WISDAA Association #

  • Advisor: overarching term for the adult educator (teacher, staff, or other adult approved and appointed by the school) to coach/direct/sponsor the interscholastic team/squad participating in WISDAA activities.
  • District: the smallest formally organized region of WISDAA with an elected district chair who coordinates contests and finances for that region; for high school Speech, districts are informally subdivided into subdistricts, which can vary from a handful to a dozen schools that begin the Speech season together. One-act plays start the Theatre season at the district level. Debate and film do not have regional contests, and middle level is not organized into specific regions.
  • Forensics: archaic term meaning “to seek the truth” through dialogue; most often associated with interscholastic Speech, but has a connotation of referring to crime investigation.
  • Membership: schools (by permission of the principal/administration) are the member entities of WISDAA; each school has a number of advisors who coach or direct the various activities offered by WISDAA.
  • Middle level: participants in grades 6-8 (and including grade 9 for junior high schools).
  • Section: a larger region that usually features several districts; used only for Theatre (qualifying level for the State Festival), as well as for determining advisor representatives to WISDAA’s various advisory committees. A section chair is elected from among advisors in the section.

Contests: General #

  • Adjudicator: contest official who evaluates contest rounds, maybe referred to as judge or critic.
  • Ballot: form where adjudicators indicate rank or rating in speech, or decision in debate, for an individual contest round. In debate events, they write an evaluation on the same form; in speech events and Congressional Debate, they write constructive feedback to individual entries on evaluation sheets or critiques.
  • Break: advance to the next contest level; eliminationor outrounds are much like “playoffs,” with certain numbers of students eliminated at the end of each heat. Also see “posting.”
  • Code: contests often use a system to anonymize identity of contestants and schools.
  • Ethics: rules or standards that govern conduct; when these are broken, there is usually a procedure for a coach to initiate a protestwith a contest official or committee of impartial coaches, who adjudicate ethical problems.
  • Festival: a type of contest where each entry is evaluated on a rubric of its own, rather than directly comparing performance against other entries.
  • Protest: A reporting of a possible rules violation to the contest management.
  • Record: in debate, the win-loss ratio, or in speech/Congressional Debate, total ranks or scores; a general standing of success.
  • Round: a timeframe at a contest when various sections are concurrently evaluated in different rooms. Rounds are sometimes divided into flights and events may be alternated in different patterns; see Speech section.
  • Schematics: matrix that lists entries presenting in particular rooms, or sections, with specific adjudicators for each round. In debate, these are often called “pairings.”
  • Section: individual contest grouping in a particular room evaluated by an assigned adjudicator or panel of adjudicators; i.e., one debate between two sides or a small group of speech contestants who are evaluated together.
  • Tab: short for tabulation, this is the contest headquarters, where results are computed. To protect integrity of contest, there are usually protocols about seeking permission to enter the tab room.

Debate #

  • Adjudicator Paradigm/Preferences: educational philosophy, model or view that guides an adjudicator’s decision-making process. In other words, what an adjudicator does or does not want to hear in a round.
  • Affirmative/Proposition/Pro: side who argues in favor of adopting the resolution.
  • Clash: Direct responses to an opponent’s arguments; see refutation.
  • Constructive: the first speech given by each side in a round, used to build a case. New arguments are permitted during constructive speeches, which distinguishes them from rebuttals, wherein new arguments are not allowed.
  • Cross Examination: period of time when debaters ask each other questions.
  • Flowing: note-taking during a debate, accurately recording the most important arguments. The paper on which this note taking occurs is known as a flow.
  • Negative/Opposition/Con: side who argues against the resolution and affirmative points of argument.
  • Rebuttal: speech that rebuilds arguments after attacks, refutes arguments of the opposing team, and summarizes the debate. Generally, no new arguments are allowed in rebuttal speeches.
  • Refutation: directly attacking the opposing side’s arguments, also known as clash.
  • Resolution/Motion: the proposition or subject offered to debate.
  • Topicality: an argument that states a contestant has misinterpreted a word or phrase in the resolution. Usually found in policy debate rounds – less common in value/public forum rounds.
  • Value: a concept, standard, or ideal in value debate rounds. Something which, according to the debater, should be upheld, i.e. justice, freedom, equality, etc.
  • Voting Issues: the key points in a debate that are crucial to the outcome, reasons why the adjudicator should give the decision to a particular side.
  • Weighing Mechanism: the standards by which an adjudicator evaluates the success of the cases, standards by which a decision is made, also known as criterion.

Congressional Debate #

  • Agenda: order of legislation as suggested by a committee or legislator, and voted on by the assembly.
  • Amendment: specific change to an item of legislation, explaining exactly which words it modifies, and not changing the intent of the original legislation. 
  • Authorship: constructive speech of up to three minutes given by a legislator, which introduces an item of legislation for debate by the chamber. It is called a sponsorship speech if given by a student who is not affiliated with the school the legislation originated from. These  speeches are followed by a two-minute questioning period. All affirmative and negative speeches that follow an authorship speech should introduce new ideas — arguments — and respond to previous arguments, in terms of refuting or rebutting.
  • Bill: legislation that describes details of how a policy would be enacted, if voted into law by the assembly.
  • Direct Questioning: divides the questioning period into 30-second segments of continuous question-and-answer period between the floor speaker and the questioning legislator.
  • Docket: the complete packet of legislation distributed by a tournament.
  • Floor speaker: member who has been recognized by the PO to speak.
  • Legislation: specific, written proposal — bill or resolution — document for debate.
  • Precedence: presiding officer recognizes speakers who have spoken least, or not at all.
  • Presiding Officer (PO): student chair elected by their peers each round, who recognizes legislators to speak or move.
  • Questioning: period where legislators ask individual questions of the speaker. Multiple-part or two-part questions are not allowed, because they take time from other members who may wish to question the speaker.
  • Recency: recognizing speakers based on who has spoken least recently, or earlier.
  • Resolution: legislation that expresses a conviction, or value belief of an assembly, which may urge, request or suggest further action by another decision-making authority.

Speech #

  • Blocking: movements made during a performance.
  • Category: refers to a specific contest, such as Oratory, or Duo Interpretation.
  • Cross-entered: when a contestant is entered in more than one event, such as double-entered, triple-entered, etc.
  • Cutting: an excerpt of a longer selection of literature, adapted to time constraints of an event.
  • Draw: limited prep events, such as Extemporaneous Speaking, require that students prepare their response to a question or prompt distributed at the tournament for each round. The draw time is when students select their topic; followed by a prescribed preparation time before they speak (which, for Extemp., is 30 minutes). During that time, students must stay in the Prep Room, until they leave to speak.
  • Extemporaneous: speaking without the benefit of a prepared or memorized manuscript. Brief notes are sometimes allowed. Also the name of a particular event that utilizes that mode of speaking.
  • Genre: type of literature form (i.e., prose is narrative; poetry is how language is used and arranged artistically; drama is specific lines attributed to characters, such as in a play).
  • Interpretation (interp.): refers to a performance-based event where a student brings literature alive off the printed page. Also see “piece” below.
  • Introduction: opening of a piece, written by the contestant and usually memorized or sometimes delivered extemporaneously.
  • Limited Prep: certain events require contestants — while at the contest — to prepare their presentation without pre-prepared materials.
  • Manuscript: prepared script from which contestants recite their presentation.
  • Piece: literary selection — title and author — performed in interpretation events. It’s good practice – and several leagues require – that students find quality works of literature from printed, published materials, which “show insight into human motivations, relationships, problems, and understandings, and not by sentimentality, violence for its own sake, unmotivated endings, or stereotyped characterizations.”
  • Pop: when an individual performer spontaneously changes characters when performing in an interpretive event.
  • Speaking order: order contestants are listed on the schematic for each round is the order in which those students should present.
  • Teaser: just prior to the introduction, a brief selection from the piece, which grabs the audience’s attention, much as television shows have before the opening credits begin.
  • Time signals: A signal by the adjudicator or an official/volunteer during a round showing how much time a contestant has left to speak.
  • Visual aids (VAs): visual supporting materials used to illustrate  a speaker’s message.

Theatre #

  • Acting area: contest performance space on stage bordered by wall(s), drapes as designated by the host venue.
  • Act curtain: draper usually located toward the front of the stage; not in use for contest one-acts.
  • Apron: area on stage in front of the proscenium, up to the audience.
  • Booth: control area, primarily for lights and sound, often physically an elevated booth, behind the house; can be a station/table in the center of the house.
  • Business: actions performance on stage not associated directly the dialogue.
  • Company: all persons in a cast or crew involved in production of a play.
  • Curtain line: line where the act curtain hits the stage, when closed (imaginary if no act curtain is installed).
  • Flat: framed scenery covered by cloth or other materials.
  • House: part of the theater/auditorium where the audience sits.
  • Licensing: gaining permission of the copyright holder for performance of an artistic work; often involves royalties, or payments that are shared by the copyright holder with the playwright.
  • Lip: outermost, downstage edge of the stage/apron, immediately in front of audience.
  • Offstage: areas right and left of the acting area.
  • One-act play: the adaptation of a longer work, or a naturally shorter work, for performance in a contest framework.
  • Prop (hand properties): small items necessary to the play’s action, carried on stage by actors.
  • Proscenium: the “picture frame” (often, an arch) of the stage, dividing the space of the house and the stage/performance area.
  • Scenery: flats, set pieces, and other accessories that represents interior/exterior settings for the performance.
  • Scenic background: decorative scenery not necessarily called for in the script.
  • Set piece: larger items, such as furniture and steps, that are largely stationary (not carried easily) during a scene; typically, these are moved during scene changes, by several actors/stagehands.
  • Set-up: placing scenery, set pieces, lights, and other physical/inanimate objects used during a production as part of the opening of WISDAA contest one-act plays.
  • Stage hand: a person who moves scenery or props before or during the performance of a play; for the purpose of contest one-act plays, this term refers to someone who is not also acting.
  • Strike: removing scenery, set pieces, lights, and other physical/inanimate objects used during a production; for WISDAA contest one-act plays, this is counted as part of an entry’s time, and must fit within the 40-minute (plus 30 second grace period) time limit.
  • Thespys: solo, duet, and small group performance and technical theatre contest categories offered alongside WISDAA’s one-act play season.
  • Wings: offstage space, right or left; also may refer to drapes or flats located as masking for offstage.

Film #

  • Animation: appearance or illusion of movement when a series of drawings, computer graphics, or photographs of objects (such as puppets or models) are viewed in sequence.
  • Camera angle: position of the camera in relation to the action of the scene, such as a high angle (looking down from above to make things appear smaller), low angle (looking up from below to make things appear larger), or straight-on eye level.
  • Cinematography: art and technique of making motion pictures; includes how the film uses light, shadow, color, movement, and composition within the frame.
  • Cross-fade: making a picture appear or sound be heard gradually as another disappears or becomes silent.
  • Cut: most common editing transition; when two shots are juxtaposed without dissolve, fade, or other transitional effects.
  • B-roll: supplemental or alternative footage intercut with the main shot.
  • Director: person who coordinates creative/artistic aspects of a film; chiefly responsible for storytelling, creative decisions, and acting (if applicable).
  • Editing: selecting, manipulating, and combining shots to create an overarching narrative/structure to a film.
  • Follow: shot with framing that shifts to follow and keep a moving figure or subject onscreen; also known as a type of tracking shot.
  • Frame: single, still image of a film or video.
  • Genre: category of similar subject matter, style, and form, such as horror, fantasy, comedy, and science fiction.
  • Handheld shot: holding a camera by hand to deliberately create instability, shakiness, or wobbliness in the shot; often used to foster realness in documentaries.
  • Live action: film featuring cinematography made using a camera to capture real environments and subjects (as opposed to animation).
  • Mise en scène: French term for “putting into the scene/shot,” referring to the various elements (coordinated by the director) before the camera and within the frame of the film that impact the artistic look and feel; includes visual arrangement/composition, setting, decor, props, actors, costumes, makeup, lighting, performances, lengthy/uncut/unedited/uninterrupted sequences.
  • Montage: French term for “editing,” “putting together,” or “assembling shots” that uses a series of short shots/images put together in a coherent sequence to create a composite picture. This is often used to convey meaning of a larger idea or theme, such as passage of time, and usually without dialogue — or employing a voiceover narrative in place of dialogue.
  • Pan: to move a camera from one side to the other in a fixed position (camera angle).
  • Point of view: often referred to in terms of camera shot showing the scene from the perspective of a character.
  • Setting: place and time at which a film is represented as happening.
  • Shot: single, uninterrupted section of footage, which can be described by how close or far they are from the subject, or by the perspective it conveys. Examples include: close-up, establishing, medium, long, and point-of-view shots.
  • Take: a version of a single shot to select from in post-production/editing.
  • Transition: editing technique connecting one shot to the next. Examples include: wipe, fade, jump, and dissolve.
  • Voice-over: recorded dialogue that comes from unseen, off-screen voice, character or narrator, heard by the audience, but not characters themselves. Narration is a type of voice-over, often conveying a character’s internal thoughts.
Updated on 01/02/2024
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