Interview with Drill Designer John Fuller
Getting to know John
Where are you from? Haughton, Louisiana.
What moment did you realize you wanted a career in the marching arts? The day that I saw my first show on a field, it was a video recording. It was reassuring for me that this is what I needed to do because I loved it so much.
At any particular moment did you realize a career in drill and show design was possible for you? The first time I got paid for writing a show. I was working for free or charging a hundred dollars. Once the first school gave me take creative control and gave me a real check I was sold.
Do you have a preferred group/style to write for? I prefer marching band because that’s where I got my start and its what established my love for the field.
Was there a favorite moment in your marching experience? When we all went and did laundry in the back of a RadioShack on the road. It was one of the best bonding experiences of the summer. I was able to actually get to know people that I was basically living with that I didn’t have time to get to know originally. I think this was in Michigan. Hold on its on my Instagram. It was Three Oaks Michigan to be exact.
What made you want to write shows? Was there a show that did it for you or was there a moment in your career as a member? I wasn’t getting satisfaction from others shows so I decided I would dabble in it and try to put things on the field that I wanted to see.
Where do you find inspiration? Is it solely from band or do you try to incorporate non-traditional ideas into your design? Ballet and modern art inspire me a lot. I go to the Hilliard a lot. I love expressionist art as well as interpretive dance. It allows me to see how the body can operate. I try to use this for bands to bring something new to the table.
What skills do you feel are an integral part of being successful in the field of drill and show design? Being patient, understanding the wants of the director and students and being able to morph your ideas to others. Originally I was not open to others editing my creative ideas for others, but through trial and error I learned that this is a major part of the creative process.
New and Old Experiences
You wrote the drill for UL Lafayette’s Pride of Acadiana this past season. Any new and unexpected challenges? Was it easier or more difficult than writing for a scholastic program? It was totally different which was shocking. I have never written for a group of 300 plus so when I put them in the program I became over whelmed. Taking a step back and figuring out a new approach was an integral part of the process. I am glad that I got to work with them and that I had Jason Missal there to guide me in this new adventure of drill writing.
North Vermillion won their class this year was there any sort of surreal moment seeing the school that you started at finally win? Seeing the freshman I started with grow with me over the past four years was a beautiful thing. I don’t like to take credit but I built a culture with that band as to what expect out of their field shows. The kids told me they were happy for me but they didn’t realize that I was far happier for them.
Did much change this season or has this been the culmination of seasons of doing the same thing? A bit of both. Each season I add more clients so I get more involved with new programs. I have seen drastic growth in my career every year. This year was no different but it was because I am trying to balance schools and clients while finishing a college degree.
Was it a challenge having a new director this year? I wouldn’t call it a challenge but its different change is inevitable you wont have the same boss forever. The new director and I learned to balance our differences which made the group and myself even stronger in the long run.
Can you see yourself working in DCI and WGI or would you like to solely focus on scholastic programs? It would be great to see myself in DCI in the long term but I am perfectly happy with scholastic. I like helping kids unlock the potential so they can see themselves at a higher-level group one day.
Do you have any career aspirations outside of the marching arts? Yes, I am always thinking of new ideas and adventures. I think deciding to do one thing when your 18 can get boring. Id loves to have my own logo company, own a coffee shop and start a costume design business. Anything I can do to help the community around me and to progress the arts.