Episode 440 - Character tropes VS characterisation

Aug 19, 2019

Today we compare and contrast two ways of making characters: starting with a pure archetype and building it with tropes, or creating a character organically through circumstance and interaction with other characters.

Topics and Show Notes

Quackcast 440 has the full crew of Ozoneocean, Banes, Pitface and Tantz! Our description of the two types of characterisation are are probably artificial extremes but it helps to see the advantages and disadvantages of both.

Some advantages to starting with archetypes and building traits with pre-defined tropes are that it's very quick, very easy and you can create something you know for sure your audience will understand and resonate with! Disadvantages are that you risk making stale characters: either by creating a cliché or by sticking too closely to your archetype (as you're always tempted to do when you make a character this way), and not allowing the character to evolve, change out of it and escape it. You generally want to return them to “true”.
A good use for this approach are quickly made side characters who won't be around long, characters in a short-form or one-off story, or sitcom characters where you have to quickly get the audience to like them.

building a character organically over the course of a story through interaction and circumstance is harder and takes longer, but give you a changeable character that grows with your audience and who your audience grows to love! …if they can invest the time. The disadvantage here is that often you can't afford that time. This is better for long-form stories, dramas and novels.

In reality most of the time you'll use a mixture of the two approaches, often starting out with a reasonably defined character with a few traits in place, who grows as the story progresses and is changed by what happens to them and around them. That's a good, balanced way to do things, though short stories and side characters benefit from tropes.

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Ice Massacre: A quiet, contemplative meditation on the vastness of space and time. Gentle ripples of sound lap against and wash over you… building slowly and then receding back into the ocean of time. Percussive tinkles glitter within the flow, like unusual seashells or sparkling pieces of colourful coral. For a moment they catch your eye, only to disappear again forever in the wash of sound.


Topics and shownotes

Featured comic:
The Mystic from Wanzerbe - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/aug/13/featured-comic-the-mystic-from-wanzerbe/

Featured music:
Ice Massacre - - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Ice_Massacre/, by Icemassacre, rated T.




Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Pitface - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/

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Episode 438 - You just don't get it

Aug 5, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

Sometimes your audience just doesn't pick up on the clever symbolism, the hints, the metaphor, the underlying themes and all the artistic cleverness in writing and art that you've filled your work up with!

Episode 434 - Where do your characters exist?

Jul 8, 2019

3 likes, 7 comments

This time we're chatting about settings and where your characters exist in space… where does all the action happen in your comics and WHY does it happen there? Bane's had the really novel idea of thinking of story settings as action playsets, which are toy settings made based on a TV show or movie where you can play with action figures and act out key moments FROM the TV show or movie: Unlike a dollhouse they only have the key sets where the important things happen.

Episode 413 - Breaking structure

Feb 11, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

It's just Ozoneocean and bouncy Banes today. This time we're chatting about breaking and subverting structures, formulas and conventions in webcomics. Commercial creative projects need to use formulas and familiar structures because that's what audiences expect, it's also what studio executives, creative editors, publishers, producers and all the people that greenlight those projects need and expect as well. The Hero's Journey and other conventions and formulas aren't just used because they make good stories but because of the commercial realities and risk averse nature of the industry (there's a lot of money and jobs on the line). Webcomics don't have those pressures so we're talking about why webcomics shouldn't necessarily adhere to popular formulas and structures and why many don't.

Episode 410 - Say My Name

Jan 20, 2019

3 likes, 0 comments

Coming up with character names can be a real challenge because once you settle on one they can define the character just as much as their personality and looks! Names also affect how you name other characters: are they too similar, like Betty and Barney? Will it be an unintentionally meaningful combo like George and Washington? There are so many things to consider, it can be daunting. In this Quackcast we talk about some of the methods that duckers have used to come up with character names. It's pretty novel and interesting, anything from using friend's names, names that have special meaning to them, names that have inerrant meaning, names that deliberately have NO meaning, place-holder names, names from the phonebook and more. Your options, methods, and reasons are endless! Tell us what's behind YOUR character names!

Episode 409 - Meaning, Intention, and symbolism

Jan 14, 2019

2 likes, 1 comment

The topic we discussed in this Quackcast was looking for symbolism, meaning and intention in comics: The English literature approach! Deeper meanings and all that. It's fun to do actually and sometimes you really can hit upon the intentions of the creator, uncover NEW meanings, or just do it to entertain yourself. We used our own comics for an example and talked about things beyond the superficial for a change. For example: Banes' comic Typical Strange is a sitcom set in a video rental store, staffed by a group of characters that make up the cast. Why is it set in a place that is clearly decades out of date and relevance? A video rental place is an anachronism in this time. Is it saying that the characters themselves are stuck in time? It's a sitcom comic so situations often reset or rewind back to the status Quo, so that interpretation would seem to fit… Of course that wasn't Banes' deliberate intention but it's fun to think about that way.

Episode 401 - Stan Lee, a stupid comedian, and the new prudes

Nov 19, 2018

3 likes, 4 comments

This is Quackcast 401! Error, error! Pitface and Tantz were absent so Banes and myself were left to go quietly off the rails and expostulate all sorts of radical, half formed, badly articulated thoughts. This is an interesting one! We cover the death of the great Stan Lee, titan of the comics and superhero world. Then we sidestream into talking about comedians trying to be political commentators (re: Bill Maher)… I must apologise for my Ad Hominems. And lastly our focus is on a “new puritanism” in some aspects of pop-culture. It all ties together, if a little awkwardly.

Episode 395 - Fighting ladies

Oct 8, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

Fighting ladies, female bad-ass characters… There are a lot more of them around now, but once upon a time they were pretty thin on the ground. I love a good badarse lady, my own comic character Pinky TA exemplifies that character type. There's something about a tough lady who can kick butt with the best of them that's especially compelling. They evolved from something a little more exploitative, ladies fighting in bikinis basically, then we had ladies that were just the female version of a male character (Batwoman, Supergirl etc), which is something we're starting to see a little more of unfortunately, but on the good side of things we ARE actually getting fighting ladies who're their OWN women: Original characters. In this Quackcast we talk about some of our faves and some of the earlier incarnations of the character type, from Robert E Howard's Red Sonya and Valeria, to Catherine L Moore's Jirel of Joiry, to Wonder woman, then later characters like Red Sonja (from the comics), She-Hulk, Sarah Conner, Ripley, Buffy, Xena, Aeon Flux… What are some of YOUR faves? Mine are Tank Girl, Lara Croft, Motoko Kusanagi, Garnet and many more :) This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Dolphin Bros: Jump, jump, jump up and down to this mad dolphin party scene. It’s all over the place but all it wants you to do is MOVE!


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