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 534 - Biting off more than you can chew

Jun 7, 2021

4 likes, 2 comments

Taking on more than you can handle - i.e. James Cameron and JJ Abrams are good directors and writers but neither could handle the demands of a complex Sci-Fi project that needs full world building and internally consistent logic etc (Avatar and Star Wars). They're great with more simple SciFi that's based on 21st century earth and simpler stories, but epic SciFi was clearly a long way beyond the capabilities of either. We're talking about when WE have been caught taking on stuff we couldn't handle, how we dealt with that and also how other creators dealt with it too.

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 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 515 - Mental Health

Jan 25, 2021

5 likes, 2 comments

This Quackcast was inspired by Pitface, who is concerned out the mental health of her fellow webcomicers. She even started a thread about it in the forums. The cover image is a reference to the cover of “Metal Health” by Quiet Riot. Tantz is a qualified psychologist, so she's uniquely qualified to talk about this subject! People are having difficult times coping in this time of isolation and global pandemic so we thought we'd address that and mental health in general. Tantz is extremely wise on this subject! So, how're YOU coping?

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 499 - Life's worth?!

Oct 5, 2020

5 likes, 0 comments

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.

Episode 492 - Impermanence of the new digital age

Aug 17, 2020

7 likes, 0 comments

This Quackcast is about the impermanence of online services and the lie that services are provided for fee and providers have no responsibility to the creators and viewers that use them. Hushicho posted in our forum about Tapas newly restricting nudity in comics which suddenly disenfranchises hundreds of creators who've built up followings on that site with comics that were well within the the Tapas content rules. With that one change these comics have been wiped out, destroying all the hard work by creators to build up their audiences over a long period of time. That can happen with ANY digital service, we are at the mercy of the corporations that provide them.


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