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Frequently Asked Questions - Group Leaders

The following are some questions that are often asked by students who are thinking about leading a Songfest group.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Group Formation FAQs
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Songfest Host FAQs

If you have a question that isn't answered here, please email songfest@pepperdine.edu.

 


What is a Songfest group leader?

Every Songfest group is led by an individual Producer (administrative leader) and one or more Director(s) (overall creative leader). Together, the producer and director(s) are jointly responsible for the overall group leadership. Additionally, there are several other leadership roles that need to be filled within a group: Music Director, Writer, Choreographer, Technical Director, and Costumer. Of course, it is common for groups to also be led and assisted by additional "unofficial" leaders and helpers.

Who can be a Songfest group leader?

Any/all undergraduate Seaver students are welcome to lead a Songfest group. All producers and directors must be enrolled full-time. Students serving in all other leadership positions may be enrolled either full- or part-time. Note that the Songfest staff reserves the right to ultimately approve or disapprove any person from any group leadership role.

I want to be a Songfest group leader! What should I do?

Come to the Group Info Meeting. If you've already missed the meeting, make sure you talk with your group's other leaders and get caught up to speed right away. There's also lots of information for group leaders on this website. If you've still got questions, email songfest@pepperdine.edu.

What is a Producer?

A group's producer is the group's overall administrative and organizational leader. A producer is the primary point of contact between the group and the staff. Among many other things, they are responsible for overseeing things like communications, paperwork, schedules and deadlines, policy/rules adherence, and the budget. A producer is also responsible for ensuring that all of a group's leaders are operating together and are on the same page. Each group must have one (and only one) individual producer. A producer (along with the director) is one of the individuals responsible for a group's overall leadership.

What is a Director?

A group's director is the group's overall creative leader. A director is the primary overseer of all the creative elements of a group's show: including script, music, choreography, dialogue, set, costumes, lighting, props, and performance. The director is responsible for overseeing and coordinating a group's other creative leaders (Music Director, Writer, Choreographer, Technical Director, etc.). A group may have more than one director, though the more directors there are the harder it is to maintain a unified creative vision, and the harder it is to coordinate things from a logistical standpoint. A director (along with the producer) is one of the individuals responsible for a group's overall leadership.

What is a Musical Director?

A group's musical director oversees all the musical content in a group's show. They are also responsible for preparing/rehearsing the group's vocal performance of that music. Among other things, a music director works with the other group leaders on song selection, and then is responsible for the proper preparation of the group's sheet music, overseeing the group's rehearsal piano recording process, preparing vocal harmonies, and teaching the music to a group. This is a very important role! Ideally, music directors should be involved right from the beginning. Aside from working with a group's leaders, a group music director will also work with the overall Songfest staff musical director.

What is a Writer?

A group's writer is someone who writes the script for the group's show. This includes dialogue, planned character actions, staging directions, etc. A writer usually works very closely with the group's other leaders, and is involved throughout the story development process- long before they are working on an actual draft of the script. Additionally, a writer usually collaborates with the music director on any group song lyric alterations.

What is a Choreographer?

A choreographer is in charge of designing, planning, preparing, and teaching all of the dance movement for a group's show. Sometimes a choreographer is involved with Songfest leadership right from the beginning, while other times they don't join the leadership team until later in the year.

What is a Technical Director?

A group's technical director oversees the technical production elements of a group's show: things like lighting, set design and construction, audio effects, etc. The technical director works with a group's other leaders, and also interacts directly with the Songfest technical staff (usually key individuals such as the Production Manager, Lighting Designer, etc.). In some groups technical directors are involved a great deal throughout all of the planning/production process, while in others the technical director won't even be appointed until the start of rehearsals. It should be noted that while some Songfest group technical directors have a great deal of theatrical production experience, others do not have any! So if you are a first-time technical director, rest assured that you are not the first person to find yourself in this position. The Songfest technical staff is very good at working with first-time technical directors, and can help you transition into the role.

What is a Costumer?

A costumer is (surprise, surprise) the person responsible for planning out what a group's cast is going to wear during a performance. Some costumers actually do things like sewing, fabrication, and original costume piece creation, while others oversee a general coordinated effort as to what clothes various cast members will wear. This largely comes down to what a show's conceptual needs are, the group's story, the cast of characters, the costumer's vision, the resources available (or not available), and the costumer's particular set of skills. Some costumers are involved all year long, while others aren't involved until the very end. Occasionally, some groups will even go entirely without an official costumer, and will depend on their group members to plan and provide their own costumes.

How are group leaders chosen?

It is up to each group to decide how they want to go about selecting their producer and director. Ultimately, the group's producer and director are the ones who officially appoint the other group leaders.

Does leading a Songfest group require a lot of individual work and/or time?

Typically, yes. That said, the vast majority of group leaders find it to be a highly rewarding and worthwhile experience. Like many endeavors in life, those who put the most into it tend to get the most out of it. Working well as a leadership team also definitely makes things easier. And of COURSE it's fun (we're talking about Songfest after all!).

Do I have to be a "theater person" or a "music person" or a "creative person" to lead?

If you're a director (group's overall creative leader), then these descriptions certainly might help, though there are no official criteria. On the other hand, the most important qualities for a producer (group's organizational leader) are to be organized, on-task, and an excellent communicator/facilitator. And it is extremely beneficial for group musical directors to be comfortable reading sheet music and able to communicate in musical terms and language with the staff. For that role in particular, musical knowledge, experience, and training are definitely of immense benefit. However, there are no official requirements.

What are the eligibility requirements to be a group leader?

All Songfest group leaders must be undergraduate Seaver College students. All producers and directors must be enrolled full-time, while students filling all other leadership roles may be enrolled either full- or part-time. Note that the Songfest staff also reserves the right to approve or disapprove any person from any group leadership position, for a variety of reasons.

Can each leadership role be filled by more than one person? For example, can there be two choreographers?

There can be only one producer for each group. All other roles may be filled by one or more individuals. However, groups are strongly advised to use a small number of leaders. Remember- the logistical effort required to manage and coordinate a leadership group gets more difficult with each additional leader. It is also much harder to maintain a unified creative and organizational vision with more leaders. The reality is that Songfest group leadership can (unfortunately) sometimes be a real-world demonstration of "too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the soup." So be wise in choosing and selecting your team of group leaders!

Can an individual serve in more than one official leadership role for a group? For example, can the producer also be the musical director?

Yes. But keep in mind that each role comes with a new set of challenges, time demands, and responsibilities. Some roles already require a great deal of time and labor, so make sure that you aren't overextending yourself. It could become quite difficult for you, and it could also end up hurting your group!

Can I be a group leader and still audition to be a host?

Yes, but if you are selected as a host, you will no longer be able to be involved with any Songfest group- not as a participant, a leader, or helper. If you are a group leader and are thinking about auditioning to be a host, we strongly encourage you to work with your group on a contingency plan, so that your group is able to smoothly carry on without you should you be selected as a host. This probably involves working with a potential replacement leader right from the beginning.

I'm not in a fraternity or sorority. Can I still lead?

Yes. The Songfest program doesn't pay any attention to whether leaders (or participants or groups for that matter) are "Greek" or not.

I'm not a member of Organization "X". Can I still lead the group that Organization "X" has joined?

Yes. There are no organizational membership requirements for any aspect of the Songfest program. That being said, some Songfest groups will make their own internal decisions and requirements about who their leaders are going to be. This is up to each individual group. Ultimately, group leadership decisions are made by each group's producer and director.

I'm in a group with Organization "X" and Organization "Y". Do both "X" and "Y" have to contribute the same number of leaders?

No. We don't care if the group leaders are from "X", "Y", "Z", or no organization at all. The leadership team can consist of anyone. We want each group to have the best possible leaders, and we want each group to have the best possible experience. Whatever leadership structure the group wants to make for itself, is fine by us as long as it's what the group's producer and director think is best.

I don't have a group, but I'm very interested in leading. What should I do?

Please contact the staff at songfest@pepperdine.edu and let us know for which leadership role(s) you think you might be a good fit. If any groups are looking for leaders, we'll try and connect you with each other.

I am a leader for a Songfest group that includes one or more student organizations. The organization(s) is/are pressuring me to do something that I do not think is best for the group's show and/or experience. What should I do?

Student organizations have no official role in Songfest, and are not recognized as anything other than students wanting to participate together. A Songfest group is officially defined and led by the leadership, rather than by its participants, so decisions should be made 100% by the group's leaders. Leaders should do what they think is best for the group's experience and for the show. Ultimately, the group's producer and director are responsible for (and have authority when it comes to) the group's overall leadership decisions. If you find yourself in such a situation, be sure to let the staff know so they can provide you with further advice and support.

Our leadership team is having a real disagreement. How should this be resolved?

Obviously it is important for group leadership teams to work together and try to be as unified as possible. When conflict and disagreement cannot be worked through, the ultimate decisions need to be made by the producer and director, who are jointly responsible for a group's overall leadership. Also, if the conflict is big enough or if there is any sort of issue with potentially serious consequences, please make sure to inform the staff and we will try to work through the situation with your group. The staff reserves the right to step in and make any decisions necessary for a positive, successful, and fair show (and program, and experience).