Having a Theme in Speech… Even in Debate

The importance of a theme is something I state often.

As my good friend, NCFCA TP Champion and coach, Rebecca Frazer said, "Good communication is practically always thematic. Your favorite movies are your favorite movies because they leave you with strong, central feelings. Every round strategy–aff or neg–must be centered around a strong theme. Stating a value in a case does not make it thematic, nor does stating a negative philosophy. Some of the best values I have ever seen in debate are so obvious that they don’t even need to be labeled–every argument the team makes ties back to a clear idea that they value. Please don’t let your judge leave the debate round wondering, “Hmm, so I wonder what was really important to them?”

The same is true for Speech. You want your audience to remember you- as well as what you have said, or performed. How?! This can be done by having a theme! A theme can be an underlying topic or recurring idea in your speech. Your memory is powered by your brain, which is full of emotions. Those emotions can be triggered by impacting the audience through a theme. Think about it- a judge will listen to 8 students give a speech for 10 minutes each... That's 80 minutes of speeches! You want  to be sure they remember you! How can that be done?

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Online Interpretive Workshops This Friday – 8/10/18

Speech Season is quickly upon us! Are you planning on doing an Interpretive piece this year? Do you want help making the most of your planning? Join us for any one of these Interpretive Workshops…

Anatomy of Interp/Finding the Right Piece/Literary Merit

Friday, August 10 – 9:20-10:50 ET / 8:20-9:50 CT

Heather Neumann has helped hundreds of students find their perfect piece. In this session we will go over where to look, what type you should be looking for, and what your interp needs for success.

$5 members/$20 nonmembers

Sign up HERE.

Cutting Scenes Without Losing Story/Tips for Cutting

Friday, August 10 – 11:00-12:30 ET / 10:00-11:30 CT

Are you making the most out of your piece? Heather Neumann helps you to understand if your piece is making the cut. Don’t worry if you don’t have a piece for this year picked out. We will have handouts to help apply what we will be covering.

$5 members/$20 nonmembers

Sign up HERE.

Defining Your Characters/Setting the Stage

Friday, August 10 – 1:15-2:45 ET / 12:15-1:45 CT

How well do you really know your characters? When you are performing an Interpretive Speech, it’s your characters that are telling the story. We will analyze “Theater of the Mind” and apply it to speeches. Hands on activities will have us- defining characters (voices, stances, gait, and any other attributes or factors to make them easy for the judges to imagine and distinguish). We will also “Set the Stage” for success by mentally picturing the scene, identifying where things are, and planning movements appropriately, using the space available, imaginary props, etc.

$5 members/$20 nonmembers

Sign up HERE.

If you can’t make it to physical camp or workshop, let Lasting Impact! come to YOU! We are so excited to be offering more online workshops this summer/fall.

Signing up for an Online Workshop is easy!! All workshops are through an online forum called Zoom. It’s a quick and easy download that your instructor will send to you, as part of their introduction email (usually within 24 hours of your workshop).

For a complete list of Online August Workshops, click HERE.

Comedy v. Tragedy – Open to Interpretation

"Woe!  Woe to me!  I have to do my funny piece after a tragedy!?"

I hear it all the time.... Students doing dramatic material bemoan the fact that funny wins.  Students doing funny material hate walking into a room where judges are wiping away tears.  If Dramatic Interpretation and Humorous Interpretation are separated into different rooms, the conflict doesn't occur, but I maintain that there is room for every place on the emotional spectrum in Open Interpretation...

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Drama, Drama, Drama!

I believe the strength of your speech can be linked to the strength of your script (what you have created for competition). However a Dramatic Interpretation is far more involved and has much more depth to be based on script alone. For a great Dramatic Interpretation or a dramatic Open, Duo, or even Original Interpretation to be created, there must be rich content from which to grow. When looking for a script, piece of literature, or play there are several considerations to think about:

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Interpretive Speech – Bringing Literature to Life – How? (Part 2)

Last time we discussed Interpretive Speech, as well as WHY it's important. Today we will discuss HOW to bring interpretive speeches to life!

So HOW do you get there?

The art of interpretation doesn't just magically happen. There are a few key things you must have to be able to put your piece together.

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Interpretative Speech- Bringing Literature to Life – What/Why? (Part 1)

How would you define ‘interpretation?’  Would you say, “Putting your own spin on something” or maybe “Giving your own perspective?”  That would be correct.  Perhaps you would go further and suggest that an ‘interpretation’ seeks to explain the meaning of something, and that would also be correct.  Google Dictionary gives synonyms like: elucidation, exposition, and clarification.  Our competitive speech leagues usually define ‘interpretation’ along the lines of “bringing literature to life” for the purposes of their event structure, and that encompasses all of those approaches above!

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The Power of an Introduction in Your Speech

I used to look down or thought an introduction at the beginning of a Speech really didn't matter. Shame on me! For those of you unsure what an Intro/Introduction is- it is the part of your Interpretive Piece where you introduce or set up the Speech. Perhaps you think it is unimportant or just a bunch of redundant information. My analysis has changed... I now think it is very important. I actually think those that do an intro, and do it well, have an advantage. So let's analyze the power of an introduction of a Speech...

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Stereotypes v. Stock Characters in Interpretive Speech

Advanced interpretation is not equal to advanced interpers delivering their material in a speech and/or forensics competition.  Advanced interpretation is instead marked by subtlety and skill more than by experience.  Admittedly, experienced speakers tend to have more skill, but very often they apply that skill in such a way as to emphasize their own largess rather than to expose believable and relatable characters in believable and relatable conflicts.  One hallmark of those doing truly advanced work is their ability to differentiate between stereotypes and stock characters.

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The Interpretive Triple Pass

Perhaps you’ve seen the new Beauty and Beast film this year.  I’m not going to lie; my daughter and I were GRIEVED that Dan Stevens had to be written out of Downton Abbey in order to take on the role of the Beast for this film, but he was perfect!  In numerous interviews, he talks about how he had to fuse several technologies in order to get the full role of the Beast layered into the film, and it struck me that this triple-pass to building a character follows the way I often coach kids in building their interpretive characters.

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