Author Topic: Software that needs to exist!  (Read 9149 times)

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themikejones

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Software that needs to exist!
« on: May 19, 2005, 01:46 am »
I had a conversation today with some colleagues of mine about the rehearsal process for stage managers.  We decided that someone needs to come up some kick ass stage management software. Just imagine if…

1) Blocking Mode: You had a copy of the script on one side of your screen and a ground plan on the other. You click the word where the actor starts to move then click the place on stage- drag the mouse in the path that the actor is blocked to move and it records it. Then- later when you go back to the scene you can have it display an animation of the blocking!

2) Line Note Mode: You have the text on your screen. Click and highlight a line that was missed- then a dialogue window pops up where you select “paraphrased, missed cue, replaced with…. etc”. At the end of rehearsal it generates line note sheets for each actor.

3) Cueing Mode: You have the text on your screen. Highlight a word- or part of a word- where a cue goes and select from a dialogue box what kind of cue and label it. It lays out the book for you.

We just need to get some genius computer person who doesn’t mind being poor to make this for us!

DAE

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Software that needs to exist!
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2005, 03:17 am »
Hi

That would be intersting. However, I think that the trouble would be not in the programming since these are rather simple commands in relation to what computers do now. I think that the reason that this doesn't exist is because of the incredible trouble of creating a database of scripts that wouldn't violate copyright laws. The trick would be if some crafty person could arrange a deal with publishers to purchase a certain digital license for scripts.

My two Cents...

Mac Calder

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Software that needs to exist!
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2005, 05:41 am »
That software would be relatively useless I am afraid, unless you have a tablet PC, especially for blocking.

A person with a pen is always faster than with a mouse. add onto that multiple actors, you would have to click on the pallet which actor is about to move, click on the word, click on the end point, insert the path... estimated time, 30s - enough for the other 4 primaries (or whatever) to have moved 5 times each. It would be no quicker than a pen on a tablet pc.

I am currently developing a SM paperwork system which can be used for cue extractions and synopsis' (basically a running sheet of a single departments cues), contact lists, rehearsal reports and a number of other things, which I will (hopefully) have a partialy functioning demo up for trial in a few days. It is more intended for the theatre company to have on their web server, but it could easily run on the SM's PC or laptop. Everything is published in PDF format, and will (eventually) have a 'fronte end' site that actors can log into to get anything they need, contact lists, rehearsal reports etc or the SM can generate a file then email it to certain groups, or just print it from their pc.

I will post details on that in a separate thread at a later date though.

themikejones

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« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2005, 12:43 pm »
DAE-
You'd have to scan in the scipts, most likely. Of course I've been almost exclusively with Shakespeare and classical texts lately so I've sort forgotten about all those pesky copywrite laws. hmm...

MC-
Oh,and yes- using a tablet PC is a given. I left that part out. Mainly it's less writing and can create the animation of the blocking- that's the point.

Your software sounds very interesting! I've work with a PSM who published his daily calls, contact sheets, reports, etc on a password protected website in pdf format. It worked really well for him.

I'd have to really be sold that it's faster for creating paperwork than Word and Excel though.  I mean, once you've created a template it's all just data entry.

Ok- off to a meeting. :)

Mac Calder

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« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2005, 07:24 pm »
The data entry is the time consuming bit, although it is still very comparable, but imagine rehearsal reports, with this, each call, you select the scenes you are doing for that call (and whether you need the charactors who are only doing a small piece (ie a walk through), then when you generate it, the call sheet has onnly the charactor required, it saves grabbing the scene breakdown, finding the scene, following it back to the name, typing the name in, finding the next etc, then (esp. if you are doing a number of scenes in that rehearsal) finding that you entered someones name three times. Obviously I will need a lot of input from the stage management community about it feature wise.

youngthespian

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sm software
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2005, 12:43 am »
I found sm software for windows although I have a mac and wish there to be software to work on macs.

http://www.onsetsoftware.com/prs.htm

this is the software I found.

It seems very useful!!!

themikejones

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« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2005, 01:30 am »
Quote from: "mc"
you select the scenes you are doing for that call (and whether you need the charactors who are only doing a small piece (ie a walk through), then when you generate it, the call sheet has onnly the charactor required, it saves grabbing the scene breakdown, finding the scene, following it back to the name, typing the name in, finding the next etc, then (esp. if you are doing a number of scenes in that rehearsal) finding that you entered someones name three times.


Wow! That sounds great!  I didn't even think of that. :)

loebtmc

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Software that needs to exist!
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2005, 11:53 am »
to do computerized blocking, you'd have to invent something that worked w a sylus , a plot sketch and a labelled icon for each performer so at least you cd trace patterns.

if someone wants to invent it, I'll be happy to test drive....

kjdiehl

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« Reply #8 on: Jun 22, 2005, 07:50 pm »
Anybody ever used Filemaker Pro? There's hardly any SM software out there, and a couple are just FMP programs anyway. So I figured I'd buckle down and buy it and that way I can design the programs exactly like I want, and modify over time. So we'll see how it goes. Anyone any experience/advice trying this?
-Kris Diehl, AEA SM

"Somewhere in the city there's a stage manager waiting,
standing in the shadows with a clipboard in hand..."

linka

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« Reply #9 on: Jun 22, 2005, 07:54 pm »
I use filemaker for my day job, but haven't ever thought about it for the theater as I kind of like excel. But if you need help, let me know.

kjdiehl

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« Reply #10 on: Jun 22, 2005, 08:19 pm »
Quote from: "DAE"
Hi
I think that the reason that this doesn't exist is because of the incredible trouble of creating a database of scripts that wouldn't violate copyright laws. The trick would be if some crafty person could arrange a deal with publishers to purchase a certain digital license for scripts.


I don't think it's incumbent upon the programmers to come up with access to the scripts. It should be the publishers who step up and embrace the 21st friggin century and release electronic versions of the scripts for stage managers' use. God forbid Sam French or Tams-Witmark revise their rules to accomodate the way theatre is done now. Legally, we're still not allowed to photocopy our scripts to create a prompt book- we're supposed to physically, with scissors!, cut and paste the pages onto large pages to fit in a binder. But if the script publishers can't even catch up to 1980's photocopy, or even 1970's mimeograph, technology, what hope have we that they'll ever embrace the digital age? My gosh, their typesets even look like woodcuts on some older scripts still. Needless to say, this topic is a pet peeve of mine.  :roll:
-Kris Diehl, AEA SM

"Somewhere in the city there's a stage manager waiting,
standing in the shadows with a clipboard in hand..."

kjdiehl

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Software that needs to exist!
« Reply #11 on: Jun 22, 2005, 08:24 pm »
Quote from: "linka"
I use filemaker for my day job, but haven't ever thought about it for the theater as I kind of like excel. But if you need help, let me know.


Oh I LOOOOOVE Excel, but I feel like I've maxed out its capabilities and I want more. My daily schedules automatically calculate the schedule, all I do is copy and paste the scenes we're doing that day. My reports automatically calculate how long calltimes and acts are, all i enter are the various start and stop times. My prop-sheets sort things to the most miniscule preset details for me. So I'm excited to see what I can do with Filemaker.
-Kris Diehl, AEA SM

"Somewhere in the city there's a stage manager waiting,
standing in the shadows with a clipboard in hand..."

linka

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Software that needs to exist!
« Reply #12 on: Jun 22, 2005, 11:47 pm »
wow... if you're into formulas, you'll love FM. I also like how I can make labels, index cards, and all of my welcome letters,etc.

If you ever get something really rolling, I'd love it if you would send me a clone!

biff

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Re: Software that needs to exist!
« Reply #13 on: Jun 26, 2006, 05:30 pm »
These guys have SM software too - New Member Link: http://www.theatermanagementtools.com [nonactive] and New Member Link: http://www.cocoact.com [nonactive]

Tigerrr

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Re: Software that needs to exist!
« Reply #14 on: Jun 27, 2006, 07:49 am »
Mac: As my final project for school, I created a beta version of something that sounds similar.  Mine was set up so that you can do your initial data entry (scene breakdown, cast list, etc), then the locations and types of rehearsals (such as fight rehearsal for one scene and a blocking rehearsal for another scene, including wardrobe fittings).  It could generate the schedule for you, as well as indicate when/where there was a conflict.  I haven't looked at it in a couple of years, but I'd love to get updates on your project if you'd allow, and be happy to share what I've learned.  However, since I'm not a programmer, mine was in Access - the idea being that since it comes with Office, anyone could use it.

kjdiehl: Okay, silly question.  I have the hardest time calculating times in Excel.  I've only recently begun working with macros, so my excel skills are still pretty basic.  If you have any tips, I would love to hear them.

mikejones: My only hesitation with computerized blocking is how quickly can you make changes?  I mean, if the first time around, the actor crosses all the way to the table, but then the next time, he/she only goes 3' towards the table, how easily could you change that if you're using animated blocking?  And what if you miss a move?  I'm not a video camera, so I'm glad that the actors have to do it several times to learn it, otherwise I'd never get it all in my book! :) 

I've done the whole publishing to a password protected website thing for paperwork in the past too and it was a dream!  Everyone loved it.  But it only worked because everyone, including the actors, were able to get online regularly and with ease.  In the past two years I've done one show where that was the case.  Sigh.  Would love to be able to do it again!

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