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Over the 15 years of my DCI fandom, there has been a strong move toward explicit theme and direct storytelling.

In 2014, Crown did a show about outer space. It's pretty much the consensus view that it wasn't the greatest design, but hear me out. In the beginning of the season, there was the Major Tom introduction, an overly-long but timbrally-intriguing percussion feature, the echo effects etc.

One of the (many) great things about Space Oddity by Bowie (RIP) is that it trails off at the end. The listener is left to wonder what happened to the astronaut. Did some small valve on his spaceship fail and cause him to asphyxiate? Did he go into a wormhole? Did mysterious radiation transform him into an interdemensional squid-creature? But in Crown's final narrative with added narration, Major Tom goes into space, some things happen, then he comes home. There's not a lot of space for the audience to contribute to the narrative with their own creativity.

One of the reasons that I (and many others) prefer the movie 2001 (an inspiration for the Bowie song) to Arthur C. Clarke's novelization is that it shows, rather than tells. Everything is spelled out in the book, whereas the viewer has to interpret the images, etc. in the film. Drum corps, I argue, is the same way. Would Cadets 2005 been better with giant waterfall props in Liquid? Subtly and discretion can be good things, but I feel like judging is pushing everything to be SO literal and forcing everyone to tell a LITERAL story with a beginning, middle, and end.

Drum corps is a ~13 minute audio-visual medium. Hard to tell a simple story in a coherent and compelling way in that time, let alone something deeper, even with narration etc. Even Crown 2013, which some see as the greatest show designer ever, basically comes down to "love is nice."

TL;DR: Stop trying so hard to be "deep" and tell some profound story in your show, use music and visuals to create a mood and err on the side of subtly

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all fads fade

story-heavy is in right now, but it won't be forever

one positive of this fad is that it tends to keep corps focused on quality music sources ,and away from original compositions, which tend to suck big time for me.

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A Drum Corps show is no more than 11 minutes or so long. As the poster here tells us.... its hard to have a compelling, deeply introspective, navel gazing, new found " revelations " of the human condition is such a short time.

There is the wise, old adage:..... " keep it simple, stupid ".

Indeed.

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Over the 15 years of my DCI fandom, there has been a strong move toward explicit theme and direct storytelling.

In 2014, Crown did a show about outer space. It's pretty much the consensus view that it wasn't the greatest design, but hear me out. In the beginning of the season, there was the Major Tom introduction, an overly-long but timbrally-intriguing percussion feature, the echo effects etc.

One of the (many) great things about Space Oddity by Bowie (RIP) is that it trails off at the end. The listener is left to wonder what happened to the astronaut. Did some small valve on his spaceship fail and cause him to asphyxiate? Did he go into a wormhole? Did mysterious radiation transform him into an interdemensional squid-creature? But in Crown's final narrative with added narration, Major Tom goes into space, some things happen, then he comes home. There's not a lot of space for the audience to contribute to the narrative with their own creativity.

One of the reasons that I (and many others) prefer the movie 2001 (an inspiration for the Bowie song) to Arthur C. Clarke's novelization is that it shows, rather than tells. Everything is spelled out in the book, whereas the viewer has to interpret the images, etc. in the film. Drum corps, I argue, is the same way. Would Cadets 2005 been better with giant waterfall props in Liquid? Subtly and discretion can be good things, but I feel like judging is pushing everything to be SO literal and forcing everyone to tell a LITERAL story with a beginning, middle, and end.

Drum corps is a ~13 minute audio-visual medium. Hard to tell a simple story in a coherent and compelling way in that time, let alone something deeper, even with narration etc. Even Crown 2013, which some see as the greatest show designer ever, basically comes down to "love is nice."

TL;DR: Stop trying so hard to be "deep" and tell some profound story in your show, use music and visuals to create a mood and err on the side of subtly

How many shows are telling a story this year with a clear beginning, middle, and end? Crown (people love this show), Cadets, Madison Scouts, Boston Crusaders, Academy (people adore this one too). Boston may not even be a finalist this year, or maybe even Academy.

Your concerns are exaggerated and overblown, and I think you're taking your angst about the Cadets out on everyone else.

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Over the 15 years of my DCI fandom, there has been a strong move toward explicit theme and direct storytelling.

In 2014, Crown did a show about outer space. It's pretty much the consensus view that it wasn't the greatest design, but hear me out. In the beginning of the season, there was the Major Tom introduction, an overly-long but timbrally-intriguing percussion feature, the echo effects etc.

One of the (many) great things about Space Oddity by Bowie (RIP) is that it trails off at the end. The listener is left to wonder what happened to the astronaut. Did some small valve on his spaceship fail and cause him to asphyxiate? Did he go into a wormhole? Did mysterious radiation transform him into an interdemensional squid-creature? But in Crown's final narrative with added narration, Major Tom goes into space, some things happen, then he comes home. There's not a lot of space for the audience to contribute to the narrative with their own creativity.

One of the reasons that I (and many others) prefer the movie 2001 (an inspiration for the Bowie song) to Arthur C. Clarke's novelization is that it shows, rather than tells. Everything is spelled out in the book, whereas the viewer has to interpret the images, etc. in the film. Drum corps, I argue, is the same way. Would Cadets 2005 been better with giant waterfall props in Liquid? Subtly and discretion can be good things, but I feel like judging is pushing everything to be SO literal and forcing everyone to tell a LITERAL story with a beginning, middle, and end.

Drum corps is a ~13 minute audio-visual medium. Hard to tell a simple story in a coherent and compelling way in that time, let alone something deeper, even with narration etc. Even Crown 2013, which some see as the greatest show designer ever, basically comes down to "love is nice."

TL;DR: Stop trying so hard to be "deep" and tell some profound story in your show, use music and visuals to create a mood and err on the side of subtly

I couldn't agree more. I have never enjoyed a drum corps show more because of the story behind the show. Cohesive storytelling is rarely accomplished by a 13 minute drum corps show. In my opinion, storytelling actually takes away some of the sophistication of this activity. If I'm focusing on the story behind the show, I'm missing the main reason I love drum corps: amazing marching and playing!

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I get what you're saying, but you kind of support the alternate view as well - telling a story is the easy way to create emotional engagement, and being able to give a coherent beginning, middle and end, with limited dialogue literally 30 yards or more from the nearest audience members, absolutely requires the TL;DR version and only the broadest of brush strokes.

If you go back and look at it with a critical eye, Spartacus - which I would say is probably the best done story told in recent DCI - relied on about a dozen visual images and one line of dialogue to tell the entire story so well you didn't have to have any related background to understand it.

Sorry, my point really is that the easiest way to a man's heart is through his emotions, and the easiest way to get emotion is to tell a story. And in drum corps, the best told stories are sometimes the simplest.

Mike

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How many shows are telling a story this year with a clear beginning, middle, and end? Crown (people love this show), Cadets, Madison Scouts, Boston Crusaders, Academy (people adore this one too). Boston may not even be a finalist this year, or maybe even Academy.

That's still at least a third of the top 12 telling a complete story, and a bunch of others have some story elements. Is it just a fad or is it the judging that is prioritizing narrative elements over other things?

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That's still at least a third of the top 12 telling a complete story, and a bunch of others have some story elements. Is it just a fad or is it the judging that is prioritizing narrative elements over other things?

Seriously? What's wrong with variety?

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I did this in another thread of the top 2015 15s shows this year.

Straight up stories with concrete characters and events:

Carolina Crown

The Cadets

Madison Scouts

Blue Stars

The Academy

Hybrids with some of those elements, but more about the essence of the inspiration:

Blue Devils

Boston Crusaders

Troopers

Straight up conceptual:

Bluecoats

Santa Clara Vanguard

Blue Knights

Phantom Regiment

The Cavaliers

Crossmen

Colts

Seems like a solid balance to me maybe even skewed slightly towards concept And in the case of The Academy for sure and maybe others as they develop, storytelling can work really well.

Edited by DrumManTx
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I did this in another thread of the top 2015 15s shows this year.

Straight up stories with concrete characters and events:

Carolina Crown

The Cadets

Madison Scouts

Blue Stars

The Academy

Hybrids with some of those elements, but more about the essence of the inspiration:

Blue Devils

Boston Crusaders

Troopers

Straight up conceptual:

Bluecoats

Santa Clara Vanguard

Blue Knights

Phantom Regiment

The Cavaliers

Crossmen

Colts

Seems like a solid balance to me. And in the case of The Academy for sure and maybe others as they develop, it can work really well.

Exactly. Yes, some corps are telling stories. A lot of them aren't. I'd much rather have the variety than trying to homogenize everyone into one type of show

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