Behind the Show: A Q&A with Program Coordinator, Ed Devlin

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Behind every great team of performers is another team of hardworking, innovative designers. And with the intricacy of many of today's DCI shows, the process that goes into show design is no different. Each year, it takes a group of talented and dedicated individuals to envision the production that performers bring to life on the field. Ed Devlin, Program and Staff Coordinator for the Crossmen, sat down to talk about his role with the corps, the show design process, and the 2018 Crossmen. 

Tell me a little bit about your role on staff:

My role here is two parts: Program Coordinator and Staff Coordinator. Program Coordinator is responsible for all of the artistic portions of the program and Staff Coordinator is more logistical--making sure the captions are set up and understand all the policies of the corps.

As the Program Coordinator, take me through the creative process of designing a show:

Every year, we'll sit down in September and go over the positives and negatives of the past season. Through that, we can set a course for the coming season. We talk about music, concepts, and visual ideas. This year we went with some musical ideas and then set the concept to that. 

What are some unique challenges in designing a DCI show as opposed to a WGI show?

The stage. In WGI (Winter Guard International), it's very intimate and the scope of the DCI stage is so much bigger than in an arena. Everything that we do on the football field has to be much more exaggerated so that you're still communicating to the audience. The biggest challenge is understanding that what you design in the winter isn't necessarily going to work outside.

Do you come into each season with a specific mentality or does it vary by year?

I think we go into it every year just wanting to create a good show. There's not necessarily a specific mentality that we go into the process with, but we always want it to present a challenge to the performers and keep the audience engaged. 

Without spoilers, tell me about this year's show:

I'd say this show is very intriguing. It's a little bit of a turn for the Crossmen--a different approach this season, but it will connect with our audience. 

Did having the same design team returning make the show design process easier?

Absolutely. Having continuity in both the design team and caption heads is key. We're two years in with this design team and these caption heads, so there's been a good communication between everybody.

What’s your favorite part about working on DCI shows?

Both DCI and WGI provide opportunities for young adults to showcase what they can do. To be able to be a part of that and to work with the design teams is my favorite part. Helping provide opportunities for the members is my driving force behind doing all of this. 

Last thing--describe the show in one word: