General Effect Series #2: Production Value

| February 6, 2012 | 0 Comments

Production Value is a term that instructors will often hear from GE judges.  It is the aggregate value of music/sound, floor/set design, costumes, color and props all working together to create an overall production value in a show.  The key to production value is to marry all of the above elements together in a way that makes visual sense and is pleasing to the audience.  Some people may think that more is better in terms of production value, that isn’t always the case.  Successful production value is not throwing everything except the kitchen sink onto the gym floor.  Instead it is a compilation of all elements to provide the audience with the very essence of a show.


Your music/sound selection/s can be the basis of the entire show design and concept. Select a piece that will provide highs and lows to shape your program.  By listening to your selection, you should also be able to hear impact points for design and resolutions of the points over time which will provide strong pacing opportunities for your show.  Finally, the elements of mood and character/persona are realized when listening to your selection.

Floor/set design:

Keep in mind that all the elements for production value must connect.  Considering this, it would be a bit of a stretch to use Copland’s Appalachian Spring as your music with a neon pink and green polka dotted floor and flaming red backdrops.  Not to say that art is not art and more power to you if you can pull this combination off: but I think the results might be a bit scary to say the least.  Again, go back to the original selection of music, close your eyes and you will see the floor and set design that emulates the sound.

Costumes, Color and Props:

I’m going to go back to the kitchen sink idea for a moment; because often the elements of costume, color and props are designed separately and when put together they may be a bit much or not enough.  This is where it is very important to be flexible and story board in your show process. As you progress into the season, be flexible to take away and add to costuming, color and even props.  Look at the season as a progression of art.  An artist rarely paints a masterpiece in one day and calls it done.  Instead, he/she constantly goes back to add, tweak, or remove elements to create their vision over time.  Again, always remember to go back to that initial concept of sound to check that costume, color and props are the visual reproduction of the audio.

Just one last tidbit: For some reason there seems to be a bit of a myth out there that suggests programs that are monetarily well off have an advantage over programs that may not have as many resources in this area.  This is untrue.   There are very viable ways to create high production value in a show without throwing buckets of money onto the gym floor.  Sure, you need to be a bit more creative and think out of the box, but it can be done.



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Category: Adjudication, Costumes, Design, Equipment, Floors & Props, General, Music, Performance

About the Author (Author Profile)

Chris Casteel is an adjudicator with the Winter Guard Association of Southern California (WGASC). She was an instructor in the activity for approximately 20 years before moving into adjudication. She teaches Language Arts and Writing at a middle school in San Marcos, CA and is also a mentor teacher for the school. She holds a BA degree in Education, a California Teaching Credential and a Masters degree in education. Thanks to Chris Casteel for sharing her ideas and for WGASC for allowing the republication of her articles on this website for instructors outside of the WGASC circuit.

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