Dan is joined by media wizzes Travis Wade and Michelle Morales to talk about the importance of content creation, marketing, and branding within the marching space, and how small organizations can build a solid media team within their means.
Read the transcript of the podcast below.
Dan Schack (00:00:09):
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Dan Schack (00:01:39):
And we are on, well, I just want to welcome you both, and I’m not going to spin out, trying to do your bios that you sent me and explain what you do. So I’ll let you both introduce yourselves and explain who you are and why we’re talking today. Michelle, why don’t you go first, but I talked to us about your background in the marching arts and what you do these days.
Michelle Morales (00:01:59):
Hi, so my name’s Michelle Miralis, um, currently I’m a marketing media manager for Carolina crown, uh, but also I’m a logistics director for LA relentless winter guard. And then I teach three high schools, uh, planning in high school, my, uh, Miami high high school and Stoneman Douglas high school. And I teach color guard. So, you know, mixing both the activity with my passion of filmmaking is one of my primary, you know, passions and goals.
Dan Schack (00:02:26):
So I’m assuming you didn’t get a degree in color guard. So are you, do you have like a form of degree in media?
Michelle Morales (00:02:34):
Yeah, so I have my bachelor’s in film. I got it in 2017 and every, since then I’ve been just doing a bunch of local music videos and things like that. And as well as helping out the activity with my skillsets and videography and editing
Dan Schack (00:02:48):
Hazing and Travis, talk to us about your background, marching teaching, and then the media side of things. So
Travis Wade (00:02:54):
I am a marketing manager and a project manager for paramount winter garden out of Atlanta, Georgia. Um, I do a lot of different tasks for them, but I essentially create all the content that you see on their social media platforms, try to create strategy strategies for them in their marketing. And then I also coordinate for high school Hoover high school out of Alabama. So that’s really kind of the extent of what I’m doing right now. Um, I do not have a degree in media. My degree is in neuroscience, um, which is it’s funny how that whole journey happened. I ended up I’m actually entirely self-taught and licensed in it and just have been doing it for a good number of years. I also, uh, run a digital design studio out of Atlanta that creates flags and floors and uniforms and graphics for a bunch of pageantry groups across the country.
Dan Schack (00:03:40):
And what’s the name of the studio, just so people know and can check it out. It’s Wade,
Travis Wade (00:03:43):
Dan Schack (00:03:45):
Wade, creative studios, check it out, drive up that traffic baby. So super pumped. Got you on kind of last minute, we were going back and forth on Instagram. Um, we were all roommates at crown this year, so it’s super fun to just check in with you guys in general. Like it’s just cool to be able to do this and have a reason for it. Uh, but I want to talk to you because I feel like the marching arts are very, very behind in terms of our attitude, our approach, our tools, and our resources when it comes to media, whether that is audio, video, social media, all the different platforms that are out there and that we see being used in interesting way by brands and companies, the marching arts, I think have not yet fully realized a vision for how to incorporate media as you know, at caption, if you will, or its own sort of branch in an organization.
Dan Schack (00:04:41):
So I’m super excited to talk to you because I’m very interested in branding. I’m very interested in content. Obviously I have my own podcast. Um, and I, I think this is something that people need to hear from the inside and what I was drawn to immediately. Cause we just all met like the three of us didn’t know before this experience at crown. But you know, I only came in at the end and seeing what you all were doing with the Tik TOK, like let’s start there seeing the absolute growth and the engagement and the amount of views. It was just like this stratospheric rise. So who was kind of managing the tick tock who was conceptualizing, what kind of content would be on there? Like how was that happening on a day-to-day level?
Michelle Morales (00:05:24):
Yeah, so basically when we started the first week of crown December, um, we each have, so we have a media team, usually a four or five. Um, and we each have like our, our lane that we stick in, for me, I’m more of like the manager and the videographer for like the grand videos, like the long format videos. And then Marcus, one of our other media members was in charge of the tech talk. And so we would brainstorm and sit down and watch like the algorithm and see which to talk trends were trending to see what we could pump out. And our goal was to have at least two or at least one a day. So that way we can pick up the speed, um, with our followers and it, it picked up really quickly and it helped us out that we were pretty much the only core that was doing content at the time, since all the other cores were on the next month coming through.
Michelle Morales (00:06:14):
Right. But take talk was fun because it was something that wasn’t too serious and obviously tech talk trends are really fun in the first place. So, um, yeah, he, he pretty much grabbed a hold of that. And then we would submit it to our, you know, to us and say, Hey, is it good, bad? Like, should it post? And usually it’s Tik TOK is it’s something that you should really analyze or digest really hard because it comes and goes really quick. So it was up and running and we’re pretty happy. We were already past the, a million followers at this point. So
Dan Schack (00:06:48):
A million followers. Yeah. Oh my goodness. Wow. Yeah, that is so crazy. And it happened super quickly and I actually didn’t, I I’ve kind of wondered about this, but it seems like it’s this chicken or the egg thing with social media where it’s like, the trend happens and then you do the trend and it happens. And it’s like, so it sounds like you kind of, you guys were like sitting down, you’re like looking at what is happening. You’re like, okay. Today is like, uh, these challenges we’re doing like we’re going to do like the fastest paradiddle or like the spin challenge. Like I remember there was like people that were like tossing and I guess to kick it over to Travis, cause he obviously works in that paramount space for indoor specifically is like one. So you’re self-taught so I love that you and Michelle had different backgrounds that were so you’re self-taught so for someone that isn’t formally trained in tech talk, which I don’t know how you would be like, or even formally trained in social media, what would you recommend to someone who’s like trying to get in and build that kind of substantial following that Michelle is describing?
Travis Wade (00:07:52):
I would say the, all of us are formally trained media consumers. We all consume media on a daily basis, at least people our age, you know, like there’s no one that doesn’t do it on a daily basis and there’s no one that can’t do that critically and say, oh, I could do this. Like to watch something and say like, oh, this is a trend. This is how it’s done. There’s a formula to it. There’s a way of posting it. That makes it cool and fun. Um, anyone can do that and that’s essentially kind of what I’ve done. I watch things. I, I find things that inspire me, things that I think are really cool, things that I think are funny. And then I go, how does this apply to what we’re doing? How do I take this and put it into color guard in a way that’s going to make it trend.
Travis Wade (00:08:30):
And that’s essentially all they did too. They look at these different challenges, they’re challenges, Oliver, Tik, TOK. And they said, how can we make this a band thing? And then they did, you know, so I think regardless of background, like you definitely have to learn the technicality of it, how to create cool videos from cool angles or how to create something to, to a sound track behind it. That makes it, I guess, a little bit more production value, but anyone can watch a trend on tech talk and say, oh, I could do this and then just do it. You know, I think a lot of people, especially in the marching arts go, oh, I don’t have a degree in that. I don’t have, um, formal experience in that. So can’t do, why am I licensed to do it? Do I have a space to do it in?
Travis Wade (00:09:08):
But the beautiful thing about the emerging artists is that I feel like it’s a micro universe where people can be anything like anyone can say like, oh, I’m a, I’m a sound engineer because I’m going to learn to do this within this micro universe. And the specific way that it applies, because even people outside of the marching arts who do like sound design, don’t necessarily know how to do it in a way that applies to what we do. You know? So it’s the same concept on social media. It’s developing within the marching arts. So there’s still a window for anyone to do it. And same thing, Tik TOK, especially like, everyone’s like, are we going to do tick-tock at Perrault? And I’m like, I think I want to, uh, we don’t have an account right now. We don’t have a following of any kind on Tik TOK, but like, why not?
Travis Wade (00:09:48):
You know, especially with the, the upcoming generation, that’s where they’re, they’re going to consume that media, you know? And if we want to keep the paramount trend going that we’ve got to move on to that platform, you know? So, um, this coming winter, I’ll look at that. I’ll say, um, what is our general age range that we’re trying to communicate with? What’s the best place to do that. It’ll probably be Twitter and TechTalk because that’s where the lowest age range is right now. And then I’ll, I’ll kind of gauge member interest. I’ll be like, who’s got a good idea because it can’t rely entirely on me. A lot of it comes from like just the community and inspiration from them, but saying like, what do you guys want to do? And then it’ll be my job to take that and make it fit the paramount version of it. Like our, our whole brand is like cool and collected and professional and all those things, making sure it still fits that, but like in a way that can perform well on that social media platform.
Dan Schack (00:10:44):
There’s a lot in there that that really sparks different ideas. I mean, one thing that I’ve been thinking about is the way the marching arts are, they’re not very inclusive because up to a certain point, all of it exists in a live space. So like the way we think about seeing a famous performer live, what it takes, what it costs to travel to even see the Carolina crown one time in the summer, if you’re not in the right zone, you’re never going to see them. It’s not like we go to every state, right? So the nature of our activity has been driven through the live platform. And that box is out. A lot of people when you’re talking about this, I feel like if we put a lot more emphasis on the digital space, it’s creating that inclusive access to the group in a way that I think it’s a bigger deal than the trend.
Dan Schack (00:11:38):
I think it’s like actually reaching a broader audience. And for me, this is so critical because our activity does not have a big enough audience and it could have a bigger audience. I don’t see how what’s the thing of the Olympics when they’re like scrubbing the thing. And then like, it’s, it’s like shuffleboard, but it’s like, I think it’s called, um, I wish we had someone that could just bring that up on the Google, but it’s like, there are some really niche things that are popular. And I think it’s not necessarily because it’s accessible, it’s because they’re doing their due diligence to get out there. So I guess one thing that I wonder, and I think we’re hearing already parts of this, like, and I’ll kick it to Michelle, what do we have to learn from out there? What do we have to learn from sports or from fashion or from music that are going to inform what we can do? So we can go from an audience of like 500 K to like millions and millions of people.
Michelle Morales (00:12:36):
Right? So one of the big things has sponsorships and sponsorship deals are something that we don’t have. We only have sponsorship deals within like our activity over like, you know, the instruments or, um, the costumes or things like that. But once we start to branch out and actually hit those sports sponsorships, that’s when there’s going to be a lot more awareness for our activity and like unaccepting, like we’re already pushing the standards of like, we’re not bandeau kids anymore that are just doing traditional stuff. So for people to see that that’s going to, it’s going to have to be more mainstream in the sense of those sponsorships. Cause like, even when you have a music video, there’s at least five sponsored placement ads in that music video. So for that, you know, we need to get in the inside. And once you already know somebody on the inside, then they’re going to put product placement in your video. But we got to get to that level. Like you said, like right now we’re pretty much stuck on a live show kind of gig. Um, and until we start shooting and producing content for YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, and things like that, then we’re not going to get the audience that we’re going to want.
Dan Schack (00:13:52):
Absolutely. And I just, I love these conversations because I know what the argument against it is. And it’s like, this is an educational activity and we can’t sell out for a corporate sponsors and, and that kind of thing comes up, but it’s like, do we need to rethink this as explicitly or exclusively educational when we’re actually prohibiting ourselves from growing? So like Travis again, just for, I want to kick this back and forth and all around. But like, is that our issue is that we’re like, this is educational and it’s all about portraying it like that. Even though we talk about the student experience as the most important thing. And I would think if we got Nike on board, if we got Adidas on board, the student experience is going to get better because they’re going to be getting better gear. The exposure is obviously going to be larger. So it’s like, what is this weird conversation where we’re like, we’re, we’re an educational realm, but we also are like a performance competitive realm. Like our identity seems kind of like in flux in that way,
Travis Wade (00:14:58):
Can I actually relate this back to my dance experience? So I, um, I dance in a dance studio, all of high school, like a competitive one. We actually competed against like Southern strut, absolutely all there, like really big dance studios in the south and the Midwest. And, um, you know, that’s one arena of that. There’s also commercial dance companies that create commercial videos and have commercial dance opportunities. And that, that you’re, you certainly are learning and growing as a dancer, but that’s not the focus of it. The focus is really to perform and to create this commercial content where you get those sponsorships and you get sort of notoriety. I also dance in a professional company where again, it was much more educationally based where I would show up to rehearsal. And there was certainly, it was a performance, but it was much more about the gritty art of it.
Travis Wade (00:15:43):
You know? So those are just three different arenas and different sort of spaces of education just within that one activity. And I think we’re limited in a lot of ways and the way that we just have that one, you just have that one educationally based live performance venue. I think Michelle is kind of kicking the ball out of the park right now with what she does at relentless with the video content, because she creates this sort of almost commercialized like video content of the performers performing, and it’s completely removed from an arena it’s completely removed from the color guard space, as we w we know it, we did a little bit of that at paramount. This past winter, we created like a 10 scene film. Uh, it ended up being about 17, but, um, it was all removed entirely while we tried our best to remove it from gyms.
Travis Wade (00:16:27):
But when you can only get gym space, you can only do so much, you know, but we really wanted it to look like something completely removed. We wanted it to be sort of documentary style, sort of, um, like art film style where it’s color guard, but it doesn’t look like what we know it to be. You know? Um, that’s an opportunity to, for product placement for sponsorship that doesn’t remove from anyone’s experience, because that is the experience. That is what it is supposed to be. You know? So again, I think we’re limited in the way that we, we, we expect it to be one thing all the time. You know, we, we expect like, especially when COVID happened, everyone was like, we’ve got to have these indoor shows. We’ve got to have it this way. It has to be exactly like this. Just like we’ve done it forever.
Travis Wade (00:17:07):
And at paramount, we were like, we’re just not going to do it that way at all. Same where it’s going to be all film based. It’s going to be all edited. It’s going to be like these deep concepts. And we want to, we want to be able to expose people. We wanted someone outside of the marching community to be able to watch it and go, oh, that’s cool. I relate to that. That’s art. That’s something neat. Meanwhile, someone who has to show up to their first ever winter guard event and watch shows they just stunned. Like how do they absorb that? You know, it’s not in a medium that they’re used to consuming.
Dan Schack (00:17:36):
Well said, I think is so funny because at Mason, uh, George Mason, indoor, I guess I say the whole thing. If this is a standalone podcast where people listening, we did the exact same thing. This isn’t a normal year, and it’s going to require us to completely reformulate how we do this. So like, when you watch the Mason thing, it’s not drill on a floor that’s being filmed because when you write drill, it’s, it’s meant to be viewed from 30,000 feet. Like that is the point of it is that there is a, a larger scale and scope they were working with. And I saw a lot of groups come out and do indoor drum line on film and Mason. And it sounds like paramount and relentless. They made a drum line or color guard product for film and for the medium of being viewed through a screen.
Dan Schack (00:18:29):
And funny enough, what I heard from the outside voices of the world are we like the groups that just like played together and like, did the drum line thing, even though like, it wasn’t fit out for the medium, we just needed to be, we have this very like weird poll where it’s like the old heads. And when I say old heads, I’m talking about people like my age were saying that they’re like, well, you guys didn’t actually play together. Uh, so, and you like used mixing and sound production and post-production, it’s like, well, you listen to albums and you listen to music that’s and it was meant to be listened to as a song. It was meant to be consumed in that medium. So it’s so funny, even when you do that, people like, I want it to be the old way. It’s like, well, there was a virus, so we couldn’t be live.
Dan Schack (00:19:13):
And this is what, not only what we could do. It’s like, we capitalize on that. So I always feel like I, and I, what you’re all saying, I’m like, so in that kind of camp where it’s like for the media, I’m not like for what it’s supposed to be. And like keeping things how they’re always supposed to be. We should be reconceptualizing, like what someone with a flag can even do or what, like, all these talented dancers are drumline people, but it takes so much work just to have that competitive season. I think, I think we all realize too, like we want more, but it’s already super tiring and super tough to get through an individual season. So before I spin off and start going crazy on that, I do want to hear more about the approach to relentless. I have seen some of the videos with like Nick and like, you’re on the beach and like there’s incorporation of some traditional color guard elements, but it’s also just like a dance music video on the beach. So like, can you talk about your vision for that and how you sort of put that together and what your goals are with that? Yeah.
Michelle Morales (00:20:13):
So with those, so we call them RPE videos, relentless production, ensemble videos. We basically cast them and Nick and I do like a whole pre-production, uh, before starting with, uh, outfits, uh, concepts, what song, uh, there we meet up for choreography and then we go to location and we shoot. And, uh, for those production days, I really try to make sure that the experience of the production is nice because as we know any kind of video shoot is tiring. And since I have that background, I’m able to pull from my other creatives that are, that, you know, from college and just make it like a true production experience, um, onset with, you know, we have a tent, we have people with water, we have somebody that’s going doing hair and makeup. Um, just because that’s how you have members feel like it’s cool to come back.
Michelle Morales (00:21:07):
Um, and it’s not just like my personal gain, it’s their personal gain as well, because they’re getting their face on screen. And then, yeah, the day pretty much is really fun. We try not to take it too seriously. Like there’s going to be mess ups as you go. Um, but yeah, like our first, um, RPE video that we did last season, uh, was the BDM video. And that was, they showed up for auditions thinking like it was going to be a traditional audition. And then I’m like, well, now we’re going to shoot a video. So we’re going to learn everything that you’re going to do in the video. And this is how you’re going to audition. And let me see what you got, like we’re showing up next week where shooting in Wynwood, which is like a rural area in Miami. And we’re going to go to different locations.
Michelle Morales (00:21:48):
We ended up, you know, having a lot of fun. I mean, typical sheets are like 10 hours. They’re pretty, gun-ho about like, at least now I’ll all the members that have been a part of it are pretty gun-ho about, you know, it is what it is. We’re going to be doing this take like for 30 minutes and Michelle’s not gonna like say, oh yeah, yeah, I’ll just fix it later. Like, no, usually you really can’t fix it later. Especially when it comes to color guard stuff. Cause like a mess up is a mess up like, and, uh, a cut is a cut. And so I don’t want the audience to think that they didn’t achieve well. So we always play up to that camera and yeah. And then the editing process, I do most of the editing. Um, I do have like some help on like assembly, but I’m pretty much like the main editor and colorist.
Michelle Morales (00:22:38):
I could do a little bit of a better job with promotion and doing little, uh, reels and photos and behind the scenes just it’s a lot when it comes to promoting content because it’s one thing to shoot it edit, but then to promote is like another beast. And so I think what could help our activity is promotion in, uh, in every aspect. So cause we have so many different sections within the color guard, the horn line, the front ensemble on the drum line. And I think promoting that to younger performers would get them in the, in the door a lot faster and buy into the activity. Cause they’re just nervous and scared and they just have to understand like, we’re here to teach you, like it’s all Gucci, you know,
Dan Schack (00:23:27):
It’s really cool. And I think COVID specifically, it took 2021 and it was like, whatever you thought was going to happen, it’s blown up and there’s like different ways to go about it. So I’m, I’m thinking and wondering when we go and assuming that this year is a more regular competitive year, obviously TBD, I am obviously just going to proceed as if it is personally in this regular competitive here. Now you’re dealing with, you know, rehearsal site, logistics, planning, the design, rehearsing, the students travel housing, just all the stuff that happens in a regular year. Right? So for Travis, you know, it sounds like you two have a somewhat similar relationship in what you do with your independent world groups, going back into paramount, knowing and hoping that it’s going to be a more regular year. How can we keep this momentum with the different media that you are engaging with and these different forms that you’re engaging with? When we had that off year
Travis Wade (00:24:32):
For me, it’s going to take planning and collaboration. Um, like, like with Michelle, Michelle basically helps to run all the aspects of relentless winter guard. I do have a similar job at paramount where I’m, I’m developing the website that we use. I keep all the tabs on our social media. I help write schedules for rehearsals each weekend. I teach the color guard. So I do all of the movement there. So, um, you know, you’re already wearing six hats. And then when you also have to try to add social media promotion on top of it, you know, like your, your neck starts to hurt a little bit. So a lot of that work comes from pre-season. Um, I have kind of an approach that I use where I create marketing schemes and marketing campaigns pre-season so it’s all kind of laid out. So we have like our pre-season campaign where it all has a specific look and are specific goals, like getting people to auditions and promoting, um, our merchandise and just kind of setting the tone for the whole season.
Travis Wade (00:25:25):
And then once we get into the season, we kind of theme everything around the actual show. And then that becomes a little bit easier with planning content. Cause you know, you’ve got a uniform reveal, you’ve got sponsorship posts, so you’ve got all of the various things sort of basis that you need to hit on, but it comes with planning and above all else asking for help and collaboration. Cause, uh, there’s just one of me and I do have help, like my friend, Molly for Frey, she’ll write captions for us. And it’s like, whoa, that takes with an anxious person. That can be, that takes a lot off the plate. Okay. And then I have some members that helped me to just get the content posted, to come up with ideas, to give me feedback. I’ll even, it’s as simple as what did you think of this post?
Travis Wade (00:26:07):
What do you think of doing this with this one the next time? Um, and just capturing content of rehearsals. If someone can just have their phone out recording video, half of the rehearsal, then I’ve got what I need most of the time. And then also for paramount this winter, you know, we set a, a definite tone for how we wanted our media to be conveyed in a way that like kind of took it out of the arena, kind of touching back on base with that, like this season, the hope is to create sort of like a parallel, not film, but documentary, maybe, you know, it’s in the works, you know, we don’t even have the show yet, but we’re like we, we, we want to create media content that has a sense of depths to it all season long, something that portrays the depth and character of the organization that portrays the depth and character of the production that we’ll do that presents it in a really cool and neat way.
Travis Wade (00:26:57):
That’s more than just, I took a picture of my phone and I put it on Instagram, you know? So there are plans for that, but it’s only going to be achieved with a lot of help. Um, that’s one thing that really, I think sets us behind in the marching arts activity is I think over the last three or four years, we’ve seen a rise of media teams. We, when I first taught drum Corps in 2017, I was the media team. It was just me and I put it on my phone and I put it on Instagram. And I was like, I was like one of five people doing that. Um, in the past couple years we see professionals from media coming into the activity like Michelle, who are like, they know exactly what they need to be doing. They know that it involves teamwork. There’s a person who takes the photos who takes the videos, someone, another person that adds the graphics on top of it, another person that colors it, another person that actually posts it, it really is a full-time job and collaborative effort.
Travis Wade (00:27:49):
And so the next step for an organization like paramount at least is going to be assembling a team like that. And again, that comes also with a sense of supporting those people, like asking people to do that much time. That’s a difficult thing to do to say, Hey, will you volunteer all this time? And all of this effort to get this thing done again, how would sponsorships and financial support play into making this thing so much better? If we were able to like, you know, like we pay instructors, pay immediate team. I think the way that sometimes the marching arts are behind and their views on media actually comes from that perspective, the value of it and the respect of it in some, in some manners, you know, um, when I, when I, we at Scouts, when I taught there in 2017, I did all the color guard media that wasn’t.
Travis Wade (00:28:35):
So I wouldn’t even have asked them to pay me to do that because the viewpoint from the entire community at that point was, this is just a supplementary thing. It’s not something that’s important. It’s not something that actually helps. But then when you start to look at the, the effect that social media and popularity has on your performance throughout the season, the way that you’re able to recruit members. Now people are like, oh, this is a necessity. You know, especially getting into the quote unquote digital age, which we’ve been in for forever, but especially in the marching arts with it catching on the way that it is, people are like, oh, this is totally necessary. Even as far as branding goes, I’ve seen a huge wave of rebranding happening and, and the, the marching arts over the last two years, because they keep coming to me and they’re like, can you redo our logo? Or like, I, I can’t do all of it. So you see people completely reconstructing their brands because now they’re like, oh, well I guess we can’t keep using that logo. We didn’t paint, I guess at times, I guess it, I guess it’s time to have a real logo. And so it’s a good thing, but again, personnel-wise, there aren’t enough people to do it in a way that really suits the
Michelle Morales (00:29:41):
Actual graphic design and branding industry. Yeah. I think collaboration is just so key. I mean, I think one thing that I started last year with 2021, uh, was just having like a crew team that like they couldn’t March, but they were really invested in making sure that the, you know, the team looked well and like, you know, I had a photographer, every other rehearsal, I, that just was a volunteer alumni. And then I have somebody that just like all the social media content just shows up and does stories. Um, so like, I think maybe promoting that for each program might be a fun thing to do because alumni like to be involved. And then they also, everybody, like Travis said, like everybody likes to consume content. So if they see that their stories are being posted or like there’s social media content that they have created that’s online.
Michelle Morales (00:30:34):
Like it gives them incentive to step in the door and help out the organization if they don’t have like a financial give, but they can come into rehearsal and just be like, I’m going to be here all day and I’m going to get this whole design camp. I’m going to get these stories. And then it, it, it gives awareness to the activity because as an instructor, you’re not able to do that. You’re just busy. Like you’re not thinking about that at all. But then when you turn to the side and you say this, person’s like getting this boomerang, you see it later. You’re like, wow, that was a great day. You know? Um, so maybe like for other programs to reach out and, and give that as an incentive, I think would be a great bonus for all the alumni to pitch in.
Dan Schack (00:31:11):
That’s really, really smart. And I fully agree that idea of like the instructional staff also serving as a social media coordinators, I think is baloney because we’re already, as Travis noted, we already do more than we’re supposed to do. We already do things we’re not qualified to do. We should probably just like stay there and then get individuals for that role. So they can focus on that and capture the instructional staff, doing what they’re doing. I think that’s, that’s important. One thing I wanted to touch on is the idea of value. Travis was kind of noting. We didn’t always see the value in having a media team like a dedicated media team. And I think the obvious place would be, there are dollars to be made through the promotional efforts of your media team. If you’re trying to recruit a lot of students, like I know when I taught the Crossman, we made a bulk of our income from like our satellite camps and advertising for those and getting students in the door.
Dan Schack (00:32:03):
That to me is very obvious. One thing that I’m not as certain of how this would work is just like the monetization aspect, like crown having a million followers on Tik TOK or this amount of subscribers and this amount of views on YouTube. Is there a path for these organizations? We already have brilliant talent. We have brilliant creative designers. We’re all together. We have a shared vision and we know how it works, but we’re not doing basically anything to like monetize our group outside of like the group. So like, is there a for possible monetization, if we can go in this content creation direction, I don’t know who wants to feel this, uh, Michelle, go ahead.
Michelle Morales (00:32:47):
Yeah. I mean, so for monetization, like, so the easiest way to think people have been posting is like YouTube. But the thing with YouTube is that you have to get so many view counts and so many comebacks that it’s just almost impossible to gain profit from YouTube, right? There’s sites like Patrion that, you know, they have like the monthly subscribers, which would be good for our fan base. You know what I mean? People want to pay sometimes people don’t and you have to have a lot of content coming in for Patrion to be profitable. I think the best way is to shoot something that’s truly professional in all aspects, and then go to the streaming services and pitch it to those networks, which is a longer path. It’s not something immediate like YouTube, but it does have a big payout. I mean, we, I dunno if you saw the Netflix show cheer, um, but they had a, a great revenue in return and a lot of awareness going into that, um, talk U series because of how serious it was.
Michelle Morales (00:33:47):
It didn’t just like hokey pokey, like cheerleading, but they showed the serious aspect. And which is, I think that we don’t want to go. I think a lot of people have a hard time trying to make this into like a serious, um, docu-series but I think that there’s so much, so much importance within the activity that we can showcase. So I think that’s the best way. It just, it will take more money beforehand, which is why, why like networks like have that budget because you have to fork up that money beforehand before you see any money, come back,
Dan Schack (00:34:22):
Travis, what do you think about this conversation? Just like monetization and content creation, you know, not just promotions, not just students auditioning for the competitive group, but utilizing the talent. We have to create something that’s bigger.
Travis Wade (00:34:36):
When I think of like being a paid performer, it’s always been strange to me that, uh, people can be as incredibly amazing as they are at, at this activity and then be a performer in it and never get paid for it. That’s always been like a strange thing. Like when you graduate high school and you stopped dancing in a dance studio, you never pay to dance again. Or you shouldn’t like you, you may pay to take class and to be a learner, but as a performer, you get paid, that is simply the standard. And the way that happens is generally speaking, dance companies have to be transparent with their, their expenses, their income, who they pay, all those things. Then that way they’re able to, to apply for like public grants and that sort of thing. Like, um, in the times that I have put a dance on a dance company, I’ve had to apply, help them to apply for the grant to fund it, to talk about what the work is, um, what community, a that sort of thing.
Travis Wade (00:35:26):
And also just to very thoroughly map out where every dime of it was going to go to, because it couldn’t go to, like, if there were a nonprofit dance company, it couldn’t go to anyone on the board. It couldn’t go to anyone who essentially would have, who has a vested interest in the actual program, or like could use it for public advantage. Like there’s, it has to be very transparent. And that’s not really a structure that we have set up in a lot of places, at least in indoor. I know they’re like nonprofit drum Corps and they operate with boards. Um, I don’t see a ton of that happening in indoor, at least at the lowest levels, low to mid levels of it. Does that make sense? So, um, when it comes to commercialization on a grand scale, I don’t think that’s a viable thing. I don’t think that grants could pay enough or fund enough of the whole thing with how big our activity already is. It could help privately with some small groups, but nothing too much above that. If that mean
Dan Schack (00:36:22):
It does, like it’s not going to come from WGCI as the umbrella organization, the governing body, but these organizations, these are legitimate, you know, 5 0 3 C nonprofits. And we’ve likely to have the potential as a business, as a nonprofit business, to go in the direction where we are writing grants, we are seeking outside funding that kind of creative and financial thinking. And it feels like we just get into the like summer planning, indoor competitive. Then we chill for like two months and then we’re in the planning. And it’s like, we just had, don’t have this in our flow. I feel like we could. And we’d likely have the people like there’s there’s the, the individuals are there. The personnel is there, but it’s like, this is just not something we do. So we’re not going to do it. But I just feel like, again, we are not giving ourselves the opportunity for a larger platform.
Dan Schack (00:37:23):
And like, I think Michelle said, yes, it’s going to cost money upfront. But the payout is going to be massive in terms of the culture, in terms of getting students through the door. Like, I just feel like basically all I see out there is like promotions and I don’t see a lot of great content in its own. Right. I don’t know exactly why that is. Like, I think there’s a lot of different reasons I’m interested in what you all think. Do we still do not see the value in having that as a solid leg of an organization? Are we understaffed? Is it a lack of creativity? Like if, if you could boil it down, I’ll kick this to Michelle. Like if we could boil it down, like why isn’t the average marching arts. And let’s, let’s say when we’re talking about this from an independent origin, not high schools, because I think there are like a couple of different reasons. The high school thing is different. The Scholastic level is different, but at the independent level, why don’t we see these organizations capitalizing on these tools? Like we see other brands and companies,
Michelle Morales (00:38:25):
I think a lot of it comes from the individual not being prepared. I think they’re just nervous about not pulling out the content that they see online, because it can be intimidating. If you see something that’s like really well done, then you’re like, my mind is not going to look as well or it doesn’t have the quality or the editing is not as smooth or things like that. So I think they just get nervous. And then, and then hiring somebody that’s out of your umbrella is can get, can get expensive because at the end of the day, like most of my stuff is volunteer right now because I don’t pay myself for relentless. And then even at crown, it’s not like, well, if I would work for a network or for a big company, I would be getting paid more. So it’s like, you do this for the love and the passion.
Michelle Morales (00:39:12):
And I think that there’s a lot of variances of people that would do that, you know, for, for that activity. So it’s gonna take a pull and push you think there’s more people going into like the, the content creation space now. So I think in, in the next couple of years, you’re going to see a lot, a big movement of people actually marketing their teams, the independent teams and, and of course, drunk cores, um, a lot more. So I it’s, it’s on the, the skim of it, but it’s, I think there’s an uprise a lot.
Dan Schack (00:39:47):
Absolutely. Travis, do you want to respond to the original question, which was just maybe what are our limitations realistically or what are our limitations that we are imposing on ourselves?
Travis Wade (00:39:58):
Yeah. I wholeheartedly agree with Michelle and just about every, since it does come down to ’em for me and I can, I can only speak from my experience and in the groups that I’ve worked with has always come down to personnel and just avail hands to be able to do the work that it requires to actually create great content. Cause it’s, it’s not just the crate, it’s the planning of it. It’s the execution of it. It’s the follow through of it. When, you know, you’ve got a world-class organization that has five staff members in the room every weekend, if that, you know, you’re looking at like who everyone’s, everyone has a whole block to teach, or they’re directing the color or they’re doing administrational duties. And then there’s the content creation part of it, you know? Um, and it has been on the rise. Like we’ve seen, we’ve seen teams arising.
Travis Wade (00:40:47):
We’ve seen people willing to put in the extra work. You know, the work that I do for paramount is a work of passion and love no pay. I do it because I absolutely love the people there. And I love creating good media. Um, it’s been a passion of mine since middle school. I didn’t really explore in college, but I, um, I digress, you know, um, once I think that there’ll be, it’s like, if you look at like a graph of something, like it’s getting more important. And then at some point it’s going to reach that peak where it becomes so crucially important that the investment will appear. And then it’s going to skyrocket. It’s like a bubble kind of thing. You know, the bubbles growing at some point it’s going to pop and there’s going to be, it’s going to be wild. You know, I think it is the next vignette.
Travis Wade (00:41:26):
It’s the next thing that we do. We explore our activity for media. There’s some of it happening already, but again, got to get people bought in. It’s still an argument that has to happen at a lot of places, especially like this past winter, even this past summer with crown I’m sure. Like there had to be some convincing that happened to say like the film will be important if that’s the whole point of this thing, it’s got to be important. And I’m sure that took convincing. Then it’s just a change of mindset to, uh, especially in the marching arts, like to stick to what we know, what we’re comfortable with our first response to anything that’s unfamiliar is, oh, no, let’s go back to the comfort zone because we knew how to do that. And we know how to get paid, to do that. Adding in a whole nother, a whole nother responsibility and job to the thing. Uh it’s, it’s definitely, I don’t like, I don’t want to describe it as a trend, but it’s definitely something that we’ll have to trend and then become an essential part of what we do.
Dan Schack (00:42:18):
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Dan Schack (00:44:00):
The reality is the way that these competitive groups are designed, plainly is not made for what we are necessarily talking about. Like the reality is like watching something live on a football field or an arena is so different than watching something on an iPhone screen or on our Mac books. It is actually going to require a re-engineering and a rethinking of what you’re actually doing to film, to put out there. And I think is something not necessarily being done everywhere, which is like, if you just do what you’ve always done and you film it, it’s just the lot video. It’s like the drum line in the lot. It’s the color guard warming up. Like, it’s not that interesting, but when you start to zoom out and go like, well, there’s not a flat audience, right? It’s not drill that. We’re trying to like read from the top.
Dan Schack (00:44:52):
It’s more intimate. It’s more up close. It’s more personal it’s uh, there’s, there’s more of the individuality and personality of the performer is the entire scale and scope of it is different. Even the type of music or movement you would choose, I would think would be different because to be honest, the average person is not probably going to respond to some of these like really highfalutin concepts. We do, whether from a movement standpoint that are like the classical dance training things, or from a musical standpoint where we’re like still playing canonical, European 17th century music, for whatever reason, don’t know why we’re doing that. But we are, what do the students out there want to listen to and watch?
Travis Wade (00:45:35):
Have you seen Rhianna’s thin team music film, like the one she did in the warehouse where it’s just like her, all these songs back to back. And like, there are moments in it. She’s not even singing. She’s not, there are no dancers. She’s just walking through this beautiful environment and there’s this level of pageantry and production to it where it’s like, she’s not being a singer in that moment. She’s not being a dancer in that moment. We’re just watching beautiful film happened. And like the combination of them all
Michelle Morales (00:46:02):
Behind that is 50 crew members and 10 people in a room and millions of dollars. And so I think that’s where we get into this like funk and flow. It’s like, we want to create this beautiful content, but it’s a lot of money to create this.
Dan Schack (00:46:20):
So, and like, I know I’m a dummy, but like you, you, it’s not just a camera. There is all these different facets. Could, could you walk me through like, and maybe let’s not say like Rihanna’s Fenty video because that is truly the highest level, but could you maybe walk me through from a production standpoint, what it would require to do something maybe similar, if you wanted to, let’s say, you know, steal that vision a little bit and sort of redo it for the marching arts. Like what would be the bare bones to produce something that’s like pretty high level.
Michelle Morales (00:46:52):
So definitely you need a videographer onset care, you know, just somebody that’s just running around. Um, you probably need 10 PAs that are going to be taking care of all the extras and behind the scenes stuff. Um, you need, uh, PA, uh, sorry, assistant director, makeup and hair, probably a boom mic. There’s just so much a slate person. That’s like just, just giving information. And that’s, if you don’t have a script, if you don’t have a script that you have somebody that’s doing that too. So there’s like always on set on, on a normal side, there’s going to be about 30 to 40 people that are behind the scenes. And that’s people that have been well informed beforehand to execute
Travis Wade (00:47:42):
The process and to, to kinda like move that over to pageantry. And what’s been done paramount this past winter. I filmed the whole thing on my iPhone. And that’s just to like, to kind of give you an example of how, like we’re trying to do the thing, even in, even if we don’t know exactly how to do it. Like I learned a lot from Michelle just this past summer on like, oh, I could have done that totally different, but we’re, we’re still trying to create this high quality content. And there, if you, if you really want to like get into, into the mud and try to do it the best that you can, that I had to do lots of like behind, like after the fact, like lots of rendering and editing and after effects to like clean this thing up and you on my iPhone, you know, it was me, Rick and Andrea, the three of us running around getting, luckily we have very professional performance.
Travis Wade (00:48:27):
So like they show up, they look great. They’re able to take care of their things. We, we used props from the past winter, we bought hundreds of yards of black fabric to hang all around this room to create like a black box kind of environment. We bought soft, soft boxes that cost around a thousand dollars, you know, but at the end of the day, it was like, all right, I found 12 pro, here we go. And there was only so much like, there’s, there’s a barrier there. Like I could, the video is only going to turn out a certain kind of way there, wasn’t going to be that much depth to the lens. So, you know, there wasn’t going to be that much production value, but we were able to do something. If we want to take a next step, it’s like what she’s saying, and there’s gotta be professional equipment and an actual process and way of doing it. And even more money put into this person, this person, this person, or somehow God given volunteers, you know?
Dan Schack (00:49:19):
Yeah, yeah. A major takeaway. I think that started this, this conversation about the Rihanna Fenty product was when we look at band, what we are assessing is like, what’s there, it’s like they’re clean. And like the design, I mean, it’s literally left and right box the content, the achievement. Let’s just go with that. What we are talking about is what is making me drawn to this product is the medium that we’re using. Like the actual video is compelling. The editing, the lighting, there are choices. Like when you watch Kubrick, it’s not just the acting and it’s not just a script. There’s so much to it. The music has its own character, the settings that he chooses to use, right? The costuming, the video, the way that he’ll do super long shots, or like thinking about Tarantino or whoever you want to choose as a director, like there is an entire perspective through the medium of video that we currently, we not only lack live because that’s just not possible. But even when we do a lot of these video projects, nine out of 10 groups, aren’t actually thinking about the creative aspect of the videography. And that feels like that’s like a thing. That’s not a resource problem. It’s a, like, you’re not thinking about like how this is being processed, but Michelle, go ahead.
Michelle Morales (00:50:41):
Yeah. Yeah. It’s pre-production so preproduction is so essential and sitting down just like how you design a show, you got to sit down and design this video and all the levels that come in between. And that even goes into like, what lens you’re going to use, what lighting you’re going to use, what senior you’re going to use. But a lot of people don’t like to sit there and talk about that stuff. And they just like, get to set and just try, but then it’s harder to achieve what you want if you’re just like there with the performers staring back at you. Um, and we know that when we’re like doing choreography, it’s the same thing you just show up and you’re like, um, frozen. Um, but that’s not the thing. That’s like these, these blockbusters are not doing that. They’re not wasting it back in the day.
Michelle Morales (00:51:26):
We, we, we had foam. And so you, weren’t going to be wasting film on trial and error. So they had to really sit down and talk about what the, what these 50 people in the room are going to do, because it’s, it’s one thing I think we’re so used to just having like our circle and our friends around and we’re like, okay, everybody’s jelling. Uh, but for these big production sets, like they’re not all friends and we have worked on different projects before and we have different experiences. And how is this person in charge going to make sure that all that, what we need to do in these next 12 hours is going to get done or else we’re going to get delayed and production? Absolutely. So I think it’s, it’s, it’s important in the pre-production because we do so much for our passion. And I think that it would benefit us moving forward. If we did more time, you know, sitting in a room and talking then just like trying to run and gun because we w we will always try our best. Like I do it too. Like I show up on set, like the, the one in the beach with Nick and all that, that stuff. Like we got there and we tried our best. And, um, but I, in hindsight, I think things will always come out better if you, if you do a lot more pre-production.
Travis Wade (00:52:40):
Yeah. Scene two is my favorite to think about when it comes to paramount last winter, um, it was shot in a gym, an empty gym. Um, but the, you know, we conceptually really thought hard about it. We want it to be like a classroom, but we want it to abstract to classrooms. So what if there was this vast empty black space? And for some reason, this light shown down on just this one section, this one section of that vast empty space, and there were these desk chairs in it, you know, we created sort of an, uh, an environment in that way. And it was like, okay, well, how are we going to do that in a gym? Um, and it came down to pre-planning. I had to sit down and for hours research, how does lighting work? I had never done that if I had to sit there and say, all right, how do, what are these methods for this?
Travis Wade (00:53:20):
Okay. Soft Fox is, what is that? How does, how much does that cost? How do we set them up? What angle do they have to be at? So, oh, they have to be elevated to find a really striking silhouette on a performer. Okay, cool. So we’ll make that happen. And so then we did, and those were all things that like, weeks before we shot it, it was okay. We’ve got to get this in. And we’ve got, if this is what we’re trying to achieve, this is how we do it. Um, what are they wearing? How is that going to going to reflect light? We did screen tests. So he showed up the weekend before, um, and had the members come in and we just had them stand in the environment and do some spinning in their environment. And I, I played with exposure on my iPhone.
Travis Wade (00:53:58):
Um, uh, what was the best way to going to, going to be, to get the best exposure, to make sure we had this cool environment. It worked for the most part. Um, of course there are lessons learned in that experience, but it took a lot of like planning it out. And those aren’t things we think about, we go, oh, we’re gonna, we’re gonna shoot a cool color video. Everyone meet at the gym at five, you know, but like, it really, like, there’s only so much editing you can do and keep it feeling genuine unless the intention is to really abstracting out of like a real space and make it feel overly edited. Like we had a scene scene, four was like that. The idea was to make it feel like over the top edited because the whole thing was about overperformance and all kinds of identity things and that sort of thing.
Travis Wade (00:54:40):
But in order to make it feel genuine, even in the uniform photo shoots, we do, we’ve got plastic Dells on lights, and we have a really great photographer, Jen schooler that comes in and I show him the concept. And then he it’s, there’s almost no post editing to it. Cause it, it turns out great just in the way he does pre production, you know, and those are things that we don’t know. Then we don’t know that we don’t know them, but then people like Michelle who are like trained in this are like, oh, this is how you do that. And then someone like me who like I have the taste and I have the preference for it. I go, oh, lesson learned. And then I’m going to promote that everywhere I go from that on, you know,
Dan Schack (00:55:16):
Absolutely. I mean, we definitely have enough tools to do more than what we’re doing. Like you said, an iPhone and the handheld, you know, swivel, tripod, whatever. Like, it doesn’t take that much to at least get you in the door. I would say, like, we all have smartphones. We can be taking and doing more, taking better pictures, taking better video. I definitely think it’s there. But like you’re saying, you have to put the emphasis on the planning. Like for Mason, we, everyone did it remotely. It was 100% remote. So at least from the video perspective, we broke down the music. Like we would, you know, I always would do a show map with the chunks of the music, whether it’s like set the set or just like letter to letter, smaller chunks, whatever. And we broke down like, and I literally just Googled, like, what are the camera shots that we can do?
Dan Schack (00:56:05):
All right. We can do like this long shot. We could do the up-close shot. We can do a mid shot, like learned what those th what the vocabulary is. And we provided that to the students, like here are the five shot types we’re doing, we’re doing a side, uh, front mid for whatever phase we gave them, like those five combinations. And then we all have these Bluetooth lights and we had an arrangement of where those lights would go. So we’d be like, all right, let her aid a five is shot one and light scheme C. And it was just literally every section, every single set and it was going, and it was like just, it was absolutely painstaking. Like it was literally down to that level of detail. So when all the videos came in from the students who were recording all over the country, it was just plugging them in.
Dan Schack (00:56:53):
And it definitely made, I would say for a much more successful post-production process. Cause we, we didn’t just like film yourself, planning it. There was much more thought put into it. And like, unfortunately doing something from home, the camera quality is, are going to be different. There’s certain things that you can’t ask them. But I think just having a little touch of light and color that, that met the mood of the music and having a variety of shots, it gave it a professionalism that was like, whoa, okay. Like this doesn’t look like we phoned it in, in a week. So lot of pre-production there. And it makes you think like, are these groups doing any planning for their competitive shows or are they this, like, let’s write the score, let’s write the drill, let’s show up and figure it out. I think people are maybe still in that, that zone, which is not where I’m at, but yeah.
Travis Wade (00:57:44):
Yeah. I, that, that would, that sounds like a very, uh, stressful season. We, uh, I, so I coordinate for like a small little group in Alabama and they’re cute. I love them to death. They’re great dancers. Um, I’m great friends with the directors and, you know, I think they had like a drone before me. They had a Joel writer come in and he worked the drill and then, okay, they’re with choreography. Cool shows done. Um, and then they met me. They’re their best type a friends. And I’m like, all right. So here are three documents. One is the concept document. I’ve got all the imagery, all that stuff in there. This is the pre planning document on this is, uh, some styles I want to look at this is the show mapped out. And then here’s the actual like, show document. Oh, I’ve mapped it out letter to letter kind of thing.
Travis Wade (00:58:27):
And they’re like, all right, here comes Travis with his documents and they make fun of me for it, but it’s how I operate. And I think that it’s not necessarily, I’m not going to say that has brought success in that arena. Yeah, sure. Some, but his brought me success in other venues of my life where I’m now trying to turn a digital design studio. Okay. I’ve got it all mapped out. This is the brief we’re going to provide clients. This is the process for it. It’s an approach kind of thing that not only applies to this, but also to a lot of other things that provide success in any kind of arena. You know,
Dan Schack (00:58:58):
I love that so much. And that just speaks to, I think, what everyone should do if we are actually trying to make the most, like we say, we don’t have time, but then we show up and we’re spinning our wheels when we’re actually in a rehearsal for me. If the work happens before the rehearsal, the Le less work actually has happened live or less stress. It’s more just around the track. Michelle, you obviously have a film degree other than some of these things that we’re talking about. Like what have you learned from your formal background that you feel like absolutely needs to be applied, or I guess just discussed in the marching arts so we can move this thing forward and upwards.
Michelle Morales (00:59:37):
Just that honestly, it’s going to take time, like productions are going to take time. So a lot of us like to say, like, it’s going to one rep and done, but that’s like a lot goes into effect because what if the lighting wasn’t good? What if the camera angle wasn’t good? Like, it doesn’t have to sometimes be about the performer. A lot of these things are everyone else has to click. Um, so like sectioning that time and saying that it’s going to take 12 hours today to get this done. It is what it is, but then you’ll show up and you’ll have great product at the end and not be rushed, but you have to section out that time and be ready to be like, we did our job by rehearsing this well enough that when we got on set that it was shot. Right.
Michelle Morales (01:00:20):
And then we get to enjoy the process later. Um, so I think moving forward, I think that’s what I, what we can all learn from. And it’s like rehearse what you need to do. And then it’s a, it’s a show right at the end of the day, but you can take your time and go back and reshoot and go from the top and do what you gotta do. Um, which is what we saw when we were at crown. This, this past summer is like, those, those nights felt really long. But at the end of the day, when I was putting it all together, it’s like, we could have done it one more time. You know? And if we would have had somebody at the top with him with a big mic or a monitor upstairs for the staff to all see, cause like we had Travis and I had a monitor, but we’re two eyes on six cameras. And so, you know, I think that if we had a monitor upstairs for you guys staff to be like, okay, my section’s good. Then we would have been that process would have been a little bit faster.
Dan Schack (01:01:17):
Yeah. I would love to hear, I think that’s a really great segue. Um, you know, I obviously saw some behind the scenes with that whole experience, you know, the project 21 in my mind experience, um, and taking an absolutely different approach, you know, for people who didn’t know like crown did not go on the road, we moved in and did five weeks at our spring training site and we just stayed there. And I think anyone who was there knows that it was for the absolute best cause it was just a way cool experience. And it was a much more healthy experience for, I think both the members and the staff, but I would love to hear, you know, Travis, I know you work very closely with [inaudible] the artistic director and program coordinator at crown. I’d love to hear just what was the vision for project 21? Like what was the kind of intent going into the year? What kind of product we’re trying to put out, knowing that we weren’t going to be competing or even going to be seen one-to-one against the different drum Corps?
Travis Wade (01:02:18):
Yeah. Well, my work with Rick in all other venues is, uh, usually involves trying to take a look at something from a different perspective to do it in a cool new way. Like that’s our, our whole like stick, you know, like we like to do things in a whole new way. Um, even if it’s something that’s familiar, something that we all know how to relate to, how can we take that and make it feel new? Um, and that was kind of, you know, we were sitting on the beach in St. Augustine, Florida. We were actually on vacation watching the waves. It’s great burning my feet. I’d like third degree burns those assets. Um, but we were just talking about the whole thing and you know, one of the concerns was, is it going to look just like any other drum Corps recording? You know, is it gonna look like we wanted like a, a DCI DVD finals ready looking thing, but we did want it to still have a different feel to it, like, have it approached from a different way?
Travis Wade (01:03:07):
Like how do we, how do we communicate tone capture the audiences are the performers from their best angle? How do we explore like a concept not only through what they’re doing on the field, but then how do we display it in film in a way that communicates the overarching idea of the thing? So, um, Rick and I, of course worked together at paramount last winter kind of headed up that whole experience together. So we had some experience working together on a film. Um, so I said, well, do you want me to come help in south? Then I did. Um, and started my whole role. There was to kind of take a look at the whole production and say, how can this be put into film, um, in an interesting way. And that communicates the idea of the show correctly. The film crew was going to show up that last week kind of with no, but not a ton of preparation.
Travis Wade (01:03:55):
And if I were a film crews showing up to watch a 10 minute long junk horse show with the idea being I was going to film that same night, I would feel overwhelmed. That’s a huge task to try to understand something in a very thorough way. I’m very thorough with things, you know, um, I wrote out notes upon notes, pages of notes on, on how things should be filmed. We created shot lists of everything, you know, maybe from this side of the field, from this angle, with this kind of camera, um, just being, you know, kind of speaking to the nature of how I’ve worked. I work as a person just being that kind of thorough to make sure that this turned out the right way. And I met Michelle in the process, um, and learned lots of her. That’s actually where we met for the first, well, I mean, we actually had worked together for years before I, I designed relentless is flags and floors and things, but really like in a personal setting, like getting to know each other, I learned a ton from her in that experience.
Travis Wade (01:04:47):
She taught me really how to take, I’ve been organizing things before, but not in a formal film kind of way. So she taught me about shop lists and that sort of thing. So we kind of collaborated to put all that together. And at the end of the day, she kind of really drove the whole thing. She really was like the driving force behind making the whole film happen if I’m being honest, but it was really cool. I learned a lot. Um, and then when the film crew did show up, we, we kind of guided the thing. We wanted to make sure that like we’re getting the right shots. It was going to be edited in a timely Manner. It was, it was going to be edited in a way that was just, you know, like 10 out of 10, the best thing that we could possibly present. So, um, really, that’s kind of how I was involved. I ended up supposed to be there for a week and then I loved it so much that I stayed for two, um, all the way to the end. I like to think that the contribution helps out. So
Dan Schack (01:05:36):
Sure. Dana, Michelle, if you want to talk from your perspective, cause I know you guys were always in the lab back in your, in your room, just like on the, on the iMac pretty much nightly. So like what did that process look like from your perspective?
Michelle Morales (01:05:49):
Yeah, so basically since I was there from the very beginning of tour or the very beginning of the summer, I got very familiar with the show and making sure that everything was kind of flowing and stuff like that. Um, and then when Travis got there, w we just connected, which was great. I ha I was with Rick, you know, for most of the summer, but not until Travis got there as that, that connection really like struck a spark that, you know, I could handle being that voice, that in between voice of having knowledge about the film aspect while also being in the activity, because a lot of, you know, people think that like, or maybe in the past, the immediate team member was just like somebody on the side, like getting a tan and just with their iPhone out and just clicking pictures, but something important for me.
Michelle Morales (01:06:36):
So I was with Cavaliers for two years and I gained so much knowledge from that. And coming in, I, I was just really gung ho about making sure that this was a professional production overall. And so when the film crew came in, they don’t know the show, the way that somebody was there from the top would know it. And so we really helped guide them in that aspect. And then when it came down to like the editing aspect, like they were going to move on and continue going to other drum Corps to record their content, because that’s what videographers do. Like, you know, editing is just a whole nother beast. And so, um, you know, it, it really, I think helped that I was there from the beginning and I knew what they needed to see. And then we got the shots that we needed to get.
Michelle Morales (01:07:22):
And I was able to edit the content, um, in a timely manner so that the back and forth with the drafts could happen in a timely manner, um, for Rick and for the rest of the design staff. Um, cause you know, those days we did three production days and those are multiple takes and multiple different views. And they were shooting every single camera at the same time. Um, which, you know, in, in the big picture we wouldn’t do in a real production, you would probably shoot two cameras. And those are the only two cameras that you’re going to keep. Um, but I think since they were a live production team, that’s their process. But I think moving forward, I think there’s a little bit more that we can do with that aspect, um, with, with the time that was given. Like for example, if we knew from the get-go that we were only gonna kind of see side one and that’s what, what the vision is side one and side two can be off, it can be getting water. They don’t need to be practiced performing at all because I don’t see them on camera and it does not matter. Um, and that’s what happens.
Speaker 4 (01:08:25):
So I think that’s something we can do, especially if we’re going to shoot, you know, I think the norm right now is like moving forward. Everybody wants to have like a perfect rep or like a perfect recording of a perfect rep as like, think about how you can make sure that your performers aren’t just gassing themselves for the sake of taking the rep, but actually just doing it for camera.
Dan Schack (01:08:47):
That’s really interesting. I feel like there’s a lot to take from that with just how we rehearsed the groups at all, because we constantly it’s all about consistency, but the reality is for performers and for even athletes, the consistency is like showing up to the clutch moment and hitting, you’ve got to get to the line and hit the shot or you have to come to the performance and be able to be on that high level. Um, it’s not like we’re going to do it a thousand times and it has to be exactly right. You just have to be able to do it. So I feel like there’s that professionalism that we could capture from what you were all describing or even what a dance troop would do or what a team would do where we treat them with that conditioning. So they’re always in their best health.
Dan Schack (01:09:38):
And then when they show it to the clutch moment, they’re physically and mentally prepared for that. When you’re in a drum Corps, you’re on tour, your is so beat your tire. You’re falling asleep on the field and we’re just like, do it again. Cause you gotta, you gotta do a hundred reps in a row. So that finals is right. It’s like, well actually what the goal is, we put them in a state where they can show up and then those last three nights, they’re just like, feel good and can just do it. I think we are like, so in the narrative of just like, we’re going to do a hundred reps and the percentage it’s like, and I think what you all have discussed in terms of the professionalism aspect and treating the members, the performers as professional, whether it’s actors, dancers, singers, models, whatever we got to come to them with that so that they can give us our best. Sometimes I feel like, look, you’re going to give us more and they’re just beat down. There’s nothing you can do when your body breaks down. So I think there’s, there’s almost like a bigger frame of reference here with just like how we even like rehearse these groups.
Speaker 4 (01:10:36):
Well, that’s why I did appreciate Crown’s live show because since we did make it for the film, like they had those opportunity for water breaks. And I think like I will never forget that live show because I think that was just a beautiful, like they were hitting everything and the audience was enjoying every piece of it. And I think that that’s kind of like the positive of all of this is that even when we got to the celebration at DCI, like we had those individual moments where we got just to see the horn line from this specific drum Corps, just to a little Diddy on the side or like this little drum battle, I think that’s like the positive thing. And I think that will propel our activity forward in a sense, because we were so used to like live show, live show, live show, you don’t even know what the show is about. You don’t even know who taught there. It was just like, but now I think now that they’re utilizing the video board, now that we had a lot of productions, like, like videos made people are now stepping into that realm and it’s going to be interesting moving forward, how they’re going to utilize that for their platform.
Dan Schack (01:11:48):
Absolutely. And I would love to hear kind of, as we wrap up for you, you too, you have, you have a vision for this thing, for what we’re talking about, that there is more to what we’re doing. So like Travis, I’d love to hear going into this paramount season. Like what’s your vision for the media output and production for paramount in 22,
Travis Wade (01:12:08):
Every season, it’s always about doing it better than we did it the year before. Um, one thing we do well is consistency in our branding consistency and the look of all the things I want to step up our video content more than anything else, just from our learned experiences this past summer with Michelle and seeing what like great content can really look like. Um, we’ve got to invest in some equipment to get some great, I mean, we’ve done it on our iPhones for the last however many years, and I want to take a next step with that, you know, and looking professional and the content that we’re putting out in really being able to edit and have great output content, then it’s gonna take investment in what we’re doing it on. And so that’s the next step for us. I’m, I’m personally investing in a camera to be able to do that on.
Travis Wade (01:12:52):
Um, and I think that’s gonna help us so much and just the quality of what we put out. Um, and then also just again, prioritizing it in a way that is routine. You know, we, I always, I always like start the season with lots of gas. I’m like, I’m ready to go. Let’s do the media, I’ve got these plans. And then we get into the thick of it and it’s our teaching and I’ve got to get the Tom as clean and I’ve got to write this part and I’ve, I’ve got to do and, and plus, and plus, and, you know, make setting a routine for it. So like Thursday night is media night and we’re gonna, we’re going to keep the plan going strong and we’re going to execute the plan. We’re going to preplan all of these things. So that it’s just a seamless from beginning of the season to the end.
Travis Wade (01:13:36):
Cause there’s always these lulls where we’re stuck and we’re, we’re working on the show or we’re traveling, you know, and I want my goal for paramount. This coming season is to have something seamless from beginning to end with really quality content, you know, and part of making that happen is going to be me reaching out to my friend, Michelle and going, Hey, do you have an idea for this? You know, like it’s, that’s the beautiful thing about relationships in the martial arts community? I think in some places with some groups it’s like, oh, we won’t talk to them. Uh, things happen that way and that’s fine. My, the thing I love and enjoy is I get to reach out to my friends, separate from things and say, as an artist and a collaborator she’s going to help me grow and help the thing that I’m doing better. And I’m super looking forward to it. It’s going to be me.
Dan Schack (01:14:19):
I love that so much. Yeah. I think the more we have the mindset of collaboration, the better, I think that’s super important. And in these other creative realms we’ve been discussing, you see that even though they’re competing for like eyes and money and whatever, it’s like more is more in terms of the transparency. So Michelle, for you to flip, to flip it over to the relentless side, what is your vision for relentless winter guard going forward? You guys have been this really kind of on a stratospheric rise, like just coming out and having a really strong identity. And honestly, I think being very smart about the identity of Florida color guard and continuing that, not trying to totally move away from it, but also having your own identity. So what, what’s your plan? What’s your goal and vision for relentless in 22?
Speaker 4 (01:15:05):
Uh, so yeah, this, this season, we’re obviously gonna continue having a competitive show and pushing for that as well, but we’re going to try to at least push out one RPE video a month, which is like low for my standards because I would love like two or three, but they’re just takes so much time and commitment from the, from a performer standpoint. Um, but for content that’s like so low because you watch this five minute video and then you spent hours on it, but it’s gone. And so I think finding that gap between that, um, I luckily have now a group of, uh, admin and media team alumni that wants to help me this year that aren’t able to perform, but are able to give me that time. So I think that’s going to help me pushing forward into this next coming season. Um, because hopefully, you know, I would love to document like coming back to WGCI like that, that I think is going to be iconic for every single performer, um, in all aspects and every organization.
Speaker 4 (01:16:05):
So I think that it would be interesting, like having that experience documented, but from my standpoint, it’s just gonna take a lot of pre-planning and commitment from volunteers to make sure that that happens. I luckily have a collaborator that I met in college and film school, and he’s going to commit to coming down at least twice a month to help me with that project. So I have an outsource person that will help me because when it gets sounds to it, like Travis said, like logistically, it just becomes a nightmare when you’re worrying about so much stuff. But I think in the realm of things, I just have to be okay with maybe not since we have so much content that has come out, I try to make it better. And then if it’s not better, I just like, I just sit on it. Um, but I just have to be okay with just like pushing it out and just pumping it out for the audience to see, because I think what we’ve learned is like, we just want to consume and within our activity, we just want to appreciate, and like give those likes and give those comments to anything and everything that people aren’t activity are making.
Speaker 4 (01:17:10):
So I think just moving forward, creating a great product for WGCI and then making sure that I’m producing at least one video a month for you to win and for promotion.
Dan Schack (01:17:23):
Absolutely. I think it’s sum it up. Like the reality is we have these incredible vehicles through the organization, through the talent and through the instructional design staff, it’s there, we do have the vehicles and the resources to put ourselves out there in some capacity and make ourselves present in that digital space where so much is happening. And I think this has been very, very interesting to me. And I think super informative in terms of people who are looking to move themselves forward, you have heard what it requires planning. It takes the resources, it takes the commitment that consistency, and it takes the personnel who have a vision and a honestly, a passion for it. If you stick someone in a media role and they don’t like creating content, it’s not going to work. And it’s going to show because their personality is not meant for it. You all have demonstrated that the personality is required behind them, the content creation for, to, to connect. So I just want to thank you both so much for getting on here in a short time and just like jumping on and having a super cool conversation that has been beneficial to me personally. So I’ll be stealing all the things that you guys taught me today. And just want to thank you for, uh, getting on here with me today. Thank you so much.
Speaker 4 (01:18:39):
And I had said to anybody, like, don’t be hesitant to reach out. I think like people aside from the activity being music and choreography base and things like that, I think don’t be hesitant to reach out and just ask for a helping hand. Cause I think we all want to make sure that this activity first is as much as possible and that’s going to take everybody. That’s not just like one or two groups. That’s everybody totally
Dan Schack (01:19:04):
Love it. And with that spin. Great. See you all soon.