A Conversation with Contest Director, Mike Palau.
By Rachel Greenwald & Maggie Josephsen
Continuing our exploration of the wonderful staff we have this season for FFCC, Mike Palau, a long-time FFCC contest director, volunteered his time to answer some questions about the world of color guard.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to performers/directors/
“Go in with a detailed plan for your show day procedure. Too often we see performers and staff stressed out because they didn’t plan how to get on and off the floor and what roles each person involved will play in that process. Having a plan and practicing that plan before the show day will help everyone involved and allow for the performers to be in better state of mind before competing at the show. Oh and have multiple ways of playing your soundtrack that doesn’t involve the internet, please!!!”
What is something you wish the world at large understood about guard?
“How much dedication and determination it takes to be involved in this activity. People only see the product when it is on the floor but they have little idea how much planning and practice it took to get the show looking like it does.”
What is your favorite part of the winterguard season?
“Seeing all the people involved and the growth made over the course of the season. Also making a connection with friends you may not see for months but then the season arrives and it is like you were just together all over again.”
If you could relive one moment of your career as a performer, what would it be?
“Performing in front of the DCI crowd in 1998 at the Citrus Bowl.”
Going into 2020, how do you think color guard has changed as a sport and as a community over the past decade?
“At the higher levels we’ve more artistic and eccentric, sometimes to a fault, but the continued growth of the activity, as a whole, is exciting. We’ve become more open to the questions what is art and how the ending product will impact the audience when it’s over.”
Where do you see color guard in another 10 years from now?
“I hope we continue to push the envelope in design and what is entertaining to the audience, not just the informed audience member but the average off the street person as well. A continued balance between what’s artistic and what is attainable for everyone to enjoy.”
What advice could you give to performers that want to get involved in color guard as a career?
“Put yourself out there, if you want to be part of a certain staff or group, you need to take the chance and go for it. But realize that just because you put yourself out there doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful the first time around. Don’t be afraid to put in the work and really dig in and go for it because you may not reach that first goal you wanted. However you may find a new, better goal available because you put the time in and allowed yourself the opportunity to experience new challenges.”
What is one secret you can share about the behind the scenes workings of the FFCC?
“We are just as nervous as you are come show days, we just wear it better.”
What made you want to work with the FFCC?
“I was fascinated with the experience and I wanted to do my part in making it a little better and maintaining it so that others would have the chance to experience it the way I did. I hope I have in some way helped it grow and
look forward to continue to help mold it for the future performers.”