Author Topic: SM Computer  (Read 7905 times)

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04sdwall

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SM Computer
« on: Aug 11, 2007, 01:02 pm »
I am sure there is a topic of this, but I can't find it and I apologize if this question has been asked a million times. 
With more and more laptops being used by Stage Managers what software is a worthy investment.  Granted I am not a light or sound or set designer but it is a practical investment to invest in vector works, garage band, etc.  Is there slightly more affordable software for seeing floor plans and plots that would be more practicable or should I just decide to stick with Microsoft, Acrobat, and Media Player if I'm not willing to pay for the high quality stuff.  Is there a need for an SM to use a laptop during rehearsals/runs in the professional world or is it just a personal choice and convenience?  So many schools aren't incorporating computers into SM curriculum that new stage managers feel that they should just stick with the old binder.  Just curious what those far more experienced have to say on the matter (and no I do not need to know whether you think a mac or PC is better.  Just kidding... but really)  Thanks for the help.

Jessie_K

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #1 on: Aug 11, 2007, 01:34 pm »
I LOVE LOVE to use Vectorworks.  It is great to make minis and scene shift diagrams and be able to take any measurement you want.  I am rare though, I think.

It is mighty pricey and I honestly wouldn't have bought it just for use as a theater SM.  But in the dance world often the SM is the LD or TD as well and I need to use it for that.

JDL

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #2 on: Aug 11, 2007, 06:31 pm »
I LOVE LOVE to use Vectorworks.  It is great to make minis and scene shift diagrams and be able to take any measurement you want.  I am rare though, I think.

It is mighty pricey and I honestly wouldn't have bought it just for use as a theater SM.  But in the dance world often the SM is the LD or TD as well and I need to use it for that.

SM with good taste! ;) I also use Vectorworks, love it!
AlL tHe WoRlD's A sTaGe... AnD i'M oFf BoOk!

LisaEllis

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #3 on: Aug 11, 2007, 07:49 pm »
Since I learned AutoCAD and I have access to it, I will often use it to alter the groundplan for minis...or move the furniture, etc.  But I will admit I'm a rare bird, and the TD's love it when they only have to email me the file.

Most of the folks who have Vectorworks (that I know) are LDs.

Other than that, I do all my paperwork in Office and paste the mini.  That way it's embedded in the file and everyone can open it.

sourc3

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #4 on: Aug 11, 2007, 09:33 pm »
OpenOffice (openoffice.org) looks, feels, acts like, and uses the exact same file formats as Microsoft Office. And it's FREE. Save yourself a few hundred bucks there. GarageBand is very useful, but comes preloaded on all Macs, so a Mac might be a better investment, as there are few (if any) GarageBand like apps on Windows - and those that do exist are really pricey. A spreadsheet editor (part of OpenOffice) is essential, and I'm just getting in to using "Numbers" (Apple's latest addition to iWork '08) as it provides a bit more integration across the board.

Just a thought.
-David

Jessie_K

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #5 on: Aug 11, 2007, 10:03 pm »
PC-er here. What does GarageBand do?

Mac Calder

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #6 on: Aug 11, 2007, 10:37 pm »
It is an audio application aimed at the consumer/garage band that want's to mix their own stuff. Audacity is a piece of free software which will do much the same stuff at no cost on any operating system.

As for laptops in rehearsals. I don't agree with using them DURING the rehearsal - I have mine set up, lid closed, and hibernating during the actual rehearsal, keeping it only as a reference tool or to do my reports on after the rehearsal. I believe the SM should keep their attention on the actual rehearsal, and for me, that means something like a binder and notepad where I can 'blindly' scribble is the better option. It is less distracting for me, the cast and the director. Others of course may (and do) see it differently.


zayit shachor

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #7 on: Aug 11, 2007, 10:56 pm »
I only ever have my laptop out during rehearsal when I'm doing linenotes - I find it much easier to type them than to write them down.

Oh, and Mac, thanks for the tip about Audacity. I have a PC and have been wanting audio-editing software lately.
« Last Edit: Aug 11, 2007, 10:58 pm by zayit shachor »

04sdwall

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #8 on: Aug 12, 2007, 02:04 am »
Mac Calder, I downloaded Audacity... now what?  It seems like it won't import very many of my music files.  I don't really know what I'm doing honestly, but it seems like a great program.  Is there a tutorial I should check out? 

Mac Calder

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #9 on: Aug 12, 2007, 05:19 am »
Trying not to turn this thread onto Audacity 101, but you have to start a new project/file then import your media files.

KMC

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #10 on: Aug 12, 2007, 10:28 am »
A quick google search of "audacity tutorials" turned up some good results.  You should check it out, I be you'll find all the answers you're looking for!
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sourc3

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #11 on: Aug 12, 2007, 11:38 am »
It is an audio application aimed at the consumer/garage band that want's to mix their own stuff. Audacity is a piece of free software which will do much the same stuff at no cost on any operating system.

Sweet! Where was the software when I was back on Windows trying to figure out how to cut down audio clips >.<!? I'd heard of it, I was just under the impression that it was highly specialized, and the only versions available free were trial versions. Will definitely keep that in mind.
-David

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #12 on: Aug 12, 2007, 12:08 pm »
I only ever have my laptop out during rehearsal when I'm doing linenotes - I find it much easier to type them than to write them down.

I do so, as well.  My typing is much faster (and more legible!) than my writing.  And since I'm going to e-mail line note to the actors after rehearsal, anyway, *shrug*. 
I also do scene shift charts on the computer, during rehearsal.  When the director suddenly adds a prop whose location has to be charted, or decides he wants another extra in the scene, it's far easier and more accurate to make the changes on the file.
During rehearsal I usually have the following files open on my computer: line notes, shift plots, actor/scene breakdown, rehearsal report, and depending on the director, rehearsal schedule. 
Of course I have all these in paper in my book, as well.  I don't think I'll ever go totally digital, as in book on computer, or IMing other departments in rehearsal, but my laptop is a tool that I definitely feel makes me a better SM.  It makes my paperwork faster, more accurate and more efficient, that's for sure.
Jessica: "Of course I have a metric size 4 dinglehopper in my kit!  Who do you think I am?"

Jessie_K

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #13 on: Aug 12, 2007, 01:39 pm »
I have had assistants who update paperwork on computer during rehearsal and have toyed with doing it that way myself. But I still prefer to have a printed out version that I make notes on.  It is easier to see changes and more portable.  I also like the step of having to read and then type up my notes.  Extra step to proof and to organize in my brain.

I do keep my laptop handy during rehearsal to run sound cues, internet research or have files open for reference, but rarely do "live editing" of documents.

sourc3

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Re: SM Computer
« Reply #14 on: Aug 13, 2007, 01:35 am »
If I have time to prepare, I like paper. Though I'm trying to go all-digital since it makes communication with documents that much easier. Had to SM a show this past week on VERY short notice (72 hours to do basically doing a months worth of work, minus the blocking/rehearsals) and that was done all digitally because I didn't have time to make printouts.
-David

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