Archive for the ‘The New Show’ Category

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Research continues

February 20, 2009

I’m going to have a TON of research to do on this show before starting the script, and it’s actually a little intimidating.

There’s going to be lots of constellations in this program, and I want to hightlight them visually as well as historically, but I’m struggling to break out of “list” mode—I don’t want the show to just be a monotonous list of the constellations and their features.  I’ve tried that, and the results were embarassing.

Orion bash!

Orion bash!

A big aspect of these constellation featurettes in the show will be whether they’re an ancient or modern constellation.  The majority of the 88 official constellations we have today come from two sources: The Almagest, by Ptolemy, circa 2nd Century; and Uranometria, by Johann Bayer, published in 1603. Later, in the 1760s, a book by a French astronomer named Nicolas Louis de Lacaille added a handful of new southerly constellations.

And yes, the constellations set up by Bayer in the early 1600s are considered “modern.”  Modern-er than the 2nd Century, at least.

Ptolemy’s list contains most of what people in the Northern Hemisphere think of as the “normal” constellations—Ursa Major, Orion, the Zodiac, etc.  They’re mostly Greek and Babylonian in origin, and typically have mythological stories surrounding them.

The newer images are distinctly more modern, and contain things like a microscope (Microscopium), a furnace (Fornax), a clock (Horologium), an easel (Pictor), etc.  They’re also mostly southish patterns; those lazy Greeks and Babylonians couldn’t be expected to travel so far south of the Equator just to see the stars over the far side of the world now, could they?  But by the 1600s colonization had worked its way into the southern latitudes, and knowing the stars and constellations definitely helps sailors find their way around.

Anyway, I want to keep away from dry, boring, information-overload as much as possible in this script, so I’m kicking around some gimmicky ideas that may sort of bring it all together into more of an experience and less of a lecture.  I’ll start outlining a script next week, and start in on a first draft as soon as I’m comfortable with the flow.

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Show production starts this week

February 16, 2009

Well, meetings concerning grant funding and sizable donations that will help renovate my theater have been pushed back to mid-spring, and therefore we’re going forward with production for an original show at the Blank Blank Planetarium.

I thought it would be neat to outline the production process here at BS, from start to finish.

I’ll be keeping with my mysterious (and probably unnecessary) habit of not referring to the proper name of my employers or my institution, so this actually may not be very easy…  I’ll try to give as much detail about what I’m doing as I can, without giving away anything notifiable.

This show will actually be a tie-in with an exhibit that’s (probably) coming to Blank Blank for the summer, and I’m guessing that opening day for the both of them will be somewhere around Memorial Day.  I can say that it’s a constellation show, and has an interesting overarcing theme that I’ll discuss later.

Tuesday I’ll go into full-on research mode, finding trustworthy sources and royalty-free or Creative Commons licensed images.  In addition to the usual public-domain NASA/ESA images that make up a big part of any planetarium show, I’m going to be commissioning some original artwork for this work.

Once I’ve got enough base material, I’ll start on a show outline and rough script.

I’ll keep posting updates, following my production progress.  Production is one of my favorite things to do, and I’m excited to get back into.

More to come!