An Update on Book #3, and a trip to the World

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I’m making steady (if sometimes slow) progress on book #3 of The Imagineering Toolbox series. I still have a few chapters left to write (I think I’m at about 80-85% complete), but have enough done that I plan to do some proofreading and editing on the plane.

Where am I flying to? Well, the Most Magical Place on Earth, of course!

Later this week we’re heading to Walt Disney World!

We’ll be there 6 days (including arrival and departure days), and will be hitting all four parks at least once. I’m hoping that the combination of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening at the end of the summer and the recent opening of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure over at Universal will keep the crowd levels down while we’re there. We’ll see.

I plan on doing some research and fact-checking while I’m there (the new book is written from the POV of being inside the Magic Kingdom). I may also try to get some pics of The Imagineering Pyramid and The Imagineering Process in the parks.

 

Take Care!

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Spectrum 2019 Presentations

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Last month I attended STC Rochester’s Spectrum conference. I delivered two sessions, both based on The Imagineering Toolbox:

  • Disneyland Then, Now, and Forever: What Disney Parks Can Teach Us About Technical Communication
  • The Imagineering Toolbox: Using Disney Theme Park Design Principles to Develop and Enhance Your Technical Communication Projects

The first session was a presentation in which I shared an overview of The Imagineering Pyramid and The Imagineering Process with an eyes towards applying them to technical communication.

The second session was a half-day workshop where we looked at specifically how to apply the principles of The Imagineering Pyramid and The Imagineering Process to a specific project.

I enjoyed the conference and met a lot of new folks.

Both of my sessions went really well.

You can find PDF versions of these presentations using the links below:

  • Disneyland Then, Now, and Forever: What Disney Parks Can Teach Us About Technical Communication
  • The Imagineering Toolbox: Using Disney Theme Park Design Principles to Develop and Enhance Your Technical Communication Projects

 

Thanks!

Spectrum Conference in March

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I will be attending the Spectrum conference hosted by the Rochester chapter of the Society of Technical Communication in March.

I will be presenting two sessions at the conference, both based on The Imagineering Toolbox.

The first is a presentation entitled “Disneyland Then, Now, and Forever: What Disney Parks Can Teach Us About Technical Communication” which provides an overview of some of the practices, principles, and processes used by Walt Disney Imagineering in the design and construction of Disney parks and attractions, and how those practices, principles, and processes can be applied to technical communication and information development to help us create effective and engaging experiences for our audiences.

The second session is a workshop entitled “The Imagineering Toolbox: Using Disney Theme Park Design Principles to Develop and Enhance Your Technical Communication Projects” which is an interactive session that includes group and team discussions and activities where we apply Imagineering principles, practices, and processes to example projects offered by attendees. Come prepared to participate and share your ideas.

Hope to see some of you there!

Thanks!

InterChange 2018 Presentations

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Last week I attended STC New England’s InterChange conference. As I mentioned in my last post, I delivered two presentations:

I enjoyed the conference, met a lot of new folks, and reconnected with some people I hadn’t seen in quite a while.

Both of my sessions went really well (though I ended up running over time on both). The feedback I received was great overall, and I may have arranged for opportunities to present at future conferences and events.

You can find PDF versions of these presentations using the links below:

 

Thanks!

Imagineering Broadway – Recap

A couple of weeks ago I posted a series of Imagineering Broadway posts, based on content that was cut from the final published version of The Imagineering Process. This post recaps the series, and provides links to all eights posts.

Imagineering Broadway looks at the process by which Broadway musicals are conceived, developed, and produced through the lens of the Imagineering Process, and how the stages of the Imagineering Process align with the development of two popular Broadway shows:  Wicked and Hamilton: An American Musical.

The Imagineering Broadway series includes:

Introduction – an introduction to the series

Part Two: Prologue – the Need behind each show, and how each show got its start

Part Three: Blue Sky – where the initial vision for each show was developed

Part Four: Concept Development – where the shows’ creative teams flesh out and develop the shows’ story, characters, songs, and other details

Part Five: Design – where various show designers begin their work of designing the stage and sets, costumes, makeup, sound, lighting, effects, and other aspects of the shows

Part Six: Construction – where all of the pieces of the shows are brought together so they can be staged and the shows can (eventually) open

Part Seven: Models – where we look at how models of different types are used during the development of a musical

Part Eight: Epilogue – when the shows opened for audiences

 

Thoughts? Reactions? Love it? Hate it? Please let me know in the comments!

Video of Southborough Library Imagineering Process Talk

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As I mentioned in this post, last month I gave a talk about The Imagineering Process at the Southborough Library.

Southborough Access Media recorded the talk and has posted it on their YouTube channel, or you can watch it here:

I probably babbled and rambled a bit and here there, but overall I think the talk went pretty well.

Once again, I want to say a public Thank You to the Southborough Library for hosting me, and to everyone who attended.

Take care!

Imagineering Broadway – Part Eight: Epilogue

This is the eighth and final part in an 8-part series that looks at the process by which Broadway musicals are conceived, developed, and produced through the lens of the Imagineering Process.

Epilogue: Openings, Evaluations, and Show Quality Standards

Present your project to your audience, allow them to experience it, and evaluate its success and effectiveness over time.

A common first type of opening for a Broadway show is the “out-of-town” tryout or preview. As David Cote explains the The Grimmerie:

“The out-of-town tryout is a time-honored ritual for the Broadway musical. In the tryouts, a show’s creative team can test the product out on audiences and get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. Tryouts can be exhausting but valuable periods in which the team fine-tunes a hit. Shows can literally be saved out of town, as the book writer feverishly tweaks scenes that don’t work or gags that fall flat. The composer, meanwhile, might find inspiration and pen a new song that goes on to be the show’s big hit.”

Following these types of preview openings, the shows are evaluated and tweaked, changed, and rewritten before moving to a main stage opening on Broadway. Once a show has been in production, minor changes to staging, lighting, and choreography take place as cast members change and producers looks for ways to save money and extend the show’s lifespan. If a show spawns a traveling production (which has happened with both Wicked and Hamilton), minor changes occur as needed to accommodate the different theaters in which the show is staged.

Wicked_Grimmerie

Wicked’s “out-of-town tryout” was at the Curran Theatre in San Francisco, officially opening on June 10, 2003 and running through June 29. The show’s reception was mixed, and several songs were changed and portions of the book were rewritten based on the feedback and reviews that followed. Interviewed years later, Schwartz recalled that “The show was well enough received that no one was panicking or feeling it was a disaster–no throwing of bathwater or babies… It was clear there was work to be done and revisions to be made in the book and the score. The critical community was, frankly, very helpful to us. We learned a lot from the reviews, which were honest and constructive in the aggregate, unlike New York, where the critics make up their minds before they come to the theatre.”

Wicked opened on Broadway three months later on October 30, 2003 at the Gershwin Theatre and it has remained there since. Wicked is one of the most successful shows in Broadway history, and there have been several other North American and International productions of the show.

Hamilton-The-Revolution

Hamilton officially opened for previews at the The Public Theater in New York in February 2015. The production was extended twice, eventually ending in early May of that year. Following the preview, Miranda rewrote portions of some songs and the book, but the show remained largely the same when it moved to its current home at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on Broadway in August 2015.  The show has been a huge success, receiving extremely positive critical reception and having unprecedented box office sales. A Chicago production officially opened in October 2016, and the first US national tour began in March 2017, with a second tour set to begin performances in 2018.

 

Previous Imagineering Broadway installments:

 

Sources:

 

Thoughts? Reactions? Love it? Hate it? Please let me know in the comments!