We are so very excited to announce that TTAO has grown so much over the past several years as a dynamic independent non-profit organization that the Board has recently voted to create a new, rotating committee in our organization… the Area/Region/State Recommendation Committee!
This new committee will be made up of each year’s State judges, and they will make recommendations for new upper-level judge status designations, as well as provide recommendations to the UIL State Theatre Director for her consideration in her assignment of Area, Region, and State judges!
Below is a short video for all of our members that will explain the process in more depth. This new committee has been under discussion by Board members for several years, however, and we would like to take this opportunity now to extend our overwhelming gratitude to the State judges this year who have jumped on board and helped us make this happen!
Winter 2020 Newsletter
Board Updates & Announcements
of Directors Meeting Notice
Date: January 26, 2020 Location: Virtual Focus: Regular Board Meeting for TTAO Business
Payment Issues Process
There is a new process in place for
adjudicators who are not paid within 30 days of a contest. Please be sure to
read over the steps outlined from our summer board meeting.
and Best Actress will now be awarded to the 2 Best Performers, regardless of
gender. The new ballot can be downloaded from the website here: https://www.ttao.org/service-3/
Each school can now have a company of 20 that
can be divided however they wish. However, in order to be considered for an
acting award the cast member must be listed as an actor /actress in the
Grievance and Issues
Do you have a suggestion, question, concern or grievance
that you would like for the TTAO Board to address during their June meeting? Any
recommendations for actions are welcomed and considered by the Standards and
Contest Managers you can also remind
Directors during the Directors Meeting to complete their evaluation form of the
contest afterwards as well.
Social Media Reminders
UIL and TTAO strongly discourage adjudicators from posting results of contests they adjudicate on social media. If you are a Contest Manager/Judge and you want to post results, please include your title as contest manager when posting.
Please realize that any comment
about a contest you have judged could either:
Influence another adjudicator’s
opinion about the quality of the work you saw even if you mean it in a very
Compel other panelists to post an
equally praising post.
General Rule of Thumb: Don’t post anything about your contests if you are in doubt.
Some other Social Media Considerations:
1. Consider unfollowing or
unfriending on Facebook high school directors of shows you may adjudicate
during a contest season. This could help to eliminate the impression of
impropriety because you would remove yourself from seeing anything that
director may post about his/her show. Unfollowing may be the easiest method to
reverse after contest season.
2. Be aware that directors,
administrators, parents and students can and sometimes will search and find
your social media postings. Be careful about posting things/photos that could
give an unhappy person ammunition to potentially use against you in a
3. Join the following for
important updates, reminders and connections to your fellow adjudicators and/or
– Texas Theatre Adjudicators & Officials Facebook page (link below)
– TTAO/UIL One Act Play Adjudicators Facebook page (link below)
Adjudicators- Tips for Approaching the Critique
Please refrain from saying that you have directed, performed in, or seen the play before in a critique. A common complaint from directors in their evaluations is that a judge mentioned they have directed, performed, or seen the play before and they feel they were not given a fair evaluation. Even advancing directors have complained of this. Steer clear!
Read your scripts! (if they arrive on time) The contest is paying for you to be prepared for the contest as well as your feedback. You are supposed to be an expert audience member, not just another audience member. Even if you have seen the play before review the cutting to be familiar with what that school is attempting to create. We receive a lot of complaints in director’s evaluations where the directors feel like judges have not read their cutting–the evidence is that judges mention scenes or characters that are not in their cutting.
Focus on acting and directing in the critique. While comments on technical shortcomings are warranted sometimes, more than likely they weren’t the deciding factor in the contest. We get a lot of complaints from directors mentioning that a judge spent too much time focusing on inconsequential tech issues and not enough on acting and directing. Let students and directors go home feeling they didn’t advance because they need to improve their acting and directing, not because they didn’t have the period shoes necessary to produce the play. Technical comments can help advancing shows prepare for the next round, however, its best practice to limit tech notes for non-advancing plays.
Win your audience over early. Early praise for the director and students allow them to trust you as a messenger of feedback. Think of ways to start the critique to celebrate their work. What are some ways you win your audience over when giving critiques? Also note that the use of humor can be very effective, but it can also be misunderstood by your audience (directors, students, parents, etc.) Just be aware of what you are saying and how it is being received and interpreted.,
Avoid saying such things as: “When I directed this play…” “I’ll see you at State!” (Unless it is for someone advancing to the State Contest from a Regional Contest.)
Contest Manager – Mar 20-21 at Atascocita
1. Best Actor and Best Actress will now be awarded to the 2 Best Performers, regardless of gender. The new ballot can be downloaded from the website here: https://www.ttao.org/service-3/
2. Each school can now have a company of 20 that can be divided however they wish. However, in order to be considered for an acting award the cast member must be listed as an actor /actress in the program.
Annual Renewal and Lapse Changes
May 1st through June 1st is the window for renewal to be considered for Area, Region, and State assignments.
If an adjudicator misses the renewal window they may still pay dues, and meet renewal requirements until April 30th of the following year. If they have not renewed by April 30th they will be removed from the judging list and will have to reapply and recertify.
If a judge would like to remain on the list, but not judge during a contest season they must still pay dues, and meet renewal requirements for that season to stay current. If they are a lifetime member, they must still meet renewal requirements including accepting renewal statements and marking availability.
Important: If you renewed this summer (since May 1, 2019) you are good. Do not pay again. If you have not yet renewed for 2020, you have until April 30th or your profile will be removed. In order to renew, you will have to re-apply and go through the on-site certification process.
You can see if you’ve renewed by checking your account an under Membership see the date 2020 (or lifetime member) or if your name currently appears in the adjudicator or contest manager directory.
Payment Issues Process
There is a new process in place for adjudicators who are not paid within 30 days of a contest. Please be sure to read over the steps outlined from our summer board meeting.
TTAO members willreceive an email on Dec 1st with an online ballot. Please be sure to submit your ballot by 11:59 pm CST on Dec 14th. Ballots submitted after this date will not be considered.
If you do not receive your ballot be sure to check your spam folder for the email. And if have questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
TTAO Connect Updates & Reminders
Adjudicators you do not need to block out your calendar for contest dates. Once a contract is in place, the system will automatically block that day for you (although it doesn’t visibly show it’s blocked on your calendar).
Contest Managers new training modules have been added to your account. We highly encourage you to complete the modules BEFORE the next adjudicator contracting date in November as your Connect account will be limited until training is complete.
Non-TTAO CMs will need to complete all modules each year.
TTAO CMs will need to complete all modules for this year, but for each subsequent year will only need to complete the new rules module.
The only exception to this is if you complete an on-site training, in which that will replace the need to complete the online training.
I’d like to start by taking a moment to, again, formally say “thank you” to Mark Pickell for his outstanding leadership of our organization for the past two years. There are truly no words to adequately describe the magnitude of his contributions. I am humbled to have assumed the role of Chair of TTAO, and am so very grateful that he will be continuing offering his vast knowledge, energy, and creativity to our organization and community as Past Chair during my tenure.
Summer Board Meeting Round Up
The board had a busy but productive meeting in June. Many different topics and items were covered and decided on. To find a summary of everything discussed please see the meeting minutes on the TTAO website here: https://www.ttao.org/ttao-business/
We increased the amount of evaluations FOR adjudicators this year – yay!!! BUT we didn’t receive very many evaluations FROM adjudicators evaluating the contest. Let’s make that a goal this upcoming season. (we’ll send reminders during contest time)
And remember that your social media posts are open for all to see. Continue to be mindful of what you share across your social media channels during the school year and during contest season.
1. The time limit for an agreement to be auto-rejected is 72 Hours. Adjudicators should accept any agreements within that time frame so the CM knows whether or not to move on to contracting someone else. Adjudicators please check your email regularly (and your spam folders!)
2. Adjudicators now have the ability to clear rejected contracts which will allow a CM to resend it if they so wish. From your home dashboard select the 3 line icon next to the pending agreements header and click “show rejected”.
3. There are new fields for CMs to input District Executive Committee Chair/ Payment contact information (required) and Secondary Payment Contact Information (Bookkeeper, Admin Assistant, Principal) (optional).
4. Contracts no longer can be created with a base fee “per play”. There will now just be a single base fee agreed to and paid out.
Many of these changes are based on your feedback of what was/wasn’t working. Thank you for supporting the system and bearing with us as we continue to improve it!
*Please do not “save the date” on your availability calendar. When the CM goes to send you a contract, they will not be able to find you in the system.
*Please remember that you can only agree to 6 contests per season. Keep this in mind, as some upper level agreements/judging offers for contests that you may have been assigned by UIL are still being sent out. As well, remember that if you judge 2 Zone contests (or on rare occasions 3) deriving from the same District, that will only count as 1 contest toward your 6 (as Zones contests are essentially “sub-contests” of a District). Middle School & State contests do not count against your 6.
* The following rule must be followed: “Eligible judges MAY NOT be involved in the direction of an official UIL One-Act play entry during the 2019-2020 academic year at ANY level (high school or middle school).” If, for any reason, your status has changed regarding this rule since you became a certified adjudicator and you are therefore not eligible to judge this season, you may maintain your membership in TTAO, but you must mark all dates as unavailable in TTAO Connect for this year. Please do this immediately if you have not already done so. (We are currently exploring ways in the future to more readily designate “active” from “inactive” judges from year to year in TTAO Connect.)
*The option to “add an adjudicator” will not appear until you input a location for the contest. This is the setup of the Connect system.
*Please remember that all panelists must be paid the same judging fee at a specific contest.
*Also, please be sure to put in the correct alignment when creating contracts. (We’ve altered this section of the contracts a bit which should help moving forward!)
TTAO at TETA:
*Please join us for TTAO events at the Texas Educational Theatre Association Convention: TheatreFest 2019 on Sept. 26-29 at the Dallas Hyatt Reunion!
TTAO MEETINGS AND WORKSHOPS AT TETA
1. TTAO Executive Board Meeting (Board only)
2. TTAO Presents: The Jargon of Adjudication (Yvonne Dupree, Travis Springfield, Rick Garcia, and Jill Ludington)
3. TTAO/UIL OAP Contest Managers Training 101 (Robin Robinson and Craig Hertel)
4. TTAO/UIL Theatrical Number Sense: How OAP Tabulation Works (Robin Robinson and Craig Hertel) Friday 9:30am
5. TTAO/UIL Contest Managers Training II: New Rules and Procedures ( Robin Robinson and Craig Hertel) Friday 11am
6. TTAO Presents: How to Get More Contests (Ray Newburg, Mandy Epley, Kim Hines, Ezekiel Morgan, and Kathy Harvey) Friday 12:30pm
7. TTAO New Adjudicators and Contest Managers Meet & Greet (For NEW Adjudicators and newly certified TTAO Contest Managers, TTAO Leadership, and State Judges/Contest Managers) *This is happening OFF SITE – digital invitations will be sent with more info in the coming weeks* Friday 3:30pm – 5:30pm
8. TTAO: Meet the State Adjudicators and Contest Managers (Mark Pickell) Saturday 9:30am
9. TTAO: Open Forum (Carrie Klypchak) Saturday 11am
10. TTAO Business Meeting (Carrie Klypchak) Saturday 12:30pm *All members are encouraged to attend! In addition, anyone who is being nominated for a position on the Board or Standards & Practices Committee MUST attend the Business meeting.*