th century Prince of a small Italian province. However, if you're looking for the holy bible of evil and deviousness you won't find it there. Machiavelli is actually extremely straight forward and open, even simplistic, but it's worth reading none-the-less.
Who're you favourite schemers?

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme to The Magister Records: Cool jazz, a quiet, smokey room, calm, a fine groove, warm sounds, relaxed… then utter chaos! Random jazz attack, fire, electricity, interrupting trumpet! Then right back down to the calm grove, smooth sailing into the sunset on a honey coloured ocean.

Topics and shownotes

Links


Tantz's newspost on Intruige and Schemers - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/jul/02/intrigue-and-scheming/

Featured comic:
Quantum Festival - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2021/jul/05/featured-comic-quantum-festival/

Featured music:
The Magister Records - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/The_Magister_Records/ - by Grotesquerie Queen, rated E.

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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Episode 526 A return to Mary Sue!

Apr 12, 2021

5 likes, 3 comments

Mary Sues are always a fun topic! There are some misconceptions about them though… Mary Sues aren't all female, they can be any gender. Being super powerful or super popular or super pretty etc doesn't equal a Mary Sue, not even if your character super stands out next to all the others, those things ONLY indicate they might possibly be one. What equals a Mary Sue is a character that doesn't have to struggle very hard for anything, a character that is almost universally admired, and or loved (even by the enemy), a character that masters hard skills with ease and ends up teaching the teachers and beating the masters, a character that's destined to succeed and does in spite of internal story logic… All these things and more can add up to make a Mary Sue.

Episode 525 - Sexual Tension

Apr 5, 2021

5 likes, 0 comments

Sexual tension between characters is a great way to augment the conflict that drives a story. The audience really wants that to resolve into a relationship or at least an assignation of some sort… The longer it goes on though, the bigger they want the coming together to be, which can be dangerous for the creator because it's so easy to disappoint. it's usually better to resolve the tension earlier than later, OR keep it going forever but keep it interesting and don't ever sour it or make it turn stale.

Episode 524 - Empathy

Mar 28, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

Image credit: There's Something About Mary, 20th Century Fox. Empathy is like sympathy but you don't think about it. It's what happens when you see someone get hurt and you wince in pain watching them, it's when you see a really uncomfortable moment in a sitcom like The Office and you cringe, It's when you feel sad when the characters are sad about something. Empathy is an important tool for audience immersion- if they're feeling that strongly for the characters then you've got them invested in your story! Funny story… the topic of this Quackcast was inspired by us talking about the risks of “going commando” and the fact that it can happen to women as well as men. This led us to go looking for photographic and video proof, as you do… and what we saw gave us instant empathy for the poor unfortunate. Hence the Quackcast topic ;) This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to PleaseRewind: Quiet threat, creepy, seeping, strumming, thrumbing, coming CLOSER, inside, peering around, waiting to begin. This is a quiet track filled with an undertone of urgency suggested by the constant quick rhythm and lonely guitar.

Episode 507 - Say my name again!

Nov 30, 2020

4 likes, 1 comment

Coming up with character names isn't easy. It can actually be really, really hard! Tantz did a couple helpful Newsposts about it and we decided to spin that into a fun Quackcast about naming and names! The names behind stuff often has interesting stories, the Quackcast itself is no exception. When Wowio told us we had to do a podcast back in the day we tossed around a few names and the one they came up with was “Quackcast”, because of the whole “duck” theme we have going here. I protested because there was a highly regarded skeptical medical podcast with that name already run by Dr Mark Crislip, but I didn't have any real say and so the name stuck! When I DID have the power to change it, it was already way too entrenched.

Episode 504 - Decompression

Nov 8, 2020

4 likes, 2 comments

For our Patreon video I decided to dress as the WW2 Captain America (from the movie, Captain American the First Avenger). That and the very de-compressed nature of the US election led us to chat about what was going to happen! It wsn't till JUST after the video that we heard that the US offocially had a new president! So you can see me pictured bellow in my costume or become a Patreon and see the vid :)

Episode 496 - titular titularity!

Sep 14, 2020

4 likes, 0 comments

Titles are surprisingly important for your comic! We don't often realise that when we first start them, but a title is one of the very first ways people come across your work. You have to sell it to them and give them an idea of what to expect in only a very few words. You can take a lot of different approaches to that, like teasing and intriguing them with a title that suggests something interesting or mysterious, character names are great for that. You can be completely literal and obvious. You can use a pun… you can take an existing popular title and alter it in a slight way… There are so many things you can do!

Episode 495 - A fan of fanfiction?

Sep 7, 2020

3 likes, 0 comments

Fanfiction is a massive subject, there are so many aspects to it, from the bad stuff with the Mary Sues, rampant shipping, author inserts and wish fulfilment etc to homages and great works that extend the story and characters beyond what they were in the original and add interesting and fun aspects to fan favourites. There are many good reasons to do fanfiction: It's fun, you're inspired and want to use that inspiration, all the characteristics of the story are readymade so you don't have to do world building or character development, the work has a built in audience so you're going to have readers no matter what and hopefully some feedback, it can help make you more popular as a creator because of the fans of the original work, and you get to experiment because you can't sell the work or do anything serious with it so you may as well have fun and enjoy it!


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