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In a Sound Design presentation, the Thespian must prepare a presentation of the sound design for a published work written for the theatre. Designs for performances of original work, poetry, fiction, screenplays, television, or any other medium are not permitted. Only one Thespian may be involved in the design. No collaborations are permitted. Designs for either theoretical or realized productions are acceptable.
The skills measured by the adjudicators during the presentation are:
- Ability to demonstrate an understanding of the sound design process
- Ability to demonstrate an understanding of the artistic and practical constraints that impact design and the relationship to the unifying concept
- Ability to research and understand the connection between style, period, locale, genre, and other historical and cultural influences and design choices
- Ability to document, present, and clearly explain and justify design choices
In a Sound Design presentation, the Thespian must follow the aforementioned rules for the International Thespian Excellence Awards as presented in this guide, and also the following rules specific to this category:
The Thespian must prepare:
- Demonstration of representative examples of sound effects/cues from the production.
- Cues should be played on a device provided by the participant that is able to play back the sounds at a volume level that can be heard by all adjudicators (i.e., a mobile phone is not recommended).
- A portfolio of support materials (bound or digital) that must include the following:
- One-page design statement that includes:
- Unifying production design concept
- Theme of the show/recurring motifs
- Research, including:
- Summary of given circumstances from the script
- Functionality requirements
- Genre, locale, and setting of the play (or other explanation of the world of the play)
- Artistic and practical needs that impact the construction
- Sources of inspiration for design and color palette (if used)
- Techniques used within the design.
- A sound cue sheet that must include:
- Placement of cue (e.g., corresponding line, stage direction, etc.)
- Description of cue
- Duration of cue
- Effect, if applicable (e.g., fade in, fade out, etc.)
- Speaker plot that must include the location and specs of each speaker used in the production.
- Sound reinforcement plan, signal flow, and/or mic plot, as appropriate.
- One-page design statement that includes:
- A five- to eight-minute in-person or digital presentation summarizing the work with connections to concept, collaboration, and design decision-making. Digital media may be used during an in-person presentation as well (participant must provide their own equipment).
- The video component may be a webinar-style presentation (i.e., a voiceover during a PowerPoint slideshow) or a talking head-style presentation (i.e., talking to the camera).
- Suggested standard prompts for all technical categories are provided to help guide the content of a video presentation:
- What are some of your responsibilities as a sound designer?
- How did the director's concept influence your designs?
- How did the style of the play affect your designs?
- If the show was realized, did you struggle in unifying the director's concept across all areas of design?
- If you had more time or resources, what would you change?
- What would you be willing to compromise in your design if you had to?
- What was your inspiration and how did you research it?
- Also consider these category-specific questions:
- What role(s) did the other design elements play in the sound design for this production?
- What challenges did you face in mixing the sound for the production?
- Are there elements of your initial design that you needed to adjust based on the facility in which the show was produced? (i.e., capacity, acoustics, etc.)
- Any video presentation must display the work so that the adjudicators can see the details. If the details of the documents/photos referenced in your presentation cannot be clearly seen in the video, they should be included in your portfolio of support materials.
- Optional written essay response to share additional information about the sound design with the adjudicators.
Sound Design Rubric
Explanation of the executed design, unifying concept, creative decisions, and process
Presentation thoroughly explains the functional and aesthetic role of the executed design and the creative process, demonstrating an in depth understanding of their contribution to the unifying concept.
Presentation explains the functional and aesthetic role of the executed design, and the creative process, demonstrating an understanding of their contribution to the unifying concept.
Presentation offers a limited explanation of the functional and aesthetic role of the executed design and/or creative process, demonstrating a partial understanding of their contribution to the unifying concept.
Presentation offers little or no explanation of the creative process and/or fails to explain the executed design and their contribution.
Evidence of research of the given circumstances of the script as well as artistic and practical needs which impact the design.
Comprehensive and detailed research addresses the artistic and practical needs of the production and illuminates the unifying concept.
Thorough research addresses the artistic and practical needs of the production and aligns with the unifying concept.
Limited research partially addresses the artistic and practical needs of the production and/or inconsistently supports the unifying concept.
Research fails to address the artistic and practical needs of the production and/or lacks alignment with the unifying concept.
Design choices merge the unifying concept with the designer’s unique vision.
Design choices powerfully enhance and communicate the mood, style, period, locale, and genre of the play, and demonstrate a unique voice.
Design choices communicate the mood, style, period, locale, and genre of the play and align with the given circumstances.
Design choices partially communicate the mood, style, period, locale, and genre of the play and do not distract from the given circumstances.
Design choices fail to communicate the mood, style, period, locale, and genre of the play; choices may or may not support the given circumstances.
Connecting the design choices to the artistic and practical needs of the production.
Comprehensive explanations justify the design choices, illuminating the connection between the artistic and practical needs of the production.
Appropriate explanations justify the design choices and demonstrate the connection with the artistic and practical needs of the production.
Partial explanations somewhat connect the design choices with the artistic and practical needs of the production.
Limited explanations fail to make the connection between the design choices and the artistic and practical needs of the production.
Products presented convey ideas and choices that support the script and unifying concept.
Detailed products communicate and enhance artistic ideas and choices to provide exceptional support for the script and unifying concept.
Products communicate artistic ideas and choices that support the script and unifying concept.
Products partially communicate artistic ideas and choices and/or inconsistently support the script and unifying concept.
Products lack a clear focus and/or fail to support the artistic ideas and choices, script and/or unifying concept.