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I was very involved with LaGuardia High School's first production of my junior year

Grease. I served as a chief artisan for the Props Department under the supervision of Hank
Lewis, and directed a project in which we built life-sized cars for the set. I led the project
alongside my co-leader, Devan Sconzo. No design was given to us prior to pre-production, so
Devan and I spent time outside school to plan out the construction design of the cars
ourselves. Our first step was to locate a 3D rendering of a 1957 Ford Thunderbird car, which
we found after tediously searching the Internet. We would base the aesthetic design of the
cars based on this model. The model was scaled down, so we researched the specifications
of an actual Thunderbird car. Next, we used a software program called 3D Studio Max to
rescale the model according to those specifications. We then sliced the model into tenths
from the bumper to the trunk, making sure each slice was 8 inches apart from the previous
slice. Our plan was to use these slices as ribs for our car. When all the slicing was completed,
we had ten ribs. We then printed out the ribs onto individual transparencies, and placed the
transparencies onto an overhead projector. We scaled the projector to the specifications of
the Thunderbird, and projected the ribs onto the wall. We traced the rib projections onto
sheets of plywood, thus enabling us to have the ribs that were once on the computer, now in
our hands. We proceeded to use a jigsaw to cut out each rib and attach them to a platform
with screws. Each rib was elevated a certain height from the base of the platform with wooden
legs, and was attached to the previous rib every 8 inches. We made seats and side panels
from wood. Our next step was to fill in the gaps between ribs with foam. We did so, placing
foam blocks that were eight inches thick between each rib. We then painstakingly carved
them into the shape of a car hood. Afterwards, we coated the foam with several layers of
plaster, and sanded down the plaster into shape. Finally, we painted the plaster so that it
would resemble a car. We used tires for wheels and created wooden hubcaps, and the
bumper was made of foam. I made headlights for the cars out of two lamp bases, and wired
them to a stage-pin connector at the rear of the car. Our project turned out to be a success.

For the Run Crew of Grease, I served as the A1 lead audio engineer. I worked
alongside the A2s and my supervisor, Allison Goessling, who works for Audio Inc. I learned
how to use our theater's digital soundboard, a Yamaha M7CL, and acquired skills for mixing
the audio from the microphones of performers and the instruments of band members. I was
also in charge of creating sound cues for the show, such as car honks and engine revving. I
found the cues on the internet, and trimmed them down using music production software. I
raised and lowered the volume for the cues and rendered the cues to fade at appropriate
places. Throughout the show, I would play the cues through the program Q-Lab, which was
located on a computer that was connected to the soundboard. Overall, my leadership as an
A1 furthered my education on audio engineering.

Please contact John Hank Lewis for more information at setdesign@netzero.net.



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LaGuardia High School Concert Hall

December 2013

Directed by LeeLobenhofer