It's an Equity Election. This time it's for members who are going to represent us on the various Equity Committees. There are Industrial, Specialist, Diversity and Regional Committees where candidates have put themselves forward with the intention of giving you a voice and to forward their own agenda to make the industry a better place to work in from their point of view.
Within Equity, every member is assigned to a constitutional register. Members can select additional registers where they feel the information communicated to those registers would be me professionally advantageous.
Then there are committees. All the registers are represented by one of the committees.
Equity Members are active on Facebook and Twitter. Many members also have Linkedin profiles. There are other professional networks such as Spotlight, Casting Call Pro or Stage Jobs Pro. Visiting the Online Branch you will always know you are connecting directly with fellow members. From the feedback we have received, that factor is very important to those who have joined. For others for whatever reason don't use Facebook or Twitter.
In the Ensemble Facebook Group recently (a fabulous group for industry professionals working in musical theatre), a member suggested Equity make logo pin badges for members to wear with pride to champion our allegiance to our union. As an annual representative conference (ARC) attendee for several years, I delight in my ownership of such a badge handed out to representatives on registration. I wear mine proudly on my coat lapel.
Members can visit Equity's HQ, Guild House in London and request one but they are not 'merch for purchase'. Not everyone is in central London, it's a major reason why the online branch was conceived. After the recent meeting taking me to head office, I requested some pin badges to give away in a small initiative to encourage Equity Members to opt into the branch and to give existing members a call to action. Drop by, say Hi.
So would you like to be entered into the draw? Here's how it works.
10 names will be drawn at random from the list of names after midnight on 19th Feb
If your name is the first selected from those who log-in and post their name, a parcel will be sent to you with the items in the photo.
Nine further Online Branch Members from the list will receive pin badges and Equity pens.
If you are an Equity advocate, council member, branch chair, secretary or PRO feel free to share even copy and paste this to send to members. Get in touch if you'd like to run something similar. This is a direct link to the Chat Room Thread http://bit.ly/olbgga01
This post appeared first in the Equity Online Branch's Chat Room - written by ME :)
This time last year the online branch working party were making the final preparations for the Online Branch to enter its 6-mth open to all pilot.
We finally opened our digital doors on March 1st [article in The Stage LINK] and following the 6-months period which ended in August 2016 we presented a report on our progress to the September meeting of the Equity Council.
From the conclusion of that meeting and the consequent press releases, [article in The Stage LINK] we have been an official Equity General Branch and open for business. In accordance with the branch's rules, we held an election for a committee and before 2016 closed we scheduled the very first Online Branch Committee Video Meeting.
The 2016 - 2018 committee are
Clifford Lee Evans
Caron Jane Lyon << Moderator / Chair
Rhubarb the Clown
Nana St Bartholomew-Brown
Paul Valentine << Public Relations Officer (PRO)
The nature of the forum facilities we have in the branch (a long and different story) means every conversation appears in the main chat room in chronological order based on the last comment posted. Some topics have a lot of attention (and controversy) and others fell silent after a few members viewed and the subject didn't find traction. To begin the new year I thought it a good idea to perform some housekeeping.
ADDITIONAL FOR THIS POST
As the Moderator and Chair of the branch keeping an active relevant dialogue in the chatroom is a challenge. Facebook Pages and Twitter Accounts are numerous across the Equity membership catering for many interests, The Ensemble Musical Theatre and Tape for Self Tape Facebook groups being two very active digital communities for working entertainment industry professionals. They are easy to access, well frequented and tends to be where the day to day, industry focused dialogue with fellow professionals takes place. Not everyone is in the Facebook club and everyone is at different networks staged of thier career.
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)
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.
Opening discussion in the Chat Room prior to the motion's proposal [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.
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.
Open Meeting - Buy Out Contracts - with attending online option
On Friday 29th January 2016 Equity's Stagemanagement Committee are holding an open meeting inviting stagemanagers (Equity membership not necessary) to join a discussion about buyout contacts, our understanding and their impact on our profession. Integrated in to the London meeting at Equity's offices there will be a video link up opportunity if you are unable to attend geographically. The video link up is being organised and hosted by SM committee member and Online Branch moderator Caron Lyon using the "Online Branch Video Room".
The video room can facilitate up to 8 people/connections and places can be reserved on Evenbrite here >> http://bit.ly/olbsjpetckt
On Friday 29th January 2016 at 1pm Equity will be hosting an open meeting to discuss the issue of buyout contracts tabling for discussion:
The meeting will take place in The Council Room, Guild House, Upper St Martin’s Lane, WC2H 9EG and is open to all stage management. Come along, have your say and find out about the work Equity and the Stage Management Committee are doing around the issue of buyout contracts.
If you would like to join the meeting using the online video room please reserve your ticket and the Online Branch Chair & Moderator, Caron Lyon will get in touch. Caron is also a member of the Stagemanagement Committee and will be hosting this online event from the meeting in Equity's Guild House head quarters in London.
If you would like to attend in person, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are all familiar with work and its lovely if it comes hand in hand with pay but 'life' and 'balance' are trickier beasts to lure. Have you had your future changed by the career path you chose? Do you have children? Did children never happen? Did you ever think children would be part of your future? Has having children changed the way you are perceived in the work place? On 28th September Equity hosted a meeting to discuss the event and the new campaign. From the table discussions its seems certainly a YES that many parents are seen differently post child arrival.
Stagemanagers - PIPA meet up
LEFT: photo taken from a remote access location showing the view of the online host.
Providing attendance options other than traveling to venues, especially for meetings that take as long to travel to as the event duration itself is a digital reality with the state of current social technology right now.
As an advocate of 'making good use of the things that I find' hence my other online persona; The Social Media Womble, it is Google's suit of apps that holds great promise especially for collaboration and cross compatibility of most existing mobile and desktop technology hardware.
Google Hangout is Google's video chat and meeting app. For the PIPA Equity Info meeting this facilitated 2 connections with 9 participants (7 at the venue and 2 remote connection visible just within the shaded lower title box in the photo to the left)
Over the last year I've hosted Hangout to run along side Equity events and meeting as well as a series of sessions called 'Meet The Moderator' inviting Online Branch members to login and share their hopes, frustrations and expectations regarding Equity's online and digital offering in an attempt to conceptually establish an online spacial presence where members can meet and connect both socially and for industry sector knowledge insights.
Can we let go of our physical necessity to attribute meaningful experiences to 'being there'? Can we envisage participating remotely with each person being physically located not where the experience is unfolding and recognise the collective propinquity of 'taking part'? Is the disappointment of not being somewhere or the envy of physical experience a human factor we can ever over come?
I proposed a remote audience access option where this Hangout (see photo above) was part. After all the nature of parenting often exclude mums and dads from attending events directly because of childcare responsibilities. The mind set of the venue technical staff closed down the possibility of this being realised at the launch on the 16th resulting from the misleading self determination of the potential of modern social technology provision offered by practitioners such as myself.
I have host live theatre livestream with chat rooms running and been delighted to discuss with viewers the experience of one lady watching theatre while stroking her cat sleeping on her knee, And a couple watching from home with their newborn sleeping soundly. These audience experiences touch me deeply and as a theatre practitioner audience stories in the age of social are what drives every social media platform from Twitter and Facebook to Yelp and YouTube.
It is all to easy to focus of capacity for box office break even but what about the reason we create and perform? To entertain and inform. As a technical arts practitioner and stagemanager I delight in providing access being to the suspension of disbelief on stage with props, lighting or sound to the facility to open the production doors wider than ever before and welcome in the digital viewers and provide more than marketing or web design but a hosted social experience where attending from home or remotely organised satellite event can be as meaningful and being a 'bum on a seat'.
PIPA - Parents in the Performing Arts Campaign Launch
Available on Desktop from a browser and it has an app for iPad.
The screenshots in this post have been captured and annotated using Skitch
Storify it - Share it - Embed it
Sign up for FREE Storify account.
Once you have signed up I recommend finding the account settings and completing your profile, adding a photo and cover banner. Storify doesn't have an internal platform community it's a platform tool, but readers can follow your account and like-wise you can follow storify publishers.
Its not compulsory but it makes you look professional in the eyes of your audience. First impressions do count. Let your content speak for you not the neglected, incomplete profile pages.
(aside... I also dislike badly cropped avatar images. There is no excuse for butchering your branch graphic or having a badly framed head-shot... check out browser based image editor Pixlr)
But if you are in a big rush to create your first Storify go ahead and click the 'New Story' button.
The Storify interface is nice and clean. Not too fussy but it does contain lots of features mainly to help you bring in content from a wide range of social media platforms.
In this post I'm just looking at finding media from one event posted on Twitter using the Hashtags #ARC15, #ARC2015 and the keyword EquityUK.
Storify Basics... title, description, Social Media source, search term, refinements, build your Storify.
Use the 'Insert' button for adding headings, text boxes and horizontal rule lines to divide sections in your narrative.
The simplicity of Storify's click, hold, drop and drag mechanic, left column to right, click and hold on media element, dragging up and down, placing items above or below one another is so easy. Do remember browser based apps can become unresponsive due to the nature of the internet connection you are using while moving graphic elements around. If the platform stops fully responding to your clicks and drags - pause, check the project has saved (that status displays beside the Publish button) and refresh your screen. Better loose a little than loose the lot.
The screenshots above show searching and adding elements from Twitter. Creating a Storify of this event in pictures was the aim. Media can be collected from lots of other sources. Even individual URL's (universal resource locators) like the .jpg graphic being inserted shown below.
Storify accommodates (and a few others)
There are lots of platforms, tools and services for media capture especially. I tend to favour ones that easily integrate with and offer sharing to the major audience focused platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Google+) and platforms such as Storify do that brilliantly while making media accessible when telling your story.
Once all the media elements / assets are dragged where you want them its time to curate the storyline of your project. Dragging further than one element up or down can get tricky as your screen scrolls by while you look for the location to slot in an element you want to relocate. The Reorder optional view makes rearranging a lot easier.
Very quickly you can have a document for publication. Look at the draft preview before publishing.
All done... you can add more elements at your leisure.
The next step and a reason why I love Storify is being able to notify via custom tweets the people who have contributed to the story you have pieces together. Storify finds all the twitter names and helps you share to those who will want to share it too.
If I was employed in a traditional sense the job I did would come with a job title. It would be on my contract. I have been an Assistant Stagemanager, Deputy Stagemamager, Stagemanager, Technical Manager, Assistant Technical Producer. But now I'm not walking the path of traditional employment I find my roles being influenced more and more by emerging technologies. I still work with in teams who produce, but don't work on nearly enough theatre but using the skills and knowledge I learnt during my time in all my named job roles I offer my services.
Recently I have had to produce work evidence that I am eligible to stand as a candidate in the 2015 Equity elections. I'm wanting to retain my seat on the Stage Management Specialist Committee. I enjoy the unconventional approach I have to my work with adaptive work processes being key to providing services to each of my clients and employers. I don't have as many as I'd like so I'm always open to offers of a more traditional nature but here I am.... being asked "What do I do?"
I'm currently 'working' in a voluntary capacity on Equity's Online Branch. Since February I have been the Online Branch's Moderator and it has fallen to me to project manage the final beta phase of the development of the platform being labelled The Equity Online Branch. Its been quite a journey and has quite a legacy. I am using my stagemanager communication skills to tackle this project.
The best example of What I do, What I want to do, How do I make my living was the Oct 2014 Arts and Audiences' Digital Audience Experience (its a live-stream continuity studio event-team plugin) So that I used as the evidence of professional paid work.
I provided a picture montage, the invoice and the job spec. I was asked, Which bit was stagemanagement?" All of it I responded. When even my professional trade body doesn't understand the scope of the role stagemanagers get involved in as technology evolves in support terms I do despair. But I do get asked all the time.
#OneOfMyHats is as an activist / advocate for the industry trade union I have supported since joining in 1995. Equity. I am not paid for this but it does shape "What I do" and "How I make a living".
Stage Managers and Production Creatives, Event Professionals
Google Play hosted this Hangout (above) with Steven Spielberg and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Google+ is ideal if you want to host events with an online dialogue and interact with fans its a great starting point solution. This particular event was to promote Spielberg’s upcoming film, Lincoln. Five lucky people got to actually ask questions and chat with Gordon-Levitt and Spielberg. Three used their personal computers, while two others joined from Times Square–where the Hangout was also broadcast.
With key industry conferences, events and networking opportunities being in major cities it is inevitable that new initiatives start here too. As an event organiser and stagemanager, I understand the attraction of holding events in hi profile venues. As an audience developer, livestream producer and excluded audience member I also understand the frustration experienced by those who don't live so close to these prestigious hubs or would like to attend events that they aren't actually working on.
In October last year I was invited to create an online audience experience for the Nordic Nations's annual conference Arts and Audiences being held in Reykjavik, Iceland by the host organisations Audiences Norway and the DCAI (Danish Centre for the Arts and Interculture. For Arts and Audiences we used many social technologies in the final event delivery, but Google Hangout holds the engagement potential I think can make attending ‘in the cloud’ worth while.
Both organisations had worked with me previously as they are partner members of the Audiences Europe Network where I have been a digital audience adviser and content producer since 2011.
They wanted to engage both audiences as entities in their own right. One attending at the venue and one not able to attend the venue in person but wanted to take part. To be there or not to be there, that is the question.
We held meetings prior to the event for the blogging and social media team. This is hangout (left) was attended by the bloggers.
Each blogger was representing one of the Nordic countries so a face to face meeting was not an option.
We ran a Google Hangout as a mutual digital meeting space, "live lounge"
We also discussed running participatory discussions, talks and workshops using it as a digital breakout space.
Future Equity events
So what is this all about? I want to attend the Free 2015 Stage Management Training events via Google Hangout. I am hoping to convince Equity to actively run their Google+ profile (EquityUK's Google+ profile) and run a hangout in parallel to each event taking place in Guild House. Google's Hangout facility can host up to 10 connections at a time. With one connection used by the venue to host and one for the guest speaker we had an audience capacity of 8 connections. I say connection because one computer connection can be watched by a room of people or by a lone viewer.
Who else would be interested attending via an 'in the cloud' Green Room?
EQUITY: Free Stage Management Training
Equity is running a series of Equity/ SMA Brunch sessions, their free* programme of professional development for stage management members. The first event is today - Monday 16th February and I would like to have been there, Equity Organiser Paul Fleming is scheduled to be telling us all we need to know about the Sub Rep Agreement (the Pink Book and accompanying contract) and answering questions. It would have been great to have been able to attend online, but also to have met other members not able to travel to London in the hangout "digital green room". Integrating this aside technology would be no problem for multi-tasking stage managers attending the event 'on the ground'.
Mon 2nd March - Tax, NI, Pensions and Welfare Benefits - Alan Lean, Equity
Mon 13th April - Accounting and Book Keeping
Mon 18th May - Touch Tours and Access - Lucinda Harvey, SOLT/UK Theatre
Mon 1st June – UK Theatre/ BECTU Get-in and Get-out Guidelines
Jul - None scheduled
Aug - None scheduled
Mon 7th September - West-End and Commercial Theatre Agreement, Equity
Mon 12th October - Risk Assessments, Touring and Site Specific - with ABTT
Mon 9th November - Employment Law (Worker vs Employee), Equity
Mon 7th Dec - TBC
Each session is held between 13:00 and 15:00 at Guild House, Equity, London WC2H 9EG. The training, which has been popular and widely appreciated by members, aims to inform, bring you up to date and help you in your professional lives, whilst offering a sharing experience and networking opportunities for new entrants and experienced pros alike.
As sessions are confirmed and more information is available Equity's SM committee will update the News page on the Stage Management Section of the Equity website - http://bit.ly/EquitySMnews
* Sessions are free to Equity and SMA members, £10 for non-members. All sessions are jointly run by Equity and the SMA. To book please email: email@example.com and tell us which session(s) you would like to book for.
I was wondering how folks were starting thier year.
I have recently moved out of my home of 15yrs after a 2 yr battle with neighbours in a nightmare neighbourhood. So I'm even more in digital limbo than ever. I continue to champion an Equity conciousness amonst fellow arts parctitioners.
Simon has carried out research about unions and online presence since 2012 and currently Equity sits at... number 5 out of 45 who activily maintain a twitter account. Read the article here
Our website authority also features in Simon's research listing us coinsidentally also at number 5 having risen from 8th in 2013. Read the article here
Work wise I'm continuing my audience producer role with Audiences Europe Network and building social technology toolkits with performers and practitioners. My 2014 high light was a fully realised "Digital Audience Experience" enquiry with Arts and Audiences in Reykjavik, Iceland.
I'm in planning and prep mode until March. What about you?