Poll

How many of you employ an IM program to chat with other departments from the rehearsal hall and which program do you prefer, if any?

I use GoogleTalk
3 (6.8%)
I use AOL IM
9 (20.5%)
I use ICQ
0 (0%)
I use YahooChat
0 (0%)
I use MSN messenger
0 (0%)
I find these programs distracting in the rehearsal hall
8 (18.2%)
I have never used an IM program in the rehearsal hall
17 (38.6%)
I have never used an IM program, ever...
4 (9.1%)
No opinion (yeah, right!)
0 (0%)
Other
3 (6.8%)

Total Members Voted: 41

Voting closed: Aug 11, 2007, 06:35 pm

Author Topic: SOFTWARE: IM Programs in Rehearsal  (Read 9980 times)

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Sarah

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SOFTWARE: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« on: Aug 01, 2007, 06:35 pm »
At my theatre, it is an established practice to communicate with, primarily but not limited to, the costume shop and props department via an IM (Instant Messaging) program, during rehearsal hours. In theory, this is to facilitate communications and, if possible, increase efficiency. What does the SMNetwork think?
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 12:54 am by PSMKay »

StageMgr2Stars

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #1 on: Aug 01, 2007, 06:45 pm »
I've actually used this to communicate with my PSM during rehearsal if we needed to talk, rather than whisper but it wasn't used all the time. Just if we needed something and we were both on our laptops doing other paperwork.


I think that's a great idea tho!
-C-

KMC

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #2 on: Aug 01, 2007, 08:04 pm »
It's a great communication tool, especially if your ASMs are possibly in another studio rehearsing, or at a different place in the same studio.  Also great for tech for the designers and production staff to check in if it's not a show that requires them there for say, an entire 10/12. 

We're foolish not to use it!
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

Mac Calder

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #3 on: Aug 01, 2007, 09:22 pm »
Email only is also my policy.

If it is urgent and MUST interupt me (ie the theatre just burnt down with the set designer, the lighting designer and the costume designer in side (along with the costumes and set)), then you have my phone number. I don't turn my phone off - although I do restrict my incoming calls to those involved with the show (a very nifty feature IMO).

nmno

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #4 on: Aug 01, 2007, 09:47 pm »
Ugh! I worked with an SM who IM'd ALL THRU REHEARSAL and it drove me batty (and I was just her ASM, wonder what the director thought.)  It just seemed really unprofessional and distracting; I wondered how she got any work done. I think if you (plural you) are going to IM, you should have a screenname dedicated solely to that show, so you aren't getting messages from other friends who see you online, etc.

As to text messaging, I have a little different opinion.  First let me say I am NOT a text msger.  But I've told my actors that if they are running late that it's fine to text me.  We've established a good enough relationship that I know if they are late, it's not for a Starbucks run.  I also drill in them to let me know asap if they THINK they are going to be late.  However, just before rehearsal I'm likely to be doing a lot to get things started - with a text I can just glance and see "w/b 5m late" vs interupting what I'm doing to answer the phone (I can always call them back if necessary).  Also works well if someone is on a staggered call; I know right away (w/o disturbing rehearsal with a phone call) to go ahead and let the director run the scene one more time because we'll be delayed moving on.  Another benefit is if someone is where reception is spotty (ie. subway); a call would be impossible to get thru but a text message can be sent when they hit a quick moment of reception.
But I totally respect your desire not to communicate that way; just offering some "pluses".

KMC

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #5 on: Aug 01, 2007, 10:04 pm »
I should clarify - in my post I meant using IM for business use only, not personal.  It's commonplace in many big companies as well.

There's a difference between having a 2 second IM exchange with a designer and pecking away to your friends all night about plans after rehearsal :).

It's also quite nifty if your ASM is on the other side of the room during rehearsal.  Before the end of a scene you can send a quick IM that says "Heads up, schedule's changed - scene 2 next".

Nothing can or will replace face to face communication.  The trick is to find the balance.
« Last Edit: Aug 01, 2007, 10:11 pm by kmc307 »
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

Jessie_K

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #6 on: Aug 02, 2007, 12:02 am »
I have had a few occasions to use both texts and IMs in work.

IM:
I use it vary sparingly.  But sometimes it is great to shoot an IM or text to the PM or whoever when a break is coming up and they can come in.  Or let department heads know that a run-through is coming up.

With my current job, I chat (not during rehearsal) with my co-workers a lot.  It is a good way to work in tandem on schedule/ ground plan/ whatever.  If detailed discussion is necessary, I call.  But if I just need something simple it is great.  Google chat stores your conversations.  You can copy and paste or print out information.

I have found that a number of directors love having instant access to information and have encouraged Internet research, emails, etc during rehearsal.  (Business only)

TEXTS:
I also very much appreciate the text when running late.  I do sometimes find it inadequate, but usually it is the perfect amount of info.

My current production is pretty complex and has aspects taking place in several cities/ areas at once with a good deal of travel.  Texts are great for sending info like address/ directions to meet location, etc.   I even store info in texts because my phone is always with me and easy access, whereas my email is not.

Another use that I have really come to find invaluable is with my boss (artistic director).  English is not his native language, so phone and email conversation can sometimes get difficult.  Texts are written but usually super simple.  Cuts down on a lot of miscommunication.  Plus he is more comfortable and more likely to respond quickly.

Having said all those things, I do think that sometimes electronic-ness can get in the way of face to face communication.  I do make an effort to handle as much as possible in face to face or by phone.  But sometimes simple and quick is actually exactly what you need.

My thoughts are use it as it suits you and your team.  Make sure you check in by phone or in person as much as possible.

scotty011

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #7 on: Aug 02, 2007, 06:41 am »
Hey MacCalder,  :)

I tried to send you an IM and failed miserably (I get this error message that tells me I can't send private messages) so I sent it to your email address and it bounced. If you get a chance can you tell me how I can email you?  ???

Cheers,

Scotty ::)

Mac Calder

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #8 on: Aug 02, 2007, 08:55 am »
My appologies, I had not updated my email address in my profile when I resigned from my pos. at that group - my new (permanant) address is there now ( - or you can click mac@austheatre.net to do it the easy way.

ReyYaySM

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #9 on: Aug 02, 2007, 10:09 am »
The theatre company I work with uses AIM to communicate with one another during the work day.  I typically keep mine signed in, sound off, with an away message that says "in rehearsal, next break at approximately _____."  This way, the staff knows when they can drop by the rehearsal hall and/or when I'll be available to talk.  I will occassionally use it during the rehearsal if I need an urgent response, but the majority of the time I will just check it and update it on the break. 

As for texts, I think that they are a great, non-intrusive method of communication.  If I get a call from an actor, I usually send my assistant out with my phone to answer it; with a text, I don't have to leave my table because I can discreetly check the message. 

lauria

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #10 on: Aug 02, 2007, 06:50 pm »
I don't turn my phone off - although I do restrict my incoming calls to those involved with the show (a very nifty feature IMO).

Ooo that does sound like a nifty feature. Is this related to the service provider you have or the type of phone? Or do I just need to search around my new phone for a while to see if I too hold the power of restricting calls?

Mac Calder

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #11 on: Aug 02, 2007, 08:55 pm »
It's a feature on my phone - it uses caller ID to check that the caller is allowed, otherwise it sends the standard divert thingie - but I have seen quite a few that seem to have it buried somewhere in some form - mine is called "Restrict To Group" and allows you to select a group from your phonebook, and only members of that group can call you. It also has "Restrict to Known Callers".

debos23

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #12 on: Aug 03, 2007, 04:40 pm »
My theatre doesn't have wireless or other internet access in the rehearsal room or theatre, so we don't utilize IM.  We're heavy Outlook users in the office.  I would absolutely love, love, love to be able to IM questions to my boss or other co-workers during rehearsal.  If I had the choice, I would use Google Talk.   

I've been kind of late to arrive on the text messaging scene.  Since I've got the cheapest phone service possible, I don't text very often at all since it costs me extra money.   However, my ASM, being younger and much more cell phone savvy than me, texts all the time.   It has never been a problem in rehearsal, I am glad to say.   And, there have been occasions when I was across the building from her, needed to get a message to her in a way that didn't distract from the rehearsals we were both in, and text messaging was the perfect solution.   I'm all for it.   

Sarah

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #13 on: Aug 03, 2007, 09:43 pm »
Thanks to everyone who has, so far, replied to the poll or with a comment; I'm monitoring the responses and will collate them into a concise "study" of the topic, once the poll has closed.


Scott (formerly Digga)

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #14 on: Aug 09, 2007, 12:06 am »
I use a program called Trillian that controls multiple IM programs.  I've been using IMs in rehearsals for quite some time.  They're a convenient way to convey information back and forth quickly to my ASM and occasionally to the shops (if they use it).  Most of the time I stick with emails as I often don't need an answer immediately.  What's helped is that I'm currently at a theatre where there is no cell phone reception for the whole town.  It's a dead zone smack in the middle of Western Mass. and internet is pretty much my only option for communication. 

I figure it's silly not to make use of the technology that's available.  No it may not be the standard but standards can change.

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