While I am really looking forward to the actual designing and executing of my thesis project, I’m not so much looking forward to the written portion. That whole “explain your project in oh about 35 pages for some reson” thing isn’t my favorite. I would much prefer making something, pointing at it and saying, “Welp, there she is,” and leaving it at that. Grad school, it seems, requires words.
There are some built in elements that might help fill out the paper: design proposals, pitch plans, perhaps even the sheet music from the final show. My experience with my conceptual test drive and the feedback I received would be useful information. I could also fill the paper with background on the buildings that I would like to use as well as the history of Savannah, Ga itself, but the danger is the fill being…well…filler. This is all important information and will make it into the final thesis in some form or another, but unlike my previous school experience, I want to do this “properly” and “not get an F” and “actually graduate in a reasonable amount of time.”
For these types of papers, a more legitimate form of content involves showing how the concept can scale and that I have thought beyond my primary design or development. For example, if I were developing a themepark, a themed land or even an attraction, I would need to consider including a plan for future expansion. Back in the 60s, the Disney property in Florida was planned out for the future to a surprising level of detail. This continues today with enough proposed (keyword proposed) future expansion planned that, if Disney fans got a peek, the Internet would explode with things like, “Guess what they are building in 2035!!!” (which is why the land development department at WDI Florida is locked away behind a set of Mickey-shaped doors).
I could plan my project anywhere from 5 years up to 25 or even 50 years, and it would show that I had at least thought past the “right now.” A projection show, however, is slightly different. I suppose it could get bigger over time, building upon itself gradually, but that seems a little silly since it is digital and not physical. If you want a bigger show, why not just make a new one?
Rather than ending with a plan for expansion at the end, the best way to show that I have thought beyond the single design that will eventually dominate my thesis may begin with a plan for options at the beginning. Instead of having a 5, 10 and 15 year plan, perhaps my project calls for small, medium and large options; ideas that go up or down depending on the circumstances.
But what does small, medium and large mean? Size and scale? Complexity? Or maybe small, medium and large refers to my old familiar foe, the evil Baron von Budget. Perhaps a more useful way of thinking about it might be the likelihood of my project becoming reality. How much manpower is involved in installing the show and keeping it running? Does someone have to be there or can it operate on a timer? What would SCAD be willing to support? How about a real estate developer? What about a massive hotel chain sitting on the Savannah River? Can their interests, as well as the interests of the city, align with mine?
This winter break then becomes all about seeing what my brain turns up, filling out the ticket and then narrowing it down to three primary options: small, medium and large. After the break is over and I go back to school with legitimate work to show, my professors will be able to advise me as to which option to pursue further.
You should know I am extremely uncomfortable designing in public. I would prefer to just show up with a finished project that looks effortless and not show all the weeping and gnashing of teeth that goes into it, but with the themed entertainment industry being so collaborative, I feel this is something I need to get over in a big hurry! How did I get over my fear of heights? I decided I enjoyed that feeling you get when you look down. My fear of public speaking? I decided I enjoyed that feeling of momentarily controlling an entire room. Now, if I want this to work, I have to decide to enjoy showing process, showing mistakes and showing plain old bad ideas.
Your feedback (GrumpyFan, Delilah, MackDaddy…I’m looking at you) will be invaluable! Help me Internet-Wan Kenobe…you’re my only hope!