The prospect of making my own work is daunting but I don’t feel I have any other option when I don’t feel smart enough, clever enough, young enough, experienced enough… just not enough, to be employed to do what I love and what I feel I’m really good at.
Its all knowledge and insight and skill that no one seems to want yet I continually enter conversations where employers can’t find employable candidates.
I can’t do all I can do at once but no one wants any part of me it seems. Lack of disposable income to make work makes me less prolific than I’m capable of being.
If I was well funded and prolific I wouldn’t be needing a job. I’d actually like a job and be part of a team. Producing and consulting is a lonely pursuit.
There lies my inner sense of failure
Perhaps I’m just not very good and any sense of value to others I have is self deluded.
Conference Calls, those audio broadcast boxes delivering disembodied voices to the meeting table seem to be a thing of the past since covid introduced everyone to video meetings and webinars.
It is important to remember that not everyone has the luxury of adequate bandwidth to attend video meetings or webinars.
I always reiterate to people when I talk about video event platforms that I am a reluctant Zoom user. A zoom power use I might add as mastery of the settings extend the functionality of Zoom in some extraordinary ways.
This post is to bring attention a much overlook feature of Zoom. Its capacity to offer landline dial in access to those with no internet at all.
The pure audio experience with a receiver tucked in tightly to your ear or in these times of tech, perhaps hands free, sat back in an arm chair!
As I’m Zoom prepping for the Royal Historical Society I recalled how the last lecture did indeed have several dialled in attendees.
I want to encourage this more.
There are many reasons why your attendees might prefer the off screen, audio only experience.
Its time to step up the accessibility announcement in the continuity script I prepare for hosts.
The what I fondly refer to as the ‘hair and flair’ self described welcome for the partially signed and blind members of the audience. Those who have no use for the closed captions but do appreciate an added dimension of vocally expressed enrichment for their experience.
Audio Description of the lecture slides is a consideration in need of thought. During the first lockdown I had the joy of consulting and zoom controlling for theatre company, NotNowCollective. This was first time working directly with an audience description author.
The art of saying everything with very little! This isn’t a post about AD but needs to be a future post. Comment if you agree.
So don’t forget dial in is an option for Zoom especially if you want to reach a wider audience.
Care Homes for instance. If anyone would like to talk about how I’d be happy to share further thoughts on extending audience and suggest technical provision. The Royal Historical Society and the Society for Study of French History both use my services to host their Zoom lecture series. There lectures are free to attend.
The dial in details are often omitted on the assumption they aren’t required but.. if you want to join a zoom and don’t have internet remember you can request the dial in details.
This app is essential. The caption files I’m provided with when uploaded to facilitate captioning being visible or hidden line up to the start of the film. With the branding bumper inserted the film doesn’t start until the bumper has played. Sublititle files .srt are time coded text files. To insert a time period each consequent time code has to be amended.
In a nutshell that is what this app does. Full stop!
Zoom controlling a lot raises the probability things may glitch. Keeping my version of Zoom up to date is essential. I tend to use the attendee link to enter via a second devise so I know it works. But still, there are access issues on occasion and when it’s you having the access issue as an attendee their is nothing more frustrating.
Is it me? Is it the link? Is it Zoom? As a remote controller its impossible for me to know.
It’s very frustrating because I pride myself on a well executed online events.
Tonight the emailed link worked for some and not for others. Paste the link into the address bar of a browser and it works.
I suspect it’s a line break issue.
Anyone had this problem recently?
Tonight’s lecture was a Zoom international. Mark Mazower delivered his paper to an audience that hit 100 from New York. These lectures have been Zoom controlled from my desk for a year. The digital tide is turning. Next month is scheduled to be online. Going forward it’s only a matter of time before the coin is flipped and the lectures return to the lecture hall with a new digital extension.
How should we think today about the history of diplomacy? How has diplomatic history changed over the last one hundred years?
In his lecture, Mark Mazower reflects on recent experience writing about the history of the Greek war of independence, and explored the ways in which the events of 1821 have been connected to the emergence of an international order in Europe by scholars and historians from the First World War until today.
The recording will be trimmed and uploaded to YouTube.
I’ve done a Zoom Controlling gig this evening. Light Camera Action… well webcam, virtual background title slide and shared computer sound.
Its all very sedate. But thats why the clients come to me. A good behind the scenes experience. They are simple events that they want to deliver with perceived effortlessness.
Great long long tail lectures with engaged audiences and specialist top of their topic. Each expert insight to thread of history a joy to zoom tech.
Society for the Study of French History
The 2022 Annual Douglas Johnson Memorial Lecture was the 12th in this series, organised by the Society for the Study of French History and the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France.
The lecture was presented by Professor Penny Roberts (University of Warwick) a paper entitled 'The Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacres 450 years on'. Professor Roberts is Vice-Provost and Chair of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Warwick and the President of the Society for the Study of French History.
The battle and religious civic conflict from 450 years ago frighteningly possible internally inconceivable yet… 2022 who knows. Do we learn? Have we learnt? Who did the learning? Could history repeat? Has it repeated?
This source examination is important.
The Attendee view on iPad with captions.
Needed to frame the space.
Found some Creative Commons music. Debussy was suggested. The audience arrives and the title slide displays. Waiting to begin.
The music fades and the continuity host welcomes and sets the scene, establishes boundaries and orients the attendees. Chat panel, Q&A panel. Some will have attended many Zoom meetings some may not be familiar with Zoom webinar. On this occasion a prompt to encourage share locations revealed a truly global audience of 122.
There has been a pause in my blogging over the last week to portion out time to complete a finished version of my diploma module to prepare a first attempt at an investment pack to finance a stage show. Mine has been a long time back burner project. It’s the reason PCM is part of my online persona. There is a wind of change on the horizon and it’s exciting times.
Assignment submitted and birthday celebrated. I’m mid way through a diploma in Creative Producing. 16 weeks including a 2wk study break… and Christmas. My horizons are widening. I will need people in this new horizon. The next 2 assignments are envisioning for purposeful target marketing and storytelling, then company structure and good team structures.
Here is my opening section.
To produce and commission new and fresh live 30 minute productions for new audiences emerging around immersive staged experiences such as Secret Cinema, War of the Worlds and Dr Who Fractured Time, and new global audiences who remotely attend film festivals featuring dedicated VR films. Festivals award categories for VR and 360 as well as interactive experiences and VR short films at Expanded BFI 2021, Expanded Vienna 2021 and Canada’s FIVARS VR film festivals.
The productions will explore relationships and augmentation into the ‘real life’ of the burgeoning metaverse - encouraging discussion, examination and participation with the company, challenging the audience's perception of where the frontier of digital, physical and meta virtual dissect.
Before the financial breakdown, info about the stage play there is this. The story is becoming clearer and the financials are solid
This investment prospects is the foundation of my vision setting out a realistic beginning. A play produced on an ITC influenced agreement and physical mid-small scale ambition, opening at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2023 designed and directed to then tour to sizeable black box theatre studios and village halls from Dervaig on the Isle of Mull to The People Theatre in Newcastle upon Tyne and Bristol Old Vic’s Weston Studio.
Its gradual evolution though my DYCP exploration’s will take it from extended on-stage production space with a fourth wall and traditional seated audience to later include a dual presence digital and meta virtual experience realising an immersive ‘public house Snug meets park promenade’ experience, delivering culture from the comfort of A couch, Your couch, and beyond!
The audience concept has its roots in 2012 producing TEDx LaceMarket.
Following a request for a recommendation on Twitter for speech to text transcription options I waded in perhaps a little too eagerly before reading the context of the post request for recommendation for responding.
Transcription from audio for a text record and extracting text for uploading as caption are similar by not the same.
I immediately recommend Headliner. I love services that evolve and extend their usefulness. I first used Headliner to generate overlay audio waveforms to present podcasts for viewing when uploaded to video services.
Last year I worked on a spoken word project requiring captions to accentuate particular words and phrases. It was also audio and needed audio visualisation. I went to Headliner to generate a selection of waveforms, Headliner calls these audiograms, to demonstrate the options and discovered the transcription for captions feature. For transparency I haven't as yet fully pushed Headliners captioning feature to the max but I wanted to tell this story.
NOTE: the waveforms are generated using Headliner the words were created using titles in iMovie as they needed to be closely match to the intonation of the narrators words and inflections.
After an exchange on Twitter with Headliner we scheduled a video call for me to share my Headliner experience.
Using the scheduling power of Calendly I had a great chat with Mike Sands from development at Headliner.
The generation of transcripts I’ll deal with tomorrow but for closed captions which is where headliner can facilitate and excel as a player in the field for affordable rich featured captioning I wanted to share it with you. The purpose of this blog is really to highlight the issue below that having a conversation directly with a platform's development team can facilitate.
Headliner also takes SRT file and can export SRT files. SRT are text format files that time code each line for a duration to appear on screen.
Here is an example of a few lines for an SRT file
00:00:47.769 --> 00:00:51.002 Potato? Potato?
00:00:52.584 --> 00:00:54.030 Potato?
00:00:54.409 --> 00:00:56.365 Potato?
00:00:58.498 --> 00:00:59.883 Oh, hello.
00:01:02.233 --> 00:01:04.216 You haven't seen a potato anywhere, have you?
00:01:06.389 --> 00:01:07.611 Potato?
00:01:08.381 --> 00:01:09.528 He ran off.
SRT buffering was my 'you could be the golden goose' opportunity. Completed videos are provided from artists for live screening or on demand viewing. But… the festival may wish to insert a pre show bumper to brand the experience. That add time to the start of the video file and thereby changes the time code for the start of the captions. You can see this from the time stamps in the example from Shona Reppe’s Potato Needs a Bath digital experience - https://www.shonareppe.co.uk/potato-digital.html
For the 2021 SparkArts Festival a bumper lasting just under 47 seconds was inserted at the start. To off set the start of the captions was a trial by fire. Every time code through the entire SRT file needs adjusting. The example shows less than a minute of the show in lasted 30 mins.
This conversation revealing this step in a process is an opportunity. I had to download and install sub shifter could Headliner keep me in the platform. Lets hope this small hurdle but useful addition gets actioned.
If you want to try out headliner here is a link for a free trial. After you can use the free features or pay for a month or for a year.
There are JPG files and PNG files. Both are formats of pictures or for digitally practiced images!
The nice thing about PNGs is that the background can be transparent. That means it looks like I has a plain white background but when added on top of a different background only the content of the PNG image displays.
Here is a website I go to when needing graphic elements for posters and promotional flyers.
This is a new series of posts for me to share Apps, Platforms, Tools and Services I think PCM Adventurers will find useful. Let’s start at 001. I’m think big assuming I’ll need 3 figures!
There are ideas and stories to share. At Christmas time I compile the 12 apps for Christmas which are taken from my iPhone and iPad. I also have web services and browser extensions I use regularly as well as downloaded software and desktop apps.
I’m in the process of working out the capitalisation cost of my long awaited stage production I dreamed of staging for over 20 years. As technology evolved new tech has emerged and distilled in to what is becoming known as ‘immersive’ the dream of stage and live film extended space production is now possible. Motion capture is being replaced my canny valley avatars even volumetric video and photometry environment. The VR sound stages replacing green screen in film have intoxicating possibilities for live theatre.
Where will I take this immersive, extended space live theatre experience environment? To studio spaces around the country. To the black box shoe box diminutive little sibling of the hat box proscenium big street profiled kin.
Concrete box often painted black lined with black surge drapes. Close the doors and lights out to descend into velvety blackout.
Where the audience sit in raised steel decked levels to stagger the sight lines for the performances played out on the flat found level. Black vinyl dance floor immaculately joined with clear tape or black gaffa.
The sensory deprivation tank where the play is the thing. No distractions.
Posted to Facebook please share your responses in the comments.
I’m making a directory of Black Box Theatre spaces in the UK. If there is a resource you know of please link. If you know a space do share. For hire or venue programmed. Thanks.
3hrs after posting as as I write this there has been 18 responses from the Theatre Producers UK Facebook Group and 1 response from Twitter with a raft of likes and retweets.
So… If you have done drama at school or had a drama department at school I suspect you will have seen a black box theatre
Wikipedia says this
“A black box theatre is a simple performance space, typically a square room with black walls and a flat floor. The simplicity of the space allows it to be used to create a variety of configurations of stage and audience interaction.The black box is a relatively recent innovation in theatre.”
My focus app of choice has I think at the close of January wk 1 got me back in the board.
My note to self is to decisively close all apps, browser windows and tab, reboot and re enter. Returning to the surface when working in digital hierarchical structures Eg Google docs, should never be overlooked.
I know all this but it demand rigorous practice. Finding new solutions while being mindful of what you have and why you return to those services, platforms and apps is vital.
The start of the year mindfulness I initiated in 2021 is a major contributor to the success of 2021. I am recognising this as I stumble into 2022 with my new word.
Aggregation of words is going to be necessary. This means my list would grow annually.
Externality is important too. I ask myself why I blog rather than privately journal.
My notebooks are chaotic and imposing upon myself structure to present prose for reading is a push into and beyond my comfort zone. I get disheartened when the view figure is low but I remind myself here at the start of the new year that it’s purpose is not for the reader but for me to share in case a someone around me is curious about how I work as I’m not very good at sharing this stuff. I welcome others to share their thoughts either in the comments or to post a link to there own voyage into mind sharing.
Focus Keeper was a 2020 app and I do focus more productively when running it though a day. I have an old iPad2 as a viewing screen where I keep the Focus Keeper app in sight. It’s clean and simple. It defines 12 session each session containing a 25 minute work stint and a 5 minute break after 4 sessions there is a 25 minute break. There is a sound library of clock ticks and ocean waves to underscore your concentration if music isn’t playing. I like this especially when editing video and audio.
Firming up my ‘default diary’ for the coming weeks to mid February calmed my underlying anxiety welcoming Google Calendar back into my consciousness. Finally I felt the need to return to Trello. These have been my saving graces.
Embarking upon some serious multi depart planning I have added a Gantt Chart extension in Trello to map tasks and timescales against each other to optimise team, tech and travel.
It you need an anchor to your day I recommend Focus Keeper.