FerreusOpus wrote:This winter I'm a program director for a high school in Northern Ohio and I've decided to take care of the visual design for my groups show; I've taken a liking to writing drill more than music nowadays. My drumline is going to have 16 kids and I'm not sure what size tarp to start writing for.
Also, are the standard step sizes for indoor bigger than outdoor band? I think Pyware sets up grids that are for 30" standard step size instead of 22.5". Am I missing something?
Any tips for writing drill are appreciated!
All of these questions really depend on classification, skill sets, training program etc. I've always used the same grid inside as we do outside for simplicity of teaching's sake in my show designs. Some groups I've worked with have used a floor as small as 40x60, and others have used a full 60x90. With a group of 16, you probably don't need 60x90 to have room to move. You might think about the venues you'll be in at local shows. While most local circuits use the WGI rulebook, the size requirements for a show venue are often not enforced as most high schools don't have a gym large enough to accommodate the required minimum space for WGI.
As for how large a step side you should write for, some people like to say that a 6x5 is the new 8x5 indoors. I disagree. If you really watch the groups that are doing well in WGI, they aren't moving at larger step sizes the entire time, or even most of the time. There's a lot of visual velocity generated by tempo rather than step size. Its more about contrary motion and texture than sheer step size. I'd really recommend getting a hold of a fan network account to look at what groups in your classification are doing. Look at body vocabulary (if there is any), general step sizes, and the way the drill flows (is everyone moving in the same direction, how does the staging get set up, etc).
The biggest rule that drill writers break (and a reason I've had to fire visual designers in the past) is that the music comes first. Visual is just 20 points on the score sheet. It doesn't matter how cool the drill/choreography is if the kids can't play the notes because of it.
Another thing to keep in mind is "visual musicality". If the music is fluid and legato, you probably don't want block forms and sharp angles. Take a look at the judges manual and read BOTH sides of the visual sheet, and if you want to get really nerdy, go read the analysis sheet from the guard side. It defines a lot of stuff much more clearly than the percussion sheet does. The better you know the rules and expectations of the game, the better you'll be able to write for it.