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In 7 minutes, how will you convince a non-fan of FS to start appreciating it?

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Vash01, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

    I think an over emphasis on personalities will not create a lasting interest in figure skating. Skaters come and go, and so will interest. Best to emphasize on the skills required as a figure skater so the audience can appreciate these skills when they see it.
  2. NadineWhite

    NadineWhite Well-Known Member

    Sorry, but in all honesty for me that would be a total turn off, nothing worse then having to listen to someone pontificate on & on & on... *insert sleep emoticon*

    As I stated earlier, it's a known fact that people learn & comprehend via visualization more than anything else. Fact. Look it up if you don't belive me.

    Anyhow, I've said enough, and wish you much luck and joy presenting f.s. Vash01! :) :cool: :kickass:

    ps: forgot to include in my prior post, take questions afterward. :hat1:
  3. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

    If it were me, I would definitely address the athleticism of FS. So many of my friends don't like FS or even consider it a sport, it makes me so mad.

    I think some of the suggestions listed earlier would be great: T/M's disastrous fall; Z/Z Torino accident and comeback; slow-mos and real-time video of triple axels, quads, quad combos, etc.

    Good luck, sounds like fun!
  4. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    When I was a grad student, I gave several presentations about figure skating. I edited videos by copying from one VHS tape to another, and I wrote and rehearsed my comments to be timed to the video illustrating the points I wanted to make. The editing was a bit rough, but it illustrated the points much better than words alone could.

    The technology is different now. Some people have access to equipment, programs, and expertise that would let them do a better job. Without that access, relying on youtube, for example, makes it harder to show multiple short clips.

    If Vash01 needs to demonstrate something specific, then that would narrow down the choices, once the decision is made what that specific thing is.

    If the purpose is to convince people who hadn't been interested in figure skating before that skating is an exciting sport to watch, then I think video of exciting skating would be very useful.

    Could the main point to be demonstrated be something like "Figure skating is an exciting, varied sport that demands great athleticism, precise technique, and sophisticated performance skills?"

    Maybe show (not necessarily in this order) some really big, clean triple axels and quads from men, triple-triple combos from ladies; big throw jump from a pair; some fast and/or attractive spins; some exciting pair or dance lifts; footwork (from ice dancers as well as singles) showing good expression of music, good quickness, deep edges, great speed across the ice while weaving and turning; a beautiful spiral or spread eagle with deep edges and good extension. Plus anything else that you love that I haven't mentioned.

    If you want to show some falls or some moments of celebration after a triumph, that could add too.

    But I would focus more on what happens on the ice than on the off-ice emotions before and after.

    If editing multiple clips together is not an option, then maybe choose one or two performances that you can show long sections of, with your own commentary (choose videos that don't have a lot of distracting chatter from TV commentators) and focus on demonstrating a specific point that would be well illustrated by those performances. It could be about the difference between two different skaters' approach to winning such as the old athlete-vs.-artist dichotomy. Or it could be one skater's transformation from earlier to later in a career, or a comeback after a serious injury as suggested earlier. Or any other topic you're enthusiastic about that you can find a good video to illustrate with.

    Introduce the video with an explanation of the point you want to make, and if appropriate make well-timed comments while the video is playing. Then you can summarize, draw a conclusion, and/or take questions afterward.
  5. spikydurian

    spikydurian Well-Known Member

    :respec: This comparison is great. :)
  6. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

    Another thing I feel compelled to mention...

    In any oral report, 7 minutes goes by like 2 seconds (when you're the one giving it).

    Part of my masters requirement was giving an 8-minute summary of my thesis, which was timed. The professor suggested we practice beforehand to make sure we would not go over the time frame. So I did. The first time I tried, I was shocked to find that what I thought would fit into 8 minutes ended up taking over 20 minutes! I practiced at least three more times before I made it work, so it all ended up fine.
  7. 2sk8

    2sk8 Active Member

    Interesting - I am familiar with a similar presentation done in the last couple of months, though the "goal" wasn't to convince people to be figure skating fans - it was for a college course. Used a number of video clips, focused on really good, athletic jumps (mostly men). This was more impressive to the audience than expected - and Plushenko was not in the clips. Feel free to PM me if you want to discuss/need specific examples.
  8. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    Chen Lu 1996 Worlds fp followed by Michelle Kwan 1996 Worlds fp followed by Michelle Kwan 2002 Olympic fp followed by Michelle Kwan 2002 Olympic exhibition followed by Rudy Galindo 1996 Nationals (with the full backstory, and especially the kiss n' cry); Johnny Weir 2003 fp U.S. Nationals followed by JWe's huge comeback sp and fp 2004 Nationals. Of course you need to provide the back stories to these amazing and transcendent efforts, and the rising above the hard time skates.

    Also, Toller Cranston, Janet Lynn, and John Curry, but yeah none of this would work with just a brief Toastmaster's speech unless you focused on one or two skaters and a few themes re what brings fans to the sport. You would probably need to shine a light on what the essence of figure skating is all about and the seriously hard work that it takes to reach the top. There are no wimps in figure skating. The essence of fs is about the joy of flight, and the courage to reach deep within oneself to bring out something miraculous and memorable.

    Yay fellow Toastmaster!!! :cheer: Good luck!


    Also, take a look at this video: "What's so great about figure skating?"
    Lots of food for thought from skaters themselves. :)


    The above video was originally longer with other skaters featured, but this version only has Ryan Jahnke offering his wonderful thoughts: "Skating is a crucible for life!"

    Here's the original 5 minute version of the above video:

    Last edited: Jan 4, 2013
  9. Macassar88

    Macassar88 Well-Known Member

    Tessa and Scott doing Carmen!

    Actually though, I'd show Tessa and Scott doing something - they were the ones who got me hooked on ice dance (their Mahler FD at the olympics)
    Berezhnaya and Sikharulidze's SP at SLC
    Zhang and Zhang's quad sal throw is amazing to watch!
  10. BreakfastClub

    BreakfastClub Active Member

    Ryan Jahnke's video is nice but it's kinda PC and generic. I'd show this one.

    Or maybe this. :p

    Totally agree with those who are suggesting focusing on things outside of the actual skating. When I get the sideways looks like, "You travel the world for figure skating?" Ummm, okay :confused:" I'm like, are you joking? It has ...

    -- wonderful music to snark about ("My God is that worst cut of Bolero evah?!" "F* Swan Lake again?" "How dare she skate to East of Eden!? :mad:")
    -- crazy costumes to snark about (see http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/2011/02/u-s-figure-skating-championships-men-2.html)
    -- big fat coaches in fur coats (any photo of Tarasova will do)
    -- grown men with stuffed animals (http://i.imgur.com/Ockgu.jpg)
    -- Russians, affairs and :smokin: (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w227JiWLImM)
    -- a place actually called the kiss 'n cry (http://janeheller.mlblogs.com/2010/02/25/time-out-for-womens-figure-skating/ - I actually love how she compares it to the baseball dugout in a whimsical way)
    -- divas (http://www1.pictures.gi.zimbio.com/Maurizio+Margaglio+Barbara+Fusar+Poli+Olympics+beZnKVheUdUl.jpg)
    -- politiks, eville judges, sekret judging, Speedy and skandal !!!!

    If you have to demo something, I don't know. You could demo "the process of judging a jump", slo mo a video that shows the preparation, flight and landing pausing the video every second or so and talk about how each point this contributes to a GOE score. Maybe show a 0 GOE double axel vs a +2 GOE double axel. (A fall vs. a good one is too obvious to be instructive.)

    But I've found that people are either hypnotized by the skating itself or not, especially once they see it live. It's hard to sell. I don't think it really takes practice to appreciate, most of my friends through FS fell in love instantly the way I did.

    So the whole point is to practice engaging an audience, getting a points across to them in a quick and accessible way and hoping they leave with a takeaway or two. You won't engage them or give them anything to remember that might make them want to watch it on their own unless you talk with passion about why YOU love skating. Can you boil it down to three points? Can you compare it to things more mainstream for accessibility (like the kiss 'n cry is like the baseball dugout ;))

    If had 7 minutes, I'd frame it around how it uniquely combines three things for me like no other sport can: drama, art and athleticism, especially for the men. I'd probably talk about big name male skaters, the thrill of watching the final warmup group of men at Worlds (with quads just booming all around and you just don't know which one to watch!), the tension as each comes out to skate and sets up for their opening quad, and show a couple of examples that for me illustrate why I love men more than any other discipline - show a Misha Ge footwork, a Dai footwork, some Fernandez choreo, dig into the vault for some voids a la Klimkin, show some of Chan's complex transitions, etc.

    For another perhaps its the musicality of ice dance, dance rivalries, and lots of off ice drama with coaches and politiks.

    What are your three things?

    Good luck!
  11. cbd1235

    cbd1235 Well-Known Member

    Sorry not trying to go on about Michelle Kwan again or anything......but watch this montage, it is exceedingly well-created with tons of drama and triumph: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVq_ZEVSfkY

    I think you should try to make a montage like this (it takes a lot of work, but personally I would find that much more memorable and effective than a simple verbal presentation. Or maybe you could combine a montage with your verbal portion, like a 50-50 split. You wouldn't make it about Kwan but about skating in general, using all the ideas posted (triumphs, comebacks, brutal falls, streamlined quads etc.) I think you could really create something magical, heck I'd even use the same song from this video.

    Hope this post is more helpful than my last!
  12. maatTheViking

    maatTheViking Danish Ice Dance! Go Laurence & Nikolaj!

    heh, I never said *I* didn't like Plushy choreo - I think he has amazing charisma :p.
    Also, when I just started watching FS, I preferred Slutskaya over Kwan - I loved her explosive jumps and fierceness. I appreciate Kwan more now that I understand edges better, but that is hard sell, especially on video. (Note though, that when I brought my husband to see SKAM live, after watching every discipline, he promptly declared that everyone needed to take icedance lessons - they 'skated with more flow' - I think he noticed their generally better edges. He also thought Aliona S. hotpants were awesome...)
  13. aftershocks

    aftershocks Well-Known Member

    :lol: Well, Mr. Weir(d) certainly "makes/ made figure skating exciting." I get it ... figure skating is a great way to "express yo'self" if you're brave enough to step outside the box and be yo'self. ;)
  14. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    There are lots of venues in which people can express themselves, experience defeat and triumph, demonstrate athleticism, demonstrate emotion and artistry, wear tacky costumes, perform to great or cheesy music, etc.

    So what's special about doing it on ice with blades on the feet? That's what you should focus on.
    bardtoob and (deleted member) like this.
  15. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Do people want to know what makes skating different and special - or would a better approach be to show them ways in which it is similar to sports they already like and thus might appeal to them as well?

    I don't have an answer to that question, BTW.
  16. ioana

    ioana Well-Known Member

    I agree with what gkelly and rayhaneh mentioned earlier about variety of skills. Maybe putting together a video of things people do well i.e. Midori Ito and Plushenko for jumps, Krieg, Ruh and Scott Davis for spins, couple of dance teams for ballroom, a nice clip of a pairs spiral or extended MITF, etc. I for one don't like 'love carrot' pairs programs one bit (and I say this as a skating fan and someone who's done adult pairs), so if someone had me sit through that as a way to get into the sport...let's just say it wouldn't work too well. And then there are people who would love this and showing them voidy programs and big flying spins would leave them going 'meh.'

    Another (somewhat crazy) idea would be to show some big falls and how skaters get up keep skating -or take the 2 minutes and then come back and finish the program, i.e. Zhangs at the Olympics. My pro sports-loving coworkers were impressed when they heard about that. Might as well cast a wide net, IMO. Good luck with the speech -and let us know how it goes.
  17. lala

    lala Well-Known Member

    Are there charismatic skaters without artistic side? I don't think...

    Otherwise I will make a reminder Plushy's programs here: Plushenko's Fan Thread since 1996, maybe there are some people who interest in it. He has so long career, maybe many forum members don't know his programs, or saw them very long time ago.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
  18. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    For humor you could introduce a drinking or bingo game for them to play while watching. You could mix technical content (nailed his quad) and some announcer/skater cliches ("I just want to go out there and have fun", "His artistry has improved"), costume or coach drama. Each player could take a skater.
  19. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Yuzuru, Medvedeva, T&M, Shibs, P&C

    I am returning to the thread after about 15 hours, and haven't had a chance to look up all the videos. Thanks for all the suggestions, everyone.

    Last night I decided not to emphasize the upcoming Olympics because not everyone gets excited over them, particularly the winter ones. I know this audience, and they know how passionate I am about FS. This is my opportunity to describe to them why I like it so much- I think they will find that interesting-, and what's in it for them (to get interested in FS). Since the purpose of the speech itself (as required by the manual assignment) is to demo something, my focus will be on that, with perhaps two short video clips- one could display the athleticism and danger of FS, and the other showing the grace & beauty.

    Since the US Nationals will start less than a week after my speech, it will be a perfect time to encourage them to watch the nationals, then worlds in March, and mention that the Olympics will be next year (but not spend time talking about the Olympics). I could talk about key skaters- both US and outside, to familiarize them ahead of time.

    I also decided that I don't need to create a lofty goal like making them fans of FS. If it happens, great. If it doesn't, they can still enjoy the speech, and the skating for a brief period.

    In the future, I could create a somewhat longer speech for another occasion, and include more visuals.
    ioana and (deleted member) like this.
  20. professordeb

    professordeb Well-Known Member

    Vash, I wish you good luck in getting it done what with all the amazing suggestions. I am sure you will do a great job and I will be "rooting" for your speech to go over well with those listening.
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  21. query5

    query5 New Member

    vash01 , i thought you was kidding, but the best way. is to start with why Figure skating impresses you and how or/why you got involved in this. you might want to downplay the technical side of knowing a lutz from a loop.
    but i would start why it impressed you and the sport "called" to you.
    etc i started because a)wanted to , a kid on a pond practice and imagine me being ogm, wchampion, little tidbits that are personal to you-might be fascinating.
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  22. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    I remember watching 1997 Euros with a friend (live on TV), and I was fascinated by Grishuk&Platov FD The feeling begins, while my friend felt oppressed by that program ! So, I guess I won't use it to convert a non fan. lol
  23. AliasJohnDoe

    AliasJohnDoe Headcase Addict

    Good Luck Vash!!!! I'm sure you'll do just fine!!!
    Vash01 and (deleted member) like this.
  24. missing

    missing Well-Known Member

    Thank you Vash01 for starting this thread. It's been really interesting reading all the comments.

    My approach would be completely different (and I know it's not what you'll be doing).

    I'd tell the story of Shen and Zhao, how pairs skating began in China, what their lives were like with the government restrictions, how they fell in love, but were forbidden to express that love in public. The poverty, the dorms, the endless practices, how they became world class, how Shen became more expressive after her extensive dental work. The whole story.

    When Shen and Zhao won in Washington DC, they didn't skate in the exhibitions because she was injured. Instead ABC showed their freeskate with no commentary. So it would be very easy to talk over.

    I'd explain how she had hurt herself in practices a few days earlier, how no one even knew if she could skate. Then I'd say how they skated last, and the team before them had skated brilliantly.

    I'd show the commentary free verson, while explaining the moves they were making, the difficulty of landing jumps and throw jumps when injured. And then I'd be quiet for those amazing last 15 seconds or so, when they're skating and the crowd is already standing and cheering.

    I'd say that unlike most other sports, skating is about sales. You have to sell your performance to the judges, the audience. You have to connect with your market, the way good salespeople do. The people in the audience that day knew Shen and Zhao's backstory. The connection had already been made, and the skaters came through. Everything, even the fact that they skated last, fell into place for a truly memorable championship.

    And then I'd speak a little more softly, and say that all sports are reflective of life, but figure skating is reflective of individuals' lives, even a country's life, and that special connection between athlete and audience is what makes it such an extraordinary sport to follow.
  25. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

    ^ I agree that Shen & Zhao's story is very compelling! Good luck with your presentation, Vash!
  26. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

    How about in seven seconds with a wad of small unmarked non sequential notes.
  27. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

    Are there lots?
    Ballroom or Latin dancing competitions are somewhat similar, but there is no element of extreme sport. Gymnastics, but there are no real elements of artistry ( I know people will argue; but it is more about precision and form than artistry. Rhythmic gymnastics, yes, but once again, it's not an extreme sport with 4 revolution jumps and throws and constant sense of physical danger; and there is no partnership)
    Circus acrobats? Normally not judged; no clear technical rules.
    Virtuoso musicians? Some similarities, but it's a sport only in the eyes of some devoted fans; not judged by a sport system.
    There are many disciplines that carry some of the similar challenges as skating, but I really cannot think of anything too close to it. Ballet is the closest, but again, there is no unified judging element and it is not an Olympic sport. The dedication to mastering one's body, often despite physical pain is the same, though, as well as combining fine- tuning one' body with artistic expression.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2013
    Cherub721 and (deleted member) like this.
  28. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    I agree, dinakt. Ballet is similar to skating in some ways, but there is not as much chance for self-expression in classic ballet.

    I really do think figure skating is unique in how many different genres it pulls together. Even in ice dancing alone, the skaters are expected to be good at Latin ballroom, Standard ballroom, and various other dances (flamenco, charleston, polka, folk dance etc). Even most professional ballroom dancers specialize in either Latin or Standard (with the exception of 10-dancers). There is not as much room for self-expression, because most competitions involve dancing syllabus steps to music that you don't know until it starts playing. Ice dancing had this in the form of compulsory dance, but it also had the OD/OSP in which the dancers got to select their own music and compose their own choreography to the given theme, which ballroom dancers only get to do with showdancing (which, in my understanding, is a very small percentage of actual ballroom competition). Now, those elements are still present in the SD (one section of compulsory steps, the rest an original composition).

    But on top of this, ice dancers also perform in the free dance. In theory they can use only ballroom rhythms there, but almost all ice dancers will attempt contemporary/ballet style at some point. It's extremely unusual to have dancers who would be expected to master this on top of ballroom... no one excepts ballet dancers to be great at ballroom or vice versa. And some ice dancers have done a damn good job showing all these different styles fairly accurately. They can even venture into hip hop and modern stuff. The only other place where I can remember seeing that much crossover of styles is reality shows like So You Think You Can Dance, but those are short term shows where you don't see the long partnerships and technical mastery you do in ice dance.

    And that is just one genre of skating, and it doesn't even include the gymnastic elements that you see in singles and pairs. That's what I love about figure skating and what makes it so unique... there is room for such a huge variety. I like rhythmic gymnastics just fine, but it all looks like skinny, flexible girls with colorful costumes throwing around their apparatus, alone or in groups. I can watch Yagudin's Gladiator, then V&M's Carmen, G&G's Vocalise, and Bonaly's Caravan and they are all completely different and unique. I really don't see that in any other sport.

    And then you add that they do it all on a thin blade in the cold and just... wow. It's amazing.
    dinakt and (deleted member) like this.
  29. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

    The post above from Cherub721- a hundred times Yes.
    Skating has great freedom of expression, choreography, ( and fewer conventions than a lot of dance- the variety of style one can choose from is awesome) combined with highly challenging sport. On a blade. With theater, politics, costumes, and national pride ( not that I am into it, but it adds drama for sure), and coached that are highly visible. There is so much to love, and it feels different from anything else.