The Viz!

Lesson 3: The Viz!


Lesson Objective: Students will be able to communicate a designer’s concept by choosing and presenting a viz for a popular fairy tale.


Materials Needed:

AV hook ups

Viz Images PPT  Lesson 3 LittleRedViz PDF      Lesson 3 LittleRedViz

Several Sound Clips

  • I used Jacques Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld (7:50-8:50)
  • A heavy metal version of Greensleeves
  • A spy sounding song (some Cowboy Bebop)



Once students are all settled in, lead them in this hypothetical situation:


Imagine that I’m directing (Insert any well known show title here—I used Romeo & Juliet). I met with my design team, told them what show we’re doing, that I was very excited about it, and then asked everyone to come back with their finished designs next time. And that was all the info I gave the design team.

  • What do you imagine we’ll discover about the designs when everyone meets again to present them next time?
  • Explain that without giving the team a concept and a solid image to anchor ideas to, it’s very possible that the designs (lights, set, costume, sound, etc..) will reflect different interpretations of the show that won’t mesh well with each other. There’s a lack of unity.
  • If we did a show like that (—chances are pretty good that the audience would be all sorts of confused.)



That’s why we need what is called a viz—the director brings an image, piece of music, something that all the designers can use to connect their ideas to.


Viz should capture the emotions, mood, images that you want the audience to experience. The things that you want to be represented in your designs


Viz can be an image, an object, or even music (in this class, we use music w/o lyrics)


 Image Viz Practice: Little Red Riding Hood

Go over the basic plot of “Little Red Riding Hood” so that people can remember it.

  • Have student volunteers recount main plot points


Show 1st Viz image—imagine we’re doing production of Little Red Riding Hood, director showed you this image for the viz

  • What kinds of feelings to you get? (what emotions? What mood? What attitudes?)
  • How might this be interpreted in elements of design? What colors, textures, shapes, might be in this world, etc…?


Show 2nd Viz image, how does this image change our understanding of the play?

  • What kind of set could we create based off of this?
  • How did these images help you understand what style/mood the director is going for with this show?


Music as Viz: The three little pigs

Quickly review the basic plot of this story


Play several different clips of music for students—again having them analyze the following for each:

  • Feelings (what emotions, moods, attitudes does this music give off?)
  • Concept (what do you visualize? Color, texture, images, shapes etc might be in this world?)
  • How might we translate what we feel from the Viz to a set design (what could we do to translate that into something solid?)


Designer Application Assignment

We’ve just worked to interpret a viz. As designer, your job is to come up with a viz to support your concept.


As a class, read a popular fairy tale (we used Goldilocks & The Three Bears)



You are going to create a design viz for G&TTB. Can be an image, object, or music. Just make sure you can explain what story you want to tell, what your concept is, and how your viz supports the ideas/mood/concept that you want to communicate.


Bring Viz next time, you will present them for eachother.


Lesson 3 Continued…

The next class period, students will present their Viz to the class. This will likely take the entire period.


Procedure for presentations:

One student will present at a time. During presentations, class members should list 1-2 questions or observations that they have about each viz/presentation.


After each presentation, students will have 3-4 minutes to ask questions/discuss the viz. Point out good things students are doing in their presentations. Ask questions as well to help presenters expand their ideas if needed.


Assessment: Students will be given points for their participation (if they have written, asked questions). Question/response papers will be turned in. Students will be given points for their presentations. Since this is a practice for the final, I gave students full points if they presented a viz.