The Shadowing Experience came out of the need to have Miami students meet and observe theatre professionals during the course of their work.
The challenge was the fact that there were 1200 students per semester, and only about 30 professionals in the southwest Ohio region that were willing to be shadowed for a day. The result is a logistical problem that could frustrate the professionals and provide scheduling headaches for faculty and students.
When discussing this problem with a faculty member, I came up with the idea of a videotape shadowing experience. This could be achieved by placing ‘fly-on-the-wall’ cameras throughout the physical space that the professional works, at various critical times throughout the professionals work-flow. For instance, in a play, the directors role spans the entire life of the play. Casting, design meetings, rehearsals, etc. By recording and editing each of the key moments, you could compress the time it takes to show the director’s work process into a five minute video piece.
The result could be an online interaction that resembles reality TV, a cross between Cops, Big Brother and Survivor. And by incorporating the video with Flash, assessment questions could be turned on at random intervals to ensure student participation.
I’ve been asked by one of the faculty to develop a “mock-up” of how a shadowing would look and feel, so the department chair could review and decide if the activity would be appropriate. Since I am not in the theater, but my job process follows a similar work-flow, I decided to shadow myself as the example.