Archive for the ‘Presentation’ Category

Have I Gone too Far?

Posted: March 6, 2011 in Presentation, Rehearsal

I timed out my presentation today.  Without performances, it clocked in at around 40 minutes.   Ouch.  40 minutes of me talking and powerpointing is a LOT of attention to be paid.  The performances are supposed to break up sections, but I worry about this being too much.

I’m always really focused on audience fatigue.  I’m advocating that we shake up the template of how we present theatre so as not to bore people and I might be doing just that with a long winded presentation.

There’s stuff that can definitely be cut, but I worry about what it will do to the shape of the show and what I’m trying to say.

Might have to go to a higher power on this.  My committee.




Posted: February 8, 2011 in Presentation

I finally met the last member of my committee today, Professor Mary Schaffer from the film and TV department.  She wasn’t what I expected,the smiling, grand-motherly visage on her faculty webpage was replaced by a sharp, plain-talking and knowledgable person.

We had a really nice conversation and she cleared up a lot of things about the nuts and bolts of grad projects and such.  However, she did catch me off guard with a simple question: “What kind of audience do you want at your presentation?”

It’s something that I haven’t really considered that much.  Generally the reply is simply “My committee members and anyone else I can find!”  But for a project that is about the audience, I might need to consider it a little more carefully.

I could just keep it to family and friends.  A small, intimate gathering to showcase off what I know with a receptive, positive audience.  Or I could try to really press for a larger audience.  The goal would be to gather a diverse audience and show that my message can carry beyond the insiders of my life.  That seems like a more daunting task.

Of course, this is an educational venture, so the economics is less important than the content.  Additionally, I will be streaming this to the internet.  So not only will I have a larger audience from that, but the video will remain online and can continue to accure far more views than a physical audience.  So in the end, a smaller audience is probably okay, but bigger won’t be bad.

Shotgun Approach

Posted: February 2, 2011 in Presentation, Writing

My wife thinks I’m crazy.

When I tell her all the things I’m trying to include in my presentation, she thinks it’s too much.

  • Game theory
  • Texting
  • Video Chat acting
  • Virtual puppetry
  • Powerpoint
  • Cellphone cameras

When I look at it I think: “Maybe she’s right”.  Trying to display all of this stuff effectively is an incredibly daunting task.  When I think about all the things I have to juggle, it feels like organized chaos.  I start thinking “What if I just focused on one of these technologies?  What if I put all my eggs in a single digital basket?”

But then I breathe a remember Steve Jobs.  See Steve I’m gonna come out on stage in the black turtleneck and jeans looking like Jobs, not just because it’s a funny visual, but because of the way he presents his stuff.  His keynote speeches are always filled with multiple gadgets, software, hardware and services.  He launches into each one of them, gives us an overview of the problem is solves in our life (Real or imagined), does a short demonstration then moves on.  The effect of this, in my opinion is three fold:

  • One, each product is not demonstrated not to it’s fullest capabilities, but rather to showcase the potential it holds.  Steve plays one song on his new ipod, not all 10,000 of them.  He leaves the other 9,999 for our imagination and our library of songs.  What would we put in his new device.
  • He presents a myriad of products during each keynote, rather than focus on one single amazing device.  This ensures that if any one item he’s displaying doesn’t interest or is problematic to a person, a new item quickly replaces it.  Any dissent on one item cannot bring down the totality of the products displayed.  There’s something for everyone.
  • By displaying a myriad of items at in rapid fashion he subverts the uniqueness of any one individual product for an overall message about the company and it’s vision: “Apple products are the cool, sleek future.”  That is the most important subliminal theme that he must maintain.  When AppleTV failed to take off, it was never seen as a failure.  Because it was always couched among other, successful products, it never tipped over that overarching message.  Steve himself later conceded that Apple TV was merely “A hobby” and everyone accepted that because the uber-message trumped that minor setback.

It’s this last idea that I think epitomizes what I’m striving for in my presentation.  By not focusing on any one technology, I instead keep the purity of my message, that theatre and technology can and must co-exist.  Each demonstration becomes a piece of evidence that mounts toward my overall point.  Thus, even if one or more doesn’t live up to my promise, the goal is that the audience will see past that and take the whole of the evening into consideration when deciding the merit of my message.

The downfall of this strategy is if too many of the technologies fail.  More than two ideas peter out it pulls down the rest of them.  Even if the other demonstrations over perform, the possibility that the audience could view all this as a failure is exponentially large with multiple problems.

Someone told my wife before our wedding, “Expect at least one big thing to go wrong.”  If it’s just one, then I can handle it.  If it’s more, then we’re in for an interesting night.