Mighty Aphrodite! The Web Series is SCIFI.radio’s first animated series. We know this is counter-intuitive. A radio station doing animation? Say what?
The reason we founded SCIFI.radio has to do with daydreams. The sound of them fills our broadcast day, and we’re the only station on Earth with this mission – so naturally, we find ourselves in the business of making the daydreams themselves.
So um, yeah – we picked our own video for Video of the Day, but what can we say, we’re proud of having gone through the gauntlet of production and coming out the other side with a finished product. Animation is extremely ambitious as fan projects go. It’s expensive, time consuming, and requires a stupifying list of specialized skills to get anything accomplished, let alone a 3d animated web series.
This one’s Kickstarter funded in about 24 hours, and there was enough left over that we were able to make an extra episode with the proceeds from the crowdfunding event.
Watch Episode 4, “Go Between”
You can watch Episode 4 now if you’ve seen the other episodes. The rest of them can be found at the bottom of this article.
We believe that this is the first time the goddess Aphrodite has ever appeared in any serialized story of any kind starring the Goddess Aphrodite as the main character since the original myths were written thousands of years ago. She’s always either been one of a crowd of other characters based on the Greek gods, or had a more subtle role as a guiding principle for some other character rather than being a character herself.
The series came about while just playing around with this interesting animation program called Plotagon to see what could be made with it. Noodling around with it on my cell phone at about 1 am on a sleepless night in May produced the beginnings of the first story, which later became the pilot episode. In June of last year, we launched a Kickstarter to pay for the first three episodes. We hit goal in 24 hours, and reached almost double the funding we needed by the end of the 30 days.
Mighty Aphrodite! The Web Series is a ground-breaking web series. Using a combination of machinima (using Plotagon) and conventional animation (using Maya), each four-to-six minute episode is an exercise in minimal storytelling, using full-on animation only when there is no choice for moving the story forward.
Writing for a Goddess
Why are there no other continuing narratives with Aphrodite as the lead character? The reason might be that she’s hard to write for. The legends of the goddess Aphrodite are replete with racy or ribald tales of her misconduct with various gods and mortals, and she seems more like a force of nature than a member of the Greek pantheon. There are even multiple aspects of Aphrodite, and she was known by more than a dozen different names depending on where in the Greek empire you went.
Plato believed there were two separate goddesses both named Aphrodite.
- Aphrodite Ourania (“heavenly“) was the heavenly or celestial aspect of Aphrodite. She represented all that was spiritual and fulfilling about love, though she was never referred to in writings in this way, only in social discussions of her.
- Aphrodite Pandemos (“for all the people”) was the down-to-earth version of the goddess. She was the aspect you prayed to if a new liaison with a partner of the opposite sex was desired, and represented physical love.
- Aphrodite Philommeid?s was the “smile loving” version of the goddess. This name for Aphrodite comes from the Homeric epics, as well as The First Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite
- On the island of Cyprus, she is sometimes called Eleemon, or “the merciful”.
- In Athens, she was known as Aphrodite en kopois (“Aphrodite of the Gardens“).
- At Cape Colias, a town along the Attic coast, she was venerated as Genetyllis “Mother”.
- The Spartans worshipped her as Potnia“Mistress”, Enoplios “Armed”, Morpho “Shapely”, Ambologera “She who Postpones Old Age”.
- Across the Greek world, she was known under epithets such as Melainis “Black One”, Skotia “Dark One”, Androphonos “Killer of Men”, Anosia “Unholy”, and Tymborychos “Gravedigger”, all of which indicate her darker, more violent nature.
All of these aspects of Aphrodite make for a very complicated character, with some features of her personality seemingly diametrically opposed and incompatible with others. How you felt about Aphrodite as an ancient Greek depended largely on what kind of a life you’d had and how you viewed the world.
So how do you write for a character whose behavior runs the gamut from beloved deity to monstrous apparition?
Keeping What We Like
Like most of ancient Greece, in our version of Aphrodite, we choose light.
In our version of the goddess Aphrodite, we’re focusing on the good parts of who Aphrodite is as a character, and as a person, and at times making her deal with the consequences of some of her poor life choices. Still, the purpose of a goddess is to inspire, and this Aphrodite believes that love really is the answer to everything. She and her new boyfriend Ben go out into the world together to save that world, one heart at a time.
Ben is the level headed foil for Aphrodite’s spontaneous nature, but as the story begins, he’s trying as hard to figure out his new life as Aphrodite is. Everything she does has something to do with a mystical, spiritual world Ben has never seen before. Every new thing about Ben’s life is just as much a mystery to Aphrodite, though, and while she tries hard to adapt and learn, she’s a long way from Athens.
While Aphrodite tends to put people in a good mood wherever she goes, she doesn’t have this affect on everyone. There are doubters and skeptics about who, for reasons of their own, would love nothing more than to see Aphrodite fall.
Stories we like are led by characters we care about. Aphrodite is powerful, yes, but vulnerable too. Moreover, she’s trying to live down the parts of her past she’s not proud of, yet struggles with those same impulses every day. She’s a lot like us. At the core of things, her being a fish out of water makes her no less a goddess, though, and it’s her compassion that lights the way, not only for herself but for everyone around her.
On our best days, in our best selves, Aphrodite is a part of who we all are as human beings. In the end, that’s really what we want in our heroes — fallability, but the courage to keep trying anyway.
So, we’re keeping that part of the legend of Aphrodite and focusing on the good she represents, and the uplifting stories she can help us tell.
She’s saving the world, one heart at a time. We think that’s a story worth telling.
Here are ALL the Episodes
You can watch all four of the episodes in order right here!
When Will There Be More Episodes of Mighty Aphrodite?
We plan on it.
We’re working on that question now! We have enough to show that we can produce them reliably enough, and they’ll make a great calling card for the next Kickstarter!
We all worked very hard on it to bring it from concept to reality, and with each new episode and each new production we do, we learn something new that makes the next thing even better.
Not everybody gets the opportunity to work on something like this, and we know that it’s through patrons like you that this project was even possible.
Stay tuned to SCIFI.radio – when the new Mighty Aphrodite Kickstarter is announced, you’ll hear it here first. In the meantime, we’ll just keep moving forward. The next bit of magic is just over the horizon.
SCIFI.radio is listener supported sci-fi geek culture radio, and operates almost exclusively via the generous contributions of our fans via our Patreon campaign. If you like, you can also use our tip jar and send us a little something to help support the many fine creatives that make this station possible.