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Tools of the Trade / Re: Improvised com system?
« Last post by Maribeth on Oct 18, 2017, 05:50 pm »
I'm not intending this to be confrontational but I would say this is about as cheap as you're going to get for a reliable, purpose-built wireless communication system.

Having a system that is both purpose-built for entertainment / events / broadcast and free (which seems to be what many people mean when saying "cheap") is an incongruous proposition.

I definitely would not disagree with either of these statements. To be fair, I haven't really done any work in community theatre, but even some of the smaller professional companies that I have worked for in the past have been unwilling (or unable) to shell out the money that it takes to get good, reliable comm equipment- wired or wireless.

I can think of a couple of shows (like site-specific pieces for a larger organization) that Unity would have been great for- but they were for companies with larger budgets. Good to know the option is out there!
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Students and Novice Stage Managers / Re: Line Runs
« Last post by loebtmc on Oct 18, 2017, 04:55 pm »
That's exactly right. You should be the only person on book. Everyone else should be present and ready to jump in. Of course, depending on the show, there may be long stretches where the bulk of the cast is not doing anything, so you need to (nicely) let them know to please just hang in and bring something quiet to do until it's their scenes  chatting and wandering off are not options and become very distracting.

Is it an Italian run (double time, quick cue pickup with no gaps between lines but reacting to each other) or just a super fast line run with no acting values at all, which is about whether or not you actually know your lines and cues? Either are legit, depending on what the director wants and what the cast needs. 
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Tools of the Trade / Re: Improvised com system?
« Last post by Mac Calder on Oct 18, 2017, 04:48 pm »
I would certainly not recommend unity to a community theatre (there are some execptions, not many though) - the cost of unity is on par with wired comms - it needs a good wifi infrastructure and someone to administer it. I provided it's link mainly to show that yes, it can be done... but just because it is using commodity hardware there is still a degree of expense there.

That said, it is another tool that some people may have use for.
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Students and Novice Stage Managers / Line Runs
« Last post by loralie on Oct 18, 2017, 11:31 am »
Hi SM Network.

I've been asked to conduct a line run with our cast while the director is absent from the day's rehearsals. I've never done one of these before, and although it's pretty self-explanatory, does anyone have any advice or on how to set it up? Since it's a focus on lines, I presume that it's generally done without blocking. My plan is to tell the actors that they're welcome to mark their tracks as we go along but to not worry about any props/set pieces.
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Tools of the Trade / Re: Improvised com system?
« Last post by KMC on Oct 18, 2017, 11:13 am »
That's good to know, Mac. The licenses look kind of pricey for some community theatres but there are a number of scenarios that I can see a package like that being very useful in.

I'm not intending this to be confrontational but I would say this is about as cheap as you're going to get for a reliable, purpose-built wireless communication system.  It's certainly not free, but aside from a mac mini and a wireless router (a few hundred dollars) it leverages existing hardware, i.e. the cell phones of the end users, so minimal capital outlay is required up front.  As the license fees are per seat the cost scales proportionally with the size of the deployment (versus a traditional intercom system that requires a large capital outlay up front for base stations, cabling infrastructure, etc... and lower costs per beltpack/headset).  All of these are distinct advantages for smaller organizations that don't have the capital to purchase a more traditional intercom system up front.

Having a system that is both purpose-built for entertainment / events / broadcast and free (which seems to be what many people mean when saying "cheap") is an incongruous proposition. 
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Tools of the Trade / Re: Improvised com system?
« Last post by Maribeth on Oct 18, 2017, 10:58 am »
That's good to know, Mac. The licenses look kind of pricey for some community theatres but there are a number of scenarios that I can see a package like that being very useful in.
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Tools of the Trade / Re: Improvised com system?
« Last post by Mac Calder on Oct 18, 2017, 03:09 am »
I would be surprised if there are any reliable phone apps- for one, you're going to have cues that are late if someone's service is bad. You can also use cheap walkie talkies, but they are really not well suited for this.

There is actually a really good phone based coms system - Unity. It is IP based - and you can either cloud host or run the server on an apple computer) so you can use wifi and they sell a range of accessories (like propper headsets and a little bluetooth push-to-talk button). We've used the cloud version for multi-site realtime co-ordination and it is really reliable.
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Tools of the Trade / Re: Android Cue App
« Last post by Michelle R. Wood on Oct 16, 2017, 09:49 pm »
Thanks for the recommendations KCS: good information for me to consider.
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Introductions / Re: Student Alaskan SM introduction
« Last post by Michelle R. Wood on Oct 16, 2017, 09:46 pm »
Wow, I would feel the same panic if I thought my prompt book had been torched. What a lucky save. I've always felt dubious about leaving my book in the booth (especially theatres I've worked at where "booth" is more a polite term than actual fact), and now I've got more to think about in terms of securing things each show. Welcome aboard.
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Introductions / Student Alaskan SM introduction
« Last post by AdiDavis on Oct 16, 2017, 04:21 pm »
Hi Everyone!

I've been lurking on this site for the past couple months and I figured that it was time for me to finally register and join the fold. The forums here have been so helpful lately in finding info on SM related questions.

As far as introductions, I'm a senior technical theatre major focusing on stage management. I wasn't planning on majoring in theatre in college, but I made the mistake of wondering into the scene shop one day and then I fell in love with theatre ever since.

I'm currently stage managing for a devised piece of theatre centered around the 1964 earthquake in Alaska. 

My most memorable moment so far in my SM experience is when my prompt book almost caught on fire. It was during intermission for a projections heavy show, and as such, I had two different monitors on my desk. While I was off getting water and checking in with my ASM, both of the monitors caught on fire. My prompt book was literally mere inches from the smoking mess. Luckily the assistant projections designer was in the booth fixing some technical issues with projections (the projections program had decided to quit near the end of ACT I). He thankfully grabbed a fire extinguisher, moved my prompt book to the ground and stopped the fire.

He decided to play a prank on me though, because as I came back into the booth, and saw the mess, I panicked and searched for my prompt book. He decided to inform me that he wasn't able to save it, and it was lost in the fire forever. I had a thirty second absolute panic, but then he quickly saw he'd overstepped and pulled the prompt book from his backpack. It was an emotional roller coaster that day.

And ever since then, I always photocopy my prompt book once it's finished after tech. Just in case.

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