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Here is a music video that I made for my class to Alicia Keys’ song “Prelude to a Kiss” from her album “As I Am.” It was taken on a Nikon D90 DSLR – my first time ever using it (hope you can’t tell too bad! lol) This was also the first video project that I completed for my TV Production class I’m taking this semester.

Hope you all like it! Feel free to leave thoughts, comments, constructive critiques!

Halloween wasn’t a very spook-tacular holiday around my house growing up, so I don’t really have a very memorable lighting moment that sticks out to me. However, drawing form another example, I will analyze Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” which was my favorite Halloween music video (slash all-time favorite video!!).

If I said I wasn’t scared the first time I watched “Thriller,” I’d be lying. Rumor has it that the first time my older sister saw it on MTV (circa the 80’s), it sent her running scared from the living room. From the special effects, to the costumes, to the lights…It was a scary thing to watch. At the same time, though, it was magical.

I’m sure the technical aspects, especially the lighting, for the music video is very different than it is for a stage production. However, I’m sure the same principles still apply.

If I were to try to reproduce the lighting from “Thriller” for the stage, I would try to replicate the long shadows and spooky lighting by using several Fresnel lights at long angles in ambers, reds, purples, and deep blues to give the stage an eerie look. Footlights would also add an extra “creep” factor. These used to be the main lights used in the early days of theatre and the light from the bottom would cast weird shadows. Throwing in a fog machine and a scrim (which would create a dimming effect across the whole stage) wouldn’t hurt either.

If all these things were in place, it would make for one spooky show…

College. What a…what? Experience? Joy? Challenge? A royal pain in the rear end? How about all of the above.

As the semester draws to a close and I tuck another semester under my belt, I think (slash, it’s sort of required for class) that it’s a good time to reflect on the things that I’ve been through over the past year and a half. As any other college student can vouch, there have been the fair share of all-nighters and mental breakdowns, but there have also been many, to borrow the term from wise ol’ Oprah, “A ha!” moments.

When I started Elon a very  long (not really) year ago, I thought I was certain that I would be reporting as a broadcast journalist. I got involved right away with the student media organization that would allow me to pursue that path. However, sometimes I wonder whether I ruled out things to study too early.

There were many things that I was interested in and involved in, and still interested in, that would have possible careers for my future. For example, through taking this technical theatre production class, I found out that there are many more positions and people than just the actors and directors that make a show successful. Props people, for example (and this is not me sucking up to my professor, who happens to be a props gal herself, HONEST!), have to be creative, detail oriented and understand how to be resourceful and inventive when it comes to making props work in a particular way.

As I have said before, I LOVE to craft. I think it’s absolutely cool creating beautiful, new things out of ordinary objects you have lying around the house. And I can sit in one spot for HOURS trying to perfect whatever it is I’m making until I am happy with the outcome. I also have the tendency to rig things to serve a purpose for me. I always find myself saying “I wonder what would happen if I used this for that,” or “I bet this works like that, so I could use it for this.” Now if that doesn’t sound like a props master’s brain, I don’t know what does!

Then there is the case of astronomy. Last semester in the spring, I took a basic introduction to astronomy course that included a roof lab in which we used telescopes to find and identify galaxies and stars and clusters. I have always been fascinated with outer space and how it came into existence and I often caught myself wondering what it would be like to be an astronomer or an astrophysicist.

Enter my biggest frustration in college – WHERE DO I FIT IN?? It’s very obvious that making props and studying the heavens are polar opposites as far as interests go. One’s very heavy fine arts, the other, very science-y. With so many interests from every which way, how can I possibly know what I want to do with my life? It’s hard, as a college student and a young adult, to have to whittle away some of your favorite pass-times and extra-curriculars – for me it was acting – and focus solely on one field of study.

Right now, I am still trying to find the right place for me in the broad world of communications, and I know there will be some rough patches every now and then, but that’s expected. They will help me figure out my limits and give my guidance and direction. I know that eventually I’ll find the right place for me, because it’s like they saying goes “Success is a journey, not a destination.”

What a Tool.

Who ever knew they’re were so many tools in the world!!?

Well I’ll tell you who knows it now – this girl. The one blogging this right now.

For my Technical Theatre Production class, we had took a test in which we had to recognize and name 20 commonly used tools in the scene shop. Easier said than done.

When we took our tour of the shop, I wrote down a list of 50 – that’s 50!! – tools. Everything ranging from a sawzall to a speed square (which isn’t even a square! It’s a TRIANGLE!?!!), a vice clamp and a vice (there IS a difference!), a rasp and a router. Of course there were your standard pliers (along with thousands of variations that do different tasks), hammers (which are technically called claw hammers), and levels, however, there were also 4 DIFFERENT kinds of saws, not to mention the long list of wrenches.

A girl could get lost in this sea of mechanical mayhem. But I didn’t.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed, I felt a little empowered. Although I still had a hard time learning them all ( I still can’t tell you ALL the technical names for every tool), it’s nice to know all those tools and what they’re for. It makes me feel like I could take on any leaky pipe, splinter, or loose floor board that I encounter in my future. Moral of the story, Technical Theatre Production teches you so many invaluable lessons that don’t just apply to the theatre. These are skills for life.

Who says a girl can’t swing a hammer?

Why would a 5-foot-1 girl love a tech theatre production class? One word: crafts.

I like to make stuff, which I guess is why it’s a good thing I’m in Technical Theatre Production this semester. I have always hung around my dad and watched him use power tools and fix stuff. (He never had any boys, so who else was going to learn how?)

The point is, I have learned that I love to make things with my hands. In daycare, it was finger paint and legos. In grade school it was paper mache and Christmas ornaments. In middle school, it was jewelry making.

You see the pattern here…

In high school, I took a technical theatre production class and loved it. I was finally able to put all the years of hovering over my dad and the tool chest to good use (I was by no means the best at it, though – I still have trouble driving screws in straight!). It was so cool to be able to work and build with other people and see the set that I would act on come together to become a real place.

This obsession with making things has carried over in my life and what I have found is that crafting, no matter what your definition of it is (whether it’s making intricate props or creating beautiful jewelry) is a wonderful way to express yourself. There is nothing that gives you more satisfaction than forming something out of nothing with your hands.

That is why I’ll love technical theatre production.

Appreciating the Arts

Annie Logo

"Annie" was the first play I ever saw.

For as long as I remember, my parents have been taking me to performances. Puppet shows, ballets, musical, jazz concerts. You name it, I’ve seen it.

The first performance I remember going to see was the musical “Annie.” I was probably around 10 or 11 years old, and I remember being ecstatic! Going to see a play in downtown Atlanta was a HUGE deal! Only fancy grown-ups went to the Fox Theatre on a Thursday (a school night, no less!) to see their favorite musical (other than Disney movies – which don’t count.) LIVE, on STAGE! What an experience!

I was fortunate enough that going to see “Annie” wasn’t the only time that my parents took me to see plays, musicals, ballets, or other performances. I truly believe that the regularity of going to see stage productions while I grew up led to the fondness I have for the arts now. I am so thankful that I had those opportunities when I was younger because I know that not everybody has had that chance. I can’t say that I know anybody specifically or personally who has never been to see a performance before, but I know that there are plenty of people out there who haven’t.

I think that it would be a challenge to get someone who has never seen a stage production to buy a ticket for a show, mostly because it might be something completely unfamiliar to them. A number of things might be a mystery to them, like what a reasonably priced ticket would cost, what to expect when going to see a play, or sometimes the culture might be considered too “upper class.” However, an approach that I think would draw people who’ve never gone to the theatre before would be to produce a monthly, quarterly, or annual one-act production for the community, targeted at children, that would be free. It wouldn’t even have to be elaborate – plain white t-shirts, painted backdrop, etc. Another approach could be to partner with a school and have a day where a theatre company comes and teaches about the theatre, process of producing a performance, and acting, culminating in a performance from a scene in an upcoming play. By catering to them in a place where they are everyday, it is guaranteed to reach them and hopefully they will tell their parents and continue their learning about the arts.

In either case, though, I feel that it is important to expose people to theatre and performance at an early age because that’s when they are still impressionable and exploring their world and learning what is important to them. That is the way that I learned to appreciate the arts and I think it will have a lasting impact if young children could also share that experience.

I. Love. Theatre.

From a young age, I have been going to plays and musicals – from watching my older sister play Anita in her high school’s production of “West Side Story,” to

West Side story

going to the Alliance Theatre to see Disney’s “Aladdin,” to sitting, riveted, at the Fox Theatre while the “Lion King” played out in front of me. That long love for theatre eventually pushed me to try acting myself and lo and behold – I was hooked!

I was involved in every play that my high school theatre department produced and I loved every minute of it. I relished being part of a big team that had the goal of putting on a perfect production, but the thing that inspired me the most while I was involved in the theatre was knowing the power of a great performance.

the lion kingFor one of our spring musicals, we performed “Godspell,” which is a compilation of some parables from the Gospel of Matthew. In the climax of the play, the character Jesus is crucified, and while he is suffering on the cross, his new followers weep and sing out for him in pain. For the many weeks that we rehearsed this particular scene over and over, our director continually stressed the importance of really FEELing the emotion of the scene. She didn’t want us to simply act the scene, she wanted us to be moved by it and, in turn, move the audience.

Opening night finally came and the show went off without a hitch. However, the fact that we had an rocking show wasn’t the only thing that had us in an awesome mood. At the meet and greet after the show, people from the audience kept saying the same thing over and over: ” Oh my goodness! The show was so great! You guys made me cry!” Obviously, we had met our goal of tapping into that real emotion and sent it radiating over the entire audience.

When your performance emotionally moves the audience, you know you’ve done the job right.

For me, that’s inspiring.