IT’S TIME TO CREATE your theatre tech individual event video for the 2021 Thespy Awards. The most important thing to remember, for any submission, is to follow the instructions exactly as they’re given. Review all requirements first, and then follow these steps for your greatest success

Step 1: Select your category and your production.
Be sure to choose a category that displays your theatre tech skills. You know where your skills shine so choose a category that showcases them.

Before you choose a production, check the rules to see if it needs realized or if it can be theoretical or a show you want to do. This distinction varies from category to category, so be sure. Even if the production doesn’t have to be realized, you’ll likely make a stronger showing with a production you’ve done. Your experience with the production will give you an edge!

Read your script — the whole thing. Don’t rely on videos, pictures, or ideas from other people.  Totally understand what your production requires. Include your script, if you can, in your presentation with notes you’ve taken.

Step 2: Create a personal checklist for your event.
The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) offers clear guidelines and rubrics for each individual category in technical theatre. Create a checklist of each expectation and how it’s adjudicated.

If you need clarification of any terms or skills, ask your teacher or another theatre professional. Plus, you’ll find a lot of great descriptions online from reliable resources. Also, check for industry standards on how to label and execute. Your terminology or process may be different than what’s standard. That’s not always a problem, just be prepared to explain your process.

Step 3: Execution and Creation.
The execution of your presentation will be vastly different depending on which technical category you choose. Your checklist review and the rubric are your keys to success, so refer to them as often as necessary.

Prepare your portfolio, design, book, or whatever is required, as completely as possible.  If your design is for a theoretical production as opposed to a realized one, don’t be afraid to go in and update as you would’ve during an actual production. Leave the original drafts in because many judges like to see your process. Prepare a response for each question, prompt, or mention on the guide and rubric.

Step 4: Practice your presentation.
Of course, practicing is always necessary to give your best presentation. A last-minute prep won’t win you any awards! Give practice presentations, whether it be to your peers, your teachers, or anyone your theatre instructor can bring in. Do your presentation in person wherever possible, or do it virtually if you must, but give some practice presentations.

Because of the format for presentations this year, interviews with the adjudicators won’t be included in the process. Plan for what you may have been asked and provide the answers in the body of your presentation. Do this more than once if you can.

Obviously, your presentation needs to be as complete as possible, which means you’ll want feedback before recording it. Take the advice you receive and make changes. You’ll be submitting some form of your production materials with your video, too, so make it easy and clear for the judges to follow along.

Step 5: Prepare yourself for filming.
Find a place that will be quiet and where you won’t be interrupted. Prepare your notecards; they are useful. You are not allowed to script out your entire speech on paper. Your notecards should remind you of what to say without limiting your facial contact with the camera as a fully realized script might.

Make sure you’ve checked your production materials again before filming. Run through your presentation at least once (more than that is better) before you record your presentation.

Step 6: Recording your presentation.
Your video is your presentation this year. Make everything as clear as possible for the judges. If you can show them on camera, do it. If you need to tell the judges where to look in your materials packet, give them clear instructions.

Get someone to help you with the recording. Do sound checks before recording to make sure you can be heard loud and clear when speaking. If you make a mistake, no worries! Re-record!

Step 7: Review your video and submit.
Review your presentation video with a teacher. Have them go through the checklist and rubric with you to see if you missed anything. When you’re satisfied with everything, submit your video.

Step 8: The feedback.
Remember, this is an educational experience. Even theatre tech professionals are constantly learning and growing. To expand our knowledge within given fields helps us succeed. The process of submitting will be valuable no matter the outcome if you take the feedback you get and apply what you can to future productions!

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