Author Topic: Production photos on Website  (Read 4152 times)

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MandalynM

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Production photos on Website
« on: Apr 14, 2015, 05:31 pm »
Hello all!
    Im not sure if this is the correct thread, but it does go under employment and marketing yourself...

  As I finish my professional website, I am still confused if I should put production photos on the website. I have worked on usual academically done shows, so most people will know the size of the cast (which is what I imagine the photos are for). Do you think production photos help? Any suggestions on what I should look for in photos that I could possibly put on my website?

Thank you so much!

Mandi Stevens

MatthewShiner

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Re: Production photos on Website
« Reply #1 on: Apr 14, 2015, 06:02 pm »
You have to be careful and make sure they are professional quality - the show should reflect the quality of productions you WANT to work on.

The tricky thing though is making sure you have rights for all the photos . . .
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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

MandalynM

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Re: Production photos on Website
« Reply #2 on: Apr 14, 2015, 06:10 pm »
Most of my work as been educational, so the archives are okay to use as long as we give credit to the photographer. Do you think the photos are necessary? I added paperwork samples instead, which I do think are more important. However, I do not really know what to do with the production photos.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Production photos on Website
« Reply #3 on: Apr 15, 2015, 02:36 am »
Again, professional web sites for stage managers are few are far between . . . but I think web sites showing paperwork reeks of being a student - no one has ever asked me before hiring me for a job - let me see you daily call form.

Photos are nice for awhile, but I realized they were more for me then anyone else.  Again, I have a web site for a long time, and besides for students reaching out to me - it is usually just a place for someone to grab my resume.

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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

PSMKay

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Re: Production photos on Website
« Reply #4 on: Apr 15, 2015, 02:57 am »
There's two reasons to add images to a site: form and function. Looking at the SMNetwork site, you see examples of both. Your personal avatar serves a function - it lets visual learners quickly know who's speaking in a post. However, the medium blue gradient bars at the top and bottom of the posting area in the desktop version of the site (also images) serve no purpose except to give the eye a rest and spruce up the page a bit. Devs often refer to this stuff as the "chrome" of the site. Much like chrome on a car, it's pretty and shiny and utterly useless, but makes the output look like what the viewer expects.

As a stage manager you want to project that you have a sense of visual propriety and composition. You want to convey that you're organized and able to reproduce a certain aesthetic as specified by the design team. You are targeting people who are likely to hire you - artists who think visually. You need to appeal to them not only through your site's content (text) but also through its layout.

Unlike a designer you probably don't need to include images from your past productions as a portfolio per se. However, plain text sites are boring, look unprofessional, and do not adhere to the modern expectation of website design and aesthetic. It needs chrome, and more than just a background color and a few wingdings.

Take a look at this overview of current web design trends and see if you can spot which of the author's examples are using images for a function, and which are using them solely as decor.

Perhaps you include the production photos, but as faint watermark style backgrounds or closely cropped vignettes that zoom in on stage managerly details?

MandalynM

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Re: Production photos on Website
« Reply #5 on: Apr 15, 2015, 07:11 pm »
Thank you for your input, I'll take a look at the site! This is a tad bit confusing, you would think it would be easier to market yourself.

Mandi

PSMKay

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Re: Production photos on Website
« Reply #6 on: Apr 15, 2015, 10:54 pm »
Creating a marketing website is a lot like creating a theatre with scenery.

A western theatre with scenery is constructed so that every aspect implies and leads the audience towards suspending their disbelief and joining the cast in the world of the play. Certain elements - the box office, the programs, the seating and proscenium arch - are all expected elements that indicate "theatre" to a Western audience. Scenery, costumes and lighting all give the trained audience clues as to what world they will be visiting today. It's all selling the idea of the show to the viewers.

However, if you were doing theatre for a small tribe in an undeveloped country, where performance tended towards ritual and shamanistic practices, the "theatre" and "scenery" you would use might be quite different. To sell the show to this group, you'd have to alter the entire environment to suit their expectations.

When you're browsing the web, there are also clues you can find in the design that tell you instantly both the goal of the site and the target audience. Looking at the link I included above, there's an obvious difference between the one for the pizzeria at the top, the one with the watch in the middle, and the one at the bottom for Dreamworks. They all have similar elements, and they're all marketing something, but you know immediately from looking at them who they're trying to reach and the atmosphere they wish to convey. If you took all the text away from each of those sites you'd still be in the company's world.

The pizzeria uses warm tones and a layout that reminds you of a restaurant menu. The one with the watch uses neutral greys with a tiny poof of color to imply business and technology, and the bareness echoes the design of the watch itself. The one for the movie uses a bright color palette and a very busy screen to appeal to kids and capture the "zany" aspect of the cartoon.

In the case of a stage manager marketing website, who is your audience? PMs and Directors? What color palette clearly implies technical theatre to them? What images and layout will help to emphasize that you speak their language and can work with them? What would invite them into your stage management experience? If your site had no text at all, would they be able to get your point?

Another case in point is SMNetwork itself. It's got a very sparse design that I've deliberately kept quite consistent over the past decade or so. That's because my target audience prefers order and predictability. The blue is the default theme that comes with our forum software, but keeping it on the default was a deliberate choice. When I created new features (BTDT and the Internship Survey) I had to re-create the that "look" on the new pages. Blue is nice and calm. The boxes and rows are old-fashioned but reassuringly consistent. It isn't too fancy - also deliberate. For new visitors, encountering this site with its 15+ years of archives and roster of professionals is daunting enough without having to navigate a snooty interface.

MandalynM

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Re: Production photos on Website
« Reply #7 on: Apr 21, 2015, 07:02 pm »
Kay,
  Yes, I deliberately chose a clean and functional website lay out. Not many colors and easy to read. I am designing this site through school and a class so I am comparing my own site to a scene designer and lighting designer; which is obviously going to be a different set up. Compared to their sites, mine looks a bit bland; but my stage manager brain sees less distractions and easily found information. I appreciate all of your input and I have been researching other stage manager websites. I have also added my C.V. and teaching philosophy to different pages on the site to encompass all that I do in the realm of leadership. I haven't seen much about pictures and they do tend to be background images and not specifically in the forefront of the page. 

I dont know what I would do without you guys! Thank you!

Mandi

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