This theatre and dance projection tip is from theatre teacher and director in Escondido, California, Lori Lum...
What tip or advice would you offer up to help projections be a success in theatre and dance shows?
Lori: Yes, I would just say make sure you get someone on your tech team who knows how to do projections. I had no idea at first what kind of projector we would need, much less how to set it up and make the projections look great, and having that person really saved me a lot of headaches. As far as how to use them, I guess use as many as you need to get the job done, but make sure the ones you choose are enhancing the production and not distracting from it. Projections can be an amazing addition to your show and add that special extra touch that helps your production to shine.
When we did The Wiz, I had no idea how we would accomplish some of the effects in the show and keep everything cohesive and vibrant. There are so many different settings that need to happen! Projections were the answer. They helped us to minimize bulky, hard to manage set pieces and maximize the space we needed for a cast of 70+. I love that we will always have our projections to use again if we need them. They are well-designed, easy to use, and come from a company that truly cares about its clients!
Mitch's Projection Designer Note:
I think Lori highlights so many wonderful starting tips in this small passage. First of all, it cannot be overstated that there is good help all around you. It may be a student you have on your team, or a member in the community or parent who has some technical chops and would love to be involved in your production. The main thing is to not be intimidated by the tech. Once you have a few basic things in place, and get the chance to rehearse with your gear, your confidence will go way up.
I also love how she touches on using every projection you need. This highlights one of the best things about projections—you are not limited. With traditional drops, there are only so many you can rent or paint, and sometimes the answer is 1 or 0. But with projections, just like Lori mentions here with The Wiz, you can easily afford a suite of scenes that can transport your audience from location to location. Shows like Legally Blonde, The Addams Family, and Wizard of Oz are just a few where it helps to lead the audience through the story with different locales.
And finally, I love how once again Lori touches on the importance of being intentional with your projection choices. Just because you can, doesn't mean it always lifts a scene. Another thing to note is that sometimes simplicity in the projection image can be a real strength. A colorful, slow-moving cloud image or underwater light rays can add a rich layer to your storytelling.
More Projection Tips!
#1 - "Be Open to Learn" by Pat Santanello
#2 - "Control Your Light" by K'Lynn Hocker
#3 - "Enhance Story, Don't Overshadow" by Joel Smith
#4 - "Use Simple Tools Creatively" by Jerald Bolden
#5 - "Simple Screens and Mindful Lighting" by Bryce McWilliams
More about Lori
Lori Lum is a middle school theatre and music teacher in Escondido, CA. She holds an MFA in Musical Theatre from San Diego State University. Her passion for the arts started when she was in middle school, so she is happy to bring everything full-circle and hopes to inspire the next generation of performing artists!
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