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 537 - Historicity

Jun 28, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

We have a chat about historicity in this Quackcast. What IS historicity? It's historical authenticity basically but a nicer way of saying it! It's pretty important for a lot of reasons to make the best effort you can with historical authenticity- it increases immersion of the audience, gives you a better understanding of the story and the world you're looking at (because things will make sense), and leads you to better understanding of your own history and where we came from. BUT, that doesn't mean you always have to be strict. As long as you as a creator properly understand historical context then you've got a lot more leeway to play without creating something stupid. Playing fast and loose with history is ok as long as you know what you're doing, not just being a moron and faking it (hey, many of us are guilty of that). Historical fantasy, myth, classics, fiction, biography etc are all different classes of story where it's more or less forgiveable to mess around.

Episode 531 - Same Stories From Differnt Perspectives

May 17, 2021

4 likes, 5 comments

The famous film Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa gave its name to the style of a story that has the same scenes told from different perspectives. Many comics and movies have done this, it's a really cool trick to try. Not only can it help you show a different perspective of a scene it can also show your story in a completely different style when you show things through the eyes of a particular character and how they “see” the world. It can even be a great trick for making a sequel- rather than a linear continuation of a story you show a story that happened in parallel to the sequences shown.

Episode 530 - What is SciFi?

May 10, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

So what IS SciFi? Well it's a pretty wide umbrella term and contains a lot of different things. In some senses it's just an imaginative fiction story where science replaces magic. SciFi can simply be a sciencey setting where genre stories take place (romance, adventure, nior, horror). It can be a magical fantasy space opera with a futuristic skin (Star Wars), it can be “hard SciFi” where the story is set in the future but the science is completely plausible, it can be written with strong themes that examine philosophical questions and make interesting points about the nature of humanity, and it can be so many more things too. It's a broad church!

Episode 529 - Time loops!

May 2, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

Time loops in stories are a lot of fun, they can be really complicated and interesting. Groundhog day is the most famous version of this trope. Banes tells me it's a “trope codifier”. In a time loop story characters are caught reliving the same events over and over with the main character being the only one who's really aware of it, Sometimes the loop happens only once or a couple of times, or many, many times as in Groundhog Day and Palm Springs. We chat about some of the different time loop stories, their characteristics and why we like them.

Episode 527 - Evil superheroes unneeded

Apr 19, 2021

4 likes, 1 comment

Evil superheroes are a stupid fad, that's my contention. My opinion. They've been around for a long time but now they're so popular it's becoming a bit of a fad and might turn into its own genre. I suppose Marvel and others have saturated the superhero market so to stay relevant other companies are doing “twists” on that traditional genre, hence the evil superheroes.

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.


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