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Mime Theory Lectures, First Edition

Mime Theory Lectures

Charleton Mills

 

Edited by Hannah Poch

 

Published by Charleton Mills at Shakespir

 

Copyright 2016 – Charleton Mills

 

 

 

Special thanks to:

Hannah Poch for helping me with this book and the whole site.

Samuel Hughes for your materials that you donated.

David Brown for the lots of materials you donated. Lots and lots.

Jarek Lilly, for the seemingly endless list of technique videos you recorded with me.

Cortney, my wife, because reasons.

Jesus. Of course.

And that one guy. You know who you are. You sly devil, you.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – Introduction to Mime Theory Lectures

Chapter 2 – History of the Art of Mime

Chapter 3 – Mime Dictionary

Chapter 4 – Mime Makeup and Attire

Chapter 5 – Conduct in White Face

Chapter 6 – Mime Levels

Chapter 7 – How to Teach a Mime Song

Chapter 8 – Common Choreography Themes

Chapter 9 – Team Structure and Leadership Model

Chapter 10 – Leadership

Chapter 11 – Choreographing a Mime Song

Chapter 12 – Workshop Structure

Chapter 13 – Errors in Mime

Chapter 14 – Stage Orientation

Chapter 15 – Presentation Structure

Chapter 16 – How to Critique a Mime Song

Chapter 17 – Breaking Down Technique

Chapter 18 – Stroll Miming Guidelines

Chapter 19 – Drills

Chapter 20 – Adding Spiritual Subtext

Chapter 21 – Mini-Mime Team (Bonus Chapter)

About This Publication and the Author

Connect with Me

Chapter 1: Introduction to Mime Theory Lectures

Welcome to Mime Theory Lectures. My name is Charleton Mills. I have been a mime since 2008, I have presented hundreds of songs, written a few myself, but most importantly, I have been blessed with the gift of knowledge that I wish to share to others.

I was part of a mime team in Branson, Missouri called AIM Around the World, and after it disbanded, some of the experienced members of that group started our own mime group in the same city called The Order of Reflection. Additionally, I felt like I was supposed to create what is now known as the Digital Mime, which is an online database of mime ministry resources for anyone to share. Miming is close to my heart. I enjoy the art form itself, the technical aspects, but most importantly, I enjoy the people, especially teaching and learning from the many mimes all across the world.

Enough about me, the reason this chapter exists is for two reasons: first, you must know how to read this book. I would guess you speak English, but I mean how to navigate it and such. Secondly, I know most people, like myself, just skip the introduction and the preface and get to the first chapter, so I just omitted them altogether.

Mime Theory Lectures was an idea started by my creation of the Mime Blog, later called the Digital Mime, which was an assignment in class. I took the whole site seriously, because I have actually really wanted to do this for a while, and apparently, as I learned at a leadership conference that was held in Cheyenne, WY in 2015, that lots of people wanted something just like it. I was excited that people were actually wanting to participate in it, and I got on it. After a good two years of working on it, it was finally released in its entirety. The site itself is a database of information for new and existing mimes and new and existing mime teams to grow in their skills and knowledge. Mime Theory Lectures is something that has never really been done before, as far as I know. There is a lot of technical aspects of mime, but no one ever really gets to the academic knowledge of mime. That is the purpose of this book: knowledge.

 

Why Does This Exist?

My motive for writing this is simply to impart knowledge to other people about the academic aspects of mime. I want people to be aware of their own actions, and understand the underlying themes of mime in a head-knowledge style book.

 

Who Should Be Reading This?

Excellent question. I am glad you asked. See, I have designed this book for a variety of people. I try to make this book accessible to anyone, but emphasize leadership roles. However, there are a few chapters for personal mime growth and increasing the knowledge of the individual mimes. In addition, starting a mime group is hard, so this gives the new start-up teams the ideas and inspiration they need to start their own groups. My website, The Digital Mime, is designed to be a database for all of these people as well, so that they can grow in knowledge and expertise all around, whether it be in technique, mime song knowledge, or academic knowledge of mime (http://www.digitalmime.com/).

 

Why Knowledge?

In my experience, many leaders and directors do not do anything more than teach the roles of mime songs. The roles themselves are perhaps the most important aspects of mime ministry, and the technique comes second. However, only being taught part of the whole package may not be the best idea. Trying to reach excellence in the presentation of a mime song revolves around the whole three-fold package of songs, technique, and knowledge.

Mime songs are about more than just the actions, it is a collection of individual mimes, each with their own experience, working together to achieve excellence in presentation of the song to bring others to Christ. A well-rounded presentation team is preferable to the growth of the individuals as well as the group.

 

Requirements

The minimum it takes for you to best understand the information in this book.

Watch One Mime Song

It is best to have some exposure to the mime ministry in order to understand the surface of mime ministry. My YouTube Channel, Digital Mime (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqsJf9d-1dfEr4XLZKQpDA), has many videos on it. Here is a link to the classic mime song, Courtroom by Carman (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVpjO81w19U), but feel free to watch as many as you like.

Preferably, Be in One Mime Song

Since many of these aspects of mime assume some type of exposure to learning and teaching mime songs, being in one mime song gives more knowledge that you need to have. If you are unable to do so, that is fine, but some of the terms might be confusing to you. Still, you might consider looking up confusing terms in the Mime Dictionary in Chapter 3.

 

How to Read This Book

It might be a little confusing.

This book is not designed to be read from cover to cover, but rather, to be read by chapter in any order. The chapters have been chunked into alike topics, but they are each their own individual chapters with their own emphasis of knowledge.

In other words, read the chapter that interests you most. I would encourage you to read all of it, but consult whatever interests you first. With that said, go back to the table of contents and find something you are interested in.

 

I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I have enjoyed putting it together. If you want to contact me or follow me in any way, my social media sites are on the last page of the book.

 

Thank you and Enjoy,

Charleton Mills

 

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Chapter 2: History of the Art of Mime

Knowing the art of mime is one thing. Knowing where it all came from is something completely different. I believe that knowing where mime originated can help us appreciate the art form, as well as appreciate the well-known mimes themselves.

This history is a very much abridged version of the history of mime, keeping a few important snippets of information from many sections of history.

 

Ancient Greece

The word “Mime” comes from the Greek, “μῖμος” (Mimos) meaning actor and imitator. Mimes really originated in Ancient Greece from a single masked dancer called, “Pantomimus” (pantomime, anyone?). However, his performances were not silent.

 

France

As time progressed, the mime moved to France, where it received the iconic silent figure in white face style from Jean-Gaspard Deburau. Many other French mimes chiseled out the art form, and it slowly grew into the form it is today.

 

Films

During the progression of time, mime became more popular as silent films were coming out as well. Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, and Buster Keaton used mime from theatre, but adapted it to film. Charlie Chaplin is most famous for his silent films which used a lot of mime, but some argue that he did not really use mime, but just silent theatre.

 

Marcel Marceau

Perhaps the most famous mime of all time is Marcel Marceau. He was an expert mime, receiving many awards, including being commander of certain French honor legions, becoming an elected member of four Fine Arts academies, receiving honorary doctorates from four universities, and many other awards and honors.

When Marceau was young, he was Marcel Mangel, a young Jewish boy in France during the time of the holocaust. In fact, his father was deported to Auschwitz and killed in the concentration camp there. Marceau and his brother changed their names and joined the French resistance, where they saved many children from death. Marceau was even rumored to use mime to keep the children silent as they escaped from camps.

After the holocaust, Marceau eventually started his career in mime as Bip the Clown, who utilized his expert miming skills to win the hearts of audiences everywhere.

Marceau’s artistic miming won him the honor of Marcel Marceau Day in New York City, which is March 18th.

Marceau eventually died in France on September 22, 2007 at the age of 84.

 

Mime Ministry

Mime ministry today was chiseled out a lot by Marceau’s work. In fact, one of his apprentices, Todd Farley, was one of the forerunners of the ministry direction itself. His “Mimeistry” was sort of the origin of mime ministry today.

Mime ministry is essentially the art of mime and silent theatre, mixed with an outreach and gospel message.

One branch, the one that I have been a part of, is called Action Impact Ministries (later AIM Around the World) founded by Tess and Jory Rolf. AIM, as it was abbreviated, emphasized the discipleship of the mimes themselves, knowing that you cannot impart a spiritual message until you receive that same message. In the words of Jory, “It can’t happen through you until it happens to you.” AIM expanded into many states, many of which still have their own teams to this day. They also started a few teams in other countries. Unfortunately, Tess and Jory had to stop leading their mime team, and AIM became more of a standalone team-by-team group.

 

Mime Blog and Digital Mime

What started as a school project in my last semester of college, expanded into an online database for mime ministry. I have been in mime with my colleagues for many years under Tess and Jory, and have been able to gain the knowledge in order to help people all over the United States, and hopefully other countries eventually, to begin mime teams.

The site originally launched on September 11th, 2014 with just a few videos, a blog post, and the beginning of Mime Theory Lectures. It has since expanded into dozens of videos, many chapters of lectures, and a technique course. All of which are constantly expanding.

 

That’s the majorly abridged history of mime. If you want to learn more, Wikipedia has a great database of usually somewhat accurate information. In addition, other sites have more information. Look up other famous mimes and their histories. Look up more about the mime ministry as well. AIM is not the only one out there. Lastly, YouTube has many videos of human video, silent theatre, and mime. It has become something rather great today, and if you are interested in starting your own team, or just bettering yourself in the ministry, I would love to talk to you, and this is an excellent resource for you. My social media information is listed on the last page of this book.

 

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Chapter 3: Mime Dictionary

Sometimes in mime, we get lost in all of the lingo, jargon, mumbo jumbo, nonsense, vernacular, and verbiage—In other words, the terminology. Here is a list of common phrases and words that we use in mime, their easy to understand definitions, and other possible names. Words in parentheses are alternative names. Words in italics are used in context. Please note, if you have questions about a word used in a description, search for it here as well. If I missed something, am unclear about something, or am wrong about something, please let me know. I am always looking for entries into the dictionary.

 

Format:

Term

Noun/Verb: (Other names). Description.

Use in conversation.”

 

Administrator

Noun: (admin, logistics, secretary). The member of the leadership team that does not directly work with the team, but does paperwork, budgeting, booking venues, etc. in order to help the team along.

The administrator has booked us a venue at the senior center in town.”

 

Assistant Director

Noun: (leader). A leader who is one of the leadership team members who reports only to the director. Assistant directors are typically helpers to the director, but can also be in training for running their own teams in the future.

Flavio is my assistant director, and he helps me out every day.”

 

Audience

Noun: (onlooker, general audience). Members of the general audience who watch a mime presentation in order to be touched by a mime song.

The audience is watching, but we present for an Audience of One.”

 

Backgrounders

Noun: (extras, other people, minor parts, tertiary, crowd members, side people). One or more people who are not main parts or the main focus, but still crucial to the message of a song.

The crowd members were breaking character.”

 

Block

Verb: (staging, choreographing). Placing mimes in their positions on stage.

We need to block this part, so let’s put you in this window.”

 

Verb: (sword fighting)

Miming a big toc to show the swords clashing.

In this scene, you block his sword three times.”

 

Break

Verb: (reanimate, begin transitions). Coming out of a frozen pose in sync at the end of a song to either leave the stage or transition to the next song.

Everybody wait until Dylan breaks, then you can break and go to the next song.”

 

Character

Verb: (emotion). The facial, body, and gestural language that depicts an emotion or personality.

My character is a happy person on their cell phone.”

 

Noun: (ethics, morals). A set of beliefs that person bases their actions upon and their sense of right and wrong.

He is a man of a lot of character.”

 

Choreography

Noun: (mime song). A set of mime actions and techniques set to music that portrays a message.

We are going to run through the choreography for Virtuoso.”

 

Verb: (writing a mime song). Creating the actions that are set to music using the art of mime.

Someone choreographed Jesus Freak?”

 

Climax

Noun: (conclusion, resolve, resolution). The point in a mime song’s choreography when the plotline of the choreography is coming to a close, a resolution has been made, and the song is about to finish. This typically happens during a certain crescendo in the song.

The climax of this story is when all the demons have been dismissed, and the victim is being set free from his chains.”

 

Crescendo

Noun: (upbeat, crash, cymbal). A musical term describing the moment that occurs when note or many notes in the music of a mime song that marks an intense moment or change in the song. Typically, something big happens in the choreography.

At the crescendo, Jesus raises from the dead.”

 

Critique

Verb: (teach, tear apart, improve, get feedback). An observer judges the effectiveness of the song, the technique within the song, and the song overall, and gives feedback in order to correct the mimes’ mistakes in order to reach as close to perfection as humanly possible.

Man, Charleton critiques these songs so hard.”

 

Director

Noun: (head, top dog, main leader). The head of a mime team. Sometimes is experienced in mime, other times is excellent with logistics, administration, and flow of the team as a whole. Always is majorly involved in team happenings.

Timothy and Samuel are great directors.”

 

Discipleship

Verb: (mentorship, disciple). Maintaining moral character off the stage through spiritual guidance from a mentor.

You cannot be a good minister until you are a good disciple through discipleship.”

 

Double Zero

Noun: (00, basic mime position, inactive mime). The basic position that makes the mime uninteresting and focused on other parts of the song. Called “Double Zero” because there is no facial emotion and no body emotion. Hands are classical hands, feet are in first position, back is straight, and the face is emotionless. There is a TECH Video on Double Zero. The link to that video is here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeYGZGCyMF0).

You need to be in double zero in the back.”

 

Verb: (Go to double zero, places). Refers to the staging of a mime at the back or the sides of the stage in the double zero position. Can also refer to the beginning of a mime song, since most mimes in a song are in double zero at the beginning of most songs.

From the top! Double Zero!”

 

Downstage

Noun: (the front of the stage). A theatrical term used to describe the front of the stage. Going downstage refers to walking toward the audience while on stage. The opposite would be upstage.

The crowd needs to be downstage of Jesus.”

 

Drill

Verb: (practice, teach, technique). Repeating an action, part of a song, or a specific technique several times until the mimes have it almost perfect.

We need to drill some cross technique.”

 

Final Presentation

Noun: (end of session mime showcase). The presentation that is the finale of the mime songs learned and created during this session.

Our Final Presentation will be in December, bring your friends and family.”

 

From the Top

Verb: (run it, start over, from the beginning, restart). Restarting the mime song from the beginning.

We need to do that song again from the top.

 

Intermission

Noun: (break, speaker). A stop in the middle of a presentation, between songs, a speaker comes to talk, or the audience is given a break.

Intermission is right after Virtuoso. Then, after intermission, we will do Courtroom.”

 

Leader

Noun: (in charge, teacher, student leader). One of the heads of a mime team on the frontlines. Most of the time, a leader describes someone who is on the team, but also is given authority. Leaders teach mime songs, handle morale, coordinate day-to-day operations of the team, and more. Typically, leaders do not help with administrative or logistical duties.

Mark is a great leader, and has been a part of our team since he was 12.”

 

Noun: (leadership team). Leaders can describe the entire leadership team as a whole, which includes directors, assistant directors, student leaders, etc.

Cortney is part of the leadership team.”

 

Line-up

Noun: (song list, presentation list). The list of songs, in order, for the current or upcoming presentation.

The line-up for this presentation is Virtuoso, There is a God, and Jesus Freak.”

 

Main Parts

Noun: (primary, victim, the main guy/girl). A mime depicting a character that is one of the main focuses of the mime song, or one of the more difficult or extensive parts.

The main parts are: Audri is the Victim, Malachi is God, and Trinity is Satan.”

 

Makeup

Noun: (whiteface, white face, face). The iconic decorative makeup used by mimes that accents the facial features and emphasizes the diversity of character.

The way Charleton puts on his makeup makes him look like a girl.”

 

Mentor

Noun: (spiritual leader). The spiritual leader of the team on a higher level in the leadership model. Makes sure that the team is accountable from an outside perspective. Usually is not a full member of the team, but is a third-party opinion.

Our team’s mentor has told us to have a different bible study.”

 

Noun: (students’ spiritual leader). The spiritual leader that is on a lower level, but not directly called a mentor. Any leader who takes a student on as a disciple for spiritual growth.

Dave is my mentor, he has helped me grow spiritually.”

 

Mime

Verb: (miming, acting). Acting out a drama by use of technique in white face and stripes.

We present songs using mime.”

 

Noun: (mime song). Another name for a mime song or choreography.

I wrote a mime the other day.”

 

Noun: (mime actor, mimer). The iconic mime actor, with white face, black and white shirt, etc.

Mimes get stuck in the box a lot.”

 

Mime Ministry

Noun: (mime, team, outreach). The overarching term for the mime team’s outreach program of song presentation, stroll miming, etc. to spread the gospel message.

I am in a mime ministry, we present the gospel using mime.”

 

Mime Song

Noun: (mime, choreography). A mime choreography set to music that portrays a message.

Your mime songs are pretty weird.”

 

Ministry

Noun: (outreach, team). Spreading the Word of God to others via various outlets and methods.

Mime is a type of ministry that we use to portray the message of Jesus.”

 

Minute Mimes

Noun: (last minute team). A sub-team of the full team that responds to calls for presentations that are booked within a certain time period, which is coordinated on a case-by-case basis. Minute Mimes are usually called two weeks in advance or less for presentations, but may vary per team. Note that some mimes on the full team may not wish to be part of the minute mimes. Communicate with parents of the team members on coordinating Minute Mimes.

Since the presentation is tomorrow and we got notice of it today, we have to call the members of the Minute Mime team.”

 

Observer

Noun: (bystander, onlooker, audience). Members of families or friends who want to watch the mimes practice and present songs. Observers do not assert their opinion, but should always talk to a leader about problems and ideas. Not to be confused with a general audience.

My friend Jack wants to watch us practice, so he is going to be an observer over here.”

 

Offstage

Noun: (in the audience, in the wings). Refers to any place that is not on the immediate presentation stage.

For this song, you are going to start offstage, and walk up the left set of stairs to your positions.”

 

Onstage

Noun: (on the stage). Any place visible by the audience on the stage that is presented on.

You will start onstage, right in the middle of the stage.”

 

Phantom Stage

Noun: (practice stage). A stage restricted by boundaries, not by actual space, for practice or presentation purposes.

Our presentation is going to be on an 8’x10’ space, so let’s make a phantom stage using these four chairs in the corners.”

 

Present

Verb: (miming a song). Showing a mime song from beginning to end.

We are going to present Virtuoso.”

 

Presentation

Noun: (performance, showcase). Showing many mime songs, usually in a specific sequence, to bring together a performance as a whole.

This presentation consists of 32 songs, which we will do twice today.”

 

Run it

Verb: (begin, start it). Starting a mime song, sometimes from the beginning, but can also be a request to start the song from where it is or from a specific spot.

Run it from where Jesus gets beaten.”

 

Session

Noun: (season, semester). A section of time, usually about four months, determined many times by school semesters, where all members are dedicated to a specific set of songs. New members mostly enter at the beginning of the session.

He’s been in mime for 10 sessions.”

 

Showcase

Noun: (presentation, sample, example). A presentation that is usually for peers or a sample of the full extent of mime. Usually happen at the beginning of a session or camp, but can also extend to doing a one-person mime to show your family.

The first thing we do at Mime Camp is the Showcase to show our songs to the other teams.”

 

Signs

Noun: (sign language, ASL). The language of the deaf and mute, which mimes use specific hand gestures to communicate. Can also refer to the style of song that uses sign language as an artistic theatrical performance.

Work on being in sync with your signs.”

 

Song

Noun: (mime song, choreography). A mime choreography set to music that portrays a message.

This is a hard song. Jesus has to keep his arms on the cross for two minutes.”

 

Noun: (music). The musical work used by the mimes in order to display the gospel message.

Start the song from here.”

 

Speaker

Noun: (intermission, narrator, lecturer). The person who is the voice of the mimes. Usually presents a thought or an explanation during an intermission, and is not in whiteface and stripes.

Cortney is going to be our speaker for this presentation.”

 

Noun: (loudspeaker, amplifier). The equipment used to play music for the mimes.

Connect the iPod to the speaker and play Thief.”

 

Sponsor

Noun: (parent helpers, drivers, hosts). Typically family members or friends, but can refer to any person who helps out with transportation, food, speaking, and other basic logistical activities. Also makes sure the team stays together, follows conduct in whiteface, and gets their outfits together.

My mom is a sponsor, so she can drive all of us.”

 

Stage Right

Noun: (audience left, house left, the right side of the stage). A theatrical term used to describe the right side of the stage when the actor is onstage facing the audience. From there, stage left is the opposite side.

Alright, now everyone face stage right and walk off stage right.”

 

Stage

Noun: (theatre, presentation space). The actual platform used to present mime songs on. Usually is a rectangular shape with plenty of room, but many times can be oddly shaped and small. Most practices consist of a phantom stage for rehearsal purposes.

This is the stage where we will be presenting, so let’s practice the songs on the stage at least once while we have time.”

 

Staging

Verb: (blocking, choreographing). Placing mimes in their positions on stage.

You are going to be staged here, next to John.”

 

Stripes

Noun: (outfit, costume, mime gear). Directly refers to the black and white striped mime shirt, but can also refer to the mime outfit as a whole.

I have my makeup done, but I lost my stripes somewhere.”

 

Stroll Miming

Verb: (street mime). Acting like a mime in public, outside of mime songs. Performing actions, usually comical, with invisible objects for random onlookers’ amusement.

We are going to present at 3:00 and 6:00, but between then, you can stroll mime around the building.”

 

Student

Noun: (mime, team member). Mimes who are on the lowest level of the leadership model. They are, however, the most important aspects of the team. Students are the ones who present the songs as the individual members of the mime team. Once they are experienced enough, they can be promoted to a student leader.

Bob, Jim, and Jack are all students, where Fabio and Julius are student leaders.”

 

Student Leader

Noun: (mime leader, lower leader). Mimes who have been experienced enough to take up a leadership position above the students. Student leaders are in charge of teaching, morale, and technical aspects of the team’s presentation ability. They are also very commonly part of the mime songs.

The student leaders are going to teach this song to the students.”

 

Synchronization

Verb: (in sync, at the same time). Performing actions at the same time that others are performing them. Gives the song crispness and professionalism.

These signs need to be synchronized, so we are going to run this a few more times.”

 

Team

Noun: (group, troupe). A group of mimes. Usually refers to a specific troupe from a specific city or ministry.

They are part of the Visual Truth team.”

 

Technical Team

Noun: (team utilizing technique, skilled team, gets clear message). A team that utilizes technique as a practice for every presentation. By utilizing technique, a team becomes crisper, clearer, and the message is typically easier to understand. It also fosters the growth of the mimes, encouraging them to always try harder to become better.

That team is a really technical team, they are very good at their technique.”

 

Technique

Noun: (tech, discipline, skill, mime technique). The professional and specific actions used to break down every aspect of mime. All mime actions can be deconstructed into many simple mime techniques. Professionalism in technique makes songs look more professional and portray messages clearer.

The robot is an advanced technique, and is really hard to do.”

 

Toc

Verb: (tuck, spasm). Pronounced “tuck,” it is the beginning or end of a movement, characterized and emphasized by the specific muscles having a voluntary spasm. For instructions on what a toc is, watch this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3KgzL_s16Q).

The robot consists of hard tocs, which makes the body look like a machine.”

 

Training Camp

Noun: (beginning of session, orientation, tutorial). A chunk of time, typically over multiple days, where new students learn the basic techniques in mime, are put into new songs, and fellowship with the rest of the team. The Training Camp takes place at the beginning of a session.

Remember during Training Camp, how we learned Forgiven? We are going to try that one again.”

 

Transitions

Noun: (song change). The space in between mime songs during a presentation. Usually lasts less than five seconds while mimes get into double zero or the beginning positions at the beginning of the next song. If multiple or a split team presents, they can last up to a minute.

To transition between Virtuoso and There is a God, you need to go from here to there in double zero.”

 

Transporter

Noun: (sponsor, driver, transportation). A sponsor who is taking team members to their presentation venue. Should be a trusted member and it is preferred if they can sign a waiver and understand policies.

Jimmy’s mom is the transporter for today, so everyone hop in her van.”

 

Upstage

Verb: (draw attention, steal the show). Drawing attention to a minor part involuntarily, making the song look unprofessional.

Charleton is upstaging Jarek as a crowd member. Stop it, Charleton!”

 

Noun: (back of the stage). Furthest side of the stage from the audience. Facing the audience from the stage, upstage is behind you.

The crowd needs to be upstage of Jesus.”

 

Whiteface

Noun: (white face, face, makeup)

The iconic decorative makeup used by mimes that accents the facial features and emphasizes the diversity of character.

Put on your whiteface, Jarek, it’s almost presentation time.”

 

White Noise

Noun: (shuffling, talking on stage). Moving around onstage, causing distractions, and making noise when it should be silent, thereby breaking the rules of conduct for the stage.

I hear white noise from the people who should be in Double Zero.”

 

Window

Noun: (song staging). A space behind and between two mimes. Used to make a song look aesthetically pleasing.

Jake and Mackenzie are next to each other, so Makayla can stand behind them in that window.”

 

X-Person Mime

Noun: (solo, duet, trio, small group mime). X is any number 6 or less. Used to describe a song that requires X mimes to fully do the song. Typically, small group mime songs are used for small venues, small troupes, or individual showcasing.

Thief is a One-Person Mime, and Redeemed is a Three-Person Mime.”

 

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Chapter 4: Mime Makeup and Attire

In order for team members to look uniform and actually like a mime, there is a basic model that can be followed by anyone. In addition, there are a few optional additions that make it easier for makeup to be the best it can.

 

The Basic Mime Attire

Used for any occasion that most people will have most components of, consists of:

• Black shoes. Tennis shoes are fine, as long as they are fully black, but nice black shoes are best. In some instances, one forgets that they do not have black shoes. The way to combat this is to take off the shoes and wear black socks.

• Black socks.

• Black cloth or leather belt.

• Black pants. Cargo, khaki, sweats, jeans, etc. are acceptable, as long as they are fully black. Shorts do not work.

• White gloves. Fine stitched gloves are best, but any fully white gloves work as well.

• A black and white horizontally striped shirt. A simple black shirt will work as well for workshop occasions, but the iconic mime striped shirts are the best.

• Optionally, some teams may wish to use suspenders.

• Also optionally, some teams may wish to use berets. Note that berets are hard to keep on the head during presentations.

 

The Ceremonial Mime Outfit

The mime outfit that emphasizes the neatness and uniformity; the iconic mime outfit. The specific attire includes:

• Nice black shoes. Formal shoes that one might wear to church.

• Black leather belt. Cloth belts are not acceptable in the ceremonial outfit.

• Nice black khaki pants or slacks. No cargo pants or anything that does not look neat.

• Black socks.

• Fine stitched white gloves. White winter gloves do not work.

• The iconic black and white horizontally striped collared shirts with black sleeves.

 

The mime’s face consists of clown white facial makeup, red lipstick, black eyeliner, and black eye pencil. A few optional additions are preferred if they are available. The makeup is put on as follows:

The optional first step is to put down cold cream, which is a moisturizer that allows one to take off makeup easier later on.

Next, the white face goes. Dip one fingertip into the clown makeup and spread it evenly across the entire face, making a “mask” on the surface of the mime’s face. It should not cover the entire front half of the head, but only a small mask, ending at about an inch below the mouth, above the eyebrows, and to the side of the cheekbones. Carefully chisel out the edges, giving an even coat that is not too thin, and also not too thick. Avoid overreaching the edges, sticking it in your eyes, and touching lips with white face. Be sure to put white face on the eyelids as well.

The baby powder, which is optional, goes next. It is best to have the baby powder poured into some tights or leggings in order to keep it manageable and pat powder on easily. Pat the powder on the face with the eyes and mouth closed and have the mime hold their breath. Have someone blow off the mime’s face to get rid of the excess powder.

The next three makeup components can be done in any order.

The lipstick goes evenly on the lips. Rub lips together to even out the top and bottom lips. Be careful not to combine the white face with the lipstick. If this does happen, have the mime put their lips on a paper towel, clean off the lipstick, and retry.

The eye pencil draws an outline around the edge of the white face. Watch carefully in the mirror, avoiding any bumps or turns that may cause it to look bad. Remember to keep both of the sides even and symmetrical.

The eyeliner is used to decorate the face. Hopefully by now the white face is mostly dry. Simply add the decorations on the face that seem appropriate. Most commonly, the left side of the face (the right side from the mime’s perspective) is the symbol, which is usually a cross on the cheek, but many decorate with other Christian symbols. The right side contains lines that flow from the eye outward with a small dot at the end. One goes from the eye up the eyelid, up the eyebrow and end with a dot. One goes from the eye down to the cheek and end with a dot. One goes from the edge of the eye right toward the ear, stopping before the edge of the white face, ending with a dot.

 

Congratulations, you now look like a mime. Unless you were just reading this, in which case, you do not look much different at all. Refer to the next chapter, Conduct in White Face, for information about how to act while dressed as a mime.

 

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Chapter 5: Conduct in White Face

In many cases, being a mime is the most enjoyable experience that one can have. Still, there is a lot of temptation to break the conduct related to being a mime. Since mime is an art form, its art must be respected and revered in order to use it properly. The rules are simple, and should be followed whenever you are…

• Wearing a recognizable mime outfit in public, ceremonial or basic. This includes no white face and no gloves.

• Wearing white face, or…

• Wearing partial white face.

 

As a general rule, if it is recognizable that you are a mime, follow the rules. The rules are as follows:

• Do not speak. The basic level idea of being a mime, silence.

• Communicate to others through sign language, gestures, or writing on paper. If you need to communicate, use anything but your vocal cords.

• Act appropriately. That can include questionable actions, godly conduct, being respectful of others, and anything else that might be appropriate.

• Be outgoing and friendly. No one likes a boring, jerk mime. Besides that, being godly is the goal.

• Do not make people afraid of mimes. Some small children are already scared of mimes, don’t make them even more scared. In addition, some who are not scared of them yet, keep them that way.

• Silently preach the gospel. Not just in the songs, but in actions and character.

• Give glory to God when those around you compliment your performance. Humility is key. You might be the best mime you know, but you still need to give the glory to God for your abilities. This is done most commonly by pointing up to God when someone compliments you. God is always at the top.

 

If you follow those simple rules and guidelines, you will keep the art of mime revered and respected, while being able to preach the gospel with excellence.

 

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Chapter 6: Mime Levels

I have compiled a list of tangible requirements that mimes can aim for in order to grow personally as mimes. However, and this is very important to know before you go on any further, this guide is NOT a way to make yourself superior to another mime. This guide is to give personal goals in order to evaluate oneself somewhat objectively for personal growth. As far as I am concerned, if the words, “I am a higher level than you, so that means… [Insert thing you should do because of your superiority],” I believe that the person who said that should be demoted to level 1 with all of that previous experience stripped away from them. I’m not saying that will happen, but the point of this guide is for personal growth and personal experience, not to make one person better than another.

 

Technique Exemption

For some teams, technique is not as important in general. I believe that every mime should be fluent in all techniques, which clears up the stage presence of the mimes, while also making for a clearer message. For the teams that do not wish for their technique to be part of their levelling-up, they may make that optional. I do not recommend this, but it would be acceptable for the non-technical teams. However, if your team chooses to refrain from the technical aspects, then find a good focus, such as more songs and outreaches, longer presentations, etc.

 

Leveling Up

As levels go up, the requirements become increasingly difficult, which allows for mimes to work toward a goal.

 

Level 1 (Newbie):

• Number of Songs Presented: 1

• Time it takes to learn songs: 4 weeks

• Technique Learned: Basic

• Time in mime: 1 day

 

Level 2 (Beginner):

• Number of Songs Presented: 3

• Time it takes to learn songs: 4 weeks

• Technique Learned: Basic

• Time in mime: 2 weeks

 

Level 3 (Trainee):

• Number of Songs Presented: 5

• Number of Songs in a Secondary Part: 1

• Time it takes to learn songs: 4 weeks

• Technique Learned: Basic

• Technique Fluent: Basic

• Time in mime: 1 month

 

Level 4 (Novice):

• Number of Songs Presented: 10

• Number of Songs in a Secondary Part: 3

• Number of Songs in a Primary Part: 1

• Time it takes to learn songs: 3 weeks

• Technique Learned: Basic, Intermediate

• Technique Fluent: Basic

• Time in mime: 3 months

 

Level 5 (Intermediate):

• Number of Songs Presented: 20

• Number of Songs in a Secondary Part: 5

• Number of Songs in a Primary Part: 3

• Time it takes to learn songs: 2 weeks

• Technique Learned: Basic, Intermediate

• Technique Fluent: Basic, Intermediate

• Time in mime: 6 months

• Maturity Level: Able to somewhat influence others

 

Level 6 (Apprentice):

• Number of Songs Presented: 40

• Number of Songs in a Secondary Part: 10

• Number of Songs in a Primary Part: 5

• Time it takes to learn songs: 1 week

• Technique Learned: Basic, Intermediate

• Technique Fluent: Basic, Intermediate

• Technique Mastered: All Basic

• Ability to Teach: Extras and small-scale parts

• Time in mime: 1 year

• Maturity Level: Able to somewhat influence others

 

Level 7 (Advanced):

• Number of Songs Presented: 100

• Number of Songs in a Secondary Part: 20

• Number of Songs in a Primary Part: 10

• Songs Choreographed in Part or in Whole: 1

• Time it takes to learn songs: 1 day

• Technique Learned: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced

• Technique Fluent: Basic, Intermediate

• Technique Mastered: All Basic

• Ability to Teach: Extras and Secondary parts

• Time in mime: 2 years

• Maturity Level: Able to influence others commonly

 

Level 8 (Teacher):

• Number of Songs Presented: 200

• Number of Songs in a Secondary Part: 40

• Number of Songs in a Primary Part: 20

• Songs Choreographed in Part or in Whole: 5

• Time it takes to learn songs: 1 practice

• Technique Learned: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced

• Technique Fluent: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced

• Technique Mastered: All Basic

• Ability to Teach: Extras, Secondary, and Primary parts

• Time in mime: 3 years

• Maturity Level: Able to change the mood of the team at will

 

Level 9 (Expert):

• Number of Songs Presented: 350

• Number of Songs in a Secondary Part: 100

• Number of Songs in a Primary Part: 40

• Songs Choreographed in Part or in Whole: 10

• Time it takes to learn songs: less than 1 practice

• Technique Learned: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced

• Technique Fluent: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced

• Technique Mastered: All Basic, Some Intermediate, plus 2 Advanced Techniques

• Ability to Teach: Any Part

• Time in mime: 4 years

• Maturity Level: Able to guide the team as a leader and influencer

 

Level 10 (Master):

• Number of Songs Presented: 500

• Number of Songs in a Secondary Part: 200

• Number of Songs in a Primary Part: 100

• Songs Choreographed in Part or in Whole: 20

• Time it takes to learn songs: In four runs

• Technique Learned: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced

• Technique Fluent: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced

• Technique Mastered: All Basic and Intermediate, plus 2 Advanced Techniques

• Ability to Teach: Any Part

• Time in mime: 5 years

• Maturity Level: Able to lead the team as a mature adult and able to make good decisions for the team

 

Level 11 (Virtuoso):

• Number of Songs Presented: 1000

• Number of Songs in a Secondary Part: 500

• Number of Songs in a Primary Part: 200

• Songs Choreographed in Part or in Whole: 50

• Time it takes to learn songs: In two runs

• Technique Learned: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced

• Technique Fluent: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced

• Technique Mastered: All Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Techniques

• Ability to Teach: Any Part

• Time in mime: 6 years

• Maturity Level: Able to challenge the team and provoke action from members

 

Ambiguous terms

Technique Taught

Technique that the mime has learned and been exposed to, but not necessarily remember all of it.

 

Technique Fluent

Technique that the mime is familiar with and can recall it when necessary.

 

Technique Mastered

Mastery in the technique, ability to recall it on demand, and able to present it with excellence.

 

Time in Mime

The duration of the individual’s career in mime. Longevity requirements are somewhat low because 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

 

Maturity

The generalized maturity level of the mime. They can be excellent with technique, they could have been on the team for a long time, they could have been in many mime songs, but if they are immature and act like children, they cannot move forward in their level.

 

Quick Reference Table

This table is a compact version of the same information above, but in a pocket sized table.

 

table<>. <>. |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. Level |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. # Songs |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. # Second |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. # Prime |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. Learn |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. Teach |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. Choreo |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. Technique |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. Longev |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. Maturity | <>. |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 1 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 1 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 0 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 0 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 4 wks |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. - |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 0 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. T Basic |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 1 day |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. - | <>. |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 2 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 3 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 0 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 0 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 4 wks |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. - |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 0 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. - |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 1 wk |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. - | <>. |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 3 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 5 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 1 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 0 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 4 wks |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. - |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 0 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. F Basic |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 1 mon |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. - | <>. |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 4 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 10 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 3 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 1 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 3 wks |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. - |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 0 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. T Inter |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 3 mon |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. - | <>. |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 5 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 20 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 5 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 3 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 2 wks |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. - |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 0 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. F Inter |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 6 mon |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. Some Influence | <>. |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 6 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 40 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 10 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 5 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 1 wk |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. Extra |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 0 |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. M Basic |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}. 1 yr |<>.
p<>{color:#000;}.  

| <>. |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 7 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 100 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 20 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 10 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 1 day |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. Sec |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 1 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. T Adv |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 2 yrs |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. Much Influence | <>. |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 8 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 200 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 40 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 20 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 1 day |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. Pri |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 5 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. F Adv |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 3 yrs |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. Thermostat | <>. |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 9 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 350 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 100 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 40 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 1 prac |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. All |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 10 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. M 2 Adv |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 4 yrs |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. Guiding | <>. |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 10 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 500 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 200 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 100 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. In 4 runs |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. - |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 20 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. M Inter |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 5 yrs |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. Leading | <>. |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 11 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 1000 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 500 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 200 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. In 2 runs |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. - |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 50 |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. M Adv |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. 6 yrs |<>. p<>{color:#000;}. Challenge

Others |

 

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Chapter 7: How to Teach a Mime Song

The basic sequence for teaching in any sense is Show, Tell, Teach, Perform, and Reinforce. For mime, we will add Critique and Present to the end of that, but other than that, it is the same for learning a dance, a song, or any practical action.

Please know that this is not the way that everyone learns. Since not everyone learns the same way, this might not work. However, it is a good place to start if you are uncertain about starting out your teaching in a specific way.

 

Teaching Sequence

Show.

Demonstrate the mime song. Usually this means you need to grab a few friends and run the mime song as one collective unit. This gets the idea of the song into the learner’s mind. Additionally, showing a video of the mime song can help tremendously.

 

Tell.

Explain the song as a whole, then explain the learner’s part individually. Also explain the mood, backstory, significance, and anything else that might be important to know about the song.

 

Teach.

Teach using your words and actions. Work alongside the learner or mirror their actions. Get them to know the basic sequence of the song. Learning the whole song in one sitting is almost impossible. Also consider the level of skill. If the person being taught is new, then give each action very specific instructions. For those who are skilled, a bit less of that kind of teaching is necessary. For instance, telling a skilled mime to be angry or accuse someone would be easy. However, if they do not know what that means, explain it in detail before thinking they are good with it.

 

Perform.

Let them do the song at whatever level they are at. If they fail during it, help them out. Refrain from demeaning or yelling at the mimes. Typically, the mimes want to do well, they just do not know how. Encourage them.

 

Reinforce.

After the song is over, reinforce their actions. Applaud for them. Let them know they did well. Only dogging them for the bad things doesn’t encourage them to do better, it only makes them feel negatively toward the song and possibly you.

 

Critique.

Tell them what went wrong, and encourage them to do better. As far as songs go, reaching for perfection is the goal. However, excellence is where what aim for. There is always something that we can fix in a song. If the mime corrects their action, make sure to outwardly state that they fixed it. Encouragement positively reinforces their actions, and also restates it for memory. Also make sure to have the mimes practice how they present. If there is a lot of white noise, like people shuffling around, talking, etc. or do not get their part down, have them restart the song, or just do one section over again. See the How to Critique a Mime Song chapter for more information on this.

 

Present.

The dress rehearsals or the actual final presentation. Once the practice is over, it comes down to the real thing. If the learner has done well, this is where it will matter most. After the presentation or dress rehearsal, if you go back to practice more, then you can continue to critique the song. If that was the last presentation for the season, then just let them know they did well.

 

This sequence of teaching is fairly logical, but far too often we get lost in the hurried aspect of learning, because there are so many songs to learn in such a short period of time. However, each mime needs to learn the song as a whole before going on to the next one. Going back later on to work on old songs is fine, just as long as the mimes are going to be able to do it.

 

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Chapter 8: Common Choreography Themes

This guide is simply a list of commonly used themes in mime. This guide has multiple purposes. First, teaching these themes and teaching them well is absolutely necessary for a mime’s technical growth. Second, sometimes a common theme needs to be avoided since they can be cliché. Third, it is good to have these in your apparatus of knowledge while trying to choreograph a song.

 

The guide is laid out like so:

Name of the theme [, *Secondary (a semi-important, smaller, main part) Tertiary (a small minor part), All (potentially used by primary, secondary, or tertiary parts)).

Description of the theme.

Pros: Good things about the theme.

Cons: Bad things about the theme and common errors.

 

This is not a comprehensive list, so if I have left something out, please let me know and I would be happy to add it to future versions.

Note: I use the word “depict” a lot in this guide. Depict means to represent, portray, illustrate, or show a certain action or trait.

 

Angels and Demons (Secondary).

Typically a warring between the two, or it can also just be angels depicting heaven or demons depicting hell or temptations.

Pros: Gives an interesting view into the immaterial world. Shows how there is a constant battle that we cannot see.

Cons: It is easy to depict the demons as having more power than God or the Angels. It is also easy to become creepy and disturbing, which may be good, but can freak some people out and lose the message.

 

Atheist (Secondary).

The non-believer or enemy of the Christian. Sometimes is converted by the end of the song.

Pros: They are the human version of a demon, while also being a reasonable person. They are the “enemy” of the Christian, but in reality, they are human, so they are to be loved and saved, not hated and brought down.

Cons: They are often depicted as much worse than most Atheists actually are. I have met quite a few, and they are quite logical and often very intelligent in their arguments, where Christians get full of emotion and logic goes out the window. Atheists should not be depicted as evil, but as someone who needs Christ.

 

Bonds/Chains (All).

Chains typically around the wrist to depict bondage and the eventual release of that bondage through Christ. Subject can also be chained up to a fixed point, such as the wall.

Pros: It is a good representation of how God comes through and releases one’s bonds from their own sin nature or how God’s people are oppressed sometimes.

Cons: If used wrong, people will not understand why or how they are chained up.

 

Congregations and Crowds (Tertiary).

The audience or crowd onstage. Usually consists of people being preached to by a pastor, but can also be a school, generic crowd, etc.

Pros: Uses a lot of space onstage, and also gives more mimes the ability to have parts, though minor, in the songs.

Cons: If not handled properly, they can be very distracting to the message. A lot of congregational actions should not be used for very long, otherwise the audience will lose track of the message and/or the main character.

 

Conversion (All).

A non-believer coming to Christ or a weak Christian reinstating their faith. Can also include guards, crowd members, etc.

Pros: Depicts what truly needs to happen for the members of the audience. They simply need to convert by believing in Christ and giving their lives wholly to Him.

Cons: They are very cheesy and oftentimes do not show what they are actually confessing. Oftentimes, they don’t incite action from the audience to come to Christ. People don’t want to convert if they don’t understand what they are getting into.

 

Crucifixion Scene (All).

Can refer to just being nailed to the cross, or the entire sequence of being abducted at Gethsemane to dying and possibly coming back to life on the cross.

Pros: This is one of the most powerful messages that we can convey in mime, since it is kind of hard to choreograph other powerful messages, such as God’s relationship with Himself as the trinity, conveying Docetism, etc.

Cons: It is majorly overused. Sometimes I try to purposefully not use a crucifixion scene in the songs I make, since it has been done far too many times.

 

God (Primary).

The ultimate judge and healer of the mimes (heh… yeah…). God is sometimes confused as being a different person than Jesus (since of course we can’t all have twins play God and Jesus).

Pros: God is depicted as judge, which is one of many offices that the trinity holds. God also is often depicted as being fair, which is a good trait of a judge, I suppose, as well as powerful. God is necessary for the gospel message, since the bible is the story of God. God is all powerful and must be portrayed as such.

Cons: God is oftentimes depicted as being weaker than Satan and/or the demons. He is also confused as being a different person than Jesus. In addition, there is no Holy Spirit, which is God also.

 

Guards and Soldiers (Secondary).

The “villain” humans. Usually guards are used as antagonists, and sometimes are converted at the cross or at other times. Guards have been known to crucify Jesus, beat Christians, take bibles and banners away from people, etc. in order to oppose Christianity.

Pros: These are usually the only non-demon antagonists in a story, and they give a rather vivid depiction of brutality that Satan influences people with.

Cons: Guards are usually strong and serious parts. They should be played by some of the mimes with the best emotion, otherwise their part degrades greatly and they just look lame.

 

Jesus (Primary).

Even though Jesus is much more than a savior (e.g. judge, king, rock, prophet, etc.), he is usually depicted as our savior on the cross or one who takes the sins from the victim.

Pros: One of the strongest messages is Jesus dying for our salvation. Our main goal is leading someone to Jesus, so showing Jesus’ actions can be the best way to do so.

Cons: Jesus is a very technical and emotional part, and must be handled with the utmost care. Jesus is also overused as savior and underused as anything else.

 

Minor Parts (Tertiary).

Everyone who is not a primary or secondary part. Mainly parts that are small, but necessary for the message. They can come in the forms of an audience member, a worker, a clown, or just about anyone that is not the primary or secondary focus of the song at that point. In other words, someone not onstage for long, but someone who needs to be there for the storyline.

Pros: Usually depicts a part of the song that might be important, such as a blind man who receives sight from Jesus, who then fades off into the crowd.

Cons: Many times, if not handled with care, the mimes who were good characters in one scene then are suddenly a bad character in the next, which can confuse the audience as to who is good or bad and why they are such. Additionally, being too big may sap the message away from the primary roles and lose the message.

 

Narrator (Secondary).

One or two main signers who use American Sign Language (or at least closely relating gestures) for a solid majority of the song.

Pros: Gives the feel of a story being told. Plus it just looks artistic for most audience members.

Cons: Heavy reliance on the narrator can take away from the message of the song. It is also possible to have the narrator distract the audience members if too much is going on at the same time.

 

Preaching (Secondary and Tertiary).

A pastor with an open bible intensely waving their hands as an excited congregation listens.

Pros: It is rather easy to depict preaching and it sets the stage for the general idea.

Cons: Should not be used as a main emphasis for very long. It is a very monotonous part, and should usually be upstaged by a bigger story happening in the congregation or somewhere else onstage.

 

Satan (Primary).

The ultimate evil. Tempts, hurts, afflicts, and is generally a major jerk face. The direct enemy of God.

Pros: As Satan is the ultimate evil, his antics are used to depict our sin nature, our fall, and our need for a savior. Many times these themes might be a direct reflection of some people’s lives, that is, they are acting in a way that is being influenced by Satan and they need Jesus.

Cons: Satan is very often depicted as being stronger than Jesus and God. There are many interesting verses about God’s relationship with Satan (Matthew 4:1-11, Job 1:6-8, etc.) and it should therefore be handled with care.

 

Signing (All).

The use of American Sign Language, or the pidgin thereof, in order to flow the song forward or convey a chorus.

Pros: Sign language has a reputation for being quite astounding to see. It also fills in a lot of dead space for slow parts of songs.

Cons: If overused, the signs can detract or distract from the overall message of the mime song. It is also lazy choreography if the whole song is sign language, unless it is supposed to be an attention-getting celebratory song for the beginning of a presentation.

 

U.S. Soldier (All).

Patriotic songs many times call for a soldier for their songs in war scenes, depictions of life on the battlefield, etc.

Pros: Many times, veterans are in the audience and can directly relate to these characters. It is really moving to many people.

Cons: It is possible to disrespect the position, and since it seems that patriotism is unfortunately more widely accepted than Christianity, that can be detrimental to saving a veteran or someone attending.

 

Victim (Primary).

The person being attacked by Satan or other sources, being accused, tormented, or is otherwise weak and helpless until God comes to save them.

Pros: The victim is basically each member of the audience and their spiritual walk. It depicts quite well why we need a savior.

Cons: Jesus is more than just a savior. If we only depict Jesus saving the victim as savior, what good is it? Additionally, the victim can also become lost in the chaos of the greater story happening around them. Consider giving the victim something to identify them, such as a hat. That way, people can follow the main character through the story.

 

Many of these themes are cliché, while others are necessary and good to develop. Although, I would encourage you to find one song that does not have at least five of these themes (excluding songs with three or fewer mimes in them). Still, sometimes the classics are good to keep in mind, and they can be tools instead of clichés if used correctly.

 

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Chapter 9: Team Structure and Leadership Model

Many times, we are unsure as to what our roles in the team are. Is everyone supposed to be a leader? Are there limits as to how many people there should be on a leadership team? Maybe. The first step is to get your ducks in a row and set up a structured hierarchy of roles to follow. This chapter gives one basic hierarchy to follow, which includes the basic components of a team, plus some extras on the side.

Team Structure

Definitions of all members of the team, from God, to the director, to the student, to anyone not involved.

 

God

Above all. Final and first decision maker. Should always be consulted first. He has His duties covered.

 

Director

In charge of leadership team as a moderator and facilitator. The director is in charge of much administrative work, such as booking venues, developing discussion and meeting materials, paperwork, communicating with parents and the home church, developing itineraries, budgeting, waivers, and more. The director also heads up the leadership team as a whole. It is important to note that the director does not have ultimate power, but is simply another leader that may have the final say in certain cases. Also, the director does not have to be some behind-the-scenes mystery person. Instead, they should be up teaching the songs, technique, going to venues, and being a very approachable and personal leader. Lastly, the director should have the ability to delegate tasks according to the needs of the team.

 

Mentor

Does not have a hand in the team, but acts as an accountability partner for the directors and leaders. Mentors are typically people who are spiritual partners of the leaders, but are not part of the team itself, meaning they are more involved in the spiritual guidance of the team than the team itself.

 

Secretary

Acts as an administrator for the team behind the scenes. The secretary handles the paperwork and administrative side of the team. They can also be spokespeople for the team if necessary. They mainly assist the director in such as booking venues, developing discussion and meeting materials, paperwork, communicating with parents and the home church, developing itineraries, budgeting, waivers, and whatever else is delegated to them.

 

Assistant Director

Adult authority in charge of Leaders and Students. They are the frontline leaders, who discuss topics about the team, alongside the director, and vote on the materials of the team. They also develop bible studies, determine the roles that students will play in mime songs, teach the songs themselves, choreograph mime songs, and other related tasks. They may be in the songs themselves if they need to be. Oftentimes, if the team is low on morale, then the leaders are in charge of raising that morale. Any member of leadership must be reasonably skilled and mentally and spiritually mature in order to operate as good leaders. Lastly, the leaders assist in any delegated tasks given by the director.

 

Head Sponsor

In charge of sponsors and getting help from students. The head sponsor is the “mom” of the team. They are in charge of equipment, transportation, meals, purchasing, running errands, host homes, and any other day-to-day field operations. They have the ability to act as a spokesperson during presentations, and acts as a middle-man for students, all leaders, parents, and the church.

 

Sponsor

Usually is a parent of a mime or a supporter who wants to attend as a helper. Sponsors are voluntary positions, any anyone who is eligible may join. The sponsors are the extra helpers of the team, assisting the head sponsor with their needs, including but not limited to, transportation, keeping order, offering meals or snacks, and overseeing team members on presentation day.

 

Leader

A student who excels in mime who can be held to a higher standard. Leaders are expected to be somewhat mature, spiritually and mentally. They are also given responsibilities for student learning, morale, and technique. They are mainly in charge of teaching mime songs, discipling younger students, helping determine song roles, and must work harder on practice day with songs, technique, and spiritual growth of the team.

 

Student

Also referred to as members or mimes. Members of the presentation team who use mime as a tool for spreading the gospel message. Students are expected to prepare for and attend weekly meetings and practices from start to finish of session to maintain membership. If they do not have this commitment, the undedicated member of the team will hinder the rest of the team. Each member is very important. Even if just one student is missing, and that one was just a tree, that can throw the whole song off, and need to be re-choreographed to work. Students must be willing to grow spiritually and technically, and also must respect and follow guidelines of the ministry with their actions, representation, and dedication.

 

Observer

A non-leader, non-student, and non-administrative member. Typically a family member or friend of a mime who just wants to watch. Observers are not a part of the team whatsoever, as practically everyone who does not fit under one of these other definitions is an observer. Observers cannot be held to any standard, unless the leadership team enforces it. The observers should direct any comments that need to be addressed to a leader or director, and may not interfere with the mimes in any way, unless excused on a case-by-case basis. Observers may request to become students or sponsors if they are interested, per the regulations of the team.

 

Non-Hierarchical Members

Members of the team that are atypical to their roles, but are accepted.

 

Spokesman

Anyone may be a spokesperson, but that is typically already handled by the leadership team early on. There may also be guest speakers, pastors, family members, and many others who can take this job during a presentation. However, one should note that it is not possible for someone in whiteface to take this job. Well, it’s possible, but it should not be done.

 

Leaders in the Songs

Commonly, student leaders are in the mime songs themselves, filling up roles as needed, and even setting a higher standard for the students. As noted in some of the roles however, a leader, assistant director, or the director may choose to be in the song. When this happens, they take the same responsibilities as a student leader, except they are also in charge of the student leaders as well.

 

Multiplying the Team

Not splitting the team, multiplying it. If there are a lot of mimes on a team, which “a lot” usually constitutes 16 or more, then consider having two teams. If there two teams, then there should be student leaders over each team, not crossing over between teams. Each team should be its own set up, doing different songs, having different leaders, and being generally separate. In other cases, it is acceptable to have two different sections of your team do two different songs, then shuffle the members of those teams to do two more songs, and so on.

One particular mime team, based out of Lancaster, PA, has their team set up where there are only 8-15 members per team. Once the team grows to 16, the team multiplies and another team is born. Each team runs as its own separate entity.

 

Leadership Hierarchy

Follow this leadership hierarchy chart to get a visual understanding of the roles.

 

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Chapter 10: Leadership

Defining leadership is tough. There are hundreds of definitions of what a leader is, and what a leader should be. This is my attempt at teaching leadership from a mime team’s perspective. Leading is something that should not be taken lightly. It is a spiritual and administrative position that can be used or abused very easily.

 

Leadership Defined

In an attempt to define leadership on a mime team, I will give a few notes about leadership itself. Know first that I am talking about directors, assistant directors, and student leaders on a mime team (see Team Structure chapter for more depth on those terms).

 

Mime Leader Attributes

Here is a list of the most desirable attributes of a mime leader. Know that none of these are more important than another. If someone is lacking greatly in one aspect, then they should consider not being a leader. If a potential leader can develop some of their weak traits, work on those. However, they cannot develop on ones that are not there at all. If there is a member who may become a leader, develop those before promoting them.

• Experience: Being on a team for long enough and gaining the skills necessary.

• Humility: Accepting their position as a student or leader and not being power hungry.

• Positive Influence: Changing the mood of the team members to a better one, not following a bad mood that is already there, and inciting action into others on the team.

• Kindness: Be nice to others.

• Excellence in Mime: Being skilled in the mime technique, as well as many songs.

 

You Are Not Entitled to a Leadership Position

The most frustrating incidence is seeing someone believe that they are entitled to a leadership position. Just because Steve’s brother is a leader does not mean that he should be. Just because Bob’s dad is the director does not mean he should be a leaders. Just because Jimmy has been on the team for 15 years does not make him a leader either. Leadership is earned.

 

Experience Does Not Make You a Leader

Going hand-in-hand with what was just said, leadership is about leading, not being good. Maybe Daquan has been on the team for five years, he has excellent technique, and he knows dozens of mime songs. That does not mean he should be a leader. The real question is: Does he have leadership attributes? That should always be the biggest question about whether or not someone should be a leader.

 

Manage vs. Lead

Know that there is a difference between managing and leading. Managing is telling people what to do, getting tasks done, and being efficient. Leading is guiding people, assisting people to reach the end goal, and focusing more on the people than the task at hand. People are more important than any task that anyone could possibly create.

 

The Spirituality of Leadership

Leadership is a divine role. It is an opportunity to be an example and a spiritual mentor while teaching and leading those beneath you. Never should someone’s mime experience trump their spirituality.

 

Leader Considerations

There are a few things that one must consider after accepting a leadership role.

 

You Must Earn Respect, Do Not Expect It

Respect is important for leaders if they expect their followers to listen to them. If the followers do not respect a leader, then ether the leader is a bad leader or the follower is a bad follower. However, more than likely it is the leader. Earning respect is the only way it can come, no leader can force someone to respect them. Expecting respect for the position is a bad idea. Incidentally, followers should respect leaders by default, but leaders should still earn respect by default. It goes both ways, but the leader is held accountable for it.

 

Be Kind, but Firm

Being the followers’ friend is important. People are more important than anything, so they should be treated as such. At the same time, learning the mime songs is also important. Therefore, delicately but firmly critiquing is necessary for leaders.

 

Be Approachable

On top of being a friend, it is also good to be someone who people can go to for their problems and questions. Leaders who are intimidating are not good leaders. Leaders who are approachable and are friends are great leader. Leaders who only want to be friends, but do not want to be approached about real problems are problems themselves.

 

Do Not Be Power Hungry

In other words, don’t be a leader with a bad motive. Being a leader for the sake of bossing others around is one of the worst reasons to be a leader. Being a leader because you “should” be a leader is also a bad reason.

 

You Are Not in This Alone

Allow someone else to help you. Someone else as in a fellow leader. Especially with critiquing mime songs, asking for a second opinion is an excellent idea.

 

Leader Responsibilities

Leaders have a lot more to do than just be above people and teach.

You are responsible for the team. Leaders are above the team members, but are responsible for them as well. The team members’ well-being, technique, song quality, energy, etc. are in the hands of the leadership team. Leadership is about more than just teaching. Granted, this list describes a basic group of responsibilities for many of the leadership team members, but it does not cover everything. See Team Structure for a more detailed list. Leaders should…

• Handle Morale. Is the team upbeat and in good spirits?

• Create the Presentation Structure. Is the lineup of the presentation a good one?

• Ensure Presentability. Is the roster of the songs that the leadership team chose a roster that the team can present well and be effective with?

• Book Venues. Where do you present? Where else? Do you have good relationships with the venue? Will these people ask you back? Will there be a lot of people that you can reach there?

• Do Paperwork. Did everyone fill out waivers? Do you need to pay royalties?

• Be Effective in Mentorship. Are you influencing the members’ lives spiritually?

• Be Thermostats. Are you changing yourself to be like everyone else, or are you being an example and making others change to your mood?

 

Remember, the leaders are guilty if the team fails. In essence, you are the one who takes the blame, as the leader. If someone is not learning well, has their part down poorly after many attempts, presents the song poorly during presentation, or any other failure, then you are not teaching them correctly. Followers have their responsibility individually to learn. However, as a whole it is the leader who takes the blame. Don’t let that get you down, because being a leader is fun. It gives you a say in the activities that go on in the team. Everyone has their own brand of leading, but it should always be a good one.

 

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Chapter 11: Choreographing a Mime Song

Choreographing a song is one of the most important tools to have for a mime ministry. The mimes can have excellent technique and always do their parts 100% perfectly every time, but if the song choreography is hard to understand, then the audience won't receive the message. It is hard to write this chapter and not make it sound cold and calculated. In reality, mime choreography is really fun. It is always quite awesome to see a song that you helped choreograph be presented onstage. This chapter is a guide to choreographing a song. It is a subjective list of considerations from the moment of idea generation down to the eventual presentation of the song. If this model is not followed, that is totally fine. This is simply a suggestion for an initial attempt and then change what works best for you and your team. Enjoy!

 

Song Type

There can be more than one. The song’s choreography related to the song itself.

 

Ballad

Follows the lyrics and message of the music directly. This can be either through narration, acting out, or any other mode that causes the lyrics of the song to convey part of the message, with mime as the other part.

E.g. Courtroom and Deathbed.

 

Independent

Songs without lyrics or songs that do not follow the lyrics for the message. The general idea of the song, if it does have lyrics, is not necessarily followed and most of the song goes a different way than the song artist may have intended.

E.g. Virtuoso and Go.

 

Celebratory

Signing, dancing, flags, etc. Songs that do not necessarily have a message, but are an energetic performance for a majority of the song. These songs are great openers, and get the crowd pumped and interested in the presentation as a whole.

E.g. Celebrating Jesus and the Pledge.

 

Talks

Not to be confused with Celebratory. Songs that are a speech, broken down into smaller components. It is a mixture of a celebratory song and a ballad.

E.g. America Again and There Is a God.

 

Christmas

Songs that portray a specifically Christmas-related message, such as the Nativity, or that utilize a well-known Christmas song. Mainly only used during Christmastime. Obviously.

E.g. Gloria and Mary, Did You Know?

 

Patriotic

Songs that honor veterans who gave their lives for the freedom of America. Some do not necessarily have a gospel message, but are poignant and meaningful to veterans. Getting these right is crucial to attempting to lead a veteran or their families to Christ.

E.g. Honor to Serve and God Bless the U.S.A.

 

Elements

The choreography’s specific parts that move along the message as smooth as possible.

 

Message

Is the message relevant to the intended audience? Is it easy to understand? Compare a church audience to an audience at a baseball stadium.

 

Characters

What characters are there? How many characters are there? Is the focus split between too many characters? Does a character add or detract from the message? Are there ample opportunities for extras in the song? Will this be a song all the mimes can participate in?

 

Props

What props are needed for the song? This can include:

• Identification Props: The God Cape, Satan Cape, Jesus Sash, and Trench Coat are examples of identification props. These are used to identify a main part.

• Non-Mimed Props: Hammers and Bibles are examples of non-mimed objects. These are objects that are used to accent, symbolize, and emphasize certain parts.

 

Technique

What specific technique is needed?

• Simple moments. Moments that require something specific to make it excellent. For example, is Jesus reaching to the victim with a Michelangelo hand?

• Objects. Since mimes pretend that there are objects everywhere without there being any, these objects must be visible by their technique. For example, is a staff used in the song?

• Overarching. Technique that recurs throughout the entire song. For example, Via Dolorosa has emotion and resistance throughout the song.

 

Pace

The “speed” of the storytelling. The pace of a song can either be used or misused in any song. Different songs require different paces. There are songs that should be faster, and others that should be slower. Each song is different. This is the speed spectrum. Be careful with the extremes.

1. Crawl: Much too slow, will cause the audience to lose interest.

2. Slow: Depending upon the mood of the song, a slow song can be used to keep audience in suspense for the song, but it can also lose them.

3. Relaxed: The best speed for most emotional or slow songs. Relaxed speeds keep the audience enticed, while also keeping a decent flow.

4. Medium: A balance between speed and message delivery. When in doubt, go medium.

5. Hurried: Some songs require a faster pace than the middle-ground, which allows for the audience to feed on the energy and keep up with the message.

6. Fast: High-energy songs should not go too fast, lest the audience lose track of what is going on. However, high-energy songs should only be fast paced, and fast paced songs should only be high-energy.

7. Overload: Much too fast, as the audience will lose the message and the song will have many errors in the delivery.

 

Staging

The physical layout of the stage and the choreography of the song itself.

Stage Layout

What is the shape of the stage? Not the physical stage itself, but the stage that is portrayed. There are not many types, but these account for just about all songs.

• Fixed Stage: Songs like Courtroom are the same place from beginning to end.

• Moving Stage: Songs like Go move continuously, as the theoretical place on the stage is an ever-changing place.

• Split Stage: Songs like I’m Guilty split the stage in half, half is one story, half is another.

 

Width and Depth

How deep is the stage? Is everyone in one line, or does the stage reach all the way to the back? Can everyone fit on the stage? Can we work with one line, or do we need two lines?

 

Focal Point

Where is the focus of the song right now? The main focus should be most exaggerated, tallest standing, and/or the most downstage character. Extras should be small, but not lazy in technique.

 

Transitions

Where does everyone need to be in the next scene? Each separate scene has its own separate staging, blocking, and sometimes even characters.

 

Double Zero Positions

Is the location of each mime the best place for them to be? No mime should be in the way of any character onstage at any time. This can mean that the mimes in double zero are forming a wall on the back or sides, or be in a position onstage in double zero.

 

General Stage Techniques

Technical ballyhoo about the stage. All mimes should be familiar with a few terms, especially those choreographing the songs that they will do.

 

Cheating Out”

The mime keeping their front to the audience. No full back should be seen by the audience unless the part specifically asks for it. In most instances, the body should face 45 degrees from the full-front pose and 45 degrees from the profile pose.

 

Stage Locations

Position on the stage, like stage right, in order to easily communicate where everything should be. Stage right is audience left. Audience left is the left hand side when you are sitting in the audience facing the stage. Stage left is the left hand side when you are onstage facing the audience.

 

Exaggeration

“Projecting” your actions so the audience can see them. Not to be confused with nervous energy. Nervous energy is over-exaggerating every action without needing to.

 

Jargon

Terminology that should either be known or avoided altogether. For instance, any mime should know “Double-Zero,” but probably not “Sepulcher.”

 

Musical Plotline

Not to be confused with the message. Mixing the mime song with the music. This mainly applies to independent songs, especially instrumental songs.

Song Mood

The music of a song plays a great role in the creation of a song. If you are wanting a high-energy choreography, it cannot be played to a slow song, and vice versa. For Independent instrumental songs, this is especially good to look out for.

 

Crescendos

During the mime song choreography, there should be a crescendo right along with the music. In other words, if there is a cymbal crash, then that is a great time for something big to happen. This is not always the case, but it drastically increases the effectiveness of the message. If something big happens (e.g. Jesus raising from the dead), in the middle of an instrumental song with nothing great happening in the music, it seems a lot less interesting to the audience, and the message is weaker.

 

Climax

The climax, that is, the point at which the story reaches its highest point of resolve, should also happen with the climax of the song. The climax of the song is usually near the end, or can also be obvious with a big musical cue.

 

Difficulty

How hard or easy to do and to teach the song in different scenarios.

 

Technical vs. Basic

Is this song a technical song or is it a basic song? Does an experienced team need to do it, or can an inexperienced team do it? For example, Freedom and Restoration is a hard song, but Forgiven is an easy song.

 

Number of Mimes in the Song

How many mimes are needed to do the song completely? Can a small team do it, or does a big team need to do it? Can parts be omitted if necessary? For example, Thief is a one-person mime, Redeemed is a three-person, Courtroom is a moderately populated song, and Go is a largely populated song.

 

Prop Confusion

What about props? Are there too many props to deal with, or are all of the items mimicked? Most objects should be mimed, but hammers and bibles are often not. Only use an actual prop if absolutely necessary for portraying the song effectively.

 

Style

The freedom to do what looks better and avoid mime clichés.

 

Adding a Unique Style

This is the most fun part of choreography, adding a personal touch. This can also include adding a deeper message than the obvious one, adding a technique style that makes the song artistic, or adding a part that is unique and interesting, such as Hero (Superchick)’s rewind in the last scene, Mission 3:16’s goofy detective characters, and I’m Guilty’s split stage.

 

Try Something Tough

Don’t use a Crucifixion scene. The crucifixion scene is perhaps the most powerful component of the Christian message, but it is a cliché in the mime song world. Is there some way you can deliver a powerful message without a crucifixion scene? Or is there a way to minimize it, to where the crucifixion is not the primary message?

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Things

I know from experience, choreographing mime songs is a long, tedious project. Sometimes you want to try something, but you know it will be tough. Do it anyways. If you fail, so what? Try another one, or fix it up and see if it works. Do not feel confined to only doing mime songs to stereotypical Christian music. Some examples that we have tried or want to try are:

• Choreographing the whole bible in one fluid presentation. Jarek and I did this conceptually through seven mime songs. The whole presentation ended up with about 24 minutes of miming. We have not attempted to present it with a team, but will hopefully try soon, and fix it up as we try it.

• Setting a Christian mime theme to a secular song. The song Black Parade, which is an extremely bad song, with a dark backstory behind it (look it up sometime, lots of suicide and depression), we choreographed into a message of salvation and evangelism.

• Doing a mime without music. Typically, mimes go along with the music, but sometimes there is not any music. How do you portray a message in mime without music? That’s something to try.

• Hand-Clapping music. Something that Cortney and I have wanted to try is to choreograph a celebratory song with no music, instead creating that music by clapping, snapping, hitting thighs, stomping, etc. to make a funky beat. Why not?

 

Other Stylistic Considerations

Also consider, you have the freedom to make the songs more powerful or deep by breaking the rules or making your own ones. The rules are somewhat relative here, the only truth that needs to be conveyed is God’s truth. If you must choreograph the song using only real objects on a super small stage, then do it, and make sure you do it well.

 

Final Considerations

Once your song is put together, run it and ask yourself these questions.

• Is the message clear?

• Is the message clear to the people you are trying to reach?

• Is the message clear to non-mimes?

• Can the transitions be improved?

• Is the emotion of each character how it should be?

• Are the mimes’ double-zero positions on the correct sides or places?

• Does additional technique need to be added?

• Does some technique need to be removed?

• Is the message easy to understand?

• Is the storyline easy to follow?

• Is the song good overall?

 

Congratulations, you have just heard the voiced opinion of one mime and his views of mime choreography.

Wait, what?

But seriously, this is a lot of subjective material, but the most important thing to remember out of everything is this: Is the message clear? Nothing else matters. If it is done for the glory of God and the audience understands and is moved by the choreography and the message within the song, then it is excellent. I have seen plenty of songs in my day. I have seen many good and bad songs, none of which I will name, but usually the best were the ones with the most powerful message, combined with the most crisp technique. That is what we aim for in mime songs.

 

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Chapter 12: Workshop Structure

A workshop is a one to seven (commonly one or three) day meeting for children or teens to learn the basics of mime as an outreach opportunity. Workshops have many uses and components, and this chapter discusses a few of them. The format of a workshop is important to get right, since this is an outreach as much as it is a recruitment drive.

 

Uses for a Workshop

Why are you having a workshop?

Is it to raise money? Is it to become famous? If you answered yes to either of those, you are missing the point of the workshop. Don’t get me wrong, if you need to raise money for your ministry, do it. However, that’s not the main point of a workshop, that’s a side purpose. They have three basic uses:

 

Outreach

Many of these students want to learn mime, but don’t know Christ. This is a perfect opportunity to teach them about Jesus through the songs they are doing, and through your actions as leaders. Notice I didn’t really mention much about the bible study? That’s because that is not as powerful to some as the actions of the Christians themselves. However, the bible study is important as real, foundational material.

 

Gain Mimes for Your Team

If you are doing a workshop within a few miles of where you meet normally, then you could possibly ask some of these students to join your mime team. It expands your team, while also opening doors for a bigger team and other opportunities for outreach through their church.

 

Start a New Team

I have personally helped out with these kind. There are a group of people who got on fire for mime, but want to learn more and start a team of their own in their own city. Perfect. Help them out with more than just teaching songs, but also teaching technical aspects of team management and leadership.

 

Main Components of a Workshop

These components are each important in their own way. They each should take up different amounts of time on the workshop, but altogether they are each important.

 

Teaching Songs

The essence of mime ministry is to learn songs, so learning songs is what should take up most of the time.

 

Mime Technique

Learning the technique of the mime encourages excellence in the songs, while also teaching people the basics of how to mime. The three main focuses of the technique are:

• Basic Technique. Simple miming skills, which can be learned easily. This includes the Mime Walk, Double Zero, hands, foot positions, and a few others.

• Specific Needs for Songs. Perhaps you are doing New Way to Be Human, which requires the robot, which is advanced. Teach the robot to everyone, but make sure to teach everything that they need to know about that technique. See Breaking Down Technique in Chapter 17 for more about that.

• Sign Language for Songs. For many songs, there is a lot of sign language, such as I Can Only Imagine, America the Beautiful, etc. Teaching the specific sign parts to the students in a structured, consistent way is essential. It is bad if there are five people doing a sign one way and three doing the sign another way.

 

Bible Study

Since this is a ministry outreach, it is good to teach about God in it. Remember, actions speak louder than words, but they are still important for foundational materials.

Also consider that studies should be aimed at the audience that is listening in on it. If they are a bunch of children, then it doesn’t need to be a lecture on the heresy of Animism, but probably the story of Jonah is better.

 

Free Time

Miming is hard.

Take a break every once in a while. Also consider this a time to build relationships within the team, or get to know the workshop students better. Just a 30 minute break once or twice a day does wonders for the morale and energy of the group.

 

Extras

Some optional classes that can be put into the workshop if they need to be. Typically, longer workshops can have more extras in them, but there have been some people who make an extremely short class on an extra.

• Sign Language. Aside from signs in songs, teaching some basic sign language can be a fun way to enlighten new mimes into the art of talking while not talking. Some examples of signs to teach include:

• • Fingerspelling. That is, the alphabet in sign. If all else fails, you can spell everything out.

• • Basic Conversation. We’re not trying to teach the entire language in a few minutes, but teaching something that they can practically use is good.

- Hello.

- My name is…

- Who, what, where, how, when, and why.

- You, me, them, your, etc.

- Genders: He, she.

- Family: Mom, dad, brother, sister, etc.

- Mime-Related Signs. Signs that can be used specifically while in white face without speaking.

- Line-up.

- Next song.

- Props: Jesus Sash, Cape, Bible, etc.

• • Novelty Signs. Signs that are for fun. A common novelty group of signs is the Fruits of the Spirit. Teaching these signs is mainly for fun, they are not necessarily a practical set of signs to learn.

• • Others. If there are some that the workshop students want to learn, teach them. Ask them what they want to know, or offer up your skills if you are qualified to do so.

• History. Teaching about the history of mime, your history with mime, or the history of the ministry are acceptable topics.

• Make-up Class. If you have time and extra make-up, teaching workshop students how to put on their own makeup is a great class to hold. Especially if some of these mimes are going to be continuing to mime. Remember that they will have make-up on one way or another for the final presentation later, so if there is not time for it during the workshop, that’s fine, but there should be time chiseled out before the final presentation to have them learn how to do it.

• Conduct in Whiteface. Perhaps the most fundamental parts of being a mime: keeping silent. Refer to the Conduct in Whiteface in Chapter 5 for the specifics.

 

Final Presentation

Where the new mimes show off what they have learned. See below for more about final presentations.

 

Effect of a Long Workshop

A three-day workshop is shorter than a seven-day workshop, and a one-day workshop is shorter than a three-day workshop, which means there are going to be some differences in how the flow of each go.

 

The numbers below assume that each workshop is five hours long (e.g. 12:00-5:00 p.m.).

 

Number of Songs Learned

For a one-day workshop, time is tight, so you might only learn two to three songs. A three-day workshop might have five or six songs. A seven-day workshop could have eight to 10 songs.

 

Length and Detail of Study

For a one-day workshop you might condense a study into one hour or a half hour. A three or more day workshop might have an hour bible study each day.

 

Technique

For a one-day workshop, teaching the basics really quickly is good. A three-day workshop might have the basics one day, then some intermediate the second, and then some hardcore takes on those basic and intermediate techniques (e.g. drilling Double Zero). A seven-day workshop could have a time to work on technique every day, starting with basic, moving up to advanced.

 

Assignments for Next Day

If this is a two or more day workshop, then the students have time to go home and practice something. Also remember that you should not expect them to do it. If they do, it is an added bonus. If they don’t, then just work with it. They’re kids.

Learn the Lyrics

Memorizing a song’s lyrics can help out drastically with the cues. Above all else, if the attendees learn the lyrics of the song, they can present the song so much easier.

 

Practice the Song and the Signs

If they have the track at home, they can play it and mimic the stage. This helps them to get better at what they are doing. Remind them about finding YouTube videos or something of that nature to practice to. That may be a video of the choreography or just the music.

 

Final Presentation

The real thing.

New mimes show off their new mime skills for their family, friends, and church. This is always the last element of the workshop. It is also almost always held at the church or venue that the workshop is being held at as well. However, some workshops are known to not have a final presentation.

 

Make-up and Attire

Get everyone in makeup and get them their shirts right before the presentation. It is best to ask everyone to show up in black pants, socks, and shoes the last day, then provide the shirts and gloves. If you don’t have any extra shirts, ask them to also come in black shirts. This is also the time to either practice one last time or do everyone’s makeup if it is not done yet.

 

Consider Switching Off Teams

Have the outreach team do two songs, then the workshop team do two songs. This is not meant to make your team look amazing, but to give the audience a look on what excellent mimes look like and it gives an easier mode of presenting stronger songs. Also remember that teaching a tougher song, like Fight Inside to a group of 10-year-olds is a bad idea. Give them some of the easier songs, then have your team present harder songs in order to use it as an outreach opportunity.

 

Finally, Remember…

These Are Kids

Calm the heck down. They are young and growing. They will make mistakes, goof off, and probably not listen. A lot. But that’s okay. As long as you are doing God’s work, they will learn. The final presentation brings out the best in everyone, by the way. That’s not to say that the leaders of the workshop should not hold the kids up to a higher standard. However, remember that the most important aspect is God’s word being spread.

 

Don’t Expect Perfection

Calm the heck down. These are kids. If they do something wrong, don’t yell at them and reprimand them. Encourage them to do better. For the short amount of time you have, don’t expect each song to be flawless by the end of the day. There will be many errors, but they will do much better with your encouragement. If they don’t, then consider it an opportunity for you to learn forgiveness.

 

This Is a Ministry

This is not a perfectionist’s playground. As long as God’s message is being taught, it is alright. Focus on God’s message, not the way people are doing badly. If the students are learning well enough, then you can expect more from them. However, start at their level, and work up to your level if you can.

 

Remember to use workshops as tools to spread God’s message around to the communities and not to make your own team look amazing. It is about God, not about you or your team.

 

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Chapter 13: Errors in Mime

As a mime of many years, this is something that I have slowly been noticing. All of the issues in this chapter are issues that we just want to overlook in mime songs. We seem to want to forget about the things we are missing and focus on the things that we can do pretty easily.

Granted, the errors that I lay out are common errors. They are not true for every mime song ever, but a depressing majority of songs have at least one of these big errors.

Also please do not think that I am attempting to drag down any song. I know how difficult it is to make a mime song, make it look good, and get the message out. The songs that currently exist are why I write this. I am writing this as a mime in the thick of it, not at the creation of the mime songs themselves. After we seem to get our minds in one spot or one direction with a theme, we stick to it and get even more efficient in telling it. I always encourage you to create a song that you feel you have on your heart. However, I challenge you to follow this chapter and make it something more than “just another song.”

 

Inaccurate Representation

Not showing a character in all of their true colors.

 

This mainly spawns from my issues with mime Jesus. Too many times, we only use a couple select actions of Jesus from the bible. Furthermore, we only use Jesus’ office as our savior and completely skip over Him as judge, prophet, rock, etc.

However, this does not only happen with Jesus, but also with other parts as well. For instance, atheists are represented as angry antagonistic people, when a lot of the times, they are not. Additionally, Satan is often depicted as such an ugly, evil, twisted, powerful demon. In reality, Satan could be quite a handsome, yet a deceptive being who knows the bible better than we do.

 

Leaving Out Characters

Either purposefully or accidentally leaving out a character from a story.

 

I immediately think of the Holy Spirit. We have Jesus and God in about 90% of the mime songs (Yay! Made up statistics!), but I do not even know of one song that has the Holy Spirit in it. The trinity is missing one of the parts. I get it though, what is the Holy Spirit going to do? Well, that same question could be asked of God. If Jesus is already there, then why does God need to be there? It is the completeness and accuracy of the story. God the father, the Creator, Jesus the son, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, that which upholds.

In addition, I also think of the crucifixion scenes. If memory serves, there were three people on the cross at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. Hardly any song has more than just Jesus.

Many characters from stories are just omitted in order to make the song look better, or possibly out of accident or ignorance. Though it is not super bad to omit something, it is dangerous to misrepresent the bible.

However, there is one exception that is acceptable: if the message is still clear and accurate. I know how it is, you want to put in everything to be perfect, but it is hard. The most important aspect of the mime is the message, so if the message is clear, it is excused, but do not use it as an excuse to avoid changing it if it will make it better.

 

Inaccuracy in Story

Misrepresentation of the story out of the bible or other place.

The first thing that comes to mind is Gethsemane. In many mime songs, we just see Jesus getting taken away. Very few songs actually show:

• Judas kissing Jesus’ cheek

• Judas getting paid

• Simon Peter cutting off the guard’s ear

• Jesus healing said ear

• (Later) Judas committing suicide

• And so on…

This is not the only time it happens either. Throughout the mime songs, we see many parts of a biblical story being forgotten or inaccurate. I also understand that there are parts that cannot be shown in mime, but ones that can are just completely removed anyway.

 

Confusing Characters

The audience has a hard time understanding who semi-obscure characters are.

 

Let’s take Stephen for instance, in the song, “Stand.” When I first saw the song, I understood what was happening, I understood that it was a man who was martyred, but I did not understand that it was Stephen (even though it says his name in the lyrics of the song) until someone explained it.

The biggest thing is to make sure that someone understands the message. Granted, it was not as important that the audience understood it was Stephen, as much as it was a person who died for their faith. However, knowing it was Stephen adds a direct correlation to the bible, giving ability to research into the whole story.

There are two additions I would put into the song to make it better:

• Have a speaker explain the song, or at least the character. For Stand, I might say, “Here is the character Stephen.” *Mime who plays Stephen walks out* “His story comes straight out of the bible in Acts 7. Stephen is especially known for his strong faith, and his eventual death because he stood for it. Will you Stand for your faith?”

• Give Identification Props to main characters. For Stand, I might give Stephen a robe, or a beige stole (not the past tense of steal, a piece of material that drapes over one’s shoulders; look it up on the internet if you need an idea). Something to identify him as an important character. For other songs, I could give sunglasses, a cowboy hat, a ball cap, a staff, a jacket, a vest, a sports coat, a trench coat, etc. in order to identify the main character, just like how Jesus is identified with a purple, red, or white sash.

 

Shallow Message

Messages that are not theologically deep.

 

Many messages are not spiritually stimulating. In many cases, messages are so small or overused. Jesus dying on the cross is huge, but is overused. People struggling in their faith is small, but could be used more often in some cases. What about the heresy that the trinity is three gods, known as tritheism? What about the rest of the bible other than Genesis and the gospels? What about First and Second Corinthians? What about the deeper messages that are huge, but also not used too often.

The biggest issue, as it is in most of these errors, is the difficulty of choreographing without words. However, it is still possible. Think about Stand. It is a rarity amongst its peers. Granted, it’s not perfect, but it is superior in many ways. It gives a rather deep message, it is not a message beaten to death, and it is from a book other than Genesis and the canonical gospels.

Want more examples? Fight Inside, Courtroom, Exodus, and many more. It is possible, but it is hard. Still, it should be done more if we hope to lead people to Christ.

 

Common Message

Messages that are used too much.

The message of salvation is rather easy, and frankly, it is beaten into the ground with mime songs. Though it is a good message, it is not the only story in the bible. It should not be considered the most important story either. Since all stories in the bible are equally important, as the bible is one whole story of God, it is not good for the mime songs to only cover small portions of it.

I get it though, how do you choreograph Isaiah’s prophecies, or the story of Jonah without words? That’s the challenge of the mime, though… isn’t it? That’s for the choreographers to figure out. That’s why choreographing songs is so tough.

We do not need another depiction of Jesus being taken to the cross. A different story, possibly even a modern story, would be very good instead. Jesus is extremely important, but there are already hundreds of songs with the same message (e.g. Via Dolorosa, Virtuoso, and Forgiven all have whole sections dedicated to the crucifixion), so consider making something different.

 

Confusing Message

The biggest out of all of the errors. The audience not identifying the main message.

 

Above all, more than anything else here, the audience needs to understand the message. Though I do not like it when the message is shallow or overused, more than anything else, I would hate it if no one is moved.

Via Dolorosa, for instance. The classic epic depiction of Jesus being tortured and crucified. That is my favorite rendition of the cliché of Jesus’ Crucifixion. However, that song moves people. The message is overused, but it moves people. It gives a graphic depiction of how Jesus was taken to the cross.

Fight Inside, on the other hand, is an epic song as well. It depicts the sin nature’s control over the sinner, and Satan’s influence on the sin nature. The bad part about this song is that people might not get what the sin nature is. They might also misunderstand God’s separation of the sin nature from the man. These messages are deep, but also hard to grasp.

 

As much as I hate to admit it, these errors in mime came to mind over the mistakes that I make all the time. Experience is a great and awful teacher. Making the song excellent with the technique is one thing. Choreographing an excellent song is something completely different. However, we are past the point in choreography where it is acceptable to make what is easy. It is easy to make a crucifixion scene. It is easy to make a signed song. It is easy to make a creation scene. It is hard to depict Jesus as our judge. It is hard to show Isaiah or Samuel prophesying. It is hard to show the story of Gideon. It is hard, but is it possible. It is not only possible, it is necessary to do. We, as members of the mime ministry community, need to get more messages out. The complete message of God, not just the small canonical gospel. The whole story, without paraphrase. We need to get clear messages out there to get people saved.

 

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Chapter 14: Stage Orientation

Though perhaps not a large subject, stage orientation is important to consider for all venues, presentations, and songs. Imagine trying to fit a team of 20 doing Virtuoso on a 10 foot by six foot stage. Imagine trying to do This Means War on the ground level. There are many flaws in the basic stage orientation, but with some refurbishing, any song can fit on any stage. This chapter is a guide to help fix some common issues facing different stage types.

Note: “Depth” or “deep” refers to the distance from the front of the stage/audience (downstage), to the back of the stage (upstage). “Width” or “wide” refers to the distance between offstage stage right and offstage stage left.

 

Average Stage

Most stages are not too big and not too small, have enough depth to get everyone on, and are set for general use.

For the most part, these stages are fine. The only issue one might ever have is the stage being too small because there are so many people. If this is the issue, consider multiplying the team into smaller sections. If your team consists of 30 members, split them into two sections of 15 and teach each section different songs.

You can also squish them all into the song. This is the most common resolution, since it is what was practiced. Although, hopefully this is not a surprise when you arrive at the venue.

If you are able, for any presentation really, measure the stage beforehand, and practice on a phantom stage long before the presentation day. Also remember to put mimes in double zero in windows. It helps with squished spaces.

 

Narrow

Stages that are deep enough, but are not very wide.

These stages are a pain. Whoever invented them needs to be shot. Okay maybe not.

If your issue is fitting everyone onstage, remove some from the song. Unlike average stages, this can happen much more commonly. If you can’t or don’t want to take someone out, just squish them on as best as you can, and remember to make lots of windows.

If your issue is shoulder-to-shoulder blocking, consider setting people in windows, or making more windows if there are already some.

If the issue is seeing what is happening upstage, consider having the people downstage duck or bend down on their knees.

 

Wide

Stages that are very wide, but acceptable in depth.

There are very few issues with these, but they can be a nuisance with smaller troupes.

If your issue is a small troupe, simply make a stage within a stage, a phantom stage if you will. Set the mimes in double zero at the edges of your smaller stage and play the song as normal within your set boundaries.

If you have a large enough team, and everything is fine there, then simply spread out the mimes. A fuller stage looks nicer for most songs. Songs where people need to get across the stage quickly, maybe consider doing it on the phantom stage.

 

Shallow

Stages that are acceptable on width, but are not very deep.

This issue is far more common than the stage being too narrow, but actually easier to deal with. Do not confuse this with Wide, because Wide is very wide and good depth, Shallow is acceptable width and bad depth.

If your issue is the basic too-narrow-of-a-stage, then consider working in two dimensions. It sounds strange, but omit upstage and downstage. Make it as thin as possible, while still getting the message across. You can also stage the mimes to duck down to look “downstage.”

If the issue is the windows making too much empty space, then simply spread out the mimes and remove the windows. I was in a presentation on a full theatre stage with the curtains down, probably 30 feet wide and eight feet deep, presenting America the Beautiful. Once we spread out and removed the windows, we took up the full stage. It looked much better.

 

Deep

Stages that are deep, with an acceptable width.

Not too many issues arise with these, but it is good to note them also. Do not confuse these with Narrow, since Narrow are bad width, and Deep are of acceptable width.

For some, a large stage is a nuisance, but not for many. Consider a stage 20 feet wide by 40 feet deep. Now consider doing a three-person mime on it. If the trio decides they need to go way upstage, then it makes the song look bad. This is easy to combat by making a small stage within a stage as downstage as possible.

 

Small

Stages that are just horrible.

This stage type is always a problem for teams larger than three. It is possible to fit everyone onstage, but it might be good to omit a few minor parts, or it is okay to risk squishing mimes together since there are no other options. If you are able to, run the songs in a practice round before the presentation. Even better, have the stage measured, and create a phantom stage to practice in long before the presentation. Don’t forget about making lots of windows.

 

Floor (Large)

Stages that can take place in rather large areas.

Two examples are on the floor of a convention space, and on a full open theatre stage.

If your issue is that the stage is too large, consider creating the boundaries with the mimes themselves. Mimes in double zero can be used to outline the phantom stage.

If your issue is the mimes blocking the view of the audience, take the stage right and stage left line of mimes in double zero and angle them to either the corner of the stage, or simply a 45 degree angle.

 

Multi-Level

Average or large stages with multiple levels, typically elevated by stairs.

Many times, the stage is split in half. The bottom half of the stage is down three stairs from the top half of the stage. Then, to get onto the stage at all, you must go up three stairs as well.

This type of stage can either be a nuisance or make for a cool effect. In some songs, such as Freedom and Restoration, there are some characters that are dominant in the center of the stage. These characters can be placed on the top half of the stage to look stronger and dominating, while smaller characters or the main storyline is happening downstage.

If your issue is the stair not needing to be there, then consider making the stage the bottom half of the stage and just forgetting about the top half. Also consider just using the stairs for mimes in double zero, since they are going to be there anyway. If you need the whole stage, then just work around the stairs by blocking the song to work on two levels.

 

Street

Presenting on the street, in a park, or any public place with all four sides of your “stage” visible.

The main issues here are similar to the large stage. If you need boundaries, create boundaries with mimes in double zero. If you need to see the stage, angle the mimes in double zero.

However, there is another unique issue to street presentations that anyone can relate to: the people passing by. Just about every song is oriented to face one way, since they are all designed for a stage. Presenting in public is no different, except that people behind the stage can see you. There is no way to avoid the people who try to break the mimes in double zero. The best idea is to make the mimes drill double zero, not breaking, and also listening to the song with distractions. The song still continues regardless of the people heckling the mimes in double zero, and since God’s message is counting on the song going well, get the mimes to ignore the hecklers.

 

Audience

Stages that involve the audience, of any shape or size.

There are some songs that begin in the audience, such as Go, and others that directly interact with the audience, such as Mission 3:16. Regardless, there is some staging that needs to be dealt with one way or another.

If you are starting or ending in the audience, do not get distracted by the people in the audience and form lines in an orderly manner to get onstage. Go, for instance, has a lot of people getting crammed onstage at the same time in slow motion. Lining them up and telling Jim to go after Bob is easy to fix this. Also, note that slow motion becomes giant steps sometimes.

If you are interacting with the audience, do not get too involved that you ignore the song. The song is still going on with or without you. Remember your cues, stay in character, and be in the right place at the right time.

 

Now you know how to properly deal with stage orientation, and you quite possibly have the expertise to design presentations that will work well for the mimes, while also being great for the ones watching. Remember: this is not the law, this is a suggestion. Everything is subjective here, and if you believe that your team presenting your way is the best, then do it that way. This was written mainly for you to consider a few more aspects than I once considered, and to find out what truly works best.

 

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Chapter 15: Presentation Structure

The presentation is the most important outreach tool in the mime ministry. Without presentations, we cannot reach out to the community with our grandest messages: the mime songs. Getting a venue to present at is important, but the way the presentation flows is also important.

 

Venue

The place where a presentation is held is important, but typically “getting a gig” is not good enough.

 

Reach Out to People Where They Are

If your goal is to reach high-schoolers, go to a high school. Presenting in public places, such as a park or a public party, are especially good to present at.

 

Consider Stroll Miming Venues

Sometimes presentations can be in venues where you present multiple times in the day, such as the School Readiness Fair in Branson. The School Readiness Fair asked us to present three or four times throughout an eight hour period. The presentations lasted about 20 minutes each, so there were hours of free time. Stroll miming is great to do in this time. It is fun, it gets people interested, and it also passes the time between presentations.

 

Avoid Churches on Sunday

I know, I know. Churches are super easy to get as venues, but they do not reach out that much on Sunday, it’s more about the sermon for people already at church. If there is an event at the church that invites the public, that is good, but to present at a church for church members is not using mime resources to reach out.

However, presenting at churches is okay if the church requests it. Just try not to book venues every week at churches only. Sometimes, especially if your team is based out of a church, it is good to present a few mime songs to let the congregation see what your ministry is about and get them to support your team.

 

Initial Considerations

Now that you found your venue, it is best to ask yourself a few questions about what songs to use.

 

• How long do we have to present? Some presentations can only be three songs, while others allot an hour for your team.

• How long are the songs that we want to present? Sometimes, presenting a long song in a time crunch may not be good. If a presentation is 15 minutes long, having two, seven minute songs may not be as effective as three, five minute songs.

• What songs are presentable? Perhaps you want to present There is a God, but your team just learned it yesterday and your presentation is tomorrow. Maybe it isn’t a good idea to use There is a God. Find songs that your team has practiced the most, or is well set with.

• What powerful songs can we do? After thinking about all of the songs, think about the most powerful or strongest songs with a good message that your team can do. Some songs are good conclusionary songs (explained later on) like Via Dolorosa, and should be considered for the presentation.

• What songs are appropriate? This might sound weird, but think about appropriateness for a moment. A venue that we reached out to every year was the Teddy Bear Tea Party. It consisted of little children from two to eight years old. Imagine doing Via Dolorosa or The Faithful with all kinds of violence and a complex message. They would be amazed, but would not understand the message at all. We presented David, a simple comical song about David and Goliath, and The Armor of God speech, which were all simple and fun songs that they were able to understand.

• Are there multiple presentations at the venue? As noted earlier, consider stroll miming venues, but also consider mixing up the presentations. Maybe your team presents four songs every hour for four hours. There are 16 song slots to fill. You can choose 16 different songs, or just mix up eight or 10 songs to fill them. See the flow and placement of songs later on for more about this.

 

Song Mood

Many songs have a mood or a simple description. Consider the songs that you have available and assign them one.

 

Below is just a few examples of songs with certain moods:

• Fun songs – Mission 3:16

• Serious songs – There is a God

• Cute songs – David

• Slow paced songs – Grand Canyon

• Average songs – Courtroom

• Complex songs – The Faithful

• Simple songs – Forgiven

• Upbeat songs – New York 2 LA

• Tearjerker songs – Jesus Loves Barabbas

• Hard songs – Freedom and Restoration

• Easy songs – Jesus Real Loud

 

Flow and Placement of Songs

Now that you have an idea of what songs are attached to what mood, consider the flow and placement of these songs in the presentation order.

 

Note: the analogies of shapes describes the top as the beginning of the presentation and the bottom as the end. It also describes the width of the song as how “powerful,” “serious,” etc. a song is. If it is thin, then it is a “fun,” “upbeat,” etc. song. This also does not account for speakers; see the speakers section for information on that.

Pyramid

Starting with a fun song, and ending with a serious song. This is the most common presentation style. Beginning with a fun song like Mission 3:16 to get the audience’s attention, then slowly making it more serious, until finally ending with a powerful song like Jesus Loves Barabbas.

 

Inverted Pyramid

Start with a powerful song and end with a fun song. This is the worst type of format to use. It cannot be used for much, unless there are very special scenarios. One special scenario is your presentation is a required event to watch at least one song. Well, starting out strong with that one song is good, then slowly making them more fun while people disperse, but still giving a good presentation to the people who are still there.

 

Hourglass

Begin with a powerful song, and let the powerfulness of the message thin out in the middle, and then gradually gain power as the end approaches. This type of layout is good for presentations that people can enter or leave relatively easily, but usually sit for the whole presentation. Silver Dollar City is a theme park in Branson, and at some of their open theatres, we can get people’s attention from people walking by, while also affecting those who already came to the scheduled performance. Ending with a bang is always the best in all scenarios.

 

Scatterbrained

Randomizing the order of the mime songs. This sounds useless and like it should be avoided, but it can be useful. In the case of the School Readiness Fair in Reeds Spring, we presented a set of songs every hour or so. People were going in and out of there so much, that people may only see one or two songs, so having a randomized order of songs increased the chances of the right person seeing a powerful song or becoming interested from seeing a fun song. If you are in this type of scenario, try alternating fun songs with serious songs.

 

Square

All powerful songs. This type of presentation is avoided due to its harshness. If the mime songs presented at a venue are all serious songs, then the audience might lose interest. However, if the intended audience is in need of a powerful message, such as a group of pastors looking to approve your team to present at a national show or that national show itself, then it is acceptable for this format. Again, if there is a presentation where the audience may come and go as they please, it may be good for them to have a 100% chance of seeing a powerful song.

 

Split Presentation

A presentation with a break or an intermission. They can be any format listed above. Usually long presentations need a break. If a presentation is an hour or two hours long, having a 10 minute break is good to get the audience’s attention back. Sometimes people leave during intermission, so it is best to have at least one powerful song before the intermission.

 

Double Pyramid

As a format unique to split presentations, these always have intermissions. Beginning with a fun song, going into the intermission with a serious song, coming back from intermission with a fun song, and ending with a powerful song. Presentations that are long need an intermission, but sometimes there are short presentations that require intermissions. This format is best if a moderately powerful song gets the audience to come back after the intermission, then ending the entire presentation with the most powerful song. For those who know of it, the Mime Camp 2014 Final Presentation was set up this way, except David and Goliath should have been swapped with This Means War. That was my bad.

 

The Sequence Itself

Once you decide which format best fits the venue, now it is time to start writing up the sequence of songs.

 

Beginning

What should you begin with? As noted before, typically an attention-getting song is the best, but the venue dictates what would work best. Entertaining songs or upbeat celebratory songs are also good.

 

Introductory Songs

Songs that are specifically designed to introduce the mime presentation, or gather the audience. Introduction by TFK is one example.

 

Intermission

Should there even be an intermission? Sometimes, if the presentation is short enough, just omitting the intermission is acceptable.

How long is intermission? For long presentations one hour or more, 10 minutes is good. For presentations at theme parks, or somewhere with concessions, it is acceptable to break multiple times for three minutes. Sometimes intermission is required, and is therefore a set time.

Is it just a break, or is there a speaker? Sometimes people confuse an intermission for a speaker. If there is a break in between songs, then it is an intermission. If there is a speaker, then it is just a speaker, which is discussed next. If there is a break and a speaker gives a short message during that break, it is both.

 

Speakers

Who is the speaker? Having a relevant speaker is important. Usually a team director, or someone in leadership that is not in white face can be the speaker. Other times, there is a dedicated speaker that the venue provides.

What is the purpose of your speaker? Speakers can give a message, explain complicated songs, introduce the next song after a few words, set the stage for songs, explain the mime ministry, etc.

What is the speaker’s message? Perhaps a better question is, “is the speaker’s message relevant?” If it is 9/11, the next song is America Again, and the speaker delivers a short message about bibles on your cell phone, the audience might be tuned-out to the irrelevant message.

Do you really need a speaker? This is the mime ministry. For the most part, miming consists of no speaking whatsoever. Consider not using a speaker unless you have a compelling reason. Though you may also consider that songs need to be explained, and that is compelling enough for me.

 

The End

What songs do you end with? As stated before, ending with a powerful song is always a good bet, but sometimes, as the venues get stranger, the end might be completely irrelevant, but it should be good throughout.

What is the message that the audience is left with? As psychologists have discovered, you remember four basic items easily. Use this to your advantage. The examples given are from the Mime Camp 2014 Final Presentation:

• The First One. The initial item started out with. One Time Show, which depicts many talents, is a fun one that many remember, as it demonstrated what mimes do.

• The Unique One. The item that stands out from the rest. 8-Bit Jesus has never been done before, and is remembered by its uniqueness and nostalgia of the old 8-Bit video game song choice.

• The Repeated One. The item that is repeated multiple times. Though it’s not a song, the crucifixion is remembered because it is in multiple songs.

• The Last One. The item that concludes the set. Even though Mime Camp ended with The Champion, it was going to be that way because it was a camp-wide mime, which is totally acceptable. The structured ending song was Via Dolorosa, which is the highly-emotional depiction of Jesus going to the cross. The Champion is also good as it leaves a metaphorical fight in the minds of the audience. In other words, either of those ending songs was a good ending.

Concluding with a song that has a powerful message of their salvation is always a good idea, so they will be considering that mime song the most afterwards. It will be the last thing on their mind.

Should you end with a speaker? Sometimes, ending with a short and powerful message from a speaker is the best way to end. Only consider this if is needed, because the mime should be able to speak for itself. If there is not a powerful song in your repertoire, a speaker can fill up that space. There should be a powerful song that someone can do, but if it is the beginning of the session, and you have three easy songs set out to learn to present in one week, then sometimes a powerful song is hard to learn in such a short time, especially if there is only one or two mimes who have been there long enough to teach or learn it well.

 

Conclusionary Songs

In contrast to introductory songs, conclusionary songs are the songs designed to end with a direct message to the audience. There are very few songs designed specifically to be conclusionary and introductory songs, but the ones that exist can replace an ending speaker, or can leave with a challenge. Mainframe by TFK is an example of a pure conclusionary song. Via Dolorosa is an example of a conclusionary song intended for general purpose.

 

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Chapter 16: How to Critique a Mime Song

Critiquing a Mime Song is a rather important, but is sometimes a tough process. Which is more important: the mime you are critiquing getting it right, or those same mimes liking and respecting you as the critic? The answer is simple: both. Okay, maybe it is not simple. It is a difficult balance between presentability and relationship. However, the general philosophy is: be stern, but also be friendly.

Whenever I critique songs, I make sure that they like me first. I make sure that they know that I am their friend, then their critic. I let them know that I want them to do great. This guide is a basic how-to for getting the song as close to perfect as possible, while also not being a complete jerk.

Note: I use the terms “critic” and “teacher” interchangeably, because they are meant to mean the same thing.

 

Aims and Goals

No pun intended (if you understand that reference). What are you trying to accomplish with a critique?

 

Reach For Song Perfection, But Reach For Presentability First.

We sometimes get so caught up in being perfect that we need to come back down to earth and realize that we just need to be able to present the songs. On top of that, we need to be able to present many songs. If one song is beaten to death while the others are neglected, the presentation is now one excellent song, and five sub-par songs, and still none of them are perfect.

Focus on making all of them presentable, then go back through and try to perfect them as best as humanly possible.

 

Hierarchy of Song Perfection

Start somewhere, and reach for the sky. Corresponds with the last section, but in a more quantifiable manner.

 

Unknown (0%).

The song is completely unknown, but not for long!

 

Newly Taught (30%).

They say you retain 10% of what you read and 30% of what you hear and see. Someone has taught the song and presented it, and the ones who will soon be taught are now getting to be taught the parts.

 

Barely Doable (50%).

The song has been taught, and the parts are still in the learning process. The song needs more work.

 

Presentable (70%).

The song has all parts memorized, and everything is about average. C’s get degrees, so they say. The bare minimum for a mime song.

 

Technical Errors (80%).

The song is timed excellently, everything is memorized and synchronized, but the technique is not fluid.

 

Excellence (95%).

The song is as good as possible, with few small mistakes. This is the point when one can call it good.

 

Perfection (100%).

The song is flawless. The main goal of critiquing.

 

What to Look for

There are many aspects of a mime song, so try not to neglect any of them. Reaching perfection, or at least excellence, demands all aspects to be improved. As the critic, you are supposed to look for everything, at the same time, in order to let them know what to do.

 

• Are the parts memorized?

• Is everyone hitting the cues?

• How is their emotion?

• How is their technique?

• Are the details of each action done well?

• How is their emotion?

• Are the extras in character at all times?

• Is anyone breaking character because they are paying too much attention to someone else?

• Is anyone talking onstage?

• Do the signs look alike, and are they in unison?

• How is their emotion?

• Are obvious actions obvious? Is it a bible or plate of food?

• Is everyone in Double Zero when they are supposed to be?

• How does the Double Zero look?

• Is anyone breaking other rules that have been clearly communicated?

• Is everyone in sync that needs to be in sync?

• Did I ask how their emotion is? Because I think I need to ask.

• Are there any last minute alterations to the song itself? Sometimes parts can be unclear and it is okay to change the choreography as long as it keeps the message.

• Lastly, what was done well? It’s not all about the negative. Keep a long list of things that they did well.

 

Critic’s Placement

Now that you know what to look for, it’s something else to know from where you will to look for it.

 

In the Audience.

The classic and perhaps most effective placement. It is used for general purpose critiquing. Pros: Get the view from the audience and view the song how it will be seen in the actual presentation. Cons: Not a whole lot of detail can be seen here. Any small error, mimes breaking double zero, etc. cannot be seen easily.

 

In the Song.

For some critics, they have to be in the song as well, especially if there is a small group. I encourage people to ask someone to critique them who is in the song, or critique as they are going along. It gives a different perspective. Pros: It allows for the critic to be in the song as well. Cons: The critic’s attention is being torn between their own part and the part they are watching. One or the other will suffer.

 

Mimicking/Mirroring.

Showing the mimes what aspects of their role they need to do during the song or helping them along with it. Doing the actions the mimes are not doing correctly in order to teach them. Pros: It helps very well with detail work and can be a good tool for teaching early on. It is good for both ends of the spectrum. Cons: It draws the characters away from their part, as well as making their quality suffer. It makes them dependent on the critic teaching them.

 

Hovering.

Walking around onstage in the song without actually playing a part in the song. Pros: Allows you to get up close with the details, and even see the extras up close. It is the best for detail work. Cons: You are in the way. You also cause the presentation not to go according to how it would have gone if you were not there. It is the worst place to be physically, but one of the best for detail.

 

Critique Delivery

Now that you know your goals, it is time for the practical actions.

 

Be Stern, but Also Be Friendly.

As I stated in the introduction: be stern, but also be friendly. This is extremely important, so I will go a little more into this.

You want this song to look perfect, for everyone to hit their cues, and execute technique perfectly, but there’s this one small issue: it’s hard. For the most part, even extremely experienced mimes make mistakes. It is one part sympathy, one part evaluation.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” This is a quote I have heard many times, and it rings true in so many instances. The best bosses I have ever had are the ones that actually care about me. The best teachers are the same way.

Have you ever had a teacher or a boss try to teach you something, but they were a complete jerk and just did not care? It didn’t make a lick of difference if they were a triple doctorate in the field with honors and was some executive board chairman head over all things starting with “H” in that field, you did not want to listen to them because they did not care; they were mean. Same concept in critiquing. I could be in mime for 50 years, but if I am a mean person to the people I am teaching, it doesn’t matter how much skill I have, I am a bad critic.

 

Give Everyone Something to Work on Every Time.

The point of attempting to reach perfection is to get the smallest details attention and work on them. A vague, all-encompassing theme (e.g. tocs, emotion, resistance, cues, crispness of technique, etc.) is good. Try to notice these errors, and not just be superficial about it, actually notice some theme that most people are missing, and tell them about it.

 

Publicly Announce Song Victories.

It sounds a little superficial, but it is actually important. If the ones being critiqued are doing well and not being noticed for it, it is a prison. Only punishment, not much reward. That is not okay. Make it the opposite: not much punishment, a lot of reward. If Jerry knows he is doing great because you publicly tell him, Rachel will be inspired and do well also.

 

Announce Mistakes to Everyone

Do not pick out individuals’ flaws, unless they are just not getting it.

If someone is making a mistake, tell everyone. If the emotion of three mimes is lacking, tell everyone to work on their emotion. However, if one mime is failing at something, for instance, the mime run, pull them aside and help them.

One exception is if the one or three people are the main characters. If Jesus and the guards are not doing well, then telling them to better themselves as a collective unit is the best way to do that. Even consider drilling that one scene they are struggling with.

 

Individually Talk About the Mistakes to the Individuals.

If there is a mistake with just one person or one part, who is not a main character, take them aside and work with them. It also helps at this point to drill everyone to help the team grow, as discussed in Chapter 19.

 

Announce Generalized Positives and Negatives to Everyone.

Talk to the whole group and tell them they did well. Unless of course, they are not. Just to restate what I have said before, it is important for everyone to know that they are getting better and it encourages and inspires them to go on.

 

Allow for Self-Critiquing.

Ask them what they think they did wrong. For a mime who has been drilled with critiquing myself, I notice the smallest errors that I make and I hate them. Same with a lot of my colleagues. With that in mind, if the mimes are learning, they sometimes know what they are doing wrong, and you do not even need to say it. Just let them fix it and move on. It may help to ask, “What do you think you need to work on?” and see what they say. You may be surprised how much they actually know they need to fix. They may have even caught something you did not see.

 

Fixing Critiques

What actions do you actually take to get those mistakes rectified?

 

Re-Run the Whole Song from the Beginning.

The classic fixer. If there were multiple small parts, or if the song was just not close to presentable, run it all the way from the beginning again. On the other side, if the song is almost perfect, run it from the beginning. The beginning gives a better view of how the song really is, because songs are presented from the beginning every time.

 

Re-Run a Single Section Many Times.

This is the best way to smooth out a rough part. If there is one specific part that is just not working, run that one part multiple times, critiquing what needs to be fixed each time.

If Adam, James, and Drake just cannot get that stinking walk around the stage in Via Dolorosa; just, dang guys, that took way too long. Not really, it worked out quite well. We simply redid that same part until it was right, and they were successful almost every time afterward. Re-running one part smooths out the kinks and allows for the song as a whole to come together better.

 

Re-Run and Fix in Detail.

For some songs, they are just too complicated to work on in one run. It is best to do detail work as you re-run it for clarity. This is good for foundational material of the song, making sure the detailed significant parts are clear. It is also good for sanding out when the mimes have the song down well, that way the song’s minor details are clear as well as the major parts.

 

Add a Spiritual Subtext to the Critique.

Be careful whether you’re being authentic or manipulative. Saying something like, “Well, God would want perfection” is not okay.

Most mime songs in the mime ministry community are evangelical. That means, they have a Christian message. In many songs, people play the part of Jesus or God. Imagine in the song Virtuoso, how would Jesus react to Satan tempting Him? Would He seem uncaring? Would He be surprised? This is Jesus demonstrating to the world how to deal with temptation. This is serious theological material that might just pass by in the bridge of a song, but that does not mean it is okay to neglect it. The message of the song is partly in the song itself, partly in the way the song is presented. See Chapter 20 on for more information on this.

 

Ask Them How They Think it Should Be Fixed.

As I stated before, most mimes know what they did wrong. Asking them what they did wrong, then asking them how to fix it is great. Sometimes it turns into an awkward situation, and no one speaks up. That is fine, just gently guide them along and use one of the other fixers instead.

 

Record the Song and Show it to the Students.

For me, I know that I am my biggest critic. I cannot watch myself do mime, because I am so embarrassed at all of my mistakes. The worst part is, some people say that I did great, but I know I made mistakes, and I always want to do better. Encourage your students to watch themselves and catch where they made mistakes and figure out what they need to do to fix them. Ask them if they need help with it as well.

 

Drills.

My favorite.

The world of drilling is something to be reckoned with. Chapter 19 is an entire chapter about drills. It is really something. Some of my mime teachers were the toughest drillers I know. I remember being drilled how to carry a cross by having to carry a whole person with their arms stretched out and stiff.

Anyway, drilling is repeating the same part, but with a heightened focus on technique and synchronization. Some questions and commands that relate would be:

• Are the signs in unison?

• Is everyone making the same sign?

• Is that how you would hold a bible?

• Everyone turns counterclockwise at the same time.

• Both guards need to look the same while hammering Jesus.

• Is that how Jesus would look if he was getting morbidly nailed to the cross?

More specifically though, it’s not so much about doing it during the song, it is asking those questions, then pulling everyone out and teaching them the technique in an open area. Relating to those above, here are some examples:

• Signs in sync. Replay while singing and play the sings syllable by syllable. E.g. “I-will-fol-low-Christ” goes like, “one-two-three-four-fiiiiiiiiiive” with the signs.

• Same Signs. Break down the sign into as specific as possible. E.g. “Sign” looks like two D’s pointing upwards like a bicycle, the hand above the other hand should be the right hand, and it should first come toward you, then the left hand.

• Holding Objects. Remembering the five elements of a gesture, and making the object as real as possible with tocs, resistance, etc. A bible is open, it has volume, and it has weight.

• Cues. Run the part multiple times, or state the part of the song verbally for everyone to get the cues down. On “Praises” the left arm goes up, on “Great” the right arm goes up, and on “Am” the left arm goes in line with the right arm, and you bend down, right knee up, left knee down.

• Mirrored Actions. In the case of the guards hammering Jesus, there is an exact technique for hammering, and both guards need to be in unison. Simply give the technique example, run the part multiple times, giving cues, and the part will smooth itself out. Hammer up, now down and toc. Hammer up, now down and toc.

• Technique. The all-encompassing technique drilling. The most effective drill of them all. Breaking down the technique, not the specific part of the song, into its simple components, then do an action again and again and again and again, making it harder and harder, more real and more exact every time, until the action is second nature. A cross for instance. Demonstrate the cross being held, then have everyone walk around with their cross for 15 minutes. Perhaps give an actual object to work with to demonstrate. For more on breaking down technique, see Chapter 17.

 

Avoiding Hypocrisy

It sounds a little harsh, but it happens to me more than I would like to confess.

(P.S. Hypocrisy is saying one thing and doing another, or directly counteracting what you believe should happen).

Remember, critiquing is about more than just what the mimes in the song are doing wrong.

 

Plankeye Syndrome.

A hypothetical syndrome that I made up, based off of the passage Matthew 7:3-5 that mentions removing the plank from your own eye before removing the speck in someone else’s.

In essence, if you tell someone to stop talking, then you must also choose not to talk. How can a follower expect to follow well if their leader is contradicting themselves?

Remember that there is a difference between the authority speaking out of authority, and the authority speaking for fun. If the teacher is speaking to teach, then the followers should be quiet and listen. If the teacher is speaking for fun, then the followers should have the ability to speak for fun if they want to as well. If the teacher is not teaching, then the teacher must be silent if they wish for the followers to be silent as well.

 

Walk the Talk.

If you say something, you must be able to do it.

If I tell you that your signs are not in unison, I must be able to do the signs in unison, otherwise I am unworthy of teaching.

People ask me for help with the robot sometimes, and I say of course. The robot is something I have practiced long and hard on, and have been able to master. If there is a song that the mimes are not doing well with robot, then I am worthy of teaching it. Other techniques, perhaps not. I would need to get help from another more experienced mime.

If there is something that you cannot do that needs fixed, for instance the Go run, then ask someone who knows it well to teach it. If there is no one who knows it well enough, then getting it “good enough” is your highest goal. Afterwards, I would suggest the entire leadership team, young and old, should learn most, if not all basic- and intermediate-levelled technique. If it is possible, split the load of advanced technique between leadership, or bring in outside sources to help. Check out the TECH Course for some help on technique ( http://digitalmime.com/tech.html).

 

Other Considerations

Now that you have approached critiquing from a physical location, keen eye, and personal check, there are a few last considerations to help smooth off the edges of your critiquing skills.

 

Become Predictable.

The ones you are teaching should know what you are going to say.

I remember Mime Camp 2014, it hit me really hard when, after a song had just ended, a certain Jayme the Jellyfish from El Dorado sat down in front of my and faced me while everyone else was messing around, and she said, “I’m just waiting, because I know you have something for us to work on.” When she said that, I didn’t know how to take it. I thought, “Oh shoot, I’ve been such a harsh leader…” but no, I had become predictable. Eventually, I noticed that it became commonplace for the people I was critiquing to know what I was going to say before I said it and then work on it right after the song.

That is what I am trying to say. People should know what you are going to say before you say it. Not in a dictator kind of way, but as one who holds them accountable.

 

Take a Break.

Miming is hard work.

It’s strange to say this, but sometimes people get tired. I know! Crazy! Taking breaks is okay. It is perfectly fine to stop what you are doing and relax for a moment. Perhaps before changing pace and doing a different song, take a five minute water break. Let people let loose for a few minutes before getting back to business once again.

 

Have Someone Else Critique.

It’s okay to take a break yourself. It is also perhaps necessary to get a second opinion. There are many times I might say that something looks good, but someone else comes along and shows me why it doesn’t, and they end up being right. Getting a second opinion is a great idea.

However, it is important to note that you should hand it off to someone you trust. Furthermore, let that person know what you taught them and in what way they should be learning. That way, you keep it consistent. Mime is really subjective on what is “good,” so when it comes down to critiquing and teaching, if the students are being told three different actions for the same part, they get confused, it looks bad, and the message is not conveyed well. For instance, if one teacher says the signs are just moving your arms, another one says it is actually the sign language, and yet another one says it should be stylized a different way, then the mime being taught is confused. Keeping it consistent is all that really matters.

 

Have the Mimes Critique Each Other.

As I mentioned before, sometimes they already know what they did wrong, and as I mentioned just a little while ago, it is okay to have someone else critique. It gives a different perspective, it allows for interaction between you and them, and also is helpful to you as the critic.

As a side note, try to gauge the students that are giving the critique. If they cannot handle it, allow someone else to do it. If they are being a jerk, take them aside and teach them how to critique. This allows the leaders to disciple the students in a practical way, giving them hands-on material to work on. Furthermore, it helps them grow as mimes and as individuals, which is always a good thing.

 

Push the Students as Far as They Can Go.

Each student is different, and it can be difficult to gauge just where a student should be aiming, but always try to give them a way to grow. It is not good to leave someone at a plateau of their skill, then move onto someone else. Instead, know each individual and push their skills as far as they can go.

 

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” I mentioned this before, but never forget this quote. If the entire critiquing process could be summed up into one simple phrase, that would be it. Remember, be their friend first, then be their teacher. Remember also to help them grow, not force them to get better. Once you know that, you will be a great teacher. The critiquing process is really fun, and it is great to be an influence in the smoothing out of a song. Whenever I see a team I taught do a mime song that I taught or critiqued, it makes me so happy. I was able to do God’s work, I managed to make an impact in the skill of their mimes, but most of all I made an impact on their lives. That is really what critiquing is all about.

 

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Chapter 17: Breaking Down Technique

When I first wrote this, it looked like “Breaking Dawn Technique.” It is not a Twilight book, it is a guide on understanding the breaking down of technique. If you are looking for a Twilight book, please look elsewhere. Anyways, this chapter is designed to help you understand how levels of technique work, and how everything breaks down into simple, basic technique and ideals.

 

Supremacy

Breaking out the big words now. In other words, superiority, potency, authority, or power.

 

It is important to know that all intermediate technique needs knowledge of basic technique. Furthermore, all advanced technique needs knowledge of intermediate and basic techniques. The idea is: know the easy technique first, and then move onto the harder technique.

So, to sum it up:

• Advanced is composed of: Basic and Intermediate.

• Intermediate is composed of: Basic.

• Basic is composed of: Itself.

Also note that basic technique is the base (get it?) of the technique, and to properly learn technique, the basic must be taught first, then intermediate, then advanced. Attempting to teach advanced without prior knowledge of certain intermediate and basic techniques can cause issues in the learning process.

For example, let’s say you are being taught the Angel Hover (advanced). Without prior knowledge of Oriental Hand (basic), Isolations (intermediate), foot positions (basic), and resistance (basic), the crispness and look of the hover is not there. The quality suffers because the “lesser” technique is forgotten. Combat this by teaching those basic techniques first, then the intermediate techniques, then move on to the advanced.

 

Formula

A visual representation of breaking down technique.

 

Reading and Writing the Formula

Draw a table. The table will be chopped into smaller and smaller pieces, so make it large. First, the top layer is the technique you are considering teaching. The next layer is the top layer broken down into its easier elements. In the example provided, 8-Bit Technique is part Robot, part, Frozen Poses, part Character.

The second layer is broken down by the layer under it. Anything within the bounds of the lines to the right and left of the word, such as the Robot, has the elements underneath it bound by those same lines, such as the Robot is broken down into Isolations, Tocs, Resistance, and Geometric Hand.

Once basic technique has been reached, an X is placed underneath it to give a mental point of reference.

 

What to Do With This Information

You are probably wondering, “So, this is cool and all, but how do I use this?”

 

The Answer Is Simple: Teaching

If you need to teach a song that uses an advanced technique, it is best to make sure that everyone can do that advanced technique. In order for everyone to do the advanced technique, the mimes must be familiar with the intermediate and basic techniques needed to do that technique. Simply start teaching the basic, then work up to the technique that is needed.

 

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Chapter 18: Stroll Miming Guidelines

This chapter is a general guide of common knowledge about stroll miming and some helpful tips on when and where to stroll mime.

Stroll miming is the mime that is done offstage. It consists of miming alone or in a group for entertainment purposes. No gospel message is necessary. It is mainly used to get people’s attention and just have fun.

 

Conduct

Since stroll miming is a few hour long process, it is important to note a few different codes of conduct.

 

Do Not Break Character

Do not stop being happy or whatever your character is, unless you are switching characters. In actions, do not stop those actions. For instance if someone walks straight through your wall, don’t get upset, adapt. Maybe make a hole in the wall where they went. Maybe convince them that they are superhuman. Be creative.

 

Do Not Speak

Just like in the regular mime conduct, speaking breaks the art of mime. Usually American Sign Language (ASL) is used to speak between members. Get to know it. ASL Pro (http://www.aslpro.com/) is a good resource to get to know ASL.

Other times, people can communicate by writing on paper. This is not preferred, since it looks like of cheesy, but it is better than speaking.

 

Act Appropriately

This is not the time to be immature or dirty in any jokes or actions. This is a time to be friendly, godly, and silently spread the gospel by actions. Even though stroll miming is just for fun, it should be fun for everyone.

 

Be Outgoing and Friendly

Many people have negative feelings toward mimes, so it is good relieve their concerns by being nice. At the same time, being mean is just bad anyways. Also, don’t scare people. Same thing applies.

 

Glorify God through Humility

Give glory to God when those around you compliment your presentations. It may be a little cliché to do the “point up to the sky” reaction when someone compliments you, but it is good to do. It is not about us, it is about God.

 

Never Go Alone

Stroll miming in groups of three or more is best, but if a mime needs to be alone, be in sight of someone in the group. This keeps the mimes from getting abducted, beaten up, heckled, or anything else that might be considered bad.

 

Venue

The place where the miming takes place.

 

Many times, you know where you will be presenting and miming long before you get there.

 

Outdoors

For the most part, presentations will be indoors, but sometimes at public picnics or fairs, they will be outside.

 

Indoors with Many Rooms

A church, for instance, might have a lot of rooms and places where people are filtering in and out for various reasons. For example, a school during some public event. Many different rooms might have stuff going on in them, so mimes are free to enter into many places.

 

Indoors with One Big Room

A gym is a typical large room. For a school readiness fair, these rooms are quite common to use. Stroll mime around the whole room, but do not leave that room unless it is for a bathroom break.

 

Mixed

Some of the venue is inside, sometimes it is outside. Take for example a Halloween Alternative at a church. It might take place partly inside and partly outside. Wander all of the boundaries set by the leaders and do not forget any presentation or meet-up times. There should be clocks just about everywhere. Also, take people with you always.

 

Opportune Locations

Where do you stroll mime specifically? Well, anywhere, but the best are as follows.

 

• Open Spaces: Anywhere with a lot of room.

• Public: Anywhere where people can see you easily.

• Densely Populated Areas: Anywhere where there are a lot of people.

• Small Children Present: Anywhere that children are around a lot. Children love mimes, but are also sometimes scared.

 

Opportune Times

When should we stroll mime? Just about any time, but there are a few restrictions and a few preferences.

 

• Between Presentations: If you are presenting four times in an eight hour segment, then stroll miming between presentations is the best. Also do not forget to be on time to those presentations.

• Busy Times: Sometimes there are times when it is “prime time.” Take a typical day at McDonald’s for example. Is McDonald’s busiest at 2:30? Probably not. Lunch time or dinner time is probably the busiest time for them.

• Lunchtime (For Them): If you are at a place that serves food, there will likely be a bunch of people during lunch time. You will also probably have to postpone your lunch time.

• Surrounding Presentations: What happens if there is a presentation in 20 minutes? Stroll mime. You may also inform people of upcoming presentations using your hands.

• Directly Following Presentations: These times are sort of awkward, because you will hear a lot of praise for the good work you did. This is the time to meet and greet those around you. Give glory to God and regroup. However, it is also a great time to stroll mime because people are already interested in what you are doing.

• Lunch (For You): Following presentations is awkward for reasons mentioned above, so take a lunch, or at least a small break before going back out and stroll miming once again.

 

What to Do Alone

It is always best to take a partner with you, but realistically, you will be alone at some point.

 

Here are some of the classic stroll miming techniques used most commonly and some other basic guidelines. For the Stroll Miming Technique Course, go here (http://digitalmime.com/tech300.html).

• Box/Wall: The classic box. People will outright ask you to do the box, and will be amazed by it and love it. Know the box and know it well.

• Frozen Poses (Solo): Posing alone for a prolonged period of time is actually quite fun, and gets a lot of attention. Pointing at something that doesn’t exist is the most fun.

• “Magic”: For the times when we gave gospel tracts, I usually did “magic” and pull it out of their ear and give it to them.

• Audience Participation: Get the people involved who are around. Maybe give them a cup or a flower and see what they do with it.

• Repetition: Don’t feel like after exhausting a stroll miming activity that it is done for the day. After perhaps 30 minutes or an hour, the crowd might be new and everything you do is new to them.

• Make Something Up: Just because there are stroll miming techniques doesn’t mean you can’t have fun and do your own brand of stroll miming. Some of the mimes I present with have created multiple miming techniques for fun. Clockwork Soldier was a technique that Jarek and I created during a stroll miming session one day, and it is quite fun. We wind each other up and spring off in a clockwork toy soldier kind of way, then slow down, freeze, and get wound up all over again.

 

What to Do Together

Many times you are in groups, and there is so much to do in a group.

 

• Frozen Poses (Group): One after the other, you can all freeze into a pose, the one at a time break away or change poses.

• Mime Baseball: Playing baseball is pretty awesome in mime. It takes a lot of the five elements of a gesture being used again and again by multiple people. It is definitely chaotic, but pretty fun.

• Slow Motion Mime Race: Slow motion mime running does not need a winner, but is meant to look goofy and fun.

• Mime Hide-and-Go-Seek: The classic group mime. A lot of the time, people don’t know what’s going on, but it gets a lot of people’s attention very easily. It also allows for some interaction between mimes and non-mimes.

• Machine: This is rather unpopular due to its difficulty. The idea is to create a repeatable action, then another person gets hit or something by that action and does their own. Eventually, a mime machine gets made. It is hard because most people are not in sync. Doing actions in a four-count or an eight-count may ease up the difficulty.

• Tug-of-War: Another classic. Either two people or even teams line up and pull an invisible rope. It is usually the two centermost people who lead the pack in their pulling. Winning is not necessary, so make it fun, not a competition.

 

There is so much to stroll miming that it is hard to make a guide. Mostly because it is just meant to be fun. Groups of mimes can either be sticks-in-the-mud and not stroll mime a lot, or have all kinds of fun stroll miming for hours. The longest I have gone in whiteface is about eight hours. That is a lot of time not talking. Fortunately, I knew quite a bit of sign language and was able to communicate with some team members without talking. During those eight hours, I exhausted everything I knew in stroll miming many times over. Still, because I was happy and excited, others were excited, and I was able to attract a few more people to watch our presentations later on. Plus, it was just plain fun.

 

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Chapter 19: Drills

No, not the power tool. I’m talking about similarity between a Drill Sergeant and the drills that they give. The point of this guide is to assist you in teaching technique or a part of a song in order to refine it and get it right.

 

What Are Drills?

For the most part, they are repeating actions and giving something realistic and measurable to remember and complete the song parts and technique.

 

When Do I Need Drills?

It is good to know that you do not need to do drills for absolutely everything you do. It is best to utilize drilling for the times mimes are consistently not getting something right. In addition, it is good to use drills for the times mimes are getting lazy in their technique, which causes the song quality to suffer.

 

How Do I Set Up Drills?

Whenever you are needing a drill, it is good to give everyone a heads-up, and bring them all together. Let everyone know what you are doing, and get them mentally set up for it. It should be a fun event whenever you drill, and not something that when you say, “We are going to do some drills,” everyone groans loudly. Drilling is fun, but it is also hard work.

Bring everyone into the scene, probably in a line, inform them of what you are going to do, then challenge them to do it well.

 

Drilling Technique

To drill technique, you must know that technique. You must be able to do whatever you are asking them to do.

 

Use Repeatable Actions

For the mime walk, for instance, continue to repeat that action indefinitely, then go around and critique what the mimes are missing from the technique.

 

Break Down Technique

The Breaking Down Technique guide in Chapter 17 gives some ideas for this. Break down the technique into small chunks and learn each piece of technique all the way up to what you are teaching.

 

Use Elementary Actions

Condense the technique into elementary actions. In other words, get as detailed as humanly possible. Do you have the middle and index finger straight, or are they curved slightly? In the mime walk, your feet should be hovering over the ground about a quarter of an inch. When you are on a cross, your wrists are isolated in a fixed point in the air.

 

Use Memorable Actions

Give the mimes something hard and memorable to do. Once upon a time, we were drilled with holding a cross. We were not showing that much resistance and were kind of lazy in our technique. Our leader stuck his arms out straight and said, “I’m a cross, carry me,” and we had to. It gave a very memorable depiction of what it would be like to carry a cross. Do something like that.

 

Drilling Songs

Songs sometimes need to be drilled, which is a lot simpler than drilling technique.

 

Repeating Parts

Repeat the individual part or the whole team’s part of the song multiple times. Simply replay the part of the music multiple times and point out the aspects of the song that are wrong. Remember to be nice about it though. See Chapter 16 on critiquing mime songs for more about this.

 

Details

Give as much detail on parts as possible. For signed songs, make sure that everyone is doing the same signs at the same time. For other songs, replay the parts, making sure each detail is right. This can be as small as the emotions or as big as the whole crowd’s walking.

 

Drill Games

The most fun type of drills.

Frozen Pose Story

To encourage characterization, creativity, and basic technique, tell the students to tell a story using frozen poses. For instance, say, “You are all getting out of the car at the beach. Go!” then they change around. Next you would say, “Now you are setting up your beach site. Go!” then they do that. Next, “Suddenly, a wave comes up and is about to wash away your stuff.” And so on.

 

The Hat Shop

A fun game to play is called the Hat Shop. Basically, each person enters a hat shop, grabs a hat, puts it on and becomes that character. This encourages consistent doors and the technique thereof, the five elements of a gesture, characterization, and better mime technique overall.

 

Mixing Song Roles

For some students, they only get to learn one part of a song ever. Something fun to have them do is change roles around. Have Satan play as God, have a mountain play as Jesus, etc. and let them play around with the song, have fun, and encourage them to better their technique. This helps overall mime skill, broadening their knowledge of mime songs and various roles.

 

Drilling is fun, and it is also necessary to growing mimes in their skill. For many, it is tough and people don’t want to do it. This is not good. Drilling is a delicate thing, just like critiquing. It should be handled with care and always at the right place and time.

 

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Chapter 20: Adding Spiritual Subtext

Presenting mime songs just might be the most important outreaching aspect of the mime ministry. However, as a wise Jory once said, “It can’t happen to you until it happens through you.” What Jory meant by that was, we cannot do well in ministry outreach presenting a mime song if we ourselves do not know what the song is talking about. It is best to take the whole team aside in the middle of teaching and explain a few important points to them.

 

Spiritual Subtext Topics

Below are a list of topics to discuss with your team in order to help them grow spiritually.

 

Discuss the Song Meaning

Often times, a song’s meaning is lost in the world of teaching. The audience might understand it, but the mimes themselves are just going through the motions. For instance, Courtroom. Many mimes do not fully understand that the song is about us not getting condemned for all eternity because Jesus is our savior. It’s just another song to them. Each song has (or at least should have) a good message behind it. Next, think about Fight Inside. It has a lot more complex of a message. It might go over a lot of people’s heads very easily. Explain the message clearly and ask questions.

 

Explain Humility of Mime Song Performance

I have always been taught to point up whenever someone says, “You did a great job.” This was humility. An important aspect of outreach is to remember is that it is not about us, it is about God. Whenever we take the glory, that means God is not getting it. That is the opposite of outreach. Give God the glory for the ability He has given you.

 

Talk About the Meaning of Excellence

Whenever we critique a song, it is not because we are trying to be negative. On the contrary, we are trying to reach perfection, because if we are trying to be like Jesus, then we need to be perfect. However, God doesn’t call us to be perfect. He calls us to love Him and love others. Excellence is doing the song as good as practically possible, which should be almost flawless. That is the goal, because doing a song to the best of your ability is showing that you love God enough to do it your best, and it is also loving others by letting them influence you and vice versa.

Beware, though. Being manipulative in explaining this as, “Do better because God wants you to be perfect,” may not be the best idea. Be authentic.

 

Explain the Importance of Patriotism

Some songs are patriotic songs. They are especially popular during Memorial Day weekend, Independence Day, Veterans Day, the week surrounding Veterans Day, as well as many other occasions. Now, do not confuse Patriotism with Americanism. Americanism is glorifying the United States above God. Patriotism is honoring those who deserve it, and thanking God for the country we live in. For some veterans, honor is worth more than gold. Honoring veterans opens doors to ministering to them.

 

Discuss the Idea of Taking a Character’s Spot

This is an interesting perspective on mime. Many times we don’t think about this. However, we probably should. Whenever a mime plays the part of Jesus, they are representing Jesus to a crowd that might not know who He is. Are you depicting Jesus as weak? Is Jesus just another character? Or is Jesus the Word, the Son, and the second part of the trinity? Consider explaining Jesus’ role in this song to the mimes themselves, and ask them to portray that same role to the audience later on.

 

Explain the Use of Different Song Types

See Choreographing a Mime Song in Chapter 11 for more information on these formats and their elements. There are five basic types of mime song types:

• Celebratory: Songs that are celebration, dancing, signing, and others that do not usually follow a storyline. These are important because it gets the crowd hyped up. These are energetic or artistic songs that are best used at the beginning of a presentation.

• Ballad: Songs that follow the lyrics of the song and convey a message. These are the most classic style of mime song. These are the “milk” of the mime songs. The storyline is conveyed through the song’s lyrics. However, the meaning is still the deep aspect of the song, which should be conveyed with mime. Sometimes, if a specific song goes in depth with a message, it can potentially become a “meat” message for mime.

• Independent: Mime songs that do not follow the lyrics of the song itself, or that do not have lyrics at all, but convey a message. These songs take a lot of focus from the audience. Once you have the audience’s attention, use these to convey deeper messages. In other words, in a five-song presentation, use it anywhere from song number three to five, after the audience is already enticed.

• Talks: Songs that are a mix between celebratory and ballad. The songs that are broken down into small chunks of actions, but still tell the speech as a story. These are usually deep songs that don’t need much of an introduction. They are used to directly explain a topic to the audience. Use these just about anywhere except the end of a presentation.

• Christmas: Songs that are primarily shown during Christmastime. Makes sense I suppose. They are usually about the nativity and crucifixion, which by the way, the nativity does not appear in a lot of non-Christmas mime songs. They are typically set to a popular Christmas song, or have the Christmas “feel” to them.

• Patriotic: Songs that are played during Veteran events. Patriotic songs are used to honor veterans, America, and God all at the same time. Putting a Christian message into a song about America is essential to Patriotism. Beware of Americanism though, which is glorifying America over God.

 

Explain Outreach

Since the mime ministry is all about outreach, it is good to note to the mimes that it is all about God, not them. Furthermore, it is all about the audience. Sound familiar? Love God and love others? Anyway, remember to note that people could potentially be led to Christ through this, so it is extremely important.

 

Explain Discipleship and How it Affects Mime

Remember that mime ministry is not about us, it is about God. With that in mind, discipleship is about us, but more so about God. It is about us trying to lead others and be led ourselves in order to do the best we can do for God’s glory. Attempting to reach perfection and allowing others to guide us along is essential to the spiritual growth of a mime. In addition, if a mime is spiritually competent, then they can do better in songs since they can better understand a song and its meaning.

 

Remembering to add a spiritual subtext to the mime critiquing process might not lead to a better chance of saving someone, but it can lead to the growth of the mimes themselves. Hopefully though, their excellence in conduct outside of the presentation will lead others to Christ. That is the meaning of outreach: reaching out to others and leading them to Christ. Being spiritually competent is important to a mime, it sets them apart from performers since they know it is not about them, but about God.

Lastly, remember authenticity. You could teach your students all of the above, but if you are doing it to manipulate them. Well… that’s missing the whole point.

 

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Chapter 21 (Bonus Chapter): Mini-Mime Team

Let’s say that you have a rather large population of little ones who want to do mime, but you know that it is not a good idea to have them in the songs. You would be very right. In order to reach out to some audiences, you need some better messages and crisper technique to more accurately depict Christ and His message of salvation. This chapter is all about the Mini-Mime teams and how they should work.

 

Qualifications

What do kids need to do or be in a mini-mime team?

 

Age.

These kids should be between 4 and 10 years old. In some cases, the age is raised to 12, but that’s only in the case of smaller teams. This 4-10 age range when kids are able to learn, and before they can be held to a higher standard. Above that age, the children should be accepted into the full team.

 

Membership.

There should be at least five members of the mini-mime team before the team can truly be a team. Teams of one to four are very hard to have actual songs done, simply because there are fewer songs that kids can do with less than five members.

 

The Elder.

Furthermore, one of these kids should be between seven and 10 (or 12). That way, the kids have someone to look up to, as well as having one that can hold up the team. In presentations, the “elder” of the team should be the main character or the hardest part. If there are many kids between the age of seven and 10 or 12, then this rule is exempt.

 

Nothing else, really.

Really, the mini-mime team is all about fun and basic growth in faith. These little children that are going to be on a mini-mime team are not going to be able to be held up to the standard of the full team. However, if the team members keep on going after 10 or 12, then they should join the full team. At that point, they will be more experienced, as well as able to be held up to a higher standard.

 

Differences Between Mini-Mimes and Full Mimes.

There are not many differences, so consider everything that a full team has to do, but also mesh some these tips for a mini-mime team.

 

Parents Are Stricter.

The parents of mini-mime teams are encouraged to come and watch their children learn mime, and encourage them to do better. They can also remove them from the songs if they are misbehaving. Furthermore, parents may also be harsher on leadership, arguing about how the mini-mimes should be taught.

 

Venues Are Limited.

For the most part, children should only ever present at their home church. However, that may not be true in all cases. The main point is, if the children making fools of themselves is going to detract from saving someone, then it should be avoided. In the case of certain venues, such as a venue that has a lot of little children in it, then mini-mimes are acceptable. Additionally, some venues that the full team (if there is one) can also have a few songs that the mini-mime team presents.

 

Poor Quality Is Excused.

Since the mini-mime team consists of all children, they are not expected to be perfect. They should be treated nicely, and even if they fail horribly, they should be encouraged. The last thing they need is to be yelled at about doing badly. They should always be excused for their poor miming, encouraged to do better, and applauded for their performance.

 

Song Variety Is Limited.

Something very notable is the variety of songs that a mini-mime team should do. If a mini-mime team is presenting songs, they should not learn Fight Inside, Via Dolorosa, or Stand. Those are all complex and difficult songs. Some better choices would be David and Goliath, Forgiven, or I Surrender All; songs that are simple, easy to teach, easy to learn, and are better for that age group.

 

They Are Capable of More than You Might Expect.

Not to say that you cannot expect much of the full team, but it is important to note that some mini-mime teams are actually more susceptible to learning technique than the older team. Try not to expect nothing of them, but give them a break if they do not reach your high expectations. On the other hand, try to work them up to another level and always encourage them to do better.

 

Bible Studies.

There should always be a bible study, even if they are just kids. However, they need to be simpler and shorter.

 

Simpler.

The kids that are on the mini-mime team will most likely understand simple biblical concepts, but more complicated concepts would go in one ear and out the other. Explaining the story of Jonah is excellent. Presenting an apologist’s argument against evolution is something that maybe even the full team is not quite ready for.

 

Shorter.

Since younger children have a shorter attention span, that should be taken advantage of, and utilize it as best as possible. Bible studies for the younger children should be at most 30 minutes, preferably 15-20 minutes. The rest of the time should be either free-time or an activity to entertain the children.

 

Technique.

This is still mime, so there must still be mime technique. However, not as much.

 

Basic Technique.

It is still acceptable to teach the mini-mimes the basic technique. It gives a good foundation for technique later on, while also allowing them to get much better as they join the full team someday later.

 

Specific Techniques.

For some songs, you may have to teach intermediate or advanced techniques to the children. Cross technique, for instance, is something that should be taught quite frequently. Furthermore, some walks, characters, etc. might be necessary for songs. Ultimately, teach the technique that is necessary for the songs being taught.

 

Be Lenient.

Know that technique exists to make the mimes crisper and approach excellence. However, also know that these are children. It is okay if they don’t do well at technique. They should just have it as foundational information. If they fail, forgive them and encourage them to do better.

 

For the most part, mini-mime teams are exactly the same as full-sized teams, except for some limitations. The mini-mimes should always be encouraged to do the best they can, but sometimes they cannot be expected to be the best. It is okay for them to fail. They will grow, and someday, if they join the full team, they will be more experienced than some of the other new recruits joining at the same time.

 

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About this Publication and the Author

Like what you see? Check out the rest of Charleton and the CALD’s mime resources. They offers a database of mime songs, mime technique, team information and more at the Digital Mime website, listed below.

This ePublication was created for the purpose of educating mimes, experienced and inexperienced, in their mime ministry’s growth and expansion through the use of academic-style knowledge put forward without all the sugarcoating.

 

Connect with Me:

Check Out my Website: http://www.digitalmime.com/

Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MimeBlog or @MimeBlog

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Shakespir Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this eBook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author, Charleton Mills, and cannot be redistributed to others for any purpose. If you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer or get it from the author himself at http://www.digitalmime.com/theory.html. The author requests that one does not claim this work as their own, and credit him in any way deemed fit. Most importantly however, the author requests that any user of this information will only use it to glorify God through the work that is done. Thank you for your support.

 

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Mime Theory Lectures, First Edition

"Mime Theory Lectures" was written by Charleton Mills with help from several other knowledgeable sources across America. This book gives academic-style knowledge about the many aspects of the mime ministry. From How to Choreograph a Mime Song to Conduct in White Face to Errors in Mime, many topics are covered and discussed in this unloading of useful knowledge about mime from a mime in the profession for several years. This book is designed for new and existing mimes of new and existing teams.

  • ISBN: 9781310624360
  • Author: Charleton Mills
  • Published: 2016-03-26 01:35:12
  • Words: 32155
Mime Theory Lectures, First Edition Mime Theory Lectures, First Edition