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I'm considering writing a book

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by gafftaper, Apr 26, 2008.

  1. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Yep... Gaff's thinking about writing a book. Not really sure about this yet but I'm thinking about it.

    There are a lot of great books out there but very few simple books for the lost. "Technical Theater for Non-Technical People" is an excellent book but it's more general... I get the feeling the target audience was community theater, churches, and beginning college students (I use it as the text for my college intro class). I'm thinking about writing something similar in style (fun and easy on the tech jargon) but focused specifically on educational theater. Something to help the lost drama teachers out there who think running recorded cues on an Express can somehow lock up the dimmers.:rolleyes:

    Has anyone seen anything out there specifically targeted to help teachers run high school/middle school theater tech programs? Does anyone have any experience trying to get a trade book like this published? I know nothing about how that works.

    Also if you are one of those lost high school teachers trying to get a grip. Please send me a private message. I would love to get input from you on questions you would like answered in such a book.
     
  2. cutlunch

    cutlunch Active Member

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    It's an interesting idea Gaff. You certainly have the knowledge

    Reading this reminded me of this topic http://www.controlbooth.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4634&highlight=sound+book
    in which a guy wrote this book on sound. http://www.lulu.com/content/209251

    This was published through the following company http://www.lulu.com/

    I have only had a quick look but I get the idea it lets you be your own author.
    You create the book, then when people want to buy it they print it and send it out etc.
    On their website they say setup is free but offer paid packages with things like style checking, formatting help etc.

    I wonder if this might be the cheapest way to go to test the waters.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    A book on the topic is certainly needed. Why don't you start small, with an article submission to Stage Directions, (seems to want to be more, but still tends to focus on high school theatre) or Dramatics or Teaching Theatre magazines?

    Are you an active member of EdTA? Seems to be right up your alley.
     
  4. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    I had a teacher admit to teaching out of astronomy for dummies once in high school, and she taught a required class for freshmen. A book of the nature your talking about would be no less needed, you should write it, I know there's a lost high school teacher or three out there that would turn a poor program into a decent one with it.
     
  5. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Hey Cutlunch. That Lulu site looks like a great option to try this without going heavily into debt.

    Derek, I've thought about writing articles but the people I want to read this book don't know those magazines exist.

    Pork chop you've got my idea exactly. There are so many drama teachers out there who are intimidated by technology and don't know what question to ask in the first place so when they contact their local dealer, so they say give me some pink and blue gel and run away to safety. That's my target audience.

    The negative part is this project would cut into my CB time severely. :confused:
     
  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    As a Senior Team Member, and I feel I am unanimous in this, we simply will not allow that!

    If your target audience has never heard of the Thespian Society, or EdTA, how will they ever find your book? I would think you would be more likely to get a publisher interested if you had established a track record of being published.

    Not trying to discourage you. I just think a connection to EdTA would be a good first step in the right direction.
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Sorry not clear... I was responding to the idea of writing for Stage Directions. You are correct that working with the Thespians or EdTA are both good possibilities.
     
  8. Grog12

    Grog12 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    While it may cut into your CB time...we're here for you to bounce ideas off of. I would never encourage you to put rough drafts up here. But we could be a sounding board for ideas.

    I say go for it.
     
  9. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Good point Grog. I figure IF I ever actually finish I'll send it to a few of the regulars for criticism and critique.

    I'll have to hire Derek as my editor and perhaps I can talk Logos into working on the Australian translation. :)
     
  10. Logos

    Logos Well-Known Member

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    Ages ago I started work on a book called Shoestring Stage Management. A few of the chapters, The SM's kit, The Prompt Copy etc have been published in magazines but the whole thing sort of faded a while ago. I may ressurect it. I don't think I'll be competing.
    My intent was to write a good cheap book for amateur and community theatre to use as a reference and training manual for SM's who in amateur theatre often seem to start off by being the boy/girl friend of a cast member who gets conned.
     
  11. porkchop

    porkchop Well-Known Member

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    I've never heard of that happening sounds like a great way to end a relationship, con them into taking on the responsibility of an SM.
     
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    If you read Char5lie's current rant thread she's got an SM who is married to a cast member... although in this case it sounds more like the theater got conned, not the SM.
     
  13. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    Actually, that's how I got started in the theater. A friend of mine causually asked if I was doing anything after school that night. Looking back upon it, I wonder how different life would be if I had said no.
     
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    It would have been less stressful but not nearly as much fun.
     
  15. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    That's what I'm thinking, Gaff. Also wonder what I'd be doing with all my free time. Had a friend who used to accuse me of running on adrenaline and her job seemed much more stressful - she had various stress ailments, ulcers, high blood pressure, chronic sleeplessness - not me. She's since passed away from the big C, which I can't help but thinkk she would have detected earlier if she hadn't had so many other problems. Aside from a permanently bad back now, I'm the picture of health - perfect blood pressure, low cholesterol, no stomach problems. I'm thinking the stress levels we're running isn't all that bad, my friend.
     
  16. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    That might be a good title for my book!
     
  17. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    Then run with it! I have one in progress called, "Waiting for the Chocolate Bar" - it is about hot air ballooning and the chase crews (once a tech, always a tech. I still prefer ground crew to piloting)
     
  18. Goph704

    Goph704 Active Member

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    Still on Book notes, My father picked up a book for me at a yard sale years ago, it's called "Light on the Subject." and it has been to date one of the better books on lighting that I've ever read. It's geared more towards directors and Actors so it's very artsy, but the fundamentals are there. The book was published by Limelight editions and the writer was David Hays. I've found this book useful in design but since it was published in
    89 all of it's tech is very old and obviously Theater has changed drasticly.
    the other great work is of course the back stage hand book, which is all technical, ( even the cat in the dryer) What I've alwasys wanted to see is a refernce book that is a cross between the two, that includes movers. I would read that.
    But I've discoverd working with college students and community theater volenteers that most of them would not. Since most of the people I've worked with recently haven't chosen production as a life long pursuit, I think what would work best for them is quick and easy with a lot of pictures or how to sections, with a definate tip of the hat to older technology. starting out very few people work with incredibly high end gear, or have to trouble shoot an entire system, My problem early on with guides like that was that they went very much indepth on the this is, and were less cohesive on the how to, or this is why. I still have yet to run across a great how to, or this is why book, that can educate with out throwing away all the tricks of the trade. Do that, and your set for life.
    Good luck and let us know when it comes out,
    Adam
     
  19. Chris15

    Chris15 CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Gaff, by the time you finish it, I'll have graduated and might be looking for something to apply liberal amounts of red pen to:twisted:
     
  20. thorin81

    thorin81 Active Member

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    I think at some point every teacher who has had anything to do with the theatre has considered writing a book. Since there are so few resources tailored to educational theatre it seems like there would be a great demand for such publications.
    I, being a pretty tech-savvy theatre teacher (not to sound haughty or anything) have also been kicking around the idea of writing one such publication. My experience, however, has stemmed from the rants that I have about the way educational theatre is run. The lack of support, the fact that the theatre teacher (if indeed he/she is a REAL theatre teacher and not an English Teacher trying to teach theatre...) is the best qualified person to make decisions and run an educational theatre, etc.
    My teaching experience started small - in a little high school with an even smaller theatre (about 650 seats). That community has/had its own very ideosyncratic idea of the way theatre should be run at the high school level. Now I have a 2400 seat goliath of a theatre in a much more urban setting, but the ideosyncracies did not go away they just changed. Affluent parents wanting to be an integral part of the decision making process for the theatre program (some wanting to be too involved) replaced the conservative, farm based community of my little theatre in Idaho.
    I have been kicking around the idea of writing a manifesto on the way educational theater should function. Keeping notes, writing thoughts, documenting experiences...
    At some point I would hope that I could compose those thoughts and turn it into something more than just a jumbled mess of ideas... We all dream, don't we?;)
     

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