Author Topic: Online Callboards  (Read 2578 times)

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ASM

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Online Callboards
« on: May 05, 2013, 08:15 pm »
Hi all!

I was wondering if any of you have used sites like www.stagemanagement.com or http://www.virtualcallboard.com ? I just got signed on to a production of the Wizard of Oz, where the cast will mainly be kids. The director, coming from working on larger productions, wants us to set up a virtual callboard online, where the cast members, and especially their parents, will be able to access information on scheduling, etc. There was a problem last year when the theatre produced the same type of show, where kids put their emails on the contact sheet and the parents were essentially in the dark about scheduling changes.

Has anyone used any solutions like these, and what did you think?? I understand where she's coming from, however these seem almost too complex for our needs. For example, Virtual Callboard requires users to have a username and password, which may be too much for 5th and 6th graders. These things have good benefits, but I would much rather create a Google Site with a calendar on it, and use Google Docs/Drive to share files, and of course send emails out to the cast members to relay new information or changes. What do you think about the Google solution, or can anyone offer any other solutions?

Thanks!!
Tom
Life's a stage, and I'm constantly changing the scenery :D

dallas10086

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Re: Online Callboards
« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2013, 08:38 pm »
Here's the quick response: It all depends on what your priority is. What I found with Sites is that it is very persnickety when it comes to signing up; if your cast member already has a Google account, they're fine but sometimes they have to reset their password, but if they don't have Gmail they'll have to sign up for one. If you don't care about password protection and essentially want to post a rehearsal calendar and you need it free, then go this route.

Virtual Callboard isn't free but it isn't expensive either if you go the one-production option. If the production is willing to pay for it, it's worth looking into. It's more complicated to set up calendar-wise than on Sites, but once you set it up it's fairly smooth sailing afterwards.

Virtual Callboard requires users to have a username and password, which may be too much for 5th and 6th graders.

I wouldn't worry about that. Most of the 5th and 6th graders I know (right now that's currently 49 of them in my 'King and I' cast) are so computer saavy they're helping their parents choose usernames and passwords.

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BayAreaSM

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Re: Online Callboards
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2013, 08:44 pm »
Recently I built my own "virtual callboard" using Wordpress as a base. I encouraged my dancers to create their own logins, but I also made a generic account for any dancer to use.

My main page explains what each link contains, with links along the top to items like
Daily Schedules
Monthly Calendars
Casting
Contact Sheets
Union Info

Because it's Wordpress, I just turn my documents into Jpegs and post the images for easy viewing. I also have links for PDF downloads of information when needed. If you're interested, I can give you a dummy login with limited viewing (that blocks contact info, union contract and casting) but you can at least see other options for downloading and viewing of schedules. I use my site for my company dancers as well as school students (and their parents) when they are involved in productions.

Let me know. It was free, and relatively fast to set up.

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ASM

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Re: Online Callboards
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2013, 09:11 pm »
Thanks for your replies!  :D
$29.00 for the most basic package from virtualcallboard.com isn't bad at all. Plus a 1 month trial period - its definately something to keep in mind for the future.

If you don't care about password protection and essentially want to post a rehearsal calendar and you need it free, then go this route.
If the director wants to go the Google Sites (or maybe Wordpress -- Thanks BayAreaSM!), I am thinking that I will create a calendar and blog to post updates that don't require a password to view, and then have a section that requires a password for contact sheets, and other sensitive information.

If you're interested, I can give you a dummy login with limited viewing (that blocks contact info, union contract and casting) but you can at least see other options for downloading and viewing of schedules. I use my site for my company dancers as well as school students (and their parents) when they are involved in productions.
If it wouldn't be too much trouble, that would be great! :) I'm not too familiar with WordPress, however it may be something to consider if the director likes that plan.
And the dummy login is a great idea!! I didn't even think of that!

Thank you SOOO much for your help and speedy replies. I have a production meeting tomorrow afternoon, and I'll let you know the results, and share the site with you after a decision has been made and its complete!
Life's a stage, and I'm constantly changing the scenery :D

BayAreaSM

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Re: Online Callboards
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2013, 09:20 pm »
I've PM'd you a link, id and password which will work for the next 2 days.

KMC

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Re: Online Callboards
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2013, 10:45 pm »
I think you first need to define the scope of what you want online.  Is a shared spreadsheet with a few tabs for contact info, schedule, etc.. adequate, or do you need a robust environment that these other services offer?

How long is your run?  I'm a big fan of not reinventing the wheel - work smarter, not harder.  If a simple shared document will work in place of something larger and more time consuming, then I'd go with that personally.  The bells and whistles are great but if they're not necessary aren't your efforts better focused elsewhere? 
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

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jrbucci

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Re: Online Callboards
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013, 02:10 pm »
Lots of great ideas have been mentioned but to expand on two of them:

Recently I built my own "virtual callboard" using Wordpress as a base. I encouraged my dancers to create their own logins, but I also made a generic account for any dancer to use....


Wordpress is very powerful in this regard but you can also do a simple version that doesnt require them to have an account. You can password protect any page or post in wordpress. This will allow you to create a static callboard page. You can easily embed your google calendar in the page directly if you like that sort of thing. The site will just promt them for a password when they go to access this page. Pretty quick and easy.


I think you first need to define the scope of what you want online.  Is a shared spreadsheet with a few tabs for contact info, schedule, etc.. adequate, or do you need a robust environment that these other services offer?

kmc307 makes a great point. I've used a service like EditGrid before for this very task (IT'S FREE!). You create an account and fill out the tabs you need. Then you lock all the cells and make it public or public with an access password. This way people can view but not edit. It is basically a excel or google spreadsheet online but it much easier to share/make public. You can leave certain cells unlocked so that anyone with the access password can edit those particular cells. This is great for signing up for fittings and the link. (www.editgrid.com)

planetmike

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Re: Online Callboards
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2013, 05:37 pm »
I use a customized WordPress installation for my shows as well, with a blanket password for the entire site.

You might want to be careful about using third party solutions where the actor/child has to create an account. If they are under 13 years old, they might not be allowed to create an account because of child privacy laws in the US.

Amie

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Re: Online Callboards
« Reply #8 on: Jun 10, 2013, 09:15 pm »

Quote
kmc307 makes a great point. I've used a service like EditGrid before for this very task (IT'S FREE!). You create an account and fill out the tabs you need. Then you lock all the cells and make it public or public with an access password. This way people can view but not edit. It is basically a excel or google spreadsheet online but it much easier to share/make public. You can leave certain cells unlocked so that anyone with the access password can edit those particular cells. This is great for signing up for fittings and the link. (www.editgrid.com)

Editgrid? I am definitely trying this out.  Where was this when I was stage managing large musicals?  I am intrigued...
~ Amie ~

“This whole creation is essentially subjective, and the dream is the theater where the dreamer is at once: scene, actor, prompter, stage manager, author, audience, and critic.”

jNehlich

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Re: Online Callboards
« Reply #9 on: Jul 14, 2016, 03:29 pm »
Hi all, Has anyone had any further experience with virtualcallboard.com? Pluses and minuses ?
-JN

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