Author Topic: Stage Write - an iPad app for idiots, by idiots  (Read 10031 times)

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Re: Stage Write - an iPad app for idiots, by idiots
« Reply #15 on: Jan 02, 2012, 12:30 am »
I can see this being most useful for directors/choreographers, at least those who bother to pre-block scenes.  Instead of pushing dolls around on the set model, you've got a slideshow recorded of your thoughts at the time of planning, one that can quickly be referenced when you're in the rehearsal room trying to communicate that blocking to the cast.  I see this as being of limited use for SMs, unless the SM had access to the Director's pre-blocked file and just do the updates that happen within the rehearsal.
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Re: Stage Write - an iPad app for idiots, by idiots
« Reply #16 on: Jan 23, 2012, 12:33 am »
I just looked on its website and found out it will be $196.99. Wow, I was expecting $10 at the most. Not almost $200. Looks like I will be skipping this.
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Re: Stage Write - an iPad app for idiots, by idiots
« Reply #17 on: Jan 26, 2012, 03:07 pm »
Looks fun in theory but as a SM I will stick to pencil and paper.

I can definitely see a lot of directors and choreographers using this though, and therefore perhaps making it something I would need to learn/use eventually to close the gap between their plans and what is actually happening on stage.

There is the interesting thoughts that a director, choreographer and stage manager could all share the same file, make changes, and have access to it in real time during rehearsals... or that might be creating a monster. Hmmm...
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Re: Stage Write - an iPad app for idiots, by idiots
« Reply #18 on: Feb 01, 2012, 10:48 am »
There is the interesting thoughts that a director, choreographer and stage manager could all share the same file, make changes, and have access to it in real time during rehearsals... or that might be creating a monster. Hmmm...

That sounds terrifying. All the more reason to keep it pencil and paper (though my friend just convinced me to try the electronic calling script)
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Re: Stage Write - an iPad app for idiots, by idiots
« Reply #19 on: Feb 05, 2012, 10:39 am »

Legit theater creatives spawn apps
Market grows for rehearsal, staging tools
By Gordon Cox

There's an app for that, as the saying goes. But an increasing number of entrepreneurial theater folk have noticed that for a lot of day-to-day legit work, there isn't an app for that -- and they've set about remedying the situation.

Take Jeff Whiting, the latest legiter to add the unlikely words "software developer" to his resume. As a director-choreographer who often works as Susan Stroman's associate, he found himself slaving over exhaustive "show bibles" -- detailed accounts of stage arrangements and actor movements, often totaling thousands of pages per show -- so that a production can be reproduced on tour and in other incarnations.

"I'd been dreaming about ways I could make my life easier," Whiting says. "I kept thinking, 'This should be simple.' It's just there was no existing way to do it."

Looking for a digital tool that could streamline the process, all Whiting could come up with was a jury-rigged combo of Power Point and Excel. What he really needed, he decided, was an iPad app -- and so StageWrite, launching March 1, was born.

Whiting joins a handful of industry denizens in creating rehearsal-tool apps they'd use themselves. Two of the best-known apps for helping actors memorize lines, for instance, come from actors themselves -- David H. Lawrence XVII ("Heroes"), who spearheaded the creation of Rehearsal, and J. Kevin Smith, the man behind Scene Partner.

"The dirty little secret is, if nobody ever bought the app and it was just me using it in my day-to-day life as an actor, I'd still be a happy dude," Lawrence says.

As Whiting discovered, it ain't easy creating and selling an app. He knew what he wanted, but guided by a friend in the tech industry, he had to seek out the Arizona-based team of programmers that he ended up hiring to do the coding.

There's also a not-insignificant amount of money involved. Whiting, who capitalized StageWrite himself, says he had to pony up "hundreds of thousands of dollars" to bring the app to market.

The final product is a tool for creating, duplicating and editing the floorplan charts that, in a show bible, give a moment-to-moment, top-down view of where and when actors and set pieces move during a show. In beta tests during his day job, he's already found it invaluable, talking up the potential, for instance, to email jpegs of the charts to swing performers, or to a regional lighting designer in advance of a touring production's arrival.

But creation of an app isn't the only hurdle; creators have to market it as well.

Different apps go after different demographics: StageWrite, for example, isn't targeted to the masses. With a pricetag of around $200, the app is pitched as a professional tool to be used by those involved with sizable productions.

So far, Whiting has found that the relatively small size of the legit community has proven a plus, tubthumping for his new product among pros he knows. Whiting says he's also gotten early interest from Sea World, Cirque du Soleil and the Olympic Committee.

Meanwhile, Scene Partner, priced at $4.99, is aimed at a different market. Creator Smith, who pairs his community-theater acting experience with a career as a direct marketer of tech products, targets amateur and pro thesps alike, saying he's had a lot of luck hawking the app at young-thespian conferences around the country. The $20 Rehearsal, on the other hand, is optimized for working TV and film actors, as well as for legiters.

Among Scene Partner's several features are a text-to-speech component that allows audio playback of cue lines for actors memorizing a part. With different tools but a similar goal, Rehearsal enables the highlighting of dialogue in digital scripts and the ability to record an actor's own lines or fellow thesps' cues, among other functions.

The rehearsal room's shift into the digital realm jives with a trend that has seen playscript publishing houses also making recent moves into the marketplace. Late last year, Samuel French launched an e-book service, and barely a month later, Dramatists Play Service struck a deal with Scene Partner to make e-scripts available for use with the app (available at around $10 per play).

Both Whiting and Smith have plans for a suite of tools that will help actors, directors and designers do their work. And Smith anticipates further partnerships among legiters brave enough to step into the marketplace. "I think there's going to be a lot of room for a lot of collaboration," he says. "We're all trying to make a viable business out of it."

Contact Gordon Cox at
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Re: Stage Write - an iPad app for idiots, by idiots
« Reply #20 on: Mar 02, 2012, 09:50 pm »
Hi all! As my subject implies, I'm not exactly the brightest of bulbs. I'm so bummed that Stage Write only just was released, after working on a show as an assistant dance captain, helping to create it's bible on EXCEL! As a 28 year old walking around in a Mac exclusive world, I don't claim to be any better at technology than my own Grandmother. In a matter of minutes I could've staged a One Act. Excel is out... Stage Write is in! And if it is idiot proof for people like me... It's bound to be a gem for  you. It's organized, efficient, and should be a requirement for all Stage Management and Directing majors.  Dance Captains.... Get it it's worth it. No more Excel, no more graph paper (I gave that up long ago). And not to mention how chic it is! I just got a text on my antique flip phone, and I've yet to learn how to update Facebook. But I understand and love Stage Write.


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Re: Stage Write - an iPad app for idiots, by idiots
« Reply #21 on: Mar 03, 2012, 12:45 am »
... and I just got a text (and a couple of emails... and a PM...) on my smartphone saying that there's spam in Tools of the Trade.

Tug, I realize that this is your first post. Normally I do not bite newcomers to this extent, but you have made me angry, and unlike most of the staff here I don't have to worry about how this response will affect my future career.

We don't lie to each other here, and you are lying to us. Since your entire post is obviously spam, I went ahead and did a reference check on your email address, your real name and your IP address. It looks like you've worked on shows together with Jeff Whiting, the creator of StageWrite, an overpriced app with absolutely no utility for stage managers. You two worked together on Young Frankenstein, your names show up in the Playbill together, nicely archived online courtesy of Google's Cache.

Now, we don't like it when people show up and pretend to be giving genuine reviews, when they are actually being paid or otherwise compensated to promote products on SMNetwork. In fact, this kind of behavior normally gets them banned immediately, and the software they're pretending to endorse winds up becoming banned subject matter.

Additionally, if you'd taken a moment to read through this thread, our main concerns are that the software has absolutely no usefulness for stage managers, who do use Excel - religiously - and do make up the main membership on this site, you know. We do know how to use technology. How exactly does your fake endorsement of this product as useful for Assistant Dance Captains with no technical skill apply in any way as a means of selling the product to a group of theatre technicians? Have you ever stage managed a show in your life?

All you have done with this post is reinforced that StageWrite is apparently created by a bunch of shysters who think they can take "dim bulb" artists for a ride on overpriced software that will not interface with any other existing, established, market-leading software like the MS Office suite.

Obviously there is a niche for stage management software that nobody has filled yet - including you and your boss.

This thread has run its course. Mods, pardon me for stepping on your toes but I think we're done here. User IgobyTug banned, thread locked, topic changed to warn away incoming ships.


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