Session 4.08 - Overarching Storylines, Final (I hope!)


Well-Known Member
I should add...

Given the creatives vs. producers conceit of the project, there is a bit of an "us vs. them" sense to the whole thing. When we are talking amongst ourselves on the forum here, among "us", the tone is much more formal, with practically no teasing at all - even when we disagree, we do so in a serious tone, usually as far from personal as we can get. But as soon as we invite "them" into the room (ie. the podcast sessions), the veneer of confrontation is added. It's not actual, real confrontation, even when it sometimes feels like it when one of our beloved ideas is dismissed in what feels like a cavalier way (oh it burns haha). It's simulated confrontation, a parody of confrontation, in its final form of teasing.


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As an example of a group splitting over banter lines - I have been in a Warhammer (the tabletop miniatures game) WhatsApp group for a couple years now. It has a VERY HIGH bar for banter, with things going very personal, but everyone, as far as we knew, was actively on-board for that exact tone. After some emotional discussion fairly recently, we made the choice to divide into a high-banter meme and insult-based group and a low-banter game and hobby-based group, and people could pick the one(s) they like. 4 or 5 people left for the low-banter group, 4 or 5 people stayed just in the high-banter group, and 20 or 30 in the middle are in both groups. It was actually a remarkable transformation, with everyone behaving like adults throughout, and no friendships were damaged. But at the end of the day, there are some people who aren't participating in that original group anymore.


Well-Known Member
the conceit of this project in particular has been set up as a parody of the adversarial relationship between creatives and producers at a studio
This I was not aware of at all, having come in during Season 3. That and Marie's second reflection helps put the jokes (?) in a more clear and less threatening context for me. Thank you for the insight.

I, because of my background, have difficulty distinguishing sarcasm, jokes, and friendly teasing from 100% sincere statements of intent, especially from somebody I don't know. It's seldom obvious to me if e.g. "I'd rather make Glorfindel captive, let's do that" or "Turgon never makes any mistakes" is a Final Decision, a serious suggestion, or a non-serious joke. I have gradually gathered (I think) that Dave occasionally saying we should make it more like the Movies with pointless battles thrown in, is probably non-serious joking, but I'm not entirely certain of that either.

Part of this is that I was not here before or during Season 0, and listening to the Season 0 podcasts didn't clarify for me whether the Execs' goal is only a podcast with creative output totally unimportant (like the other podcast series); a podcast plus a parody of Tolkien with lots of whimsical changes for the lolz; or a podcast plus a serious, high-quality work of faithful fanfiction/fanart/fanmusic. I still can't tell which is their goal for the actual creative output, or if (for example) they consider plot holes something funny, or something to prevent.
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I've been a bit unsure as to how/if to respond to this topic, and I think @amysrevenge has done an excellent job of breaking it down, despite his "handicap" as a straight, white male.

I need to point out, however, that in the past, when the Hosts said, "the writers," they generally meant Marie and I, with the understanding that there were a few more people involved to differing degrees. There is likely still a part of this. I also should point out that if anyone has had something resembling an antagonistic relationship with the Hosts, it is me. My goals and theirs aren't always the same, and we approach the story from different directions. Dave and Trish enjoy the idea-spinning that takes place (if anyone went back and listened to the "Riddles In the Dark" podcasts, you would see this even more so than now.) Prof. Olsen is primarily using this as an education vehicle. He enjoys discussing the larger topics.

I am not as well-versed in the lore as quite a number of folks here. I'd consider my familiarity with the Silmarillion itself to be quite good, but I have yet to read a lot of the other versions of the story, and have not read many of Tolkien's letters. My focus has always been on making certain that this project would produce a watchable show, one able to compete with some of the more well-crafted works available now. I have committed more time than an amateur probably should to studying the patterns that correlate with good TV writing. It is why I typically talk more about story beats and tension levels than pretty much anyone else involved.

These differences have often put me at odds with what the Hosts want to do. Sometimes they get fixated on an idea that I consider difficult or impossible to render in actual practice. Season 2 is probably where this came to a head. I even had a couple of "Twitter Wars" with Prof. Olsen and Dave on a couple of points. I think that this faux adversarial relationship has perhaps increased the impression to the hosts that they _can_ poke fun at us sometimes.

One more note: As someone who has done a bit of broadcasting at this point (for the past month and a half I've actually been trying to turn it into an actual income stream), I know that the comment thread on the end of the hosts is a proverbial fire hose. I've never had half the listeners Prof. Olsen does, and I've sometimes had trouble keeping up. I've often had suggestions missed in the fray, some of which I thought were pretty awesome.

I know the question of the lack of bold and italic letters on the webinar software has come up, but to be honest, I kinda wish they weren't available on the forums either. It is too easy to interpret them as "shouting" just as it is using ALL CAPS and overuse of exclamation mark.


Staff member
To clarify, my 'threat' against Dave was more of a pun. But still.

During Season 2, the Hosts were talking about the many characters among the elves, in the context of which ones to introduce when. Dave raised the question of whether or not we really needed all 7 of Feanor's sons, or if maybe we could cut some of them. The discussion concluded that Feanor having 7 Sons was iconic, but my comment was, "Dave, I will cut you." I thought it conveyed my emotions accurately, and as far as I know, he did not get the impression that I hold any ill will against him. It was a mock serious joke, not a threat that I was going to show up on his doorstep.

I can 100% assure you that Dave's comments about inserting love triangles and pointless battles are jokes.

As for the desired outcome, I must (gently) point out that the only output the Execs have are the podcasts. While they certainly encourage creative output from their listeners, they aren't exactly in a position to make it happen nor are they telling us we *have* to produce anything. They'll review whatever we come up with. That part is all on us.