Nov 4, 2019
“Toxic fans” is a bit of a catch cry now and that has seemed to turn into the idea that any fan who is critical of something or doesn't like it isn't a “true fan”, fans must should love everything. I find this a dangerously silly notion and one clearly driven by business interests with only a limited relationship to reality. It's quite similar to the idea that you're “either for us or against us”, the twisted idea of “patriotism” that says you must agree with and love everything your country and your leader does no matter what or you're a traitor.
Topics and Show Notes
The truth is that trolls have always been a minority force. They exist and they are nasty, often sexist, racist pigs, but they're certainly not fans and don't characterise real critical voices. Using the existence of trolls to justify shutting down criticism is silly. In reference to this Tantz and Banes bring up big budget mass media productions like Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Ghost Busters, but I was thinking along more general lines: Good fans are people that love something but also care enough about it to think about storylines, characters and deeper aspects of that thing (it doesn't matter what it is), to have constructive opinions or to be upset when they see their characters misused etc.
People who are not fans and who really shouldn't get involved in the discussion are the “it's not for you” or “it's just a movie” crowd. Everyone knows it's not real life, and a creative product is “for” anyone that cares enough about it to consume it and form an opinion.
As Vickie Boutwell said “the opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy”.
Fans who care are the best fans: it's these people who become creators in their own right while others simply consume. The greatest minds in pop-culture all started out as critical, thinking, fans. Name any successful, big series in any format (TV, movies, books, comics, games), and you're likely to uncover a fan that cared enough to let their opinions of their fandom show and then get in and have a go for themselves. By encouraging criticism and involvement we encourage creativity, by shutting that down all we get are consumers -which gives you a clue where that pressure is mainly coming from. ;)
This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Ripping off King Arthur: We’re all preparing for the big event here with this theme. It’s a weird mixture of a Rocky theme, fantasy epic, and 8 bit video game music… as if were were about to see a pixelated, medieval fantasy themed version of Mortal Kombat! The fight showdown to end all fight showdowns!
Topics and shownotes
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Game of Thrones writer gossip - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-rCuVtj7GA
The jacket Comic - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/oct/29/featured-comic-the-jacket-comic/
Ripping off King Arthur - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Ripping_Off_King_Arthur/, by Arspitzer, rated M.
Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Sep 2, 2019
How about having it so anyone in your story can die? Let me explain: It's fake. NOT just anyone can die OK? Your main character will still survive until the end and all that, but what you do is set things up so it really truly looks like they're vulnerable and can die, this way it gives the story bigger stakes. If all the other characters are obvious redshirts then who cares? You KNOW the main character or characters will make it to the end so the threat of death or even injury isn't that important… But if you set things up right and have some clever fakeouts then the story will have much more impact!
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.
Jul 8, 2019
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.
May 27, 2019
What are the different expectations for female and male audiences? This almost entirely a culture based thing, it changes depending on where and WHEN you are from as well as your age and experience… but some obvious things are determined by our physiology: sex sells, but there are slight differences based on gender. I wasn't interested in the “why” (genetic predeterminisim or evolutionary psychology), just the “what”.
May 6, 2019
In this Quackcast we chat about set-ups. pay-offs, and rip-offs. To make your climaxes and endings more satisfying you have pay-offs for audience expectations: set them up in the story and pay them off at the end. If you fail to pay-off then you get a rip-off, it's pretty simple. Your audience will be really disappointed. That's not to say disappointing and unsatisfying ends to stories are wrong, not at all! Often those are fully intended. We're just talking about satisfying audiences, not “good” endings.
Apr 22, 2019
What's your favourite weapon in fiction? Mine are ridiculously giant swords, huge anti-tank rifles, and mecha. There are a lot of complex reasons for weapon choices in fiction, a Kalashnikov assault rifles for example signals certain things about the person carrying it: They're usually a bad guy for a start. This originated during the cold war, with certain types of bad guys using AKs. First it was Soviet Bloc soldiers, then it was Viet Con and rebels from South East Asia, then it became the “terrorist” weapon. The sub machine gun is the weapon of the bad guy. Terrorists used to use Uzis (before they turned to AKs), bank robbers used to use Mac 10s, now it's the HK MP5. Good guys carry an M-16 or AR-15 rifle. In historical fiction traditionally the bad guys carries curved swords while the good guys had straight swords, this came from crusades. Minor characters carry spears and heroes carry swords. Women, weaker characters and rebels carry bows. Giant swords and guns are often given to smaller characters in anime (usually female), as an obvious contrast with their small size. It's meant to emphasis the fact they're sort of a “mighty mouse”.
Mar 11, 2019
What is Social Marketing? Basically its word-of-mouth and viral marketing smashed together and weaponised: Marketing companies hijack hot-button social issues and hitch their client's brand to them in clever campaigns (“We can be better”, etc). The purpose isn't really to make a brand seem progressive, modern or new, rather it's another way of getting it trending on social media that's guaranteed to work, unlike the legion of hit or miss but mostly failed “Viral” campaigns. Whether people say negative or positive things about this issue is irrelevant to the marketer, as long as people are talking about the brand is all that matters. Free advertising is the goal, but it has a social cost.