I hate projections.
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen them, but some productions, in an attempt to make everything more “magical,” will add projections to the performance. I have never cared for them. I think they’re distracting and often have little to do with the play itself. So, imagine my joy when I was recently assigned to create my own set of projections.
As I mentioned before, I am currently working on a middle school production of The Music Man. The other day one of the directors came up to me and explained that she wanted photographs from the early 1900s to appear during certain numbers. Easy enough to do with the internet. She also wanted time stamps to appear periodically throughout the play, typed in an old-timey font. I can type, I can pick a font, no trouble. Finally, she wanted footage from a moving train. There was the problem.
The director wanted footage that showed the landscape passing by as if the audience were looking out the window of a train. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but even with the world wide web, there are very few videos like this in existence. I decided I needed to film my own
At 4:00 in the afternoon, my friend and I climbed into my minivan. I was going to drive. She was going to film. We were going to do this.
The Music Man takes place in the Midwest. There aren’t many places in Northern Virginia that resemble the plains and fields we needed for the film. So, we drove to the only place I could think of that was relatively close and looked slightly Midwestern. Manassas.
We got to Manassas without any trouble. She filmed while I crept along a stretch of highway with my warning lights flashing. We took several interesting shots and decided to call a day. Unfortunately, we had no clue where we were. We were lost.
I drove around looking for something that looked remotely familiar, while my camerawoman turned navigator scrambled through a map book, trying to figure out where in the world we had gone. I saw nothing familiar. She couldn’t find our road on any map. We were getting desperate.
We started to call people for help (thank goodness for cell phones) and we were directed back to the school. We finally got back at 6:30. We had gotten all of the footage we needed in 45 minutes. We had been lost in Manassas for almost two hours.
But, we didn’t let this setback stop us. After a quick dinner we formatted the videos and continued working on the projections. For the next day and a half, all we focused on was finishing these projections. Towards the end of the second day we finished. They were beautiful. Especially the train videos.
Well, they're beautiful if you don't turn on your sound...
We were so incredibly proud. These projections were wonderful. They were our pride and joy, our baby (as they were the result of over twenty hours of labor). I set them up and prepared to show them to the directors, during our next run of the show. I did and they worked perfectly. I was ecstatic. They flowed well, they were relevant, and they worked exactly as they were intended.
After the show I was beaming, bursting with pride. Then, one of the directors came up to me. I sat up, ready for my compliment I knew I deserved. She told me she didn’t like them.
I was devastated. Apparently my masterpiece was too distracting and they would have to rethink using them. Twenty hours of work down the drain.
I hate projections.