WRITTEN BY: WIL WILLIAMS, ANNE BAIRD, AND KATIE YOUMANS
PRODUCED BY: WIL WILLIAMS
Season 1 of VALENCE is DONE! We DID IT! But just like when we release the first episode of VALENCE, we feel . . . weird. In this episode of Scoring Magic, we talk wrapping the season, we look back on early episodes of Scoring Magic, and we answer some of your questions!
WIL: We’re a little sentimental over in Hug House
ANNE: And with the release of the season 1 finale last weekend, it feels like a good time to look back on what we’ve accomplished so far, and think about what we’re working on next.
KATIE: We realized that we all felt pretty much the same way about having finished our first season, which is that . . . we don’t really feel? Or we don’t know how to feel, or we don’t feel yet. Something like that.
WIL: With everything going on right now, time doesn’t feel real, and we’re not really doing the things we would have done to celebrate if we could be together, so. Well. I’ll let past us explain.
ANNE: I’m fourty-seven percent goo.
WIL: Katie, what’s your goo percentage?
KATIE: Oh sweet Jesus, I am . . . goo baby.
ANNE: Yes, goo baby.
WIL: Goo baby. So. How do y’all feel about season one being done, like, really done? Like, done for everyone, done.
KATIE: Oh, I genuinely don’t know how to answer that yet. Um-
KATIE: And not in a bad way! My brain is just, like, no, that’s-that’s a joke. No. That hasn’t happened.
ANNE: I think, because we’ve had, like, all the episodes done for so long, and because we’ve been working on season two–
ANNE: I don’t know. It just hasn’t hit me that–
ANNE: –season one is done just ’cause we’ve rolled right into working on season two, like, eight months ago [laugh]
KATIE: The day that season one episode one released, yeah.
WIL: Yeah. Yup. Um, yeah, it just kinda feels like nothing to me right now. Not gonna lie.
WIL: Like, I don’t really feel — I-I feel like I should feel a sense of accomplishment. And the day that the episode — that the finale episode dropped, I was definitely feeling very, like, sappy and, not quite nostalgic, but like, reflective, I guess.
WIL: Um, but I haven’t really felt like, a sense of accomplishment or conclusion or anything else.
KATIE: I mean, part of that might be, at least a little bit, because this is a three-season series, and we’ve, uh, we’ve established that since well before day one. And so, it kind of feels like . . . if-if we were from school systems that had three semesters instead of two, this would kind of feel like the first one is over, um, and we — we didn’t have a break. We should have had a break. [laugh] Um, but we’ve still got the two more semesters to go before we can feel like we’ve, y’know, graduated?
ANNE: Yeah. Yeah.
WIL: Yeah, I’m just in a weird place about it. I don’t know. I’m very proud of our team and I’m proud of everybody, and I think that the finale sounded great, but I’m in a weird place. Um, but I thought that today, it would be nice first to kind of, like go back to the first couple episodes of Scoring Magic?
ANNE: Jesus Christ.
WIL: I know!
ANNE: Are these the clips you’re gonna play for us?
ANNE: Oh noooo.
WIL: Gimme one sec real quick.
WIL: So, the first episode of Scoring Magic was released, like, a year and two months ago.
ANNE: [horrified creaky groan]
KATIE: Oh god.
WIL: I know!
WIL: We’ve been doing this shit for over a year, which is really, like, obviously it’s really hard — I mean obviously, that’s — obviously we’ve been working on it for over a year, but it’s really hard to wrap my brain around that, just because of how everything has been. I will say, I feel like [laugh] I do feel like quarantine is adding to the fact that, like, I don’t really feel anything about the finale right now, other than, like–
WIL: –being sentimental, day of. Like, I would have gone out for a drink. Or we could have had a-a party. Y’know? We could have done something.
ANNE: Right. Well, in–
KATIE: Initially, we had planned to, uh, to come, like, harass you in Arizona. And not during the hot times–
WIL: Right, oh my god.
KATIE: –I’d die. But yeah.
ANNE: Well, ideally, I mean, in this magical fictional 2020 that everything didn’t go to shit, um, we would be getting ready to go to Podcast Movement, like, next week in Dallas.
WIL: Ohhh! Yeah.
KATIE: Oh wait, I thought it was — no, it was gonna be, like, today that you and I were to fly out. Because I asked we push it back a day for Brynna’s birthday.
ANNE: Yeah. Yeah, we were–
KATIE: Today would have the day that we flew to Dallas. Ohhhhh, sad.
WIL: Oh my god. Oh my god.
ANNE: Well now I’m just — now I know how I’m feeling and it’s just sad.
KATIE: It’s just bad!
KATIE: Oh! I just got a thunderboom, so if there’s some–
KATIE: –thunder in the background of this recording, sorry.
ANNE: Oh yeah, there’s a hurricane coming for us, Wil. So.
WIL: Ok, cool.
ANNE: Because 2020 can’t get any worse.
WIL: Yeah, of course not!
KATIE: Don’t you — don’t put that out into the world.
KATIE: Go outside and spit.
ANNE: It’s too late! It’s too late! Wil, play the clip.
WIL: And then, I started writing for a pretty big publication for podcasts. And then another. And then I was writing for one of them weekly. And also writing my standard reviews. And doing a weekly newsletter. And doing weekly roundups of everything I listened to. And grad classes. And writing for the sites I’d already been writing for. And producing another podcast. And helping curate a conference. And—
ANNE: Yeah. Uh-huh!
WIL: Um, what the fuck? What was I doing? This–
ANNE: Too much!
WIL: –oh my god! Listening to this list again was horrifying.
WIL: What the hell? So, I guess to update, now, uh, I left that job. I don’t work for one of the bigger publications — they closed our contract. Which is new. And it’s fine. Uh, I . . . I am just freelancing and working on podcasts. That’s it. No grad school [laugh] no day job, uh, yeah. That’s wild. So, I know that, for me, my workload has gotten substantially lighter. But what about for you two? Like, where are you right now with . . . with managing time when it comes to Hug House things?
KATIE: I mean, Anne, I know that you’ve picked up a lot–
KATIE: –more responsibilities and things, and I’m kinda just, like, chilling? [laugh] Um, how you doing??
ANNE: Um, so to do the same, similar list, Wil is doing, this time last year, I was finishing up grad school, working a full time job, in the middle of prepping to move, and doing Hug House Stuff.
WIL: Mmhm. Oh my god, you hadn’t moved yet. Oh my god.
KATIE: Oh shit, right.
ANNE: I still hadn’t moved — I was still living in my parents’ house. Um, so, since then, I have moved, and pretty much settled in, but i have not, uh, finished sound-proofing my office yet. And that’ll happen . . . maybe never, who knows. Um.
KATIE: [scoffing noise, laugh]
ANNE: Done with grad school. I’m still working my full time job, and now I am back to being the only employee, so . . . my workload there has gone up.
ANNE: And I’ve also taken on a more active role in VALENCE with editing and stuff. So, my workload with Hug House has gone up.
WIL: Editing scripts, just to —
ANNE: Editing scripts, yeah.
WIL: –to make that clear.
WIL: And you-you’ve done a lot of work for Radio Drama Revival too.
ANNE: That’s true!
WIL: Were you working for–
WIL: –RDR last year?
ANNE: When we started, no, I was — I just–
ANNE: –um, it’s been a year, almost to the day now, since I’ve started working for Radio Drama Revival too.
ANNE: So. I dropped off a lot of responsibilities and simultaneously picked up a whole bunch more.
ANNE: ’cause that’s just how it is sometimes.
WIL: Yup. And Katie, you’re pretty much, like, same-old same-old, right? Like, you are basically-basically where you started with responsibilities, is that right?
KATIE: As far as I can tell — yeah, um . . . oddly enough, the fact that I — the fact that work has sort of remembered I exist, uh, because I pester them a lot more now, uh, and that they do occasionally have work for me almost makes me feel better? Um–
WIL: Yeah. For sure.
KATIE: I’m still doing approximately the same amount of Hug House work, I think. And now that I don’t have to, um, oh, shit, no I know what the actual difference is. Now that I don’t have to go into the office and, like, experience any of my coworkers’ existence, and have to listen to them just sniffle constantly instead of blowing their fucking noses — my stress levels have gone down considerably. Um–
KATIE: So quarantine, in that regard, is workin’ out for me great, and every other regard, bad.
WIL: Yeah, very bad. Very very bad.
WIL: Ok, let’s move on to the second clip.
ANNE: Yeah we both had the same initial interaction with it, which was your Monster of the Week roleplaying game.
WIL: Mhmm, yeah, um, the main characters from those novels became nonplayer characters in that campaign mostly because I was lazy and didn’t want to make new characters [laugh]
KATIE: That’s extremely valid though.
WIL: And then, I think a little bit into the-into the campaign I had mentioned that they were characters from a novel, and then given you all access to that novel, and the novel was never published or anything, but I think at that point, that’s when you read the story in its original version in full?
KATIE: Yes, yeah.
ANNE: Yup…’cause we’re gremlins. You gave us the first book and then we all made grabby hands at you and said, “please give us more, we want it.”
KATIE: Yeah, you told us there was more information, and…
KATIE: My favorite was that you were bewildered that we fell in love with your characters-
WIL: I still am
KATIE: -to the point of almost being like no, how dare you, please stop.
WIL: It’s very surreal to me! Like, on one hand, I love those characters because they’re very, very important to me. On the other hand, like, I wrote them very specifically as, like, awful!
ANNE: I love all of your children even more now.
WIL: I was gonna ask! Yeah, um–
WIL: My mind has changed on this. Katie, where do you stand on the babies?
KATIE: I love them, but the ones in the book, the ones in the game, and the ones in the show all feel like different people in my head.
WIL: That’s–I was also–
WIL: –gonna ask that. Yeah, Anne, same for you?
WIL: Yeah, so, there are different iterations of every single character in VALENCE running around in my head. At all times. Which is, uh, awful.
KATIE: [laughing throughout] I’m so sorry!
WIL: Um, I was having, like, a really chaotic day, oh, because I stayed up until, like, seven in the morning–
WIL: And then I slept for, like, three hours. Um, and then the next day, I was on some chaos bullshit.
WIL: I was, like–
ANNE: Was this Saturday night into Sunday?
WIL: Yes . . .
KATIE: Oh god.
WIL: Um, so y’all got to see, like, this is just — my — everything that happens in my brain is a fucking nightmare. Um. which is, uh. You got, like, a taste of, not quite Nico, but not quite not Nico.
WIL: Uh, yeah. So, it’s really interesting to hear that there are different versions of them in your head too. Um, my perspective on this switched, because I now love all of them, and would be pissed if people didn’t.
WIL: [laugh] I can still understand if people can’t stand Liam — no, I can’t. I can’t. I can still understand if people can’t stand early, early season one Liam. But, with Joshy there, I, like. I don’t — I don’t wanna not hurt the boy. I’m still team Hurt The Boy, for sure. Um–
KATIE: But it’s more like hurt/comfort, instead of just getting out the cricket bat.
WIL: Yeah, exact- [laugh] exactly!
WIL: And I also wanna say, y’all called it. Everybody fuckin’ loves Nico.
KATIE: Yeah! We know!
KATIE: I mean, he’s the fuckin worst! It’s great!
WIL: Um, and I think — I think everybody, like, I think we expected everybody to love Flynn —
WIL: — for sure, and I’m very glad that he has been, uh, consistently a fan favorite. I’m really delighted that people also react a lot to Grace.
WIL: I’m — I’m very delighted by that. [laugh] So I come to you with a question.
WIL: Create . . . is feel good?
WIL: Create is feels good?
ANNE: Mmmm, I dunno.
KATIE: Friendship cancelled.
WIL: Friendship cancelled. Bye everyone! Hug House has been real!
KATIE: Who knew this was the last episode? [laugh]
WIL: Create is, uh, feels good. And have friends is good feel.
ANNE: Uhh. Yeah, create is feels good.
KATIE: It is.
ANNE: We said it kind of as a goof. But actually–
KATIE: And now we have merch of it.
WIL: But actually.
[end of call recording]
ANNE: We put out a call on Twitter for people to send in any questions they had for us, and you all gave us some really great ones!
WIL: Ok, let’s answer some of the listener questions that we have received.
ANNE:Oh yeah. Ok. So–
KATIE: To the Tweeters.
ANNE: –can I read them off in the order that we received them, and then ignore the one from John?
WIL: I have an answer! To the one from John.
ANNE: Ok. So we can get-we can get to John’s.
WIL: I always know what Nico is up to. But let’s —
ANNE: Ok, so, Tal wants to know what our favorite moment in the script, and also favorite moment in the finished audio are.
WIL: Ooh. Ohh. Oooh.
ANNE: I know my answer to the script one.
WIL: Go for it.
ANNE: It is “gatorade”.
WIL: I think mine is too!
KATIE: Oh, god, I–
ANNE: It’s gotta be.
WIL: I think — I think that, other than Gatorade, my favorite moment in the script is actually probably, uh, Katie, the work that you did on the-the — Liam/Nico “I guess let’s make out” scene.
WIL: I think it’s very effective, and I think it’s very engaging, and very funny. And I think that it worked really really well.
KATIE: Awwwww! Gay.
KATIE: Yeah, in-in the dinner party, um–
KATIE: When-when they send Liam out of the room so they can talk about him, and Liam only, like, sorta kinda hears, which is how we’re able to hear it in the show, um. I just — I like little moments like that, where a character who doesn’t necessarily–
KATIE: –have a whole lot of history of being cared for and looked after in this way kind of gets to experience that.
WIL: Right. Anne, what’s your favorite from the finished audio?
ANNE: Ok, I’m trying to find . . . where it is in the whole thing. Ok, so, my favorite part of the finished audio is gonna be, like, uh yeah of course Anne, you like that part. Um–
ANNE: I really like — it’s a tie between the interview with Morgan Reilley and the journalist–
WIL: Mmm, mhmm.
ANNE: I really like the way that that comes across, just because, first of all, Naomi’s voice is so good.
KATIE: For sure
WIL: –so good!
ANNE: Um, and just, like, I like the . . . I don’t know — I like the way it’s presented the way it ends up sounding in the end. And then, also, I really like the moment in episode 7 with the — with the benefit, where they’re standing around, watching, and then, suddenly, everything goes to shit as soon as they realize that the Haven’s gonna get turned on.
WIL: That moment is really, really good.
ANNE: And just again, like, I like hearing Naomi and I like hearing Alex, and just everybody there . . . it’s a big scene with everybody involved. And I think that’s really one of the only ones where, like, every single character is in that scene?
WIL: Yeah. It’s a huge scene.
ANNE: And I just like hearing the whole cast come together.
WIL: It’s very good.
KATIE: Ah, I have two, and honestly, they’re both John’s fault. Um–
KATIE: So, the, I mean, the first one is the “you have none shit” moment, when, like–
WIL: Oh, it’s so good!
KATIE: He wasn’t supposed to sound so tender! There wasn’t supposed to be fondness yet! And he’s already, like, “You dumb bitch. I’m gonna like you later — I can tell.”
KATIE: Um, and then, uh, in-in the finale, when — and I know I wrote this line, but like, I did not expect John to deliver it the way that it happened, with the, “HEY BLONDIE! YOU WANNA FUCKIN FIGHT?”
WIL: We knew — we knew on the page that that would sound “away”, right?`
WIL: We had it that he was gonna shout, but his delivery somehow still-!
WIL: –was so fuckin choice.
KATIE: It was so good!
WIL: Ugh, so good. So good.
KATIE: I’m mad about it!
WIL: My favorite moment from the finished audio is still, I think definitely, that-the end scene of episode 11 with Liam on the roof of the apartment building, um, doing some–
WIL: –big lightning magic, um, and like, being stoked about it.
WIL: First off–
ANNE: That’s episode 10.
WIL: Oh fuck.
ANNE: Episode 11 is–
ANNE: –Nico and Liam make out. It’s definitely not–
WIL: Oh yeah.
ANNE: That one.
WIL: Um [laugh] No, for more on that one, listen to the last episode of Scoring Magic!
WIL: No, episode 10, then. Um, like, I-I really like that it’s a solo performance. It’s just Josh. And technically, like, technically we have Liam and Liam’s Inner Voices playing off of each other, but it’s still — it’s just him. Um, I think that the sound design on it is incredible, and I’m very proud of, um, the-the way that I use music in the show is that, like, certain things have certain themes. And I don’t know if I’ve talked about this on Scoring Magic — I don’t think I have. But I’ve talked about it elsewhere for sure. Um, the music that plays under that scene is the same music that plays, uh, under Liam’s, like, really intense breakdown from episode four. Um, and I — ever since episode four, I knew that I would be using the same song in episode 10. Um, and I like — I really liked how it came across. I think that it worked super well. I think that, if you’re paying attention to those music cues and those kind of, like, leitmotifs that we put in, I think that you can see, like, how much he has grown! And it makes me very happy. Next question, yeah?
ANNE: Yeah! Ok, so, Leslie asked, um, what turned out to be our biggest asset going into the project? And what assets will we arrange for season two? Individually or jointly?
WIL: Oh Christ. Uh, I would say that our biggest asset for season one was having a whole book?
WIL: And I would argue that that was also our biggest asset for season two!
KATIE: Yes. Although we did kinda throw chunks of it outta the window. Um, but–
WIL: Boy! Yeah!
KATIE: –chunks we kept. I mean there’s like, I sizeable chunk that I did lift directly from the book for one episode.
WIL: I . . . don’t remember what I did. Uh, for any of the scripts. Uh, I don’t remember anything.
KATIE: Head empty!
ANNE: And I think that, what’s gonna help us a lot for season two and already has with writing the scripts, is knowing our cast. Because, um, I know that there’s some lines in the script where we’re just like “yeah, Joshy, go wild here!”
KATIE: Literally, those exact words. “Joshy, go wild” in brackets.
ANNE: Yeah. Because we trust our actors at this point. The ones that are established, and some of the ones that we’re just bringing on, um, we trust them to know their characters and to kind of . . . go off book a little bit, if they need to.
ANNE: And also, if they need help or want actual words, to ask us for them. I think–
ANNE: I think, if Josh wanted actual words, he would ask us. I’d like to think so!
KATIE: Oh, yeah.
WIL: I mean, he does! He’s asked us for shit before. Yeah
WIL: Ok. Next one.
ANNE: Ok. Uh, ok, Claudia Rose asked — she said she would love to know, what was the toughest part of the season to get right, and what part of the season we, as a team, felt like we took the biggest risk with. And also said that she has so much fondness for the show–
ANNE: –and so much respect for the team behind it.
WIL: I think, uh, I think that the-the hardest thing to get right, and also the biggest risk we took, is balancing Liam and Liam’s Inner Voice, and trying to . . . trying to balance having a, like, again, I will say, I think pretty genuinely unlikable protagonist in the first few episodes. Um, trying to balance that with, like, having a show that people wanna keep listening to. Y’know? Like, trying to convince people, like, he will grow!
WIL: He has to start here for reasons. Stick with us. I think that was the riskiest thing, and the hardest to pull off.
ANNE: Yeah, Liam’s a real shitbag in the first couple of episodes.
KATIE: I mean, yeahhhh.
ANNE: I can’t even put it gently on that boy! Mmm-mmm
KATIE: Well. And I think part of that is, there is a lot to the dynamic between Liam and Flynn that we don’t get to see right away. And parts of the dynamic that used to be there, that we hint at, and that I think, uh, Caleb and Josh do beautifully, but it takes us a little time to get there, and for people to see that, um, maybe Liam doesn’t spend every minute of his life just being real fuckin’ sad??
WIL: Mhmm. Mmhm. Next question?
ANNE: Ok, the next question comes from our own John.
ANNE: Nico himself.
ANNE: He wants to know what–
KATIE: Pronounce it as it’s spelled.
ANNE: That’s what I was gonna do [laugh]
ANNE: He wants to know what “srs bizness” was Nico really up to while Liam’s new world collapsed around him.
WIL: Yeah! So, uh, I always know what Nico is up to every time he is anywhere. Um, I always have a log of what he — what kind of criminal activity he is up to, or just, I guess, other activity.
WIL: I just always know what’s up with, uh, what’s up with Nico. Um, Nico was in, uh, he was in part of Portugal, and he was stealing and then smuggling, um, some magically enhanced cosmetics and, um, other products like, like some waterbottles. Some–
WIL: — vitamins, some hairbrushes, um, that are used to help people who are not muses become influencers. Um, and he was working with a small team to get this done, because it’s under very, very, very secure lock and key. Uh, one, the types of cosmetics, like, this is not something that would be . . . we go into this a little bit in season two. The cosmetics aren’t “illegal”, but are not “legal” either. There’s just no jurisdiction on them. Um, and muses definitely do get, like, they get put away for having them, um, that’s not the charge that they are arrested for, but that’s a cause, if that makes sense? Um, but the real problem was with the waterbottles, vitamins, hairbrushes, etc., which are all basically, like, sponsorship products. So these are things that would be used in, like, sponsored posts on Insta that are not accurately described as sponsored posts, and because they are hit with doses of magic, they are meant to attract more buyers. Um, which is very, very, very illegal. So, smuggling that out, first off, stealing it was an ordeal [laugh] and then smuggling it was an ordeal, and then getting it to, um, influencers back in the States was also an ordeal. So that is what he was up to.
KATIE: God, that is such — that’s, like [bewildered squeaky noises] I had not realized that you were . . . planning out these-these intricate details, um, which is hilarious to me because you’ve said in the past that you don’t care for worldbuilding.
WIL: It’s not–
KATIE: And yet.
WIL: –worldbuilding in my head. I don’t know — I don’t know how it’s not worldbuilding in my head, uh, but it doesn’t feel like it. I don’t know! It’s — the thing is that I’m not — in my head, I’m not worldbuilding. The world is just — it’s already built. It’s there. I’m just — I’m just taking details from it. [laugh]
ANNE: You like the kind of worldbuilding that’s more, like, character driven. You don’t —
ANNE: — like doing, like, the “how does magic work?” I don’t know, it just fuckin’ does! [laugh]
WIL: It’s fictional! That’s how it works. It’s — it’s fucking magic.
ANNE: But, y’know, the logistics of “where was Nico at this time on this day”, except give it–
KATIE: You’re like, “oh, I’ve got that! He was–
ANNE: –to the Time Fool.
KATIE: –doing this for this reason to support this cottage industry of crime!”
WIL: . . . yeah!
[end of call recording]
KATIE: Here’s a . . . well, not a spoiler so much as a tip. Remember how Wil said they know what Nico is doing at all times he’s not present in the show? After all of Season 2 is out, you’ll want to come back and ask us again what Nico was up to during the episodes where he spends some time out of sight. Trust me.
WIL: But for right now, we want to say thank you. Thank you to every one of you for listening, and for following along with us, both on VALENCE and here. It means the world to us.
KATIE: Even though it hasn’t fully sunk in for us yet, we’re so, so proud of VALENCE, and we love that we got to give you a look at the making of Season 1 through these episodes of Scoring Magic.
ANNE: And even though Season 1 is done, Scoring Magic isn’t going anywhere. We’ll still be here, giving you peeks into our process, our growth, our successes, and our mistakes.
WIL: We hope you’ll stick around.