Effigy proposal guidelines

Guidelines for Burning Flipside Effigy and DaFT Lead Proposal

The Design and Fabrication Team is responsible for the creation and construction of the effigy, which is the centerpiece and ceremonial fire for the event.


Selection Panel
The effigy will be chosen by a panel of past DaFT leads. The LLC has the final decision, yet tends to approve whatever the panel considers as their prime choice.
Will depend on the year. See online.
Applicant Eligibility
Anyone may submit a proposal! While it is beneficial to have participated in Flipside and large art build projects, this is not necessarily required. Each applicant and proposal will be evaluated individually. Please note that the people sitting on the Panel are not barred from submitting DaFT proposals into the process; we completely trust their integrity to recommend the right project and if involved, they will probably recuse themselves from the actual selection.
After all the proposals are submitted, the panel will decide which ones they consider feasible, and may schedule interviews with the submitters to learn more about their vision. The decision on what gets built should be made sometime in mid-December. Please be available to meet with Panel or LLC during this period. We want to help you make your proposal as strong as possible.
If a design is chosen for an interview, the panel will meet with the submitter and may offer advice in some areas that they think could warrant more attention. The more thought-out the initial approach, the faster the project can get to actual construction. Pre-submission consulting with panel members certainly encouraged!


If selected, you will be Lead for the Design and Fabrication Team – this is a Liability Lead role, and the LLC will have final word on whether you have demonstrated your commitment and capability. You will be responsible for access to the warehouse and equipment, the budget, and for ensuring your design and process are reasonably safe.
You will need to recruit your team. While many volunteers will join, you should proactively recruit skilled workers for important areas to your design, as well as “lieutenants” who will be your sub- leads for major chunks of your project/process. If possible, have your lieutenants in mind during the proposal process.
DaFT activity is historically 3 “shifts” a week (ie. 2 weekday evenings and 1 weekend day) for 2-3 months prior to Flipside, and then a final week of all-out work during construction. As Lead, you will likely be putting in more hours than most on your team. You can reduce your own hourly commitment with good project management, by delegating, and by remembering to take a break. However, expect at least 15-20 hours per week. Also note that while recent years have allowed DaFT to start on- site build the Saturday before the event, you can only count on starting Tuesday. Earlier arrival must be approved by LLC and landowner.
Recent years have shown us that the Effigy construction continues into the Flipside event. While your plan should lead you to anticipate completing sooner (by Friday morning), keep in mind the possibility that you may miss part or all of (playing at) Flipside in the push to complete it amidst unforeseen issues. It is helpful to mentally frame this project and your team as your Flipside.

Constraints: (for consideration & discussion, not required for submittal)

The LLC-allocated budget for the Effigy is approximately $10,000. This amount includes everything you need to make it go except power (Pyropolis Power provides generator, light trailer, fuel and heavy equipment for lifting). Be sure to allocate funds for everything you need (transportation to the site, lumber, hardware, accelerants, food, drill bits, etc). Consider how you may raise funds to cover any budget gaps.
Remember that pre-building should be complete in the weeks prior to the event, and ideally you should have an early-May test-build to demonstrate structural soundness and hype the community. Also note that you should not plan to be on site building until the Tuesday before the event.
A height limit of around 30 feet. Above this height, construction danger and expense become prohibitive. We want people to rise to the challenge of being amazing without being massive. Burn perimeter radius will be determined per project and event conditions.


  • Your name and contact information: This submission is for something that you are building. While we understand that not everyone is an expert in every little detail of effigy building, submitters should have a strong understanding of how it will all come together. Who are you and why are you eligible? -Inspiration: Why should this get built? How does this speak to Jack and Jill Flipside? How does it tie into the theme?
  • Project Management: You’re the point person, however no one expects you to do it alone. We’re looking for someone who is able to lead a project.

“Project Plan: Tell us how you plan to make your vision a reality. We are looking for a structural explanation of how the piece is constructed, along with your plan for the build process. You’re the project manager: your team must build it in town, take it apart, move it to the event site, and then build it again on site. Include project milestones that can be used to gauge the build’s progress. Any details regarding the timeline for the onsite build are helpful. Also be sure to include any special cleanup, safety, burn night, or transportation issues that you might foresee. ”

Detailed items to be considered (not required for submittal)

  1. Safety Plan: Are parts of your design dangerous? How will you keep people from dying on/around it? How will you prevent it from killing people? The safety plan should take into consideration the phases (a) during construction in town, (b) construction on-site, (c) once it is open to participants at the event, and (d) how to safely take it apart, if necessary.
  2. Transportation Plan: Will it fit in a box truck; on a flatbed? Will the pieces be fragile? How will you move the structure and all the tools you will need? What comes home, and in what? There is a transpo lead to help.
  3. Burn Plan: How much perimeter will you need to burn safely? What accelerants will be used? What kind of embers will this thing throw? How could the burn tie into the procession or other art? What special considerations does the Pyropolis Fire Dept need to be aware of?
  4. Non-Burn Plan: There is always a chance that we will be banned from burning. In case the conditions aren’t safe, what will happen? Consider transformation, deconstruction, re-packing, and transportation back to town. What happens to it afterwards?
  5. Cleanup Plan: What is required to get the burn pad cleared after the burn? As we’ve learned year after year, it’s near-impossible to get folks to stay to clean. Know any people who go to the event but don’t break themselves after a week in the Texas summer? These are your new best friends.


Assume you have up to ~$10,000 to use on this project, from start to finish. What will you spend it on? This needs to be itemized and as realistic as you can estimate (call around for quotes). It’s wise to leave 10-15% of your budget for unforeseen expenses. How will you maintain your balance sheet throughout the project?

  1. Materials: Everything you will need to build, transport, and burn the project need to be listed in your budget. Include construction materials, (lumber, fasteners, widgets), tools, electrical, gas, plumbing, fuel, etc.
  2. Rentals: Do you need to rent any equipment to do this? Lifts, scaffolding, fancy tools? What are they, where do you get them and what do they cost? Simple is good.
  3. Other/Swag/Food: How will you create the feeling of appreciation for your volunteers? How will you keep your volunteers fed and hydrated enough to keep working for you? A small expense here goes a long way.


May include scale drawings, sections, charts, diagrams, details, models, or whatever it takes to get the idea across of what it is you would like to build.

Addenda (creative considerations)

The following were major items that the community has identified over the years as what they want to see in an effigy, and will be considered heavily in the proposals.

  1. Non-toxic burn: Wiring, metal, plastic, etc. should be removable/minimal for the burn. The goal is as little environmental nastiness as possible.
  2. Community involvement: This goes beyond just making the effigy interactive, although that is a large part of this; the more people that can be involved, the better. DaFT has often been a place for people to learn skills in a variety of areas. It is a challenge to do this efficiently and safely, but the more people that can say, “I helped make that,” the better.
  3. Finished by Friday at Flipside: The desire is for the effigy to be “open” and approachable by the community by Friday morning. It may still need some work done, but it should no longer be a construction zone by that time. Ideally.
  4. Test Build: We want to see this thing together once before its final arrival on site. This allows for those damn things that always come up at the last minute to be dealt with in a more controlled environment. Ideally, this would happen near the first of May.
  5. Anthropomorphic: It is a nightmare to say “we want art, but it should look like this”, but the community has agreed that a figure that participants can relate to on an immediate level creates more attachment. Note: late 2011 poll and community discussion has reduced the importance of this point. Anthropomorphism is not a requirement.
  6. Possessing a consumable aspect: While we believe that an effigy that is mostly consumable by fire is an important aspect of the event, we also know that the artists in our community work in many different media. As it has been proven that we can have a fabulous and meaningful UnBurn, we do not want to exclude any proposal purely on the basis that it is not largely consumable by fire. (read: fire is good, but it doesn’t have to burn down in the traditional way)
  7. Community Ownership: we will not consider using the community money earmarked for the effigy to fund, either partially or fully, a project that is intended for any final purpose other than its destruction at Flipside (or LLC-approved community event).

Send your questions and proposal to daft-proposal@lists.burningflipside.com. Happy designing!


The DaFT Proposal Review Committee and the LLC

DaFT Lead & Effigy Proposal


Inspiration and Project Summary:

Why should this be built? How does it relate to the theme? What makes it special? How does this effigy fulfill guidelines and recommendations?

Project Management Summary:

How will you divide up the process? Who are your lieutenants?

Project Plan/Schedule:

Try including a Gantt Chart or a Spring calendar – the more detail the better!

Include any considerations for:

  1. Safety
  2. Transportation
  3. Burn
  4. Non-Burn
  5. Cleanup
  6. Budget
  7. Materials
  8. Rentals
  9. Other

Attachments: Visuals/model/drawings/etc


  1. Send your questions or proposal to daft-proposal@lists.burningflipside.com we will be happy to assist you in creating your proposal!
  2. Be available to meet with the Selection Panel and/or the LLC during the submission/selection period. You may proactively meet with all or part of the Panel for advice, guidance, questions, etc.