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Messages - LSteckman

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Tools of the Trade / Re: Google Docs.
« on: Apr 05, 2015, 04:39 am »
Download drive has worked great for me--the programs all function fully and once you connect to wifi again, it updates itself seamlessly. Admittedly, I've never tried two different people making changes to the same document while offline. Also, if your computer shuts down or you close the window before you reconnect to wifi, you can lose your work.

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Tools of the Trade / Re: Google Docs.
« on: Apr 02, 2015, 05:11 am »
I think those are what is preventing SM teams from adopting this entirely - maybe I am wrong about that.  If anyone has done a show 100% on cloud-based docs, please speak up.

I've done multiple shows solely* on Google Drive! I find it infinitely more useful than Dropbox because of the ability for everyone to be in the same document at the same time (I love to have a chat window open with my ASMs during rehearsal for 'Oh, go grab thing X' requests during quiet moments).

I actually find that Drive reduces formatting issues--I'm on a PC using LibreOffice and other members of my team are using Mac Office, older versions of Office, etc. For paperwork not done on Drive, sometimes the fonts don't match, or different programs process things slightly differently, and so you'll download someone else's paperwork and have to spend ten minutes reformatting before you can even read it.

*=My one major gripe with Google Drive is that it doesn't allow headers and footers on spreadsheets. I do my run sheets, prop checklists, preshow checklists, etc all on spreadsheets, and I really want that running footer (theatre name, show name, SM name, paperwork updated date), so I usually download the file, open it in LibreOffice to put the header and footer on, and print from there. It's a pain, but it's less of a pain than having to email new versions of paperwork all the time and/or wrangle the versions headache that is Dropbox.

One more use for it: at my current theatre, other SMs often have to cover rehearsals for shows that aren't their own, due to scheduling challenges that come with working in repertory. I've made a rehearsal scene breakdown on Google Drive that has the pages, songs, actors/characters, etc for each scene, but also the scenery/props setup at the top of the scene, costume pieces needed, prop locations, and run sheet items. Of course this doc is shared with SMs who are working on the show, but it's also very easy to email a comment-only link to whoever is covering rehearsal.

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The Green Room / Re: Yahoo Upgrade/Excel Gridlines
« on: Mar 21, 2015, 03:36 am »
Once you've pasted in everything you need, clicking the little double arrows along the bottom of the "compose" window (looks like , you'll get a popup asking for confirmation) will put your message in plain text mode. You can then click the arrows again to go back to rich text so you can reformat the email. It's a bit of a workaround, but it does remove all grid formatting.

Have you tried copying text not from the cell in Excel, but from the formula bar at the top? That will copy the text but not the formatting (although with this method you would have to copy one cell at a time, unless there's a magic Excel trick I don't know).

Either of these should work unless I'm misunderstanding your question!

4
I use web calendars for my personal scheduling, but as part of my job I use Doodle (and similar variants, like WhenIsGood) a lot more. They're particularly useful, I think, for companies where theatre isn't everyone's fulltime job. When you have other, major commitments, sometimes it's a huge pain to find a good time for a production meeting or a script meeting or whatever other type of meeting, and I can either send five hundred emails, or one Doodle invitation.

Of course, getting people to (promptly and accurately) fill out Doodle is a challenge in itself :)

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December Madness 2 / Re: SOFTWARE: Word vs Web Browser
« on: Dec 03, 2014, 08:10 am »
It's true that Google Drive doesn't allow as specific of formatting as Word, Excel, etc, but it DOES have an offline mode that works great (continues to auto-save, and updates your online version as soon as you reconnect to the internet). I also love the way that Drive integrates chat functions into documents, so you can edit things alongside the rest of your SM team AND communicate with them even if you are spread out over multiple rehearsal spaces. Does it count as cheating for the purpose of December Madness if you download google docs in Word format? :)

Of course, Word is a godsend, but almost everything you can do in Word, you can do in a web browser, especially Chrome with all its addons. And, if I had a nickel for every time I saved five minutes of rehearsal time by googling something the cast/director were arguing about/trying to remember/etc ("Who was president in 1932?" "How big is [dog breed]?" "It's just like in--oh, what's that movie, the one where she rolls around in money?")...well, I'd have a lot of nickels.

6
Could you get a piece of carpet/canvas/etc from the scene shop and tape the stairs onto it? You will have to be mindful of slipperiness, but it's worked well for me in the past.

7
(You mention that you're interviewing for a scholarship; I'm not sure if you're interviewing for schools as well but I thought I'd include what I knew just in case--there's a lot of overlap anyway!)

I generally use cover pages just to keep my prompt books straight, but they do also give them a polished look--I'd include the show logo, your name, your position on the show, the location of the show, and the season/year.

If I were interviewing SMs at ITF though I'd be looking much more for organization within the book. Do you have dividers or some other system for accessing information quickly and easily (props/costumes/cast info/etc)? Not only do they look nice, but they're useful if in an interview you're asked a question and want to reference something specific in your answer.

Is your book neat in general? I think it's useful to have a combination of both "complete" things (very neat, polished pieces of paperwork) and "used" things (like a run sheet with check marks), because the combination shows how you think and work. Don't fabricate stuff that doesn't exist, but if you're trying to figure out what to include and what to leave out and you have some run sheets or similar that have actually been used, stick them in.

If you have some decent-quality photos of your show, I personally think it would be a good idea to include them (maybe in a "photos" section). It's likely that at least some of the people you are interviewing with will not be stage managers and they will have an easier time responding to images than to your paperwork. Plus, these images can raise questions that would not have been raised from just your paperwork--the rounds are way too fast for them to sit and read your props tracking, but if they see a picture of a set with lots of props they could be driven to ask about how you kept them all straight.

I interviewed at ITF a few years ago and got into my top choice school, so unless they've drastically changed the format, I can give you a few specific tips on that as well. First, it's quite a bit like speed dating: you only have a few minutes with each group of schools, they come to your table in groups of three or four schools (so maybe ten people) at a time and you give them your "spiel". I don't remember the time limit, but if you have it somewhere, I'd practise this spiel, with a friend asking questions if possible. When I did it, at least, I talked them through a highlights version of my book, then they asked a few questions, then a bell went off and the groups rotated and I did it over again.

Next, callbacks. Don't feel like you have to go to all of them. The most time-effective option for you is to take the list of schools to which you were called back, Google them, and then make callback appointments (or drop by, IIRC it depends on the school) with only the ones that interest you. And if a school that really interested you didn't call you back, stop by their booth anyway (not during callback slots) and chat with them. It can't hurt!

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Employment / Re: Websites
« on: Jan 30, 2014, 04:12 am »
Nobody's posted in this thread for a while...but it's pinned so I don't feel too bad for necroing it  ;)

http://lsteckman.com

Any feedback would be much appreciated!

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