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Stagecraft text advice?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by SweetBennyFenton, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. SweetBennyFenton

    SweetBennyFenton Active Member

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    This is yet another post asking for ideas of a textbook to use in class. I am in the process of building a class specificly about stagecraft. Topics: Scenic construction, rigging, shop math, working drawings and prop construction.

    I know Parker/Wolf does some good work on some of these topics, but like always, asking a student to buy a $90 book seem cruel unless they will use it for more than one class.

    Any advice?
     
  2. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    The backstage handboook should be one of the books, but should not be the main textbook. But I wouldn't ever think about teaching someone those subjects without the backstage handbook.
     
  3. Marius

    Marius Active Member

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    I have bee teaching my Stagecraft classes from Theatrical Design and Production by J. Michael Gillette for 5 years now, and I love it. And I also require my students to get the Backstage Handbook as a supplement. It's not that expensive and it's invaluable.

    Rick T.
    Eckerd College
    St. Petersburg, FL
     
  4. SweetBennyFenton

    SweetBennyFenton Active Member

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Backstage Handbook out of print?

    I remember trying to get it for another class I taught and the bookstore couldn't find enough copies. I would love to make sure all of my students have a copy if it is still in print.

    But like you've said so far, it wouldn't be the only text in the class.
     
  5. soundlight

    soundlight Well-Known Member

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    Backstage handbook out of print? Since when? I'm not challenging you on this, but this just comes as a suprise to me.
     
  6. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    I can find no indication that the book is out of print. Here's a link that has it used for $14.25, a great deal!
     
  7. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    What is up with Powells Books? They don't have any! I do believe it's still in print, however the edition is several years old. It would make great "Supplemental Reading List" Material, but not the greatest textbook. I still like Scene Design and Stage Lighting Parker and Wolf. It's expensive, but that's the way books are in college.
     
  8. soundman

    soundman Well-Known Member

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    As a college student I admire your kindness but unlike the $180 I spent on two books for my geology class I still pull out my scene design book from time to time. I think its $90 well spent. Plus its a great starter for a basic stage lighting course as well as sound design.
     
  9. SweetBennyFenton

    SweetBennyFenton Active Member

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    I've got no problem with the Parker/Wolf book. It's a great resource but this class is already going to have a hefty fee to cover building materials... I just can't force my students to drop that much for one class.

    I'm glad to hear that no one else has heard about the Backstage Handbook being out of print. Maybe it was just a mistake. Good news for everyone!
     
  10. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Umm..what?
     
  11. SweetBennyFenton

    SweetBennyFenton Active Member

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    Oh, I should have explained.

    Students will be building examples of flats, platforms, ect. To cover the matterials cost I may need to put a matterials fee on the class.
     
  12. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Well this is interesting. Amazon is selling used but not new copies. That's not a good sign. On the other hand PLSN Bookshelf and Musicbooksplus still have it new.

    It hasn't been updated since 1995 and some of the information on lighting systems is way out of date.
     
  13. SweetBennyFenton

    SweetBennyFenton Active Member

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    True 'dat. But beer still weighs the same right?

    Anyone else have any insight on the out of print issue?

    P.S. I'm now waiting for Van to come back with a joke about "lite" beer.
     
  14. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    That's not cool, you don't have shows to build for?
     
  15. thorin81

    thorin81 Active Member

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    I am still using the Technical Design and Production by Gillette text that i used in college. I have found that for a basic construction and info base for students it has been extremely helpful. I am still using an older edition, but I know there is a current printing of it available (ed. 5 I think).
     
  16. SweetBennyFenton

    SweetBennyFenton Active Member

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    Oh, I have a few shows to build each semester, but they are built mostly by payed student workers and people taking another class (which includes a lab component in the scene shop).

    I've got more student labor than I can shake a stick at. :)
     
  17. Techiegirly

    Techiegirly Member

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    Put it this way...requiring your students to buy a textbook isn't cruel, it'll weed out the people who took the class because they thought it would be an easy course they can just sleep through for a semester. I still use my textbook from years ago. Mind you some of the lighting stuff is out of date but really it's the only book I've kept from all of my college classes if that says anything. I paid $300.00 for my stupid science book. Keep in mind too that these books can be re-sold after the semester if the students are really desperate. I always re-sold my books.
     
  18. Dreadpoet

    Dreadpoet Active Member

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    what is cruel? Asking theatre students to spend such money. Gillette, Parker and Wolf should both know that theatre students are just a step above carney folk and need their money for ill gotten gains. I would say that I like the gillette because of the pictures...but have called him out on more than one occassion in class. Both books are expensive. I use the gillette for stagecraft 1 and 2 there by making it a more useful book. I, being a tech man for years now, have seen little use for the backstage handbook. Sure it shows alot of drawings with clever terms attached to them...but gives little to no discription on how to use said items...making it useless to a stagecraft student. By my time, I haven't really needed it either.
     
  19. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Back in September, I think, I ordered 2 copies of the Backstage Handbook, as mine always seem to be missing, from tower.com. (I wrote about it here, and Charc smartly suggested I write my name on the cover, along with "Return to:" Within a week I received one copy, and thought I must have only ordered one. Last week I received another. Maybe it was temporarily out of stock for some reason?

    Your points are well-taken, Dreadpoet. I think the Backstage Handbook is something every technician should have, but as you said, its usefulness may be questionable, particularly as a college text.

    BTW, The Quadratic Equation on page 210 of the blue cover has been corrected since the brown cover, but I've yet to see demonstrated its application to the theatre.
     
  20. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    When i first started teaching Stagecraft, I used the Parker/Wolf text. I have since moved to using the "Stagecraft Handbook" by Daniel Ioanazzi and the "Backstage Handbook". It has been a couple of years since I have taught the course, but last time around, my students could get both books for under $50. I always thought they made good reference books for them to keep down the road.

    ~Dave
     

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