Author Topic: Software that needs to exist!  (Read 9735 times)

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Mac Calder

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Re: Software that needs to exist!
« Reply #15 on: Jun 27, 2006, 08:35 am »
Biff - you linked to theatertools - I was in the beta program for the testing of the program. I must say that I was quite underwhelmed at the quality of the product. It was built on top of access - and whilst that is one of the reasons I dislike it, the applications interface just was not intuitive.

The application I was writting, which was entirely web based etc got to a point where I could do 99% of the paperwork using it, however my interest in the project, combined with time constraints, lead me to cease development. I considered reviving it a few months ago, however after much consideration I vetoed the idea, deciding that a web based application really was not suitable. And since I lean towards web based or command line programming, I do not have the experiance of the skills required to create a GUI type application.

Whilst I was beta testing theatertools' product, I did do quite a lot of thinking about what an SM application I would use would look like and how it would perform, what information is needed, yadda yadda yadda. My project notebook has about 30 odd loose leaf pages of my writing and mock database design, I pulled out various copies of prompt books I have made and I called in a few favours and looked at other peoples books. The final result of my investigation? Unless you can create a piece of software that is infinately customisable, you will never have an SM tool that will be usefull for all SM's. We all work differently, and that is the problem. We all want to store different information and we all want to work in a different way. And should you create this extrodinarily versatile program - the set up time and complexity of use would dissuade a number of users. And there really are not enough stage managers who are financially solvent enough (and who are willing to part with the $) to make such a project (worked on by professional interface designers, work flow experts and programmers) feasable.

However - I do not want to dissuade people from trying - however looking at it from a commercial standpoint - I cannot see this sort of 'sm bible on CD' existing any time in the near future. That said, there are a number of small programs that would be great. An application that allows digital calling scripts to be made quickly and effectively using a standard notation, for both print and digital display. A stopwatch/lap timer application is another useful sort of program - I have a basic one on my PC, but would love a more advanced one. I think if instead of us looking for the magical all in one application, tools like this are a better way to go for the time being.


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Re: Software that needs to exist!
« Reply #16 on: Jun 27, 2006, 08:00 pm »

Calculating times in Excel is rather difficult. It took a lot of Help reference and experimentation to get it to work. Email me at and I'll be happy to send you the couple of spreadsheets I use which utilize time calculations.
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Re: Software that needs to exist!
« Reply #17 on: Jul 02, 2006, 12:54 am »
Before I graduated, I was beta testing LineNotes ( It's built on top of Word (you have to either type in the script or have a copy already typed up, but I type fast and I liked the time to really get to know the script in depth before rehearsals started). With large casts prone to paraphrasing, it was a godsend. Enough so that I encouraged my advisor to purchase a copy for the department (I kept my beta license for the next show I work on ;) ), and it was used on a one-act directed by the playwright with an actor who has serious paraphrasing issues (so you KNOW the line notes got thorough exercise).

So yeah, highly recommended. Saved me tons of time, and then the line notes arrived in their inboxes rather than wasting paper. The actors seemed to prefer it to my scrawled line notes, too.