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 10010 times)

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KMC

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #15 on: Aug 09, 2007, 08:50 am »
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.

Indeed.  20 years ago cell phones weren't standard, look where we are today.
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

avkid

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #16 on: Aug 09, 2007, 04:45 pm »
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.

Indeed.  20 years ago cell phones weren't standard, look where we are today.
The attached photo gives a bit of a perspective on that topic:
"The first quarter-century of Motorola handsets illustrates the cell phone’s evolution from the 1973 prototype to a 1998 model that seemed impossibly tiny at the time."
Philip LaDue
Shore Production Group LLC
IATSE Local #21 Newark, NJ

Mac Calder

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #17 on: Aug 09, 2007, 06:45 pm »
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.

The 'thing' is not that we don't want to change the standard, but more "is this a technology we want to make standard" - in my opinion, the answer is no.

I did a short stint in an office that used MSN to communicate between people within said office. Everyone was in a cubicle, less than 10m from everyone else, and it was such a depressing way to work. Sure, using IM to copy across a bug report was great, but "Hey all. I am going to lunch in 10 minutes, going to the fish and chip shop. Anyone want any" over an IM... It's just not cricket.

KMC

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #18 on: Aug 09, 2007, 09:14 pm »
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.

The 'thing' is not that we don't want to change the standard, but more "is this a technology we want to make standard" - in my opinion, the answer is no.

I did a short stint in an office that used MSN to communicate between people within said office. Everyone was in a cubicle, less than 10m from everyone else, and it was such a depressing way to work. Sure, using IM to copy across a bug report was great, but "Hey all. I am going to lunch in 10 minutes, going to the fish and chip shop. Anyone want any" over an IM... It's just not cricket.

Mac, you're right, it's pointless then.  But if you work for a company with 8 or 9 different office buildings in three states, and 21 ships located anywhere from Asia to Europe to Alaska and everywhere in between it's a fabulous tool.  Not everyone is always 10meters away.
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 #19 on: Aug 10, 2007, 05:24 am »
Correct, it was however just an example of how what started as a good idea (we can use IM to send bug reports to the programmers instead of relying on email, that way it is instant) turned into a situation where things became impersonal, or started getting used in the wrong situations (ie when someone was offering to go out and get lunch).

The principals can be applied to SMing too - the wrong situation, IMO being the rehearsal room.
« Last Edit: Aug 10, 2007, 05:28 am by Mac Calder »

Scott (formerly Digga)

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #20 on: Aug 10, 2007, 05:44 pm »
Correct, it was however just an example of how what started as a good idea (we can use IM to send bug reports to the programmers instead of relying on email, that way it is instant) turned into a situation where things became impersonal, or started getting used in the wrong situations (ie when someone was offering to go out and get lunch).

The principals can be applied to SMing too - the wrong situation, IMO being the rehearsal room.
Hey to each their own I guess.  I can definitely see how it can be obnoxious and unnecessary during rehearsals but I can also see the benefits of using it and to discount it as "standard" just because of certain situations doesn't work for me.  IMO there are more things to be gained by using it then by not. 

KMC

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #21 on: Aug 11, 2007, 01:26 am »
There are more things to be gained if there is discipline about it.  I also think adopting the attitude that SMs shoudl be staring at laptops all day instead of at the work is a trend in the wrong direction, no matter how cool or abundant the technology is.

That's what gets lost in this discussion.  You shouldn't have your face in a laptop all day and your staff/theatre/designers shouldn't expect you to either. 

In your opinion Scoot, what's the difference between having your face in a production book and having your face in a laptop?
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

Sarah

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #22 on: Aug 11, 2007, 05:41 pm »
I think what I "hear" scoot intimating was that the distraction level of an SM staring at a laptop is more than likely higher than that of an SM concentrating on his/her book. Is this close, scoot?

I can think of a dozen reasons why IM programs in the rehearsal hall might be good and another dozen why they might be bad (which is why I started the poll to ask all of you for your opinions  :)). I agree with scoot that, while utilizing the fabulous technology of the laptop in rehearsal can be a time-saving endeavor, sometimes it's intrusive. I once worked with an SM who had fake enamel nails and the tick-tick-tick sound of her typing, even to enter a note into the rehearsal report, drove me B-A-T-T-Y. I silently wished for her to pick up a pencil and do it the old fashioned way. I'm all for technology that makes stage managing more efficient, but I also see the trend towards the impersonal, like some of you have already mentioned.

When the voting closes, I'll post the consensus.

KMC

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #23 on: Aug 11, 2007, 10:26 pm »
Of course you don't have your head buried in your book, that's exactly my point.

There are effective and ineffective ways to use any tool.  If you (not anyone specifically, but the broader sense) don't have the ability to conduct yourself in an appropriate manner then I'd question if you should be stage managing professionally in the first place. 

I am not advocating technology to replace what we do, it's merely another item in our kit.  If you're allowing any tool to interfere with the dynamic of a rehearsal room then you're not using the tool correctly.  When used effectively I personally feel technology is a wonderful tool.  When used ineffectively it's just as counterproductive as other tools.
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

KMC

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #24 on: Aug 12, 2007, 01:13 am »
Indeed, two different schools of thought. 

I'm well aware of the artistic process and what goes on in a rehearsal hall.  I've SMed my share of shows and given that I currently manage a fleet of, among other things, 28 Stage & Production Managers I'd like to think I do it rather well.  :)

Will be interesting to re-visit this thread in ten years.
« Last Edit: Aug 12, 2007, 01:28 am 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

KMC

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #25 on: Aug 12, 2007, 01:06 pm »
Certainly agree with you there, if you get to a point where you can't do your job without the bells and whistles then you're doing something wrong.  I have SMed shows just as successfully without a laptop sitting next to me as with one sitting next to me.  I think the biggest takeaway from this whole thread is that technology should be used as a tool and not a crutch.

You know funny you mention that micro-chip, I almost ended my previous post by saying "Let's re-visit this in 10 years when we all have microchips implanted in our bodies", but I opted out of it at the risk of sounding like a cyborg  :)
« Last Edit: Aug 12, 2007, 01:16 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

Scott (formerly Digga)

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #26 on: Aug 12, 2007, 03:29 pm »
Maybe it's just a sign of the times but I've been SMing for about 8 years now and have used a laptop almost the entire time.  Do I need it?  No.  Can I get by without it?  Absolutely.  Does it make my job easier and my life simpler?  Without a doubt.  And it's for that reason that I use the laptop and the IM programs while working.  To discourage its use just because you (general you) feel that the old way is better seems counterproductive.  As new people get started in the industry, they're going to find their own way of doing things and if that includes using technology you, yourself, wouldn't normally use, then that's fine. 

Sarah

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #27 on: Aug 13, 2007, 07:55 pm »
Hey All…

Here are the composite results of your thoughts concerning the use of instant messaging programs in the rehearsal hall. Please let me know if you feel your voice has not been adequately represented in the findings or if I have misinterpreted anyone's thoughts.

We seemed to have uncovered a few topics for new threads; among others these stood out:

•   Balancing the use of technologies in the rehearsal hall with standard practices.
•   How does the distraction of IMs affect an SMs performance?
•   Emerging trends and changing standards: how is the contemporary SMs practice evolving?
•   The use of texting as a method of communication to and from the rehearsal hall.
•   How does utilizing certain technologies impede efficiency in younger ASMs/PAs/SMs tempted to abuse the privilege?
•   Dealing with interns/ASMs/PAs/SMs tempted to abuse technology in the rehearsal hall.

Snippets of your positive thoughts concerning IMing to and from the rehearsal hall:

•   A good tool for communication w/PSM, especially if ASM/other staff is on the other side of the room
•   “Foolish not to use it”
•   Using a dedicated IM screen name for show related purposes only
•   Standards can change and are evolving

Some critical snippets:

•   Expecting immediate responses via IM from the SM is ridiculous
•   IMing should not be a crutch…the most important thing in the room is the people
•   Electronic communication can get in the way of face to face communications
•   The noise factor of typing is distracting to the whole environment

Other trends and practices:

•   Some of you employ an e-mail only method when communicating to and from the rehearsal hall
•   Some of you don’t mind a text message when “short and sweet” is applicable
•   Some of you ban interns/PAs from IMing
•   Texting may reduce or eliminate miscommunication
•   IMing is helpful to those in companies occupying multiple buildings and/or spaces


Thanks to you all for your ideas, thoughts and time. I hope that we can continue to discuss the use of technologies in the rehearsal hall; as always, there are as many SMs as there are ways of doing things. That's something that makes me proud of what we do.






ScooterSM

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Re: IM Programs in Rehearsal
« Reply #28 on: Aug 14, 2007, 01:05 pm »
Texting can be useful when you have multiple shows in rehearsals, or have rehearsals split into multiple rooms.  It can also be a show-saving back up system if (as happened to me twice last year on 2 separate opening nights) you lose headset communications with backstage, and need to relay cues to the ASM/Deck/etc.  Texting was the only means of communication I had with backstage, and we were able to make it through 2 cue heavy shows without having to stop the performance.
“I've never been paid a lot, but the theatre has kept me, and for that I shall be eternally grateful.” Tony Church

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