Saturday, August 29, 2020

Episode 19: Alienation and Identification

Hey, guys, check it out, it’s our first episode on the IFH Podcast Network! New Music! New Art! An Ending Spiel! And easily skippable ads at the very beginning and end! James and I discuss “Believe, Care, Invest” vs. “Connect, Care, Commit” and quickly find ourselves discussing the weightier topic of whether authors overvalue identification and neglect the value of alienation. And, of course, James adds an 8th and 9th “E”.

Update: An extra ad is playing two minutes into every episode, interrupting us, but I’m trying to fix that!


Robert K S said...

I heard the extra ad at one minute in. All three ads are the same ad for State Farm, which is... suboptimal. I don't see any way of skipping them, but I wouldn't expect to be able to skip them, and I certainly wouldn't expect you to help your listeners to be able to skip them.

Matt Bird said...

Disturbing! I'm getting three different ads, and I'm having no trouble skipping them in Apple Podcasts. Is anybody else having trouble skipping them?

Thankfully, I have deleted those ads at 2 minutes in, but it will take a few hours for them to actually disappear.

Sorry, we'll get the glitches out of the system too. The ads at 2 minutes will hopefully be gone tomorrow.

J Friday said...

Best podcast ending ever. The final nail in the coffin of CCC. Poetic justice for its insufficiency. I may have snorted.

The rest of the show was great too. I think the reason I love y’all’s dynamic is that you hash things out together and even just listening I feel actively a part of that. Sort of like what makes playfair mysteries and stories with puzzle elements engaging: getting to sort out the mystery with the main character.

Some very interesting ideas sussed out about the importance of identification vs. belief. But I must say this, James is 100% right about the audience going in ready to believe. It’s basic psychology and a well-established concept called Poetic Faith/Suspension of Disbelief. The brain is actually primed to accept the reality of the story. It shuts down the skeptical side of the brain in order to prime itself up for the dopamine hit it’s about to get.

I love this article about it if anyone cares to read more: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/is-your-brain-culture/200907/why-dont-we-doubt-spider-mans-existence-1

People are inclined to be willingly manipulated. That’s why few people change the religious or political affiliations they are born into. It actually hurts to be skeptical, to not accept the status quo. If they do change, they usually find a new status quo that’s more “comfortable” and again stop questioning.

Films and books have a much shorter time for the status quo to be established. But maybe that’s why so much stress it put on the opening image? People are going to accept that image immediately, and it sets the tone of the entire film. I think that as long as the character is consistent with that initial tone, belief can be maintained, and it’s actually those clunky phrases that will pull the audience out of the narrative more so than oddly specific things pulling them in. Those oddly specific things do reinforce the realism, but I’d wager it’s more about not screwing it up than establishing it.

I’ve never seen Ladybird, but from what you all have discussed, the phrase “One day I’m gonna make it out of town and be somebody” would’ve so blatantly clashed with the tone of the rest of the film, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy it. However, if Ladybird had been a tongue-in cheek commentary on the too-high aspirations of a less-than-talented girl unable to accept her circumstances and abilities? That line would totally fit. And I would’ve remained in a state of belief as long as the tone remained consistent.

So, I think James is right on that one. But I think Matt’s right about being able to separate character from plot. Even story. You’re working backwards by saying you can’t take Luke out of Star Wars. Right. Absolutely. SW is a combination of many characters being just right for that story. Many ingredients in just the right order made the most delicious sci-fantasy cake.

Luke isn’t something outside of Star Wars if he’s in a void, certainly. But couldn’t he be someone in a totally different setting, different set of circumstances, but with similar beats that work to shape pretty much the same character? I think so.

Person of Interest said...

GUYS. Amazing podcast. James was spitting out story-truth like it was watermelon seeds at a picnic. I really hope your podcast develops the following it deserves. This was such an entertaining and enlightening conversation. There's five or six podcasts worth of topic in this last one. I've got tons to say about it all, if I can get my thoughts in coherent enough shape maybe I'll post them... but in the immediate -- great job! One idea I wanted to share..."encapsulate a fantasy" is super valuable concept imo, especially when it is expanded to include, encapsulte an anxiety.... negative and positive fantasies intermingled are what movies do, imo.

Matt Bird said...

J: There's a thin line between not screwing it up and establishing it. If the reader/viewer is inclined to be charitable and/or suspend their disbelief, it's not for long, and that's very easy to mess up. As a classmate once said, "We may believe that Superman can fly, but we won't believe it when he turns out the news just as they're talking about the thing he wants to hear about."

POI: I'm reminded of this post from long ago: http://www.secretsofstory.com/2011/07/storytellers-rulebook-91-you-cant.html

Matt Bird said...

So sorry that it's still playing that super-annoying third ad. Alex assures he he's working on it.

Anonymous said...

Love your podcast.

Haddon said...

Great work y'all! Matt, it's awesome to hear about your new book! Will be listening. Thanks again for allowing me to contribute.

Robert K S said...

Am I the only one seeing Episode 20 embedded where Episode 19 should be embedded?

Matt Bird said...

Fixed it.