(MM9) Production Notes

You may notice that there’s a few lines missing from this episode. And I don’t just mean the usual dropping of “he said”s that aren’t needed. There’s actual legit lines I removed from the final version of this episode, because I couldn’t get them to work right. /sigh. It’s episodes like this one that really remind me of the difference between me and the professionals.

I usually get all the lines for a single character all at once, remotely. The actors never get to meet each other, or hear each other’s lines or how they’re delivered. It’s up to me to give lots of feedback, to make them match. In this episode I failed to do so, and so several times the dialog between Jimmy and Eleanor didn’t quite work. The words were as written on the paper, but the tone of a response didn’t match the tone of the delivery, and I had to cut either one or the other. I considered leaving them in, but the difference was really very jarring. Honestly, I think it would have done more violence to the original work to leave in those lines than to cut them, and it would not have been fair to Alexander Wales to make it sound like he’d messed up the dialog when it was entirely my failure as a director. I hope that the episode is still OK, even as imperfect as it is. I will strive to do better going forward!

SFX: 1940’s Office, doorbell

Intro/Outro – Handlebars, by Flobots
Luthor Manor – Wagner’s Rienzi Overture
Crime Scene – Nightmare, by Tabletop Audio
Bar – Creep, by Postmodern Jukebox

(MM7) Production Notes

One of my favorite aspects of Rational FanFiction is that it often takes the original universe and tries to make it makes sense without altering it much. To not just point out how weird it is that Superman has a day job, but to explore what would have to be true about the alien’s psychology. And giving a decent hand-waving of the Clark Kent Effect as well!

I’m also a huge fan of dramatic irony, so Lois’s shrugging about hurting Clark’s feelings was so delicious.

Finally, some of you may recognize the voice of Rein, fearless leader of the Worm Audiobook, as the Mayor. :)


SFX: 1940’s OfficeForest: Night, children playing

Intro/Outro – Handlebars, by Flobots
Luthor Manor – Boccherini’s Minuetto, Wagner’s Rienzi Overture

(MM6) Production Notes

Not much to say today. You’ve probably recognized a few voices from the HPMoR podcast, but one voice you probably don’t recognize is Alexander Jackson, because he sounds pretty normal as Officer Kennedy. You’d never realize that’s what Voldemort sounds like, when he’s not being eeeeevil!!! :) Check out the credits at some point to see the names of all our fine voice actors!

SFX: 1940’s Office, commotion

Intro/Outro – Handlebars, by Flobots
Superman Spotting – Maybe, by The Ink Spots
Calhoun’s Club – Lone Digger, by Caravan Palace
Luthor Manor – Boccherini’s MinuettoMozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

(MM5) Production Notes

Very minor spoiler for this week’s episode below.

I really love how Lois’s dislike of Superman colors her narrative whenever he’s around. The poor guy is just trying to be helpful, and the first thing she thinks is “yeah, no duh!” I think Alexander made a point of doing this, both because it’s good characterization (when you dislike someone, you tend to be very critical of anything they do), and because the typical reader will be coming into this story with very positive pro-Superman feelings. In order to show Lex’s side sympathetically, there needs to be a fair bit of push against that.

I also love the contrast in the very next scene, where Lex and Mercy mirror that Superman/Lois interaction. But in this one, Lex internally acknowledges that Mercy is extremely competent and probably doesn’t need the instructions at all, and admires that about her. We aren’t given Mercy’s thoughts, but based on their interactions (and the rest of the novel) I imagine that she’s far more understanding of Lex’s reminder and isn’t put out by it. Their entire relationship feels very mutually-admiring and respectful of agency (to me). #LexAndMercyRelationshipGoals

SFX: 1940’s Office, explosion, phone, radio click

Intro/Outro – Handlebars, by Flobots
Luthor Manor – Boccherini’s Minuetto

(MM4) Production Notes

(some minor spoilers for chapter 4 follow)
This is where I really fell in love with this story. Because good vs evil is boring, but good vs good is awesome. My inner utilitarian (and thus inner Effective Altruist) is absolutely on Lex/Lois’s side. Punching criminals is a TERRIBLE misuse of super-powers! Do something that actually matters!

But on the other hand, my inner humanist is totally on Superman’s side. I don’t want some god-being imposing his ethics on us!

And in Superman’s defense, the world really is freakin’ hard. You set out trying to create a classless utopia for all mankind, and before you know it you’ve murdered 20 million people and grossly multiplied human misery by strangling the growth of much of the world. You know what’s safe? Stopping rapes and murders. That, at least, doesn’t generally lead to civilizational collapse. Afterall, Superman can’t forsee all the consequences of his actions–he isn’t God. (Very interesting that he believes in one though. What does he think God’s excuse is? Or is Superman limiting his interference because he believes in God, and figures the ol’ diety has a very good reason for not fixing the place, and therefore doesn’t want to screw up His plan? To re-purpose Weinberg “Good people do good things and evil people do evil things. But for a demi-god to fail to do the most good, that takes religion.”)

Anyway, seeing both sides so clearly and agreeing with both makes me want to see both sides win, and that really amps up the whole story. Now it’s tragic no matter how it turns out, because everyone involved is good, and if they could just team up wouldn’t the world be better? But they can’t. If they could, they wouldn’t be who they are.

(Well, except Lex. He’s still mostly evil.)

In non-Metropolitan Man news – I forgot to ask Ada Palmer a question during last week’s interview that I really wanted to ask. So she answered it in email instead. :) For anyone else who’s interested… (minor spoiler about a character’s name)

“I was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness, and so I’m very curious – why did you choose to go with Jehovah rather than Yahweh?”

I wanted to use the Latinized version of the name, rather than the one closer to the Hebrew, because the Latinized version was used in the French Englightenment, and reflects the fact that his upbringing and background, and Madame’s whole project, are very much tied to the Latin and Christian tradition, and to heterodox and contrary thinkers within that tradition–Diderot, de Sade, Nitezsche–rather than the Hebrew tradition or Hebrew thinkers.

But when he signs his own name, he does spell his first name in Hebrew, the second in Greek, the third in Latin, the fourth in French, and the last in English, so his name is also an historical linguistic genealogy of the overlaid cultural traditions that shaped him:

יְהֹוָה‎ Ἐπίκουρος Donatianus D’Arouet Mason

Actually, when writing his name, he usually leaves out the vocalization marks on the first name and just uses the tetragrammaton.  More info than you needed, but I thought you’d find it nifty!

And I did. :)

SFX: construction, street corner, boom, city rooftop 3

Intro/Outro – Handlebars, by Flobots
Luthor Manor – Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nachtmusik