Achieving an adequate balance of breadth and depth was, perhaps, the
most difficult task in writing this book. It was difficult to resist
the tendency to try to include every last detail about a
particular topic. It was also difficult to choose topics to leave out
of the text. At the same time, however, the book needed to be
completed in a seven week time-frame due to the schedule of the IQP.
Several topics were chosen to be discussed in the book. These topics
were chosen because they were deemed to be the most important to cover
in a general technical theatre book. Thus, the final form has
individual chapters dedicated to: the set and scenery, costuming,
rigging, lighting, audio, power, and special effects. Topics such as
properties and running crew would have been included had time allowed,
but the overall usefulness of the book does not suffer due to their
It was decided early on that the chapters of the book should be as
independent as possible. This independence allows individual chapters
of the book to be handed out for reading in a classroom situation.
This is ideal, especially for classes that require non-theatre people
to do hands-on work for a production. Generally, a student chooses an
area of interest and works a set number of hours in that area. This
work time could be made more productive and useful if the student,
before working, read the relevent chapters from this book. This might
also serve to reduce the frustration level of the regular theatre
crowd, as the people involved will be, on the whole, more knowledgable
of theatre practices.
With the topics chosen, it came time to gather information to
write the text, as well as acquire photographs and diagrams to
supplement the text. Information was collected from a variety of
sources, as described in the previous section. Once the mass of
material was collected, it had to be sorted and filtered
for content. Condensing mounds of information down to a single
chapter was quite a challenging and formidable task. The
information included in the book had to be general enough to provide a
good degree of breadth, but it couldn't be ``down to the nuts and
The same philosophy went in to creating and choosing photographs and
diagrams to include. In cases where a single photograph or diagram
could replace many paragraphs of text, their inclusion made perfect
sense. Other photographs and diagrams were useful simply because they
provide visual context to the topics discussed in the text. Many
photographs were taken of the equipment specifically used at WPI.
The intent of this was so that anyone who had read this book would be
able to start working productions at WPI and have a fair idea of
exactly what different pieces of equipment looked like.
Each chapter started as an outline, which was filled in and changed as
work progressed. Using this method, rather than simply diving in and
writing, allowed the book to have a fairly consistent structure. The
arrangement of most of the chapters is equipment first, design
second. The book probably could have been written with the opposite
organizational scheme, but it seemed most logical to do it this way,
as it's practically impossible to design something that uses
As each chapter neared completion, it recieved two proofreadings.
Errors were corrected and suggestions for improvement were heeded.
After the bulk of the writing was completed, the final editing phase
began. In this phase, the overall consistency of the book was
checked. Also, the book was indexed, figures were credited, and the
bibliography was assembled in this stage. Last-minute polishing and
touch-up work, followed by the creation of the book cover
and acknowledgements section rounded out the project.