With VALENCE coming to a close, we’re bringing you the final episode of Scoring Magic… for now. Keep following us in the usual places, and hopefully you’ll hear more soon.
But first we’ve got at least one more VALENCE-focused episode to do: a Q&A! Send us your questions to our email, our Twitter, our Tumblr, our Patreon or Patron Discord… anywhere you can find us, we’ll take your questions! The due date for sending us those questions is April 28th, 2023.
This episode was written, recorded, and sound designed by Wil Williams. It was produced and transcribed by Anne Baird.
COLD OPEN WIL: Okay… it’s recording. Yeah, so I just.. [laughs] I just finished writing the- the second to last- [leaning away from microphone, speaking to their cat] Big baby! Hey! [snapping fingers] Fuckin’ classic… [sighs] I just finished writing the second to last episode of VALENCE, which is like. Kind of the last episode of VALENCE. And. I also took edibles and they’re slowly starting to hit, but I’m feeling a lot.
[[Warm synthy guitar intro music fades quickly into . . . ]]
WIL: Hi. It’s Wil. Two weeks ago as of this episode’s release, VALENCE’s finale dropped. So! Let’s talk. [laughs as their cat meows in the background] Baby.
ANNE and WIL: [chanting fading in, continuing as Katie talks] Fugue state! Fugue state!
KATIE: [laughing] No, none of that now! We need to get things done!
[everyone is laughing, fading into Wil’s narration]
WIL: First things first: Scoring Magic is not going away forever. We’ll talk about this towards the end of the episode, but we’ve got at least one more VALENCE-focused episode to do: a Q&A! We’ll be taking your questions about VALENCE, Hug House, making an audio drama, whatever via email, our Tumblr, our Discord, our Patreon — any way you wanna get at us. Deadline for questions is March 26th—
EDITING WIL 2.0: [interrupts in a lo-fi recording] Editing Wil 2.0 here. Uh, nope. Not even close. Not even close. Uh, April 28th. March was last month. April 28th is the due date. April. April… 28th.
WIL: —2023. Links to our contact info in the show notes!
Let’s go back to that recording from the top of this episode. I dropped this in our cast and crew Discord literally right when I finished writing episode 12, on March 14th, 2022. Oh my god, almost exactly a year ago? Is that right? GOD.
RECORDING WIL: It’s very weird. I… I kind of thought that like most depictions of people finishing big projects was fake and like an exaggeration, because I guess I’ve never really finished one. And I guess this still isn’t finished. But the meat of it is. And it really is, like I’m flashing back to writing VALENCE in its novel form at Higher Grounds in Flagstaff, which I don’t even think exists anymore—
WIL: Editing Wil here. It does not.
RECORDING WIL: —and like playing Liam in John Westover’s D&D campaign…and like. Getting to know the character and how different he is from where he started. And then like putting together the Pinterest boards and playlists and reaching out to Anne and Katie, and starting this and starting Scoring Magic and starting all of this. Very sentimental. I really didn’t think I would be. I don’t think of myself as sentimental which I think is very silly of me. [leaning away from the microphone] Would you say I’m fairly sentimental?
RECORDING JON: [in the background, speaking to Wil] I would say that you’re becoming more so as you are evolving in your life.
WIL: That’s my partner, Jon, speaking.
RECORDING WIL: Oh that makes sense. Right, my heart is allowed to be soft now because it’s not having to protect itself from active fear and danger all the time. So I can afford to be sentimental now. That blows. [laughing]
RECORDING JON: Congratulations!
RECORDING WIL: Thank you!
RECORDING JON: That’s what happens when you’re not like “ew feelings” all the time.
RECORDING WIL: Ugh. I don’t know, I’m pretty ”ew feelings” about this.
RECORDING JON: You’re getting less so.
RECORDING WIL: I’m getting less so. Wow. I’m really proud.
RECORDING JON: You should be! You did good!
RECORDING WIL: I’m very proud of this thing that I made. I think it’s good. It’s been very very good for me. Wow.
RECORDING JON: Good job.
RECORDING WIL: Fuck, I hope it turns out good after we actually record it and edit it and sound design it! [laugh]
RECORDING JON: Fuck yeah.
RECORDING WIL: But either way, I did it. I really did it. Still got a little bit to go, but I already know how it’s going to go and doing it won’t take long and it’ll be easy. Wow.
WIL: And now, a recording from when I finished Episode 13, the epilogue, the actual final episode.
RECORDING WIL: I just wrote the last line. And as soon as I wrote the last word I teared up immediately, um. I’m really happy and I’m really proud of it. I’m really proud of it.
RECORDING ZACH: Congratulations!
RECORDING WIL: Thanks.
WIL: And that’s my husband, Zach. You’ve heard from him before.
RECORDING WIL: I’m gonna miss iti so much. I’m proud of it. I think that we did something really great. I’m really gonna miss it. This is the first time I’ve ever finished it.
RECORDING ZACH: I know! [their cat meows]
RECORDING WIL: Hi, Mozzarella. (transcriber note: Mozzarella is the cat.)
RECORDING WIL: I never thought I’d really finish it.
RECORDING ZACH: I know. This is- How many attempts have you made at trying to finish it?
RECORDING WIL: I don’t know. [both laugh] Too many and not enough.
RECORDING ZACH: Yeah.
RECORDING WIL: I can’t believe I did it. [sniffles]
RECORDING ZACH: Congratulations.
RECORDING WIL: Thanks.
RECORDING ZACH: Bittersweet?
RECORDING WIL: It’s bittersweet. It’s good, it’s really good.
RECORDING ZACH: Yeah.
RECORDING WIL: I know I still have to sound design it and everything but it’s so different from writing it.
RECORDING ZACH: Yeah. ‘Cause this is the final bit of this piece. There’s not going to be any more writing. It’s the start- It’s the beginning of the end.
RECORDING WIL: Yeah I didn’t really think about, um, like having to say goodbye to the characters. And-
RECORDING ZACH: I mean, you can always do more stuff if you really wanted to.
RECORDING WIL: I’ll hang out with them in my head. It’s just different.
RECORDING ZACH: I know, yeah. I’m just saying like if you ever want to have some silly cross-show thing, you could-
RECORDING WIL: I don’t want that [laugh]
RECORDING ZACH: I know, that’s fair. I was just thinking of like, um. The time travel one.
RECORDING WIL: No, I feel you. Not my jam. But I… I like endings. Endings are really important to me and I like this one a lot.
RECORDING ZACH: Yeah. Good! I’m glad that you like this ending. I know you’ve tried to write the ending like three times. And it hasn’t… the first time you tried to write it and I think you tried to edit it and then… I think this is the third time that you’ve tried to. You finished it. Third time’s the charm.
RECORDING WIL: Third time’s the charm.
RECORDING ZACH: It helps when other people help.
RECORDING WIL: It helps when other people help.
[goofy music fading in under Wil’s narration]
WIL: And. Okay. I have… one more recording for you. So. HERE’S THE THING. LISTEN. Doing the sound design for the finale was. A lot. Suffice it to say:
PREVIOUS RECORDING: FUGUE STATE! FUGUE STATE!
WIL: Oops! So um… Here’s a little montage for you!
RECORDING WIL: Okay, so here’s the deal. Sorry for my audio quality, I’m in my new house and we still don’t have any furniture and there’s a rug but it’s over there. Anyway, um. Today I finished the music cut for episode 12 and then I had some time, so I was like “Fuck it, let’s just keep doing it. Let’s just do 13; it’s just tiny little scenes”. Mostly because if I let there be a gap between 12 and 13, I would have to think about the fact that I was doing 13. So I did the first scene and it was good and it passed with um- it felt normal.
RECORDING WIL: But then Anne was like “Oh my god, it’s episode 13. This is the last one.” and i was like “DON’T TALK. To me. Or anyone say any words. I don’t wanna- just keep going! No thinkies! Keep going!” Um. And then I started doing scene 2 and then it really hit me that I had just heard all of Jordan’s audio as Sarah. I have heard the last of it.
RECORDING WIL: And then what really got me was Caleb gets an adlib in his last scene because of course he does, it’s what he deserves. It’s what he deserves. He’s so funny. And the adlib was so good and then it hit me that it was his last adlib. And then I started tearing up because it was so good. And I’ve just loved working with everyone so much.
RECORDING WIL: So now here I am, figuring I should be recording this for Scoring Magic because this is a momentous occasion, as much as I have tried to engineer it not to be by barreling forward. [sighs] Fuck. I’m really going to miss everybody. Fuck. I’m really going to miss everybody. Oh wow, I can’t believe it’s already almost over. I can get through this, I can get through this, I can get through this. I’m going to go keep editing! I’m going to go keep editing!
[cut to a few minutes later]
RECORDING WIL: Okay cutting back just like 30 seconds later. [laughing] I just noticed that I wrote in a Jim Spanfeller joke for myself and nobody else. So if you listen and you hear Jim, know that its supposed to be a joke at Jim Spanfeller who’s a fucking herb. I’ll um, I don’t know. Google Jim Spanfeller, he fucking sucks. Fuck Jim Spanfeller.
[cut to a few minutes later]
RECORDING WIL: It wasn’t his lastib— [gibberish] It wasn’t his last adlib, he gave us one more. He added on to the final line that we gave him about Alvin and the Chipmunks. He made it about Alvin and the Chipmunks: Meet the Wolfman. Aw Caleb, he’s perfect. Oh god. Aw…
[cut to a few minutes later]
RECORDING WIL: I was doing so normal and then they included in the takes, in the audio that i’m stitching together, Josh tearing up at the end in the scene with Noel. And now I’m tearing up.
[cut to a few minutes later]
RECORDING WIL: I was doing fine again and then Ely delivered the line “Yeah, I miss him, too” and now i’m not anymore.
[cut to a few minutes later]
RECORDING WIL: I’m on the final scene. I don’t think I really intended, but um. Here I am. Um. [cat meows] My cats are company. Um. Fugue state. I’ve achieved fugue state. I’m back here at fugue state. It’s going to be fine. Josh delivering the line “I feel scared” made me gag literally in my body because of having emotions. I’m not very good that. Um. it’s gonna be fine. It’s gonna be fine.
RECORDING WIL: [sniffling] It’s mixing down. I’m crying. I made it through most of it, but hearing Josh do that last line that I’ve had in my head since we started—it’s such a simple silly last line—I’ve just had it in my head since we started doing all of this. And hearing him do it… It’s just so tender and lovely and I can’t believe it’s over. I’m very proud and very sad. [cat meows] That’s Mozzarella in the back. He’s being very obnoxious and it’s great.
RECORDING WIL: I love this team a lot. Okay. I have to go master it and then post it to the channel. Wow. I can’t believe I did it. I can’t believe we did it. Wow. Wow.
WIL: Fuck Jim Spanfeller. Holographic Fugue State stickers now available in the Hug House store at hughouse.productions/shop.
WIL: So. The ending. Let’s talk about it. Spoilers from here on out!
WIL: Ever since I started writing VALENCE in its novel forms, I had two scenes very vivid in my mind: first, the scene in Season 2, Episode 9, where Nico comes back when Liam is at the barcade. Though, admittedly, that scene was always set to “You” by The 1975, which most of you probably already know. Good song, go listen to it! I’m not even going to try playing any of it here. But the second scene I always envisioned was the final scene: Liam sitting down with a therapist, for real this time. I didn’t know how that scene would play out for a while, though. It took having some really great therapists, and then finding the last line. But it came to me so clearly in kind of a goofy circumstance: I was watching one of my favorite musicals, Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 on a Discord call with Anne, Katie, and Ely, scrolling along with the lyrics as we listened. When we got to the song “Dust and Ashes,” the eponymous Pierre sings:
PIERRE: (Sung) Please let me wake up now
God don’t let me die while I’m like this
WIL: I was looking at the lyrics on Genius, and saw “I’m ready” highlighted — and it pointed out that this line was an intentional reference to my other favorite musical, Company, in which the main character Bobby sings:
BOBBY: (Sung) Okay, then
I’m ready now
WIL: And I just. I knew. Liam has a lot in common with both Pierre and Bobby. With Pierre, we have a man desperate for meaning, who feels hollow and like he is wasting his life. He’s melancholic, but he also cares so deeply about the people in his life, even when he doesn’t want to. With Bobby, we have a man — or a woman, in a recent revival — who refuses to have any emotional responsibilities or commitments. He refuses to let himself get close with anyone, largely because he’s afraid of being hurt. And with both of them, when they sing, “I’m ready,” the audience knows they’re absolutely not.
WIL: Having that ambiguity with Liam is important to me. It’s a reference to works I love, sure — but for me, I also like the reading that you’re never really ready for what therapy is going to dish out to you. I know I sure wasn’t really ready when I dove headfirst into EMDR. It’s an arduous process. Exhausting. I know it’s worth it, but it’s a very specific kind of undertaking. I wanted to suggest to the audience not that Liam isn’t ready, but more that he’s still working. He’s still processing. In a lot of ways, the end of VALENCE is the end of Liam as we know him. We get to see him off as he sees himself off. Who he becomes is finally in his own hands now. There are ways I imagine him changing, and ways I imagine him staying the same — but I think my ideas on that are only as valuable as anyone else’s are.
WIL: In the two weeks since the finale, I have to admit, I haven’t had a ton of time or energy to think about VALENCE ending. We celebrated and I had a good cry, absolutely — but the thing that really is different from movies and TV shows about making art is that life really doesn’t stop to give you a moment to process. We’re still getting our lives in order from the move. We had a medical emergency in the found family. We keep finding haunted shit in our house? That’s a story for another time. But the thing is that I still haven’t really been able to process the gravity of having made this big, beautiful thing.
WIL: If anything, my main takeaway has been this: important things are hard, but you have to commit to them. You have to actively do the things you want in your life. If you have a story you want, or need, to tell, you have to tell it. If you need help, you have to find it. Even if you’re scared, you have to take the leap. It will not just happen for you. You have to do it. Don’t die asking, “What if?” Don’t hope and pray and manifest. You have to do it. You deserve it.
WIL: So — what’s next? First, don’t forget about our Q&A episode. You can ask us literally anything about VALENCE, including spoilers, things that got cut, what something meant, what someone’s favorite ice cream is, anything. Again, deadline for questions is March 26th—
EDITING WIL 2.0: [interrupts in a lo-fi recording] Editing Wil 2.0 here again uhh yep nope, April. April. April 28th. It’s April 28th.
WIL: —2023, and you can find our info in the show notes.
WIL: And what’s coming next from me? Well, I. I accidentally have two projects in the works. They’re both in early, early stages of development. One of them will require a team, some members of whom are already recruited… I’ll give you a little taste of what to expect from that one.
[dark ominous circus music playing through a radio, fading into other music from a jazzy era, changing like someone is changing channels on an old-timey radio receiver, fading out with crows cawing]
WIL: The next will be JUST me. It’s going to be . . . well. I’ll give you a little taste of that too.
[crickets and bugs buzzing, eerie choir music fading in over it, guitar music starts playing with feminine vocals and the sound of dial up internet]
WIL: And we’ve got some other projects by some other folks in Hug House in the works, too. I can’t give details, but I will say that one project has one of the best pilots I’ve heard in years, right up there with the pilot episode of Tonia Ransom’s Afflicted, which like — if you haven’t listened yet, go get listening.
WIL: And finally, what’s coming next for Scoring Magic. First, you’ll get updates on our other projects in this feed . . . but we’d also really, really love to hand off Scoring Magic to another new production getting their feet off the ground. Keep following us in the usual places, and hopefully you’ll hear more soon.
WIL: Until then, thank you. Scoring Magic has a small but DEDICATED audience, and it means so much that y’all have joined us on this journey. I hope it’s been helpful to you, or at least a good time. I hope it’s inspired you to create something because, after all, create is feels good. We’ll see you again sometime soon.
CREDITS WIL: This episode was written, recorded, and sound designed by me, Wil Williams. It was produced and transcribed by Anne Baird.
You can follow Scoring Magic at @ScoringMagic on Twitter. You can also find full transcripts for all of our shows at hug house dot productions. and links to all these things in the show notes.