Episode 416 - Making cuts

Mar 4, 2019

The entire team is here this time, no one was cut… So we're chatting about CUTTING, as in cutting out scenes to make a story cleaner, leaner and less flabby, but also NOT cutting because in a webcomic you don't have to, and when you cut badly you end up with a “D movie” effect where story scenes don't follow, don't make sense and plots seem to go nowhere or happen for no reason.

Topics and Show Notes

In most stories you can cut out lots of bits and pieces and get a leaner, more streamlined result: the reason is that an audience will interpolate the missing information between two factors and create their own rationalisation for the events that lead from one to the other. Often this can get them a little more involved and invested in the story because of it. You can trick them into thinking it's a better, cleverer story than it is because they did some of the hard work themselves. Introductions and long establishing scenes can be cut, but also the “things” that happen between or lead up to something:
A murder for example. You don't need to show how it was done, just the intent to commit it and the discovery of the body the next day.

You have to be careful when you cut too much though because events and motivations will stop making meaningful sense and your story will turn to garbage as the structure begins to collapse. I'm sure we've all seen the DVD special features where scenes were cut to streamline the story and you realise WHY the finished product didn't quite make sense in its final form and that it would have been SO much better if they haven't cut that bit out…

Webcomics are a unique medium: they thrive on content. Commercial products have a lot of boundaries and rules they have to stick within, especially movies, so cutting content makes much more sense for them than it does for webcomics. But it's still an interesting thing to try, especially if you want to make your work more commercial in future, i.e. write it up as a screenplay, release it in 30 page printed issues, or even just go for a more cinematic feel.

Don't fall into the trap of pruning a story just for the sake of one element like “action” though, or because you want to rush from one scene to another. Stories benefit from having variation in the pacing. This is why action movies like Ronin and Diehard are so awesome: extreme action is beautifully contrasted and set up with slower scenes that let you take stock and rest (- https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/feb/22/the-action-non-action-ratio/ as in Tantz's newspost last week). The film Van Helsing was well made and entertaining but the breaks between the non-action parts were insufficient, meaning that the impact of the action suffered because of it.

You often hear on DVD commentaries “We cut this part because we thought it was diverting from the main plot” among other rationalisations… Well sometimes that works in film and sometimes it doesn't. Webcomics though often benefit from the freedom to explore side-plots so be careful what you choose to cut.

This week Gunwallace has given us the theme to Aikornia! Double, triple, contrabass, octobass cello! The big guns are coming to play for you now, ushering in the footsteps of doom. It’s like the knight’s dance from Romeo and Juliet by Prokofiev, but as if it were written for ents instead!

Topics and shownotes

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Featured comic:
My Cute Wish - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2019/feb/26/featured-comic-my-cute-wish/

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/banes
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
Pit Face - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
kawaiidaigakusei - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/kawaiidaigakusei/

Featured music:
Aikonia - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Aikonia/, by Aikonia, rated E.

Episode 393 - Set the scene!

Sep 24, 2018

2 likes, 0 comments

In THIS Quackcast we chat about shots! The kind you get from a camera… Long short, bird's eye view, worm's eye view, high angle, low angle, wide angle, fish eye, close up, ultra close up… You can use them to set the pace of the narrative, increase drama, reveal or conceal elements and so on. Shot types and angles are really important in story crafting. This was based on a newspost by Banes. I was actually IN Athens in Greece sitting next to Tantz Aerine for this Quackcast. It was cool to be in the same place with at least ONE of our fellow casters. Banes was still in Canada and Pit was in London, making a very brief cameo appearance at the very end.

Episode 379 - Troptastic

Jun 18, 2018

5 likes, 1 comment

ALL the tropes!!!! Based on Emma Clare's newspost, tropes are damn useful but they can also be your undoing if you handle them badly. Tropes are shortcuts to meanings, scenes, procedures or jokes that take too long to set up in their own right. You can use them like prefabricated parts to build your story, Lego if you will. You really should know how to use them correctly though. If it's for jokes, then work on them and expand on them, if it's for more serious stuff then you should know WHERE those tropes come from so you use them correctly. We chat about tropes, boob-slips, Doki Doki, Baka and Test, Kung Fury, Satan Ninja 198X, and Vaporwave among other things. Gunwallace gave us a lovely theme to Yasu no Monogatari this week: Floating out on a blue river of dreams into an echoing crystal cave illuminated by thousands of refracted glittering lights, traveling on your way further underground, deeper and deeper to more exciting and mysterious sites.

Episode 348 - Action Talking

Nov 13, 2017

3 likes, 2 comments

Special treat at the start of this Quackcast, a Spang news announcement from the oooooold days of DD! This week's Quackcast is on the interesting notion that talking CAN be action. It's based on a newspost of Tantz's. I'm not quite bright enough to fully explain it here so I'll quote Tantz: “Often in making webcomics, creators may try to have more action than discourse, as it tends to make the comic more visually interesting and give opportunities to avoid ‘talking head’ scenes. However, I think that sort of conundrum is a potential trap that might prevent creators from truly making use of all the potential their story and characters have- because if done right, everything on the webcomic page IS action. Discourse or discussions between characters have a natural dynamic and pacing that has to be tapped in, in order to make the scene itself dynamic and powerful even though the character’s aren’t physical with each other.” Basically, even the talking IS action, not separate from it. The talking give the action meaning and context after-all! This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Energize: Serious beats, plodding purposefully, harsh guitar, flashing like the pulse of a police light, eclectic electric rock, flavours of early 80s ska and post-punk create an unusually tasty mixture!

Episode 345 - Horror no horror

Oct 23, 2017

3 likes, 3 comments

Does a horror film without the horror still make sense? If it does then it's probably a really good film… that's what we're talking about in this Halloween themed month! The idea was based on a recent newspost by Banes. We also tapped the massive resource that is Banes for our cover image, which comes from a horror short by Bane's film director brother. Check it out, the link is down bellow. That film, Little Matthew, is a good example of the topic… I won't spoil it, but the scenario and the setup of the film could work just as well without the horror part. The characters are believable and you want to know more about them, this helps you start to care about them, which makes the advent of the horror scenes more effective. In the Quackcast we chat about that, examples that fit the model and possible exceptions. This week Gunwallce has given us the theme to Pulse Comics. It's Creepy, creepy pulsing electronica, like the burrring, burning and zapping sounds of industrial lasers and mechanical robot arms moving in precise, regular rhythm with delicate movements in a vast, echoing fully automated factory of the future.

Episode 337 - Interview with AmeliaP of Kings Club

Aug 28, 2017

4 likes, 4 comments

This week we interview the artist and creator of the comic Kings Club, AmeliaP! Her comic was featured and Gunwallace also gave it a theme tune that was featured in Quackcast 335. AmeliaP is a talented professional comic creator and game designer. We couldn't interview her directly because she's not confident enough in her spoken English, so what we've done instead is read out a written interview that I did with her especially for this Quackcast. Amelia has some surprising and valuable insights for comic creators. You can read the full text of her interview bellow. Gunwallace's theme for the week was for Abejitas - This tune bounces in like a wild thing, spinning and buzzing crazily, full of black striped yellow techno sweet honey madness and rapid wingbeats of energy, this will sting you into full awareness!

Episode 328 - How to get people to read your comic!

Jun 19, 2017

3 likes, 0 comments

Today we're going to chat about how you go about getting more readers on Drunk Duck for your webcomic! Hyena hell did an amazing newspost about it for us, outlining all the ways you can increase your audience here on DD in her fantastic, colourful vernacular! Along with many great analogues from the real world. But I'll cover the basics again in quick point form here: -- 1. Make sure you have a signature image banner so that when you contribute to the forums people can see that you have a comic. -- 2. Comment on other people's regularly, recently updating comics, especially the top ten, and others will click on your name to have a look at your comic- make sure you never post “hey check out my work” as a comment though, that will have the opposite effect. Just be complimentary and people will come. -- 2. Commenting on Newsposts can work as well. -- 3. Make sure your profile page has enough interesting info about you that someone would want to see your work. -- 4. frequent updates will put your comic icon on the front page more often so more people will check it out. -- 5. Increasing popularity through outside sources is done by getting a link to your comic on a popular blog, buying advertising through Project Wonderful on other comics or on The Duck Webcomics is a sure fire way. -- 6. If you get enough views you comic will go into the top 10 listing and then more people will see it on the front page. -- Our music theme by Gunwallace this week was for Sword of Kings. It's urgent, regal chase music, Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk meets Ivanhoe. This is an exciting track that conjures scenes of high adventure and epic battle.

Episode 319 - Roll out the photocomics!

Apr 17, 2017

6 likes, 2 comments

Photocomics don't get nearly enough love. A while ago Banes did a great newspost on the subject where he did some great little promotional reviews of some prominent photocomics on DD. I thought that was a cool idea and I've been meaning to return to the subject for a while. In this Quackcast Pitface and I use funny voices to talk about photocomics. But what ARE photocomics? Well the artist sets up models, toys, artwork, or themselves, and shoots photos of them in certain scenes in order to create a narrative. Later on they'll edit those together in something like Photoshop, adding captions and word bubbles and basically turning them into a conventional comic. People like Bravo1102 go the extra mile to construct elaborate sets and shoot the entire comic as you would a film, taking photos out of sequence because sets have to be broken up and new ones constructed. He even does greenscreen! Gunwallace and and Kdog buy special sets of Playmobile or Space Lego in order to expand and continue their elaborate stories. Trevor Mueller used himself and his friends as models. VinoMas creates really cool artworks out of collage. Rawdale uses stock photos to create his political commentary comics. Sameth uses Superhero figurines… there are so many approaches to the concept. Bellow I've linked a few examples to check out! The music for this week by Gunwallace is for Neander Chan, it's the primal beat of life! This is an utterly danceable sound, driving syncopated rhythm travels up your nerves and down deep into your bones, spiky, distorted electric guitar adds a touch of lyricism.


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