Food Crime... the musical to #StopFoodCrime

St_Martin_s_in_the_Bullring_Tea_Lounge_-_Google_Maps

Where academic reporting meets musical theatre

Yes, you are reading that correctly! From March to May 2016 I was commissioned as The New Optimists Social Media Producer. They wanted someone to 'DO' social media. With the budget I received this is what I did. I cam up with the title Social Media Producer.

That is producer, not maker. Whats the difference? In this blog I hope I can explain.

Firstly, what is a producer anyway? This definition illustrates my point

"Producers play an integral role in the television, film and video industries. A producer will oversee each project from conception to completion and may also be involved in the marketing and distribution processes. Producers work closely with the directors and other production staff on a shoot...the producer deals with all the practical and political aspects of keeping a project running smoothly, so that the director and the rest of the team can concentrate on the creative aspects."

Now, a producer in these terms is a scoped role far more extensive than I delivered to The New Optimists but the sentiment of how I approached the commission are reflected in the tasks producers carry out. To me a social media person is integral, sees a project through from concept to completion, may be involved with marketing and works closely with the direct and production staff. As a social media person the reputation and portrayal of the project online and understanding the multitude of social media accounts distributing context appropriately while nurturing an audience is an important part of what I do. Pre - Performance - and Post. Legacy is is important to me too.

Being new to the organisation my first task was to understand who they "The New Optimists" were, what resources thay had for me to work with and what their overriding expectation of social media output was going to be.

The expectations were to

  • provide contextual resources relating to each song in the musical to be tweeted in real-time during performance
  • raise the profile of the project to attract audience
  • build a simple web presence to begin separating The New Optimists main website from their Narrativium creative project based work.
  • support the creative and production team with social media output

As producer I was able to step back from the creation of the social media out of necessity, with the budget little time was available for editing or considered composition. For example, I requested company members write a short blog post each. I took the text, accented the posts with a photo before publishing the posts on the The Optimists website.

All the blog posts were tagged StopFoodCrime - Read them HERE - that tagged category produced a URL from the website containing only those posts tagged StopFoodCrime.

With a limited budget the effective use of folksomony is extremely valuable. Hashtags are folksonomic. User defined terms to provide quick access or knowledge retrieval.

My second task was to make it all happen with as little impact on the creative production process as possible. I want to iterate that this role was not about marketing or advertising, it was about defining an audience and a legacy. What happens next to this project is unknown to me but my objective was to deliver a collection of media to act as a beacon online for what ever comes next... at a guess the further work of raising a general awareness about Food Crime and the work that is on going to protect the integrity of out food supply, globally.

Wow, big stuff when you see it in writing like that.

So... understanding. For every project or client I build a digital scrapbook. This is a page hosted on my PCM website where feeds and content embed widgets can be collected.

The is The New Optimists Scrapbook Page.

Its a mish-mash, not particularly elegant but serves a purpose, to pull all the available media relating to the project together.

Now the project is over this is it's PCM legacy.

 


PCM EquityUK Network Update.

Greetings PCM Adventurers (I've just posted this update to the Equity (unofficial) Green Room, a social network hosted on Ning to provide the social networking opportunities not currently present as part of the EquityUK official members area)

I love green rooms like I enjoy railway stations. They are full of purpose and intent but provide stasis and space to prepare. Waiting for action is the purpose of the occupation. Do you feel similar about green room spaces? or train stations for that matter?

Unexpectedly however social media networks like Facebook and Twitter do not make me feel this way. In fact I experience alarming levels of anxiety on occasions but its not a reflection on digital engagement but the chaos those platforms contain.

The online spaces I work to create have the green rooms and railway stations sentiment in mind when in development.

Where do you spend time 'comfortably' online? (responses in the comments please)

Equity UPDATE

1. The Online Branch is up and running. It is open as a pilot welcoming all Equity members. We have until the end of August to let it run free! Its unique features are its human enacted moderation and the architecture developed to support the proposal and progression of motions. The first motion to pass through the Branch has been about the Housing Crisis.

Context Archive

  • Opening discussion in the Chat Room prior to the motion's proposal [LINK]
  • Formal Motion Debate (Comments tab)  [LINK]
  • Amendment propositions and discussion (Amendment tab) [LINK]

A second motion has been tabled today called The "Equity 'Special Attention' List - Can it be used to better effect?" This started off as a chat room thread back in February by Ian Seale, [LINK TO CHAT THREAD] and was transposed in to a motion during the Housing Crisis motion mentioned above.

Are you an Equity member?

If you haven't join the Branch yet please do.


 2. Equity's Annual Representative's Conference is this weekend. 

Here is the 2016 ARC Agenda

image from www.thestage.co.uk

What is ARC? Annual Representative Conference (ARC).

This takes place every year, usually in the Spring. It is normally held in London for two years running and then in a different part of the country (the members choose, this year it is being held in Bristol), and is the opportunity for the Council and Representatives from the committees and branches to come together to propose and debate union policy, as well as move forward the work of the union.

Decisions that are passed at the ARC with a two thirds majority are binding on the union and become policy. Representatives are elected and the conference usually lasts for 2 days with the agenda being broken down into debates on Recorded Media, Live Performance, Union Structure, Equality, Health and Safety, Communications and Membership Services.

Members who are not involved in a committee or branch but would like to attend the ARC can come as an Observer. Information about how to get a place is always published in the spring issue of the Equity Magazine.


 3... finally for this update The Stagemanagers' Guide to Buyouts Booklet

image from www.pcmcreative.com

On Friday 29th January 2016 Equity's Stagemanagement Committee hosted an open meeting to discuss the issue of buyout contracts discussing...

  • What’s good about them?
  • What’s bad about them?
  • What can Equity do about them?
  • What can you do about them?

I'd like to share this with you the resulting prepared for print booklet.

Its not just for Stagemanagers. Check it out.

Thank you for reading this update. 

If you haven't join the Branch yet please do.

Best Regards

Caron

Readers of the blog please let me know if you like these live performance industry updates in the comments.


Embed Responsively

image from alistapart.comIllustration by

Anybody associated with the arena of web design even on the periphery as I am has heard about responsive design. The concept of designing a single web site that adapts (responds) to the devise it is being displayed upon. A time was that it was by analysing the stats of your visitors you could predict the most likely size of monitor and resolution being required and provide a selection of sites sized accordingly along with a client side query to determine the size expected and deliver pages in response to the query. Then there came mobile! At least that's how I understood it in my limited experience. I was down the rabbit hole! It was at this time I became aware of reciprocity, propinquity and normalisation. Coding a design could be rigidly and inflexibly set in tables with sliced up graphic elements with hotspots and links. These would 'explode' and 'break' displaying in what seemed like an arbitrary manner depending on your favoured browser. The separation of code and style enabled consistency and including a set of instructions to overwrite different browser margin defaults helped. The Cascading Style Sheet (CSS). I was an advocate for responsive as soon as it became a thing. I expect these 'zero default' style sheet addenda still exist and form the basis of secret design formulae many pure coders still closely guard. Its tricky to achieve... or things might have changed.

Web presence and the ability to create one was the objective of my web building education and as each element of building web sites became specialisms in their own right html, xhtml, CSS, asp, php, xml, javascript - these became distinct from the visual front interface which in turn developed its own special branches UDI (User Designed Interface), UXI (User Experience Interface) until being a master of all was an impossibility and engaging a professional was beyond the cost effectiveness of my needs, I turned to the very thing I loathed when I first begun my education. BYO (Build Your Own), drop and drag applications evolved into a necessary evil.

I remember the first drop and drag experiences within browser environments afforded by javascript and flash. The move away from passive unmovable pages with form fields the only interaction was the introduction of user experience integration. Whether that equated to 'engagement' is contentious, still being discussed. I could indeed go on but this post is Embed Responsively.

Many blogging platforms and BYO are now to a greater or lesser extent 'responsive' to varying degrees of success. It is an art. The transition through absolute and relative positioning to fully responsive adaptive web pages has been aesthetically essential to the seamless, cross platform, multi device user experience.

Returning the premise of this post ...web presence and the ability to create one being the objective of my web building education... left me forever needing to learn something new to keep up to date! I just want to gather resources and information for inclusion in one space with a link to share. Simple as! But...

Although BYO and Blogging platforms (the ones I use currently) offer responsive templates and elements, the media I gather from around the web and the media I create and upload are embedded using html code snippets, podcasts from Audioboom, audio interviews stored on Soundcloud, videos and playlists on YouTube, PDF documents published on ISSUU, presentation slide decks on Slideshare or Photo galleries from Flickr or Instagram they are traditionally fixed in size (height and width). 

Yes I'm getting to the point!

The straight copy and paste of these html embed snippets don't adapt to a responsive environment. I was overjoyed when I was introduced to embedresponsively.com - "It helps build responsive embed codes for embedding rich third-party media into responsive web pages." It was created and is maintained by @jeffehobbs based on research and work by Theirry Koblentz, Anders Andersen and Niklaus Gerber.

I love it, I wanted to share it - here it is! embedresponsively.com

Embedresponsively01anotated


Standing Up and Moving On - Ignite Liverpool

In November 2015 I spoke at Ignite Liverpool with a short, PechaKucha style presentation entitled "My Analogue Life in a Digital World" It's preface being...

Everyone has a story. We are analogue beings adapting to a digitally enabled world. This is my story. It all starts with a square peg and a round hole. It’s about personal perspective, about understanding your own story and its place beside everyone else’s. When did you plug in?

I'd been capturing, live streaming and producing media for projects for the last few years and my presenting confidence had plummeted since I hadn't done any talks for a while. I also found myself out on my own after being in a collabortive partnership where I'd taken a different direction to my original career journey. As sad as the close of that era in my life was I had to accept and embrace change to move on.


Standing up where I knew it would be recorded and provide me with an asset of me presenting not created by me was my key motivator.


So thank you Ignite Liverpool for this opportunity.

I do hope I get to present again in 2016 but, and this is why Ignite Liverpool had been on my radar I will be attending via the livestream they run each time.



On the 26th Jan 2016 I watched the live stream.

Skitch

Adrian McEwen 

Skitch(1)

Louise Shannon

Skitch(2)

Tom Williamson


I love attending via travel but attending via the web can provide an alternative and equally as informative experience.