Events & Conferences Feed

Producers Pool - Dates in the Diary pt1

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Towards the end of 2019 I was introduced to the concept of the Portfolio Career and it was a mindset game changer.

2019 was also the year I asked myself, which I often do year on year - "If I won the lottery what would I do?" The answer has been the same for as long as I can remember. To fund and produce independent small scale theatre working with emerging artists and directors.

This time I accepted I’d probably never win the lottery but ya do want to do this.

I know my craft as a stagemanager, my digital learning and project experience has encompassed social media and associated productivity technologies, podcast audio recording and production, I can edit video.

Mobile live-streaming and virtual worlds. Audience and augmentation.

Technology and theatre.

Not for technology but for engaging immersive idea revealing story-driven theatre. Unusual productions in extraordinary spaces. A big part of the lottery dream is to have the money to fund it.

Then there is like-minded professional networking. Nothing is more aspirational than spending time talking, listening and strategically dreaming with fellow producers. All on differing trajectories in their own careers. A community of collaborators. A tribe of mentors.

Chris Grady hosts Producers Pool.

I was, since 2018 forever attempting to synchronise my meetings in London at Equity or events by Cybersalon to draw a three-card trick where I’d get to attend a Producers Pool, Equity meeting and a Cybersalon event. Trump card would be to fit in a theatre show too.

I would augment my attendance at events on occasion, to showcase remote access potential. The immersion in ground-based experience made the strategic split to include cloud-based access hard to make happen when I was the on needing access and not providing the access which was the ultimate aim, to extend attendance.


The value and reward of cloud access were invisible to physical organisers. The concept appealed but in practice, the management of the physical event was enough.

Blending Digital and Physical looked to be a pipe dream. Then came Covid. One of the first to embrace the opportunity to pivot to digital was Producers Pool. Hurrah!

So independent producers and theatre-makers meeting monthly often with an influencing peer speaking currently happens online.

What do you have to offer?

What do you need?

This leads to the momentum and mindfulness of conversations. 

What can I offer? Insights, experience and practice to pivot to digital. What do I need? The blending back to physical with gradually lowering balanced percentage extension option to attend either way and get the same influencer insights and networking dialogue.

I don’t ask much! Am I asking too much?

Monthly on the last Wednesday, until further notice starting January 27th if you are interested in joining Producers Pool find your way to the Facebook Group.

For the mindfully invested. 

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The journey starts here www.chrisgrady.org/producers-pool
Producers' Pool (UK & International) - next meeting 4.30 pm Wed 27th January


Techbox - Testing Testing 1, 2, 3 - ft. Charlie Diamond Music

Soundcheck, well video projection check. I find I need a go-to YouTube video. In one video I can test screen-casting to a projector or LCD screen or HDMI link syncing, latency or delay. With a video that has good sound levels, I can set a level and know other levels will align.

This is an Artlli Enjoy 2 mini projector. It cost £100. Its included in the latest TechBox for a client. It's part of a hybrid media studio content creation solution that all packs up it into a box. In this case x3 clear stacking storage boxes. The primary purpose of this projector being included is to project the live digital audience into the venue in order for the audience or attendees on the ground to interact and see the cloud-based audience members. In my mind, everyone taking time to attend on the ground or from in the close is 'in-person'.

The video needs good visuals to push the motion response of the projectors internet connection. The audio need to be clean so I can evaluate the speaker responses in the space.

It has to be something I can listen to over and over a few times.

It’s an opportunity too. To share awesome. I’m often asked ‘Who’s this?’ I can tell them who, along with kindred insight not forgetting to get them to check out the YouTube channel and subscribe! This is the path and transactional high way of YouTube! 

The previous goto was Monster by Doddie Clarke. Coz I love it and can listen to it on loop.

Seeing a familiar piece of media that has been played on a variety of devices it useful because you know know what it should optimally sound and look like in an array of conditions.

So currently I'm using Charlie Diamond, Dancing Queen. And as I'm not in a venue for you to ask I am sharing it here. I case you are interested!

Trying something new here too. Embedding from Facebook and not from YouTube. Just to be trans-medium check out the reason why from the video post text accompanying the embedded video. I write and post this as much for my own curiosity to see its impact on the reach stats.

It's not about numbers it's about the audience. When reach was organic being topical and transparent was a requisite. Now you need to dance with the algorithm of whichever platform you want to build upon. 

Do you have a tech check tune? or a video to put your set up through its paces?

This was wirelessly screencasting from a Fusion5 Android tablet

Check out Charlie Diamond Music on Facebook. After all, this post is written to smile at the FB Algorithm, general some stats in order to devour the intel!

Be warned the funked downbeat is infectious in Dancing Queen it will follow you around in your head.

Would you like to hear more about the TechBox projects?

 


Unboxing #DinoHack - Mulling IT Over 2

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Being away is giving me the literal space for my dyslexic brain to embrace the spatial freedom being out in the back of beyond affords my soul. I never feel I fit anywhere except alone and backstage. The control box, prompt desk (cue / QLab station) or sound desk give me places to straddle worlds. The world inhabited by the audience. It should be no shock to me that when not working in theatre I gravitated to event management. My first self produced events were a series of MediaCamps followed by a TEDx in 2012. The Nottingham MediaCamps were MediaCamps, Barcamp, Open-Space, Unconference hybrids.

I guess I know what these are but to get a grip on my upcoming event DinoHack there are a few premises to understand.

BarCamp is an international network of user-generated conferences primarily focused around technology and the web. They are open, participatory workshop-events, the content of which is provided by participants. The first BarCamps focused on early-stage web applications, and were related to open source technologies, social software, and open data formats.

MediaCamps were inspired by Warner Bros. Media Camp, an accelerator program that educated entrepreneurs to build innovative media businesses. Key features of Media Camp include presentations and workshops focused on media technology, formal mentorship from media industry experts, community events and knowledgesharing, as well as direct investments including partnerships and vendor relationships.

An unconference is a participant-driven meeting. The term "unconference" has been applied, or self-applied, to a wide range of gatherings that try to avoid hierarchical aspects of a conventional conference, such as sponsored presentations and top-down organization.

The final format I hold in my Disruptor’s of the Mundane tool bag is the Open Space event, (Open Space Technology) championed by Theatre Company Improbable in their Devoted and Disgruntled events.

Open Space Technology (OST) is a method for organizing and running a meeting or multi-day conference, where participants have been invited in order to focus on a specific, important task or purpose.

Writing this post I ask myself how familiar with these event formats. They are the foundation that gives DinoHack its potential and makes it special. I strive to produce events that welcome and engage whoever attends. Each attendee to have the best experience.

What will DinoHack be?
It’s primarily about making something cool, fun, educational, useful/informative for Dinosaur and all thing paleontological fans… Uber fans… geeks even.

A hackathon is an event where people take a subject, accept the challenge to look at it from a different perspective, apply creative thinking and computer smarts to the subject to make or generated ideas for a solution to the set challenge.

We are looking at dinosaurs, the time of the dinosaurs, looking at prehistory. The organisers setting the challenge tend to supply the data.

I once took part in a hackathon where attendees were challenged to make it easier to get around Edinburgh during the annual theatre festival. There were thinkers, coders, designers, data engineers, transport admins, festival organiser representatives, festival fans, IT staff from the city council and the hackathon organisers. I recall the teams took transport data and the festival programme to producer by combining a variety of data sets so being traffic related to create a working prototype of an app that found the best route between festival performances and suggested shows that would conveniently nest together to optimise a day where a start and end show was specified. Genius.

Hackathon is inviting and hotly anticipates that a wide selection of people may come together with a passion for Dinosaurs to come up with ideas for Dinosaur games, toys, apps, that can be picked up by host company Kids-IZ as a prize and support a winning team or involve the winning team in the development of their DinoHack idea.

My task is to find 40 likeminded Dino enthusiasts with a wide variety of skills to collect together for 2 days to consider what doesn’t yet exist but could given the data, talents and collective considerations of a groups to hack the theme.

So what is a hack? Like hack feature big on YouTube and TickTock. Combining everyday objects and repurposing items that solve a problem in a surprising and easy to replicate way. Using a clothes peg to secure an opened pack of sugar or to decorate the peg to make a gift that secures the top of opened food packs.

Dampening your fingers to give purchase to a new bin liner to separate with a Rubina of the fingers to open a stubbornly closed opening. Looping together safety pins using a safety pin. Folding socks into a roll tucked over to form a compact ball for minimising space in luggage for travel. These tips and tricks …. Hacks, they unconventional with the mundane.

A Merriam’s Dictionary puts it… a clever tip or technique for doing or improving something.

That word ‘improving’ is the key. Take what is already around…
Data about dinosaur researched and documents by academics, tasty Dino data, where fossils were found, who discovered them, the size, the bones the distance in the past, the shifting tectonic plates, and find a new way of interpreting, presenting, combining or reinterpreting the information to create a new something.

Mechanics, engineers, computer coders, get under the hood of toys and games. Illustrators, marketers, product developers, storytellers, theatre makers, educators all have a critical eye and creative imaginations to feed into the technical process that manifests new approaches.

Does that give a better view of DinoHack?


Dinosaur Hackathon. Interested?

DinoHack is taking shape

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It’s taking place in Bristol at The EngineShed a literal stones throw from Temple Meads Train Station.

Email if you are interested in attending or/and sponsoring kids-id@pcmprojects.co.uk

http://bit.ly/dinohack2021

It’s got some work still to do.
If you’re reading. I’m sharing.




Digital Venue Reccy - 01 - Kumospace

I’ve had the idea to produce and host a digital field trip. To take a small group of producers, creative producers and self producing artists and visit a number of digital venues or look extensively at one platform both for an audience experience and performing or screened content perspective.

Following Chris Grady’s Show Me producers festival of workshops a fellow producer reached out to me and we started meeting to explore digital venues and perception around audience and production engagement.

We have AltSpace, SecondLife, GatherTown, RoBlox, to name a few on the immersive list. There are 2D, 3D and VR options. We visited Kumospaces. 

Kumospaces are 2D top down themed rooms. Participants inhabit small circular video portals moved around by the keyboard arrow keys. There is an interesting propinquity compulsion to place your portal window on furniture, lounge chairs or bar stools in the roof terrace there are pool inflatables.

Go drop in on my PCM Adventures Hall. 

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But you need to be aware of first time obstacles to entry. This is surprisingly common... the audience the account holder invites don’t have a guest entrance or a indicator that if they are visiting and don’t want the sales pitch to sign up it’s not obvious how you enter the space you expect to enter by clicking direct link you give out as host.

No sign up or download should take the invited guest to the optimal point of entry. If it’s unique selling point is easy access and immersive simplicity I expect to click a link and it take me to where I need to be.

There are 2 options the admin can set for entry. Guests can be required to Register to enter or enter using a text link to Continue without an account.

FDF0D743-0B49-4900-9ACC-F27DBD9EBFE1Once a guests has entered without an account the browser resolved the direct URL as expected.

On arrival the guest enters with the camera tight on thier oen video portal. For a first arrival this can be disorientating. In the bottom navigation is a Map.

A full overview of the space is revealed with the placement of fellow guests displayed.

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I'd like to see a better enterence interface for guests. The capability to embed kumospace to a page would be nice too.

What I do like is the special audio. Move towards the grand piano and lounge musak can be heard. Getting a digi-drink at the bar and watch it slowly dry. Nice early days touches.

Very interested in the development of Kumospace.


References & Context.

Competitors to Kumospace - https://craft.co/kumospace/competitors

Co Founder Brett Martin

Kumospace Venture Capital and Private Equity Financings


An 8.5 hr Zoom call. #WriggleSymp21

Wriggle Dance Symposium 

I love supporting projects. I love supporting produced events requiring digital support and audience access.
Latest project Wriggle Dance Theatre’s Early Year’s and Families Symposium took place today.

Lights Camera Action ... mic / mute

It’s all in the planning and prep.
The Symposium took place in one Zoom Meeting. It used Polls and Breakout Rooms, it pinned and spotlighted, its shared audio, QuickTime video, keynote and PDF preview. A Whereby video room as a helpdesk was open throughout running in parallel. Closed Caption and live transcription was available too.
Alongside this an online feedback board was created using Padlet. Attendees were invited to leave feedback and share insights in real time.

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All digital presentations, performance, workshops and the attending audience but it’s time to explore the hybrid of Digital and Physical. The paperwork won’t change the delivery will be more complex.

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Today marked the premiere showing of Wriggle Dance’s film version of their stage production of Squidge. In conversation panel showcased CO directors Lucy Knight and Kath Kimber McTiffen legacy and guest panels presented rich practices hi lighting the power of movement, dance and touch for early years children.

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The pandemics indelible stamp extending work from the sector in to digital featured also. 
To conclude the day Coventry Dance facilitated a speed networking opportunity. Ending the day in conversation. Finishing the day with a blog post.


Video Help Desk for your Digital Events

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I have been on HelpDesk duty today.

With multiple-sessioned events like festivals, across multiple platforms for attendees, guests, speakers, performers and crew the thing that is painfully absent with digital and its zeros and ones is the corridors, the greenroom, the watercooler, the bar and the liminal spaces.

The space between the spaces.

QuiQuo do this well and event wrappers have potential to accommodate this but to date these wrappers have been outside my budget and production timescale. Digital Stagemanagement and the production consulting tend to be too late in the precession for me to augment in these options. 

A single help desk is the first step. It becomes an anchor point between physical and digital in-person encounters. It’s a point of real present. This I can do with Whereby. I have 10 rooms some are on loan to groups and some like this help desk for SparkFestival is a special hosting.

This was my toolset today

  • Whereby - a super simple easy access for first time tech shy audiences. I settled on this platform prior to COVID when another app to download or service to sign up to was enough to stifle or demotivate any engagement.
  • Splashtop xDisplay - connects a second device to enable monitoring while focusing on your main screen.
  • iPad as a second screen with xDisplay - an old iPad 2 connects to extend your desktop. I use this on a stand on my desk for ficus timer and for general social media and news notifications. 

Finally I have 2 documents prepared specifically for this help desk. A festival reference with all the info including ticket links and zoom access links to each performance or workshop and a intro guide to Whereby as a help desk including a outline of the visitor experience.

  1. Helpdesk document - Festival Programme (private document not available to share)
  2. Helpdesk document - How To for team staffing - http://bit.ly/pcm-helpdesk-sparkfestival

This service is integral to my Extended The Audience offering when compiling extended audience packages. If you want to know more please get in touch.

I must also thank Alison Rouse who staffed the majority of the sessions enabling me to focus on the main digital auditorium as Zoom controller throughout the opening days of the festival.


Digital Stagemanager’s Zoom checklist

#SparkFestival

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Audience checklist
Everything you want to know to get the most from the SparkFestival experience.

Festival Brochure - Everything to apply the audience checklist to!

Then there is my behind the scenes checklist to make my job smooth primarily for my own sanity but ultimately for a smooth audience experience.

My Digital Stage Management (when using Zoom)Barebones Check List

  • Holding - title slide (proverbial house tabs!)
  • Music - as the audience enter and settles
  • Activate Otter captions/transcription - plug in service on Zoom for on screen auto generating subtitles
  • Continuity announcement - Greetings, CC, get the best, SafeSpaces, looking after chat, Welcome.
  • Co-Host - back-up connected host incase DigiSM interwebs break
  • The half - 30 mins before opening the zoom space / admitting attendees from the waiting room to check all present and correct.
  • Hiding Non Participants - with zoom meetings when audience cameras are off hiding the blank video windows tidys up the host view and recorded media captured.
  • Waiting Room - before all is set it’s nice not having the audience wander in before ready to start. Camera off, waiting in the proverbial wings!
  • Clearance - Audience in and ready to roll. The message messaged to indicate the music will fade and curtain (holding slide) with raise.
  • Announcement & pre-show roll - The branding and bumper bits for consistency and polish.Emergency monitoring - Just in case bad things happen with the hosting connection a standby procedure should be prepared. A technical difficulty virtual background for the co-host or a slide.
  • Chat Monitoring - if bad stuff posted in chat and a keen eye must be directed on the chat. Engagement can be established here too. Call and response, Questions for the guests?
  • Show/Event ends - a plan for the end of the show
  • Post-show Play-out - Goodbye and thank you while the on screen talent waits in the wings for the audience to leave.
  • Closedown - when the audience leaves the curtain falls. An audience can stay and chat but eventually you have to end the party!

Part of the producing part of my job is creating on brand screen assets. For Spark that’s static title slides and animated pre and post show bumper videos. I produced the audio track with 2 children Max and Addi and thier Mum. They were amazing.

Pre-show reel

Post-show reel




Jack of All - digital skills - editing

Animated intro for digital audiences attending Spark Festival live shows and screenings will have a short tone setting ‘bumpers’. 2 local children join a Zoom call with their mum to record the announcements. A Welcome and a Farewell.

It’s a simple gesture but important as part of the audience experience. ‘What you see is what you get’ is to be human and critical. Return, reinforcement and recognition is the purpose of branding.

I love Sparks joyous illustrations. Bright, fresh, splashes of colour.

iMovie, Ripl and Pixlr the tools to actualise my digital producing stagemanagement skills.

Closing Bumper in the edit

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Opening Bumper in the edit

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Closed Captions the easy way with Zubtitles

One good imperative to come from online events, meetings, performances and conferences precipitated by the Covid pandemic is the recognition that accessibility online is not only respectful and supremely possible but opens doors to previously excluded audiences.

Audiences as entire communities. Communities have cohesive dialogue. Provision before attendance must be in balance.

Closed Captions are the most prevalent support for access. Attention for the provision need the allocation of resources and time. 

For real time transcription and subtitles I use Otter. For captioning I have discovered Zubtitles. Brilliant. Styled and baked onto videos or generate srt files slit timed to perfection to upload to video hosting. 

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https://zubtitle.com/?via=caron

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Yes it’s true captions enable videos to be watch on mute but for those needing the facility for access it’s an overture of equality. It’s an even playing field.

I have started including voicing readings of the newsletters I produce for Equity’s Online Branch. I will include them in my own.

I would like to learn British Sign Language too. I am looking to establish connection to include sign interpretation on projects in the future. It’s only with these provision supports in place can the communities participate with ease.

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Cybersalon - Dates in the Diary - pt 3

My last trip to London was Wednesday 29th Jan 2020. It was to hand over a project I’d been producing on behalf of the Stage Management Committee.

The Equity SM Buyout Calc - Work in Progress - updates webpage. 

I also attended a meeting with Equity senior management in regards to the Online Branch’s - last stand. 2020 was a progressive year. Our milestones were being awarded funding to explore the development of the branch technology and the assignment of a staff organiser.

I also attended a SafetyCurtain Trustees Meeting before Cybersalon

I had a fabulous overnight stay

Gaming For Good was the last Cybersalon on the ground event I attended

Here is my mini Vlog which I'd neglected to post before now. The practice of capturing short clips and using Quik to mash up a 1 - 3 min video is a good one to master.

If you attend a Cybersalon event be sure to say hello.

Games For Good 3.0 - Tend & Befriend Edition

Cybersalon's Online Record documenting the event - LINK

Last decade will be condemned as a total failure of humanity to work together. Next decade and climate change crisis bring challenges that can only be solved by working together.

Join us on a journey of discovery of games that can skill up our ability to collaborate, from passing weapons, providing covering fire in a firefight, healing or boosting a teammate over obstacles.

Speakers

  • Eva Pascoe (Cybersalon.org) –  a peek into the history of collaborative video gaming
  • Ben Greenway – emotional exploration on how to cooperate with total strangers when no shared language can be found Journey (by ThatGameCompany).
  • Karo Janicka – how to leverage the community to improve village life in Stardew Valley (by Concerned Ape)
  • Simon Sarginson – surviving galactic wars by teaming up with aliens in Startopia (by Mucky Foot)
  • Douglas Rushkoff – author of Cyberia book (1994) and lead of Team Human podcast on  collaboration for the survival of the species

Cybersalon is living despite lockdown. Cyberspace persists!

New Events for your diary for 2021:

2nd February – Tuesday 7 pm -  Zoom
Algorithmic Economy – the good, the bad and the ugly
Artificial Intelligence, Silicon Valley monopolies and platform cooperatives

16th February – Tuesday 7 pm
The Future is Swedish  - Universal Service Network
Ericsson 5G, fibre optic and open source software

2nd March – Tuesday 7 pm
Everyone gets a voice - Massive Multi-Person On-Line Deliberation, Citizens’ assemblies, e-voting and Liquid Democracy

Cybersalon Website

Cybersalon on Eventbrite

Cybersalon Facebook Page

Cybersalon on Twitter