Dec 23, 2018
Merry Christmas one and all! And all that stuff. This year our release date falls exactly on the 25th! It was a busy year for us, lots happened. But in this Quackcast what we chat about is something rather different: the difference between pros and amateurs, specifically when it comes to comics. There's this common misconception that an amateur is a novice that will produce work of a lower quality, while a professional is an experienced person who knows what they're doing and will always produce things of the highest quality… The REAL story is more complex than that.
Topics and Show Notes
Professionals produce work for a living. It has to support them. Because of this they need to develop a high level of skill and proficiency. They need to learn how to produce work reasonably fast and to a consistent level of good quality on a regular basis. Time, cost and quality are the main factors, the pressure is on them to make things relatively cheaply, relatively fast, and at a good quality. This is very hard to do so they learn to make compromises and take shortcuts to achieve that. “Quality” becomes “good enough”, or basically with enough tricks and shortcuts to convince you that it IS high quality. In terms of art that involves tracing, pre-rendered images, photo backgrounds with filters, gradient fill colouring, cut and pasting, use of 3D assets, reliance on standard models. For writing that means sticking to formulas and story outlines someone else has come up with; tasks are split and delegated to teams: pencilers, inkers, colourists, background artists, creative directors, writers story editors and so on.
Amateurs come in many flavours. On one end of the scale you have the beginners who are learning, then you have casual people with just enough skill to do the job, and finally you have people with an extremely high level of skill, higher than any professional. Amateurs lack the pressure to make a living out of their work which means they have far more time to produce it in and experiment. They have the freedom to learn, advance and perfect, far beyond what is available to people stuck in the professional world.
But of course it's not a case of either/or. Both worlds can learn from each other and frequently do. There are many helpful tricks that amateurs can pick up from the pro world and pros have a LOT to learn from doing projects at a more amateur level. I hope this Quackcast helps to dispel the old myth that Pro = great, while amateur = bad. Reality is frequently a lot more interesting and complicated! ;)
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Lost Honey. Something epic is about to begin! Chords full of portent rise and flood your ears, creating a gorgeous blue backdrop upon which play the golden notes of the piano, full of stinging melancholy, joyful exuberance and wistful reminiscence.
Topics and shownotes
Only for Patrons who donate $5 or more, here:
Urban Legend - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/dec/18/featured-comic-urban-legend/
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/dec/19/merry-quackmas/
Emma Clare - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/dec/20/winding-down-and-looking-back/
Tantz - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2018/dec/21/a-most-awesome-dd-year/
Pitface riding in a TIGER TANK - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=au8cImGEjhA&feature=youtu.be&t=948
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Lost Honey - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Lost_Honey/, by Fleebites, rated E.
Dec 2, 2018
This Quackcast was inspired by a newspost by Tantz. There seems to be this prevailing idea at the moment that serialised storytelling is better than episodic style stories. Tantz informs me that it's one of the many Twitterverse controversies! So let me explain what I mean here: Episodic story telling is when most of the story you're telling can be parcelled into the course of an episode: you can have a strong beginning, middle and satisfying conclusion in the course of your episode, whether that takes the form of a comic chapter, a page, a strip, or a half hour TV show. The Serial style has things stretching over multiple chapters or TV episodes. What we talk about in this Quackcast is that it's an utterly false dichotomy: You do not have to have either or, in fact most projects have elements of BOTH at the same time and it's a little foolish to think that one style could possibly be inherently superior to the other since they're just tools for telling a story. It is up to the creator to pick which one is right for their own work and the context in which it's going to be shown.
Feb 19, 2018
In this Quackcast we chat about all the different options for hosting your webcomic. At the moment it seems the fashionable new young kiddies on the block are Webtoons and Tapastic, but they're certainly NOT the only choices for webcomic hosts out there and certainly not the best choices. I think we make a good case here for why Drunk Duck is a better choice in many ways, but we also bring up other host sites like twitter, comic fury, comic Genesis (used to be Keenspace), Tumblr, Deviant Art, Smack Jeeves, Fur Affinity, self hosting on a Word Press site etc. In the early days of the millennium there were just two hosts for your comic: Drunk Duck and Keenspace. Drunk Duck was a better choice for most since it was a lot easier to customise and it had a friendlier, smaller community. Keenspace had a two tier system: the picked comics with all the best stuff were in their “keenspot” site while the rabble were stuck with the slower hosting and slower updates. The main thing they had going was a gigantic member base. But they even changed the site's name from “keenspace” to “comic genesis” to further separate KeenSpot from the rabble, which left a sour taste in the mouth. By contrast Drunk Duck was always dedicated to being fully egalitarian. One of our main strengths is that we accept all without stigma: manga, furry, adult comic, sprites, American style, superhero, slice of life comedy, photocomics, professional published comics or stick figure amateur work and we welcome them all the same with the same level of enthusiasm. The big young Webtoons and Tapastic have some of the same issues Keenspace used to have: a big community where you will be lost in the crowd. And no site has as solid and safe programming and hosting as Drunk Duck does. Plus we're community run so you're same from corporate oversight and interference in the content you're allowed to post. You can read more about comic hosting sites in Emma Clare's news posts linked bellow. This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Odd Days. Sometimes you just have one of those days… or many of them in a row! Odd days. The sound here has a positive, optimistic theme overlayed with a harsh zigzag of electric guitar. This tune does well to illustrate the twisted euni, the off-balance and askew takes on everyday life and situations dealt with in this slice of life, humorous comic.
Jul 24, 2017
The thing with retcons is that the author tends to get an idea which makes them want to go back over their story and redo or tweak the whole thing again, that's what's happened here… well sort off. Banes had some more ideas on the subject that he wanted to share, so we dove into the whole thing again! We were helped by a Websnark article on the subject linked to us by Kam in a comment on the last retcon Quackcast. It's a useful guide, breaking down the different kinds of retcon into five types: Category One: Now Revealed! A Lost Tale of the Hero! Category Two: The Story You Thought You Knew! Category Three: The Real Story You Thought You Knew! Category Four: The Story You Thought You Knew Was Right, But Now There's Been A Change! Category Five: Meet the New Hero, Not The Same As The Old Hero Because That Never Happened! In this Quackcast we expand upon those concepts. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Lego Space - It’s Block time! The sound here brings to mind the techno-mechanistic world of Lego, and especially the bright and glittering transparent blocky world of SPACE lego, vectors, angles, and joins!
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.
Sep 19, 2016
This time we're talking about the weird notion of managing your online brand: what name do you publish your creative works under and how do you go about curating that? It's an idea I had after a great artist friend of mine known as Hyena Hell lost her online presence on Facebook, the main venue for publishing her artistic projects. Both her her private and public creative lives had been merged into the persona that is known as “Hyena Hell” because the act of creation was very personal to her, it was her brand as well as herself. But after a nasty little scum sucking piece of excrement loser arsehole rectum faced coprophagiac reported her name she lost her right to have that as her personal account. Rather than challenge it or compromise she retired her creative persona from Facebook, and it was a shame because we lost a vibrant artistic, thoughtful presence from there. But many of us also have an online brand/persona/nom-de-plume of some sort that our work is collected under and that's the topic of discussion! Gunwallace's theme this week is for Urthe, featuring lashing cymbals and electric guitar that blasts out like a deadly raygun! This is hard rockin’ goodness!
Aug 31, 2015
What's best? One big climax, multiple small ones, early, or delayed? How much should you work UP to a climax? What about anticlmactic events, how important are they? Climaxes are really important in stories. Often you work up to them over the course of a whole series, but each episode or chapter can have them, maybe even every single page. I find writing “up” to climaxes a bit stressful because you have a lot of preasure and expectation there. And when it's over and you've actually achieved it, it can be a bit depressing: where do you go to from there? You can feel a little lost, at least I do. TALKING ABOUT WRITING HERE. My preference is for multiple climaxes. Do you always need climaxes in stories? I don't think you do personally… there are times when things work fine without one, but it does help better with endings. Sometimes climaxes can be TOO big. Way too much of a story can be invested in a climax, it subsumes everything, everything has to tie in with that specific story flow and that can be REALLY had to pull off. If it's not done right it can be massively disappointing. Anticlimactic. Pitface Joins Banes and Ozone to chat about climaxes in stories and read out the contributions from our climactic contributors. Gunwallace gave us a gorgeous theme for Just Another Day!
Aug 9, 2015
You always do a bit of world building in fiction, in some types of stories like alternative histories, fantasy and Sci-Fi you have to do a bit more, in things set in the real world you don't have to do nearly as much - maybe only limited to a few rooms, character occupations and relationships etc, rather than planets and political systems, but the point is you're always doing it. There are good ways to do world building and bad ways i.e. work out as many details as you need to but have that all behind the scenes, not introduced as a wall of text or long explanations on how things work. World building should inform you story and make it work seamlessly, not prop it up like a rickety scaffold. The topic of the importance of World Building was previously touched on a few years ago by Skoolmunkee and Kroatz for Quackcast 39, but things happened at that recording was lost to history, so now we approach it again with all new contributions, strident opinions, and points of view on the subject. Gunwallace did a cool theme for Red Velvet Requiem!