Battle and More

Battle of the Books 2008Well, what more can I say… we knocked another one out of the ballpark with Battle of the Books (aka BOTB) 2008.

We had 41 teams show up. 193 kids total. There were more than 530 people in the Cafeteria!

Details and more on the Northville District Library website at:

BOTB is a very weird and fun thing for me to do because it allows me to tap skills from high school and college… stage screw at the Lou and all the studio experience with Madonna Magazine. These are skills I don’t get to use much, so when we go into BOTB mode, the way I interact and do my job changes. I become the whip cracking Director, making sure everyone’s on the same page, and the entire production is on track. Don’t think I’m trying to take credit for the whole event… it’s a huge team effort, and that’s what I like best about it. But I am literally proud of my contribution to this event.

But it’s SO much more than that. I mean, our presentation was over 1550 slides long. This required me to player Editor. Then, I had to play seating planner by figuring out how to effectively sit down 200 kids with the best view of the stage (11 long cafeteria tables with some extra chairs thrown in). The HS, bless them for allowing this event to be held at the HS, but they didn’t set the room up correctly. Chris and I had to roll out 11 more tables on our own and correct the room set up. Then we had to set up 5 computers, test the projection from all corners of the room, set up and test all the scoring stations, and THEN we still had to figure out the lighting and the sound!

Then during the event, I end up playing BUZZER (blow the boat horn at zero), technical director (ensure the presentation goes smoothly), AND scoring captain. I was the stage manager and technical producer for the event (in video comm lingo). We also ran a video camera and 2 still cameras. We have over 110 pictures online!

And it went off just freaking awesome. The kids LOVE the event. The parents LOVE the event. Almost all the kids show up in extremely creative costumes, the parents are in “Soccer Parent” mode, with us even having to sort out out a “hey, they’re cheating!” situation. Someone from out of district attended and asked how they could get their kid into our event: “It’s SO much better than the other ones we’ve seen!” The kids start asking the minute the event is over “When will our score be posted online?”

The cheating situation was actually funny to me. One of the parents claimed that a team was being SIGNED to by their parents. Well, we couldn’t have that so we took them aside. When we took them aside, I signed “I am deaf. How are you?” but they showed ZERO recognition or fear that they’d been caught. Therefore, we let them off the hook. They were just enthusiastically cheering their kids team on.

Hey, I think the whole event is just fantastic. The reactions are so positive, it really makes all the hard work we put into the event pay off. Suzanne and Karen put a LOT of work into the production. They contact the schools, put together the questions, arrange volunteers, edit the presentation, and run the actual event. So many of the Library staff became involved. Comcast had a film crew there for the entire evening. I think they didn’t realize how big it would be, and they didn’t intend to be there the whole evening.

We’ve decided to start planning the event earlier for next year. Next year, we’ll start planning in November, with understanding that if we hit 50 teams, we’ll have to find another venue because the High School Cafeteria just wouldn’t fit anymore! However, I don’t know where else we would do this. Maybe Compuware? COmpuware has a seating capacity of 3900 some. We’d only have filled 1/8 of that with 530+ attending… but with 10 more teams, we could expect close to 800 and maybe fill a good 1/4 of it. Thinking too big?

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