Parallels – Film and DCI Show Design

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There are many creative and pragmatic parallels to producing a drum corps show, and producing an independent film. The time frame is the same, as is the process of selecting a staff and talented cast, and then creating and refining visual and audio elements of the “show” over the course of one competitive year until the premiere of your film/DCI Finals.

There are different creative elements, of course, but generally, it’s the same creative soup, and my drum corps show design experience has enabled me to acquire the skill set of directing, producing and editing film faster than I would have done otherwise. Many drum corps alumni have figured this out as well, Mike Zapanta, Jay Lee, Richard Moon, and many more. The leap from drum corps show design to film is so small, conceptually speaking, I’m surprised more DCI alumni don’t make that jump.

Anyway, here we are, starting the edit of Red Skies 3.0.

For my pals, the movie is now “drum corps show in April.”  The corps is on the field, there are cool moments, but there are also visual and/or audio moments that don’t work and/or are missing, either due to design or the execution of the team. And our show is too long.

When I marched in the Garfield Cadets, Thom Hannum used to say, “never fall in love with a drum part. The drum line has responsibilities to the rest of the corps to execute perfectly, and to blend and balance with them. Do whatever it takes to make that happen, including losing your favorite drum part.”

Back to movie land, the Cannes short film competition time limit is 15 minutes, and the deadline is March 15. So, we have a lot of work to do, including cutting some time out of the film.

We don’t know if Red Skies will get into Cannes or whether it will be thrown in the lake by the judges, but I am planning a Cannes submission will be my official starting point for this film, because Cannes is where the directing journey started in May 2008, and win lose or draw, I start by closing the circle back to France on March 15.

So now, with the words of the ghosts of film and drum corps teachers past in my ears, it’s time to make the “show” work, and get Red Skies at Night to level three. There will be many more refinements and additions to the film until release, but it is time to move forward.

Thanks for reading




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