Audience vs the Story?

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RobboAKAscooby
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Audience vs the Story?

Post by RobboAKAscooby »

I just had a lengthy chat with my mate about the current episode of my comic which has taken a turn from its usual male-oriented mix of cheesy humour and action to focus on the female members of the cast and delve a little into more serious matters (basically they ended up discussing Sammi's virginity) although still with cheesy humour.
And apparently my mate hates this episode - compared it to preaching (ouch).
Of course he'll come back next episode when the storytelling returns to normal.

But for me personally (besides being part of the overall story) this episode was a necessary break from the monotony of doing the same thing, it gave me a chance to throw in some character background/motivations that I couldn't have fit into other episodes.

I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this problem of trying to do something different (whether to break the creative boredom or whatever) only to have your friends/fans throw it back in your face?
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by Bustertheclown »

It happens every time I draw a damned comic. I wish I was joking about that.

I have come to the conclusion that the comics I make are for me alone.
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by IVstudios »

Well, generally anytime you do something different your fans aren't going to like it because if they wanted something different they'd be reading something different.

Not that there's anything wrong with changing things up. But if it really is that different from what you normally do, I'd recommend just making it a separate project.

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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by siguyva »

Bustertheclown wrote:I have come to the conclusion that the comics I make are for me alone.
That's the only way to go.
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by RobboAKAscooby »

IVstudios wrote:Well, generally anytime you do something different your fans aren't going to like it because if they wanted something different they'd be reading something different.

Not that there's anything wrong with changing things up. But if it really is that different from what you normally do, I'd recommend just making it a separate project.
Luckily it's just this one episode (only about half the episode really) but it's not the first time I've switched things up, I think it's just the subject matter that had the impact.
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by McDuffies »

Depending on how it's done. I don't mind reading such an episode in a comic, provided it is well done and fits with the rest of the comic. Mind you serious episodes in the middle of comedic series usually seem a bit clunky, out of place. To be frank, as an artist I always advocate experimenting and stretching your wings beyond your comfort zone, yet as a reader I'm mostly interested in work as a whole, how consistent it is and how it all fits together.

I think most of people don't like any changes though. Provided you have a big enough audience, most of them will be inert and resist to any game changing, they will expect you to be reliable, not in terms of quality but in terms of following the structure and elements that you usually use - to always give more of the same. On the other hand it's natural for an artist to want to grow, and one of most intuitive ways to do it is trying out new elements in an established series. You can see this conflict in most of tv series - audience complains about changing of the status quo, but then leaves the series when status quo wears out. Say, a series is going for four years with five principal characters, after which creators simply feel the need to introduce a new character, at that point no new character is going to be received well, compared to the old ones. It's simply too late. So sticking to established elements works for instant gratification, but I think it can be a problem in the long run.
I'm reminded of that episode of "How I met your mother" where Barney gets fat and Robin gets old. Apparently, I've found on internet, this is one of the most hated episodes of the entire show, because audience feels that their beloved characters have been 'ruined'. But to me that's the reason the episode is hillarious - turning the whole setup upside down, screwing with audience's perception of characters so much that you risk alienating them. While 99% of creators out there sheepishly follow the same steps every week.

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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by Yeahduff »

Your service is to the story and to the characters. Fuck the audience and fuck your own whims.
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by Yeahduff »

I'm gonna go tweet that right now.
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by siguyva »

I've never seen an ellipses as a first post.
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by Warren »

Yeahduff wrote:Fuck the audience and fuck your own whims.
Eloquent and true.
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by siguyva »

Warren wrote:
Yeahduff wrote:Fuck the audience and fuck your own whims.
Eloquent and true.
*bubbles in Strongly Agree in scantron*

Here's the thing, it's sort of a trade-off. Most works will stick to what is expected because they need to draw revenue, and the best route for accumulating viewership will guide the artistic decisions.

The other path would be you doing what you feel you want to do - forsake the expectations and tastes of everyone else - because it's your art. Most great art comes from this. Doing whatever you want won't make it great, but it will allow it if everything else works out.

Hence the need to draw readership "corrupts" other productions. That doesn't necessarily have to be the negative alternative. If your aim is to draw readership, then you would be doing the right thing. But if you have something in you that needs to come out as a work of art, then don't listen to anyone.
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by Yeahduff »

Well, I wouldn't say "don't listen to anyone." People can really be full of crap about their own work, and using yourself and only yourself as a guide is an easy route to self-indulgence. Every once in a while you have to come back to the surface and say "Holy shit, someone has to read this nonsense." A fresh set of eyes can be helpful.

Commercial aims aren't inherently evil, just when they compromise the work and the vision.
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by peterabnny »

This is a hard one. I seldom hear back from my audience, but based on the little I have gotten, just be yourself and stay true to your art. I've tried to follow trends, and I've tried to provoke the audience into responding, but in the end my efforts always ended in a steaming pile of fail. Eventually I figured I'd just do my own thing and let the cards fall where they will.

Normally I do comedy with my comic. If the mood suits, me, tho, I'll go political. One such political cartoon that I did ( http://crittersonline.org/cartoons/april2010.gif ) so infuriated a friend of mine that he actually ended our friendship over it! But the way I look at it, you wouldn't be a good political cartoonist if you didn't piss at least somebody off. :)
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by McDuffies »

Yeahduff wrote:Well, I wouldn't say "don't listen to anyone." People can really be full of crap about their own work, and using yourself and only yourself as a guide is an easy route to self-indulgence. Every once in a while you have to come back to the surface and say "Holy shit, someone has to read this nonsense." A fresh set of eyes can be helpful.

Commercial aims aren't inherently evil, just when they compromise the work and the vision.
I like to think that there's thousands of people who are like me in the world, and that they are my target audience and would like exactly the same thing I'd like.

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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by RobboAKAscooby »

McDuffies wrote: I like to think that there's thousands of people who are like me in the world, and that they are my target audience and would like exactly the same thing I'd like.
That is the dream we all have.
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by Bustertheclown »

Yeahduff wrote:Well, I wouldn't say "don't listen to anyone." People can really be full of crap about their own work, and using yourself and only yourself as a guide is an easy route to self-indulgence. Every once in a while you have to come back to the surface and say "Holy shit, someone has to read this nonsense." A fresh set of eyes can be helpful.

Commercial aims aren't inherently evil, just when they compromise the work and the vision.
I have no problem with a little self-indulgence. I find that when I'm being completely self-indulgent, that's when I learn the most about my own work.
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by Yeahduff »

To a certain extent, sure, but fact is sometimes we don't know what's best for our work. Not that you should put it up to committee of course.
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by siguyva »

Yeahduff wrote:Well, I wouldn't say "don't listen to anyone." People can really be full of crap about their own work, and using yourself and only yourself as a guide is an easy route to self-indulgence. Every once in a while you have to come back to the surface and say "Holy shit, someone has to read this nonsense." A fresh set of eyes can be helpful.

Commercial aims aren't inherently evil, just when they compromise the work and the vision.
Oh yeah, absolutely. I'm not saying go nuts. I'm saying if you want to make art for the sake of expression, then don't make decisions based on what will make you more popular.

When it comes to comics, if you're going to have a story, I'm fully adamant that there should be at least a semblance of a basic plot and both a realistic protagonist and antagonist (i.e., the work isn't therapy for the author where the protagonist happens to be perfect and fully agrees with the author and the antagonist just happens to represent the person s/he's getting back at, and is also conveniently ugly and stupid).

Comics (with continuing stories) are just books that happen to be illustrated, and when you remove the literature part, it really unravels the whole thing. The only difference for us is that the "books" never end, and that's where it becomes more challenging for us.
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by peterabnny »

Yeahduff wrote:To a certain extent, sure, but fact is sometimes we don't know what's best for our work. Not that you should put it up to committee of course.

I'm the worst judge of my own work. That's why I'm so glad I have my wife. She makes an awesome sounding board and laugh-o-meter. Stuff that I think is great and would go over well she'll say it falls flat and vice versa. Damnedest thing she turns out to be right 9.9 times out of ten!
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Re: Audience vs the Story?

Post by McDuffies »

Yeahduff wrote:To a certain extent, sure, but fact is sometimes we don't know what's best for our work. Not that you should put it up to committee of course.
Or as Faulkner would say, kill your favourite children. Not that I neccessarily agree with that, but there are numerous works that would have been better if author was strong enough to kill his favourite child.

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