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About Maneuvah

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  1. Not gonna work, based on the experience of most years since 2000. The design staff SHOULD NOT STUDY WHAT THE BLUECOATS, CROWN AND BD ARE DOING - and yes I'm shouting - if they want to be the Cadets. The Cadets design team should formally solicit ideas from the scores and scores of alumni, fans, and future MMs with the creativity to offer coherent design concepts and ideas. Arguably, no organization has that kind of engaged alumni and fans. Evidence: the Cadets thread here on DCP every single year is much larger than any other corps. Sure, some of that's from critics, but BD has at least as many critics as Cadets. The Cadets need to Know Themselves. But that doesn't mean navel gazing and closed innovation. Their design team is simply not as effective as other top 5 corps. Evidence: the MMs talent outperforming show concepts most years since 2000. GE being the major weakness. That means subpar design, nothing more, nothing less. Until I hear a better idea from someone about how to improve the Cadets design team's show concept development process - better than Open Innovation - I'll continue to be pessimistic about next year, and the year after, and after that. The Cadets should be the leaders in innovation, creativity, demand, and achievement. If they're not, there's a problem. No excuses. Ten years ago, Crown and Bluecoats weren't even sniffing top five. Now they're on a finals winning streak versus the Cadets. That's a problem. Change is necessary. Change is good. Innovation on the field requires innovation in the design team's approach to design.
  2. Narrative, meaning, and emotion sell. Abstraction - especially abstraction from music that was written for the most profound narrative, meaning, and emotion - will make everyone feel flat. Because the show concept itself was flat. If the Cadets had a great show concept this year, even with their hard run-and-gun drill, etc., they not only would have medaled, they would have likely gotten gold.
  3. Interesting. The Cadets don't even make most people's top 5 so far. Considering that they marched and played better than anyone, that means the judges were right that the GE was the major weakness in the show, and that is about show concept and show design. Why, oh why, can't their design team get the message that most years what they do regarding show concept development is broken? All design decisions stem from the show concept.
  4. Vets should go to the organization at which they will learn the most, have the best experience, be able to contribute creatively rather than simply be ordered around, and in all, where they can achieve their highest potential. Carpe diem. 21 comes all too quickly.
  5. What "I wish" is that BD would perform shows that were as demanding as Crown, Coats, or especially Cadets, and then see who actually is better. BD winning the Sanford is laughable, for example. Cadets book was harder, and the drill/movement demands on the Cadets drumline was arguably twice that of the Devils. Yes, BD's show concept was great, and the staged design very clever. Much more coherent and impactful than the Cadets. But to pretend that BD's show isn't aimed at the judges by deftly managing risk and playing to the sheets every single year is willful ignorance. They win because that's all they care about. Don't believe me? Talk to a MM or alumnus. Ever since the 80s, all they care about is the rings. Whatever it takes to get yet another, they'll do. That's not a huge knock on the organization, because they are able to consistently do that better than anyone, but to imply that they're somehow playing to the audience, like maybe Madison, is just silly.
  6. No. Sorry. The Cavaliers starting in 2000 became the masters of sleight-of-hand drill: all the most difficult playing is done when not moving, or moving very little, or only part of the corps that is playing the difficult music is at a standstill or mostly at a standstill. Most all of the really difficult drill the Cavies ever did was while no one was playing. The judges and fans ate it up. I just found it to be risk management, rather than truly trying something difficult. What is always going to be the hardest is simultaneous demand. The Cadets have had that in spaces since forever. Unfortunate, though, that the judges don't really value it. A hip thrust or crab walk to them is movement enough to be simultaneous demand. But it's not even on the same planet of demand as marching backwards at 226 bpm while playing.
  7. And by 50+ people who can help with design input and feedback, I mean volunteers. People who love the Cadets and have loved them for decades, and who want them to succeed. No one needs to be applying for a job. How could more voices in the ideation and decision process not help? How could open RFPs and idea evaluation and test marketing not help? Answer: it obviously would because that exact method of innovation has helped many thousands of organizations across the country over the last couple decades. And it would help the Cadets too. Period.
  8. Wrong about me, as I've loved the Cadets since the mid-80s, and not only left on good terms, but have donated over the years. I actually agree with everything you said regarding the MMs performance. The problem was GE more than anything else, and that's due to show design. If 2015 were just one example of bad show concepts in the last 10-15 years from this Cadets design team, well, then, no problem. It's been more consistently bad design decisions that have torpedoed shows, and wasted top-notch talent, as the MMs have been forced to outperform more or less incompetent show design (like a stage obscuring the field for much of the audience, or ridiculous tarps, or incessant and sometimes cringe-worthy narration, to Christmas in July, to performing Shostakovich and completely disregarding the meaning of the music and thus diluting the emotional impact, but more, trading that for a nonsensical abstraction, so instead of meaning, we get kindergarten counting as the pseudo-'meaning', and thus, they get passed by shows with more narrative, meaning, and emotion, and thus better GE). I want demanding shows. That's the Cadets brand. I've been pulling for the run-and-gun innovation from them for years (posting as Zig Zig ZAG for a reason, because I want the corps to ZAG). But now I'm more on the side of the MMs, and less on the side of someone whose ego is getting in the way of the creative process. The post by one corps director says a lot: "Me and the design team" was the exact phrase. Me first. Design team next. (And other voices in this process, well, all you can do is just wait and hope.) That kind of closed innovation usually doesn't work in business or the non-profit world these days. (Full disclosure: I own an Open Innovation engineering company, and we've consulted with companies as large as $5 billion on improving their new product development programs, so I know a bit about how to innovate, plus I happen to have a degree in music composition, as well as an MFA in writing, and have volunteered consulting non-profit arts organizations, so I know a little bit about how the best such organizations innovate and remain at the top in their markets). I am absolutely positive that there are 50+ people just on these boards whose ideas would help not only inspire the Cadets design team, but arrive at some clarity about their ideas before committing to them. Do you actually think that in the "real" world, companies commit to major decisions without trying to get ideas from the crowd (ever heard of crowdsourcing?), or soliciting ideas from as many experts as possible (look up how Nine Sigma and many other open innovation networks partnering with most major R&D companies opening up their innovation to anyone anywhere in the world with open RFPs), or even more popular, the use of things like market research, focus groups, product testing, etc. What the Cadets have been doing is too closed, too antiquated, too blind to their audience, and obviously, not what the judges value most highly. Sure, this year's show was obviously, far and away the hardest on the field, and the MMs were far and away the best performers giving the best performance, since both the Ott and Sanford were well-deserved, especially considering the marching and movement demands on the MMs, as well as the books, were much higher than Devils, Crown and Coats. Cadets GE just tanked them. And I knew that it would tank them back in November (and posted about it, and got scolded for 'jumping the gun' or being a 'troll" etc. etc.) because the show concept was arbitrary and silly and abstract and by definition wouldn't connect with people because it was ignoring the essence of the music itself. My goal is to point out problems in the way the Cadets brainstorm and decide on show concepts, and help them make sure that they are making the best decisions that empower the MMs to achieve their best and be rewarded for it with shows that connect on every level with the audience, and as a bonus, get rewarded by the judges, rather than demoralize the MMs when they come to realize, as they have so many times in the last 10+ years, that they just don't have the show that allows them to achieve their best.
  9. Hop needs to use Open Innovation for show design, and to cede more creative control to others if the Cadets are not going to continue to lose ground to younger, and now from a creative standpoint, better organizations like Coats and Crown.
  10. Spot on. An abstract concept unconnected to the music necessitated a show design that relied too much on technical aspects and technique, rather than communicating meaning or narrative. Terrible, terrible decision to choose the "10" rather than the "Shostakovich".
  11. Congrats to the MMs for being, to my ears, the best hornline, drumline, and marchers in DCI this year. No one was close. The drumline deserved the Sanford, but that trophy doesn't take into account the physical demands of the drill placed upon the line. BD's percussion didn't have half of the drill demand as was placed on Cadets' line. Sorry, BD, but that's the objective truth if you watch the video. The quality of the performers of Cadets 2015 will go down as one of the very best, even better than a few years that did win gold, in my opinion. They really did outperform the show design by a good measure. Any "disappointment", as Hop said, should be laid at the feet of the design team.
  12. Hop needs to run the organization and inspire the kids. Hop shouldn't play such a major role in show design. Hop isn't an artist. He's a former percussionist. He's a brilliant manager of an organization. Every success the Cadets have had since 1982 has been to his credit. But also, every inept or downright awful show design that wasted tremendous MM talent has also been his responsibility. My guess: he's muddling up the show design process, people with more design and artistic talent don't feel the kind of freedom to create, and he's holding on too hard, like Charleton Heston. Let go, George. Trust the community you've built over the last thirty years.
  13. Yes, one of the most demanding shows ever. And one of the best performed too. Too bad that the show concept didn't allow the kind of aesthetic unity and meaning and emotion needed for the GE that this amazingly talented group of MMs deserved. "Me and the design team" will be back next year with a great show design? Because Cadets' show design is all about ME, is exactly the reason this group of kids didn't win gold. The Cadets have been passed by Crown and Bluecoats in the last five years. They got crushed by Bluecoats actually. Demand or no demand, the Coats had much better show design, more innovation, more creativity, and just, well, better. I have no faith in the Cadets design team anymore. They're too egotistical, Hop is too much in control, too egotistical, and if I were 19 or 20 again, I'd not march Cadets until they make some fundamental changes in how they do show design. I'd march Crown or Coats. Sad to say, but there it is. The Cadets have way too much tradition, way too much talent and potential, to cede the field to organizations that are now what the Cadets once were: "the thinking man's drum corps".
  14. And by fail, I don't mean the MMs. The Cadets and all the 12 corps tonight are executing amazingly well. The Cadets marching and playing is non pareil. Their major weakness isn't the color guard. It's what the guard was told to do. Most of all, it's the fact that the show concept doesn't communicate enough "general effect" emotionally or aesthetically when compared to the shows that will medal, which are more coherent, emotional, narrative, and thus impactful. But the point of this recommendation isn't to harp on Cadets. The point is to challenge corps design teams to do better by empowering their communities, the most important members of which are the future MMs they must recruit for 2016.