Pilot Theatre Feed

Livescribe - old media meet new technology

"Don't add technology to way you do things. Change the way you do things when you know what technology can do" A quote I use throughout my presentations and workshops. Its part of what I refer to as foundation thinking. Thanks go to Marcus Romer, artistic director of Pilot Theatre for this line of genius.

Way back in 2007 at the launch of the newly negotiated Equity ITC contract agreement at Hampstead Theatre I had conversation that ignited my social media journey and restructured by business. It's Marcus's fault that I joined Facebook! The conversation and consequent collaboration took me in to Second Life and entwined my life irrevocably with this social media phenomenon.

I upgrade my technology when I discover features or learn of functions my current tool set or equipment can't provide. This has driven my mobile phone upgrades and it has now inspired my upgrade from paper note book to Live Scribe.

http://www.livescribe.com - cool little pen thing for those that take notes.

I can still write notes and draft blog posts. Now I can transfer the text to my computer, archive and search my notebooks. With the MyScribe app I can covert my written notes in to editable text.

2010 the conversation has begun… virtual worlds and social spaces

You would like to know a little about my real world and virtual world cross over events I imagine? (Was my response to my first lead of the decade enquiring about my event facilitation skills. http://virtualrealityliving.com/3d-virtual-training-center )

Very few people in my current environment will give virtual worlds any time. I however am passionate about them as business assets (even if only a 3D extension of a 2D website or social space) As a result I'm little reserved in who I offer my Virtual World service to. Cynicism and inflexible thinking towards the social web is a tough nut to crack.

The current leap of faith is social media. Businesses are running headlong in to a light they spent most of 2008 and 09 declaring as an absurd waste of time but now it's becoming mainstream everyone is at it for better or worse!

Virtual worlds are still a leap too far here and now. I'd be happy to make my skills and experiences available to your organisation if you require input.

… I continued.

In SecondLife I have been Custodian and Curator of Pilot Theatre's 3D presence since 2007. It's dormant but the company feel it's important to keep it, even mothballed as it is. I am hoping to spend a little time updating and housekeeping in the year to come. The location is Pilot
Theatre in SL search. http://slurl.com/secondlife/Earth/210/35/27

I have curated events in SL as a host in-world and as a coordinator facilitating chat streams across group chat windows for live music events within SL running back channels for the event team and venue chat for the audience/delegates and live streamed real world events in Livestream.com. A basic event includes monitoring and engaging a multi-streamed Twitter audience too. Most importantly I'm an approachable entity in the off-line, virtual world or online environment.

I've been described as an Internet Fairy, Event Guide, and Ambassador, essentially I help my client’s participants/event delegates new to online social spaces/community or event, online or virtual, experience the events and ultimately help them feel at ease with the technological interface. That is the highest hurdle! Just like the magic of theatre, virtual worlds require participants to suspend disbelieve and become immersed. You can't dip in your toe you have to give yourself over to it for the time the experience lasts.

Where do I come from? (This was my attempt to quantify the circumstances throughout my career that bought me to the point I am today)  I was a theatre stagemanager before moving in to digital tech development as the social media phenomenon exploded on to the scene. Here I found my niche as an online and virtual event curator and network custodian.

Search "pcmcreative" in Google and you will find my digital footprint. http://bit.ly/7hiTsg

I use the research, resource and acquisitioning skills from my theatre days. "Attention to detail and fiscal compromising scales" to balance budgetary restraints capitalising on freemium social media tools, services and platforms to develop digital development strategies for creative organisations and creative thinking businesses.

A virtual world asset is a development I offer to clients who see beyond the 2D realm of webpages. Most frequently it is 2D web development and enhancement I am consulted on. Clients want to bring social media consumers to their websites to purchase goods and services.

The time of the virtual community will emerge, some are here now. Social Media consumption is the current tidal rip.

I'd welcome digital development and virtual world commissions and be delighted to discuss any area of interest to you (and to you blog reader – thanks for reading this far) from my response here.

Aside to blog readers... "When did your conversation begin?"

N95 can be a web cam - Hurrah!

MOBIOLA- turns your N95 in to webcam Live mobile streaming is magnificent. I use Qik when roaming and chatting and grabbing the mood of an event. A Qik player is embedded in this blog. There are times when the hand-held roving video is a bit of a hand full...well both hands full.

For audience engagement web cam streaming leaves my hands free to respond to messages in the live chat (see my blog post about when Pilot Theatre live streamed "The Child") So it has always seemed a logical step to some how use my N95 to perform both roles.

Why take two cameras? PCM creative in action has always been about how social media technology can be harnessed for the arts and creative businesses. When I am traveling around I don't what to cart masses of camera kit with me. Light and liberated...have media will travel that's my philosophy. From a touring perspective the N95 or equivalent smart phone with a notebook mini laptop seems a perfect production documentary set up to get a flavour of a stage production on tour from a behind the scenes perspective.

But I digress...How did I turn my N95 in to a web cam?

After much searching and many conversations with promises of the future talents of the N97 I discovered Mobiola. It has two parts the bit you run on your PC and the bit you run on your mobile. Before you go any further I have to point out that this is not a free application it costs $19.99 + VAT and if you buy before the nifty 7day 20% off promotional code runs out it costs a bit less! See if your mobile is supported

Ok... you will need:

  • Mobiola installed on your PC
  • Mobiola installed on your N95 (or compatible smart phone)
  • Your phone's software installed on your PC or Laptop
  • Your USB connection cable to connect mobile to PC (you can connect via wi-fi or bluetooth also)

The first time I fired up the application on my PC I was informed I had the Nokia ConnAPI.DLL missing. Please don't run away at this point! I'm not that technical either. I collected the DLL from DLL-files.com, unzipped it, copied the .dll file and pasted it in to the windows/system32 folder on my hard drive. I also discovered that the activation code when you purchase a license is for one PC only so its important to deside which machine you will be connecting the webcam to. I'm using my full sized laptop.

Once I had that sorted and the webcam application running on my PC I

  • connected my N95 via USB
  • selected "PC suite" when prompted on my mobile
  • navigated to the "WebCam 3" application
  • selected the USB option on the PC applications dashboard
  • selected Options - Connect - USB on my N95
  • opened the lens cover on my phone
  • shrieked with joy as the cameras feed was displayed on the PC

I've had it working with Bambuser, Tokbox and Ustream. It uses the Mic on my Laptop so I'm going to look in to getting a better quality plug in one. I'm going to field test my set up at the East Midlands Amb:IT:ion roadshow on June 19th. I hope to have blogged again before that but I will report back.

If you have a go please leave me a comment saying how it went.

MediaCampLondon2 - December 2008 - Part two

This blog is continued from part one.

The actual event! recap. mediaCampLondon2, #mcl2 running through twitter and mcl2 as a tag through out the social media world. On the a very wet December Saturday I headed to Social Media Mafia's second MediaCampLondon hosted by Chris Hambly at SAE London now in new premises in Hackney. I did manage to qik blog a little but my head was in the wrong space in fact I wasn't sure which head space I was in all day. I arrived in wet dog mode! I loved mediacamp but there were aspects of the venue I struggled with. Excellent securing but the card needed to pass through every single door was a little claustrophobic.

The Sessions I attended I'm going to cover and the points that impacted on me.

Pete Wailes
Explosive Content:the art of creative content for digital audiences.

  • Zero Punctuation
  • Submit YouTube links to Digg
  • Repoman the Opera needs a UK distributor

Joanne Jacobs
Case studies in deploying Social Media for public interest. How to drive change in the 3rd sector.

  • Who will put in the effort? Conscientious, Conscious Collaboration.
  • Not every project is a success.
  • Every project is a learning experience.
  • Clients don't always listen to what is best.
  • Social media tribes are strong in London and ever so slightly competitive!

Jo's session showed the new media process needs user participation, understanding and the want or necessity to access the web presence being created. If a simple brochure site is all that will be used why create anything more? There a case for "They don't know what they want" but this is why I am passionate about online media and free service platforms. Often a client or user group doesn't know what is possible let alone know if they will use it and won't be using it if they don't know what is possible. The art of education by stealth! Adding features to a presence and a reason to use the feature especially resource, eco or time saving features as an extension to the service requested can be trialled at very little cost.

Judith Lewis
SEO 101 - Everything you wanted to know about getting found in search crammed in to this session.

  • There is no such thing as a magic keyword density percentage.
  • Think about tabbed browsing when creating page titles.
  • I need to understand backtracking and comment more on peoples blogs.

I have listened to a few SEO practitioners and Judith talks the talk and exudes the notion she most certainly can walk the walk  with experience and humble understanding, elegance and ease. I definitely need a SEO specialist to take a look at my online presence.

Finally I was on.
Caron Lyon
2D in to 3D web presence from Pilot Theatre's home hub in Second Life. Second Life extending your web site - Guest speaker reading extracts from his work reflecting RL and SL via Second Life Nazz Lane. Writer for the Second Life Newspaper.

I had prepared for the worse. No web access or no Second Life access. No Second Life access proved troublesome as a combination of network access permissions, hardware incompatibility and my over enthusiastic kick-ass antivirus Panda things didn't go well. Earlier in the day when I tested the connection I gained Wi-fi thanks to stefan but sadly Second Life proved elusive and because the venue was Mac infested and super set up for sudio sound I was unable to connect my laptop to run Second Life or output sound so Skype, my if Second Life failed contingenct, went out the window too. The cables just weren't right...all round pegs and square holes!

I'm going to give it another go on January 10 2009 in world. The program looks like this.

Join me, Katie Reve - Virtual Stage Manager at Pilots SL hub, Neil Neilsen - Creator, Architect and owner of MediaCity and Nazz Lane - SL Journalist and writer at 4.00pm UK time on Saturday 10 January.

What is Pilot Theatre doing in SL? The 2D and 3D web.

Yes we are going to do it. Saturday 10 Jan from 4PM uk time the rerun of MediaCampLondon2's failed Second Life live link up. This time there will be no real life audience but I am keen to have a go at doing an event that works! as I'm hoping to have many more.

The plan is to begin at Pilot's hub in the screening room
4.00pm - 4.05pm
Welcome and small intro about why the event is taking place and about the MediaCamp concept. Real world and Virtual.

4.05pm - 4.25pm

Topic - Pilot's Playground

Guided tour of the Pilot Hub and how the arts are embracing and converging digital media. This session is for residents interested in SL as a 3D extensions of websites and SL potential for business and the arts.

TP to MediaCity
4.30pm - 4.50pm
Topic - Advances and the future of Second Life

Neil Neilsen from MediaCity in Second Life (Neil Riley, Macanix UK) presents an update of Second Life's potential and recent digital media in world advances. The opportunities arising and how they can and are being embraced.

4.50pm - 5.15pm
Topic - Reporting a Second Life

The buzz of life in virtual worlds. Nazz Lane reading excerpt from his writings with a short intro about his SL journalism.

5.15pm - 5.30pm

Q & A for invited guests

Hope there is a happy ending!

2009 alive and liking it.

Out and about networking in 2008 I met some amazing people. Social networking was often a whisper on the wind but in the economic challenges that lie before us Social Media and all its diversity can be a budget saving haven. I wish there was a one size fits all for solving every companies Social Media needs but a lass bespoke focused strategies are the best. Everyone wants to feel special and the way I see it you have no choice.

Each of my 2008 clients had very specific needs with common expectations, Increase sales, footfall, bums on seats and discovering there is so much more too. Pilot Theatre, who I have worked with since July 2007 have embraced social online communications channels with the philosophy of the more the better all leading internet travelers down the road that leads to the companies website. Whether its a group on Bebo that looks after its self taking in RSS, Flickr and YouTube or Facebook Groups collecting together Pilot Theatre fans, they all have one purpose, to get audiences for the next production and to raise the company's profile. Other Web 2 platforms provide other valuable features like wikis, collaborative work spaces for writing projects and event feedback this internet social communication revolution.

In 2009 I'll be running workshops across the country for various arts organisations, developing existing clients web 2 integration. Fingers crossed I'll begin delivering my Social Media super users course and Second Life for business course for Axis in the Spring. MediaCampNottingham is also on the ideas schedule for Spring along with an event with Pilot Theatre's live streaming aspiration with their New York production now well and truly in pre-production. Second Life live streaming performance opportunities for musicians, DJs and Singers is another rapidly boiling pot of delights collaborating with Second Life MediaCity's Neil Neilsen AKA Neil Reily from Kohd who is the architect behind the buildings on Pilot Theatre's Second Life hub.

Every business/company and enterprise with an email customer list or contacts book can benefit from whats happening on the web. I know I am excited to see what 2009 brings in on the tide.

What's your Online Strategy? Come see me. Type pcmcreative in to Google I'm hard to miss. Choose the way you want to contact me.

Pilot Theatre - This Child - Live On line

Friday 27 November 2008 Pilot Theatre did their first live stream performance. "This Child" was about to do it's last 2 performances at York Theatre Royal's studio. 7.30pm online viewers logged in to take their seats. I sat comfy at my desk, the empty stage and auditorium in view (one of the best seats in the house I have to say) Marcus Romer, artistic director of Pilot Theatre addressed the assembled online audience welcoming us to the first live show.

Pilot have done simulcast events before (sightsonic - live web link between York to Amsterdam where two performers are battled over their game consoles and other things.) and have "Catcher in their Eye" scheduled to simulcast from New York in the Spring of 2009 the story of Mark Chapman - the man who shot John Lennon - on his last night of anonymity. But this live offering was for the audience to see This Child, an opportunity I know I thought I'd missed.

Live theatre plays are of the moment. The curtain falls and the experience is over.  What you witness will never be repeated the audience will be different the actors will recreate the performance each night but unlike a DVD watching a live show over and over always has the notion that it is never the same however well crafted and orchestrated.

When doing a livecast its easy to set up the kit and let it run but attending to the online audience is an important step to ensuring 2 way participation and future followings. This is not TV. Pilot are a great example of how Social Media channels add value to a brand and a product. A company at the cutting edge of social media and web 2 adoption web 2 channels are at the heart of Pilot Theatre's on line identity. Facebook, Bebo, Second Life, Wikispace and Twitter all have an active following and growing online fan base with a burgeoning dynamic community on the horizon

So why come to an online live show? No hushed reverence or tradition. No heavy breather sat behind you or rustling sweet wrappers. No standing and squeezing up against your flipped up seat to let someone past. Don't get me wrong "Roar of the grease paint, Smell of the crowd" and all that! Sorry I promised myself no theatre in giggles - "Smell of the greasepaint, Roar of the crowd" ... couldn't resist.

Pilot chose to stream from Mogulus. Live picture on the left and chat on the right. Yes chat. Thats the added dimension of a livecast you can wow and gasp and comment at the sights before you. "Nice lighting change", "Theatre has a natural flow that is so often missed in TV - and this is captured carried on through the live broadcast".

More live web media please Pilot.

Shift Happens - part 3 - Where worlds collide.

Tom Fleming - www.tfconsultancy.co.uk

Take a look at his presentation's slides

Tom Fleming was speaker number 1 a consultant and academic specialising in research, strategy and policy for the cultural and creative economy. Wow! His focus (his biog told) me lies in establishing the climate for creativity, innovation, collaboration, and business growth. Tom has recently completed 'The case for 'mixed art-form and media venues' in the digital age'. An in-depth study to develop a better understanding of the role of 'bricks and mortar' infrastructure at a time of increasing digitisation in the processes of creative production and consumption and at a time when public value-concerns are paramount for policy makers.

Tom Fleming Creative Consultancy works to develop creative policy and infrastructure that is fit for purpose in an age where creativity and innovation, the physical and the virtual, the consumption and the production, the social and the commercial, are increasingly interdependent.

This Tom told us means focusing on the spaces and places that enable creativity to thrive and add value against a range of agendas - from the social to the economic, the intrinsic to the instrumental.

Twittered with my laptop on my lap for this session trying to give the twitter stream an informed account of the session. I am curious to know how twitter can be used for events and progress reporting. With Twitters embeddable widget in a web page is it possible to give a coherent running commentary?

Here are my Twitters on the specially set up Pilot Theatre twitter accountPilot logo

  • Tom Flemming our first speaker
  • Creative Britain - new talent for the new economy.
  • How can there be culture and economy?
  • Creative spaces
  • Creative infrastructure
  • Role of bricks and mortar spaces in the digital age
  • Mixed media centres crucial
  • Cinema at the core of multi platform shifts
  • Transforming venues Mass media to me media
  • Welcome new tweeters
  • Creative places. Where do the creative people go?
  • Connecting with audiences
  • Connecting with generations
  • "tennantspin" building community beyond buildings
  • Physical and digital spaces
  • Where does integration take place?
  • This is todays event
  • ished.net bringing together worlds
  • Developed brand, became a meeting place, built reputation and innovation
  • What creative practice is at your heart?
  • Developing experiences is the notion. Connectivity. Purpose
  • Current speaker Tom Fleming http://www.tfconsultancy.co.uk
  • Are buildings fit for purpose. Cultural producers in the digital age.

From this experience of applying online channels for live coverage during an event I am rapidly becoming an advocate for a Social Media specialist handling online interaction if they are going to provide a valuable experience for the online audience. As a stagemanager I have operated lights, sound, pyrotechnics, talkback and cue lights to facilitate the seamless operation of a theatre production. Any event running a virtual feed inviting online participation must have an operators full attention.

Shift Happens - part 2 - The Sound Exchange

This is the second post from Pilot Theatre's Shift Happens.

The Sound Exchange has archived digital files to download for ever note on every instrument in the orchestra. Go see... well go listen I guess is more appropriate. This presentation made me think of all my techy audio geeks so this one is for you guys. For those with out the kit to play with digital sound sample Sound Exchange have developed an application on the website so you to can join in the fun.

Richard Slaney as a speaker at this live entertainment industry and converging technologies conference was inspired. Rather than an academic insight to the benefits of Social Media this was a presentation about just how it's being used and incorporated in to the companies business strategy. Its all about bums on seats!

Richard Slaney studied music at King's College London, before freelancing in AV systems and web design. So music is in his blood. He manages the orchestra's education website The Sound Exchange. With the emergance of social media platforms his role expanded to include all of the orchestra's online activity, a monthly video podcast series and bespoke audio digital projects such as the 2006 PLAY.orchestra which appeared outside London's Southbank Centre.

56 plastic cubes and 3 Hotspots were laid out on a full size orchestra stage, each cube containing a light and speaker.

Sitting down on the cubes or standing in the hotspots turned on an individual instrument and with the addition of 58 friends you could hear the full piece.
 bluetooth logo
The installation was also Bluetooth enabled - allowing participants to receive a ringtone of the piece they had created as well as other Philharmonia Orchestra ringtones.

Technology and art forms working together, using the emerging technology in creative and innovative way to keep live performance alive.

www.philharmonia.co.uk is the main website

Shift Happens - part 1

As a dyslexic the process of turning mental imagery in to text is one of the hardest challenges I contend with when I work. It is my desire to share experiences, share my discoveries that drives me on to manifest the words from the pictures and mental movies of encounters stored in my mind. On occasions the events and encounters overwhelm my senses leaving me with stuff crammed in my thoughts with out a way out. The two spheres that my working world revolves around is Technology, predominantly the Internet and Theatre. What excites me is the innovation driving them both. So Shift Happens, a conference for the theatre industry reflecting on how technology is converging with performance and creative processes to innovate, drive and mold company futures was an exciting prospect.

Shift Happens - Pilot Theatre's social media map Even better I was invited by Artistic Director, Marcus Romer to take part by facilitating a Social Media Surgery of sorts where delegates could find out more about the potential of Web 2 and how the theatre industry can implement and incorporate it into their daily lifes. I discovered that with the use of just a couple of well chosen web 2 tools I know I could help theatre companies very easily create and feed with minimal effort and cost but a tremendous amount of fun, a dynamic live web presence including on the road/on tour coverage streamed live or uploaded to a home page producing video content, generate chat and buzz to promote a companies profile and location around the country, improve communication and the quality of the communication channel between office and company while on the road, build a community for the company and help the performers and creative team keep in touch with their lives and people that matter outside of the current production. All with services available on line for free.

The void between contacts can be frustrating, reconnection with your life after being so immersed in a show can be hard. Social Media approached sensibly and strategically by a theatre company can have enormous benefit for the company business and the companies creative team and performers. Everyone can win. I'm going to tell you how.

But first I want to report back on the amazing speakers who delivered talks at Shift Happens and reflect on Pilot Theatre's vision where performance and technology combine and converge reverberating through the company creating a thriving business and innovative productions. Their mission tag line "Inspiring Creativity" is right on the nail.

MediaCampBucks & Equity's ARC in one weekend - Part two

Equity's ARC (Annual Representatives Conference) took place on the 18 and 19 May 2008 in London. I was overwhelmed by the interest in my work with social media and in particular on line forums and communities.

I attended this years ARC representing Equity members who are stagemanagers. The Stagemanagement Committee's motion to the ARC about implementing Skype, was accepted by a majority vote as a viable communication method which once instigated will lead to members of committees attending meetings from outside London or whilst away on tour with greater ease and regularity. The Equity website was a hot topic throughout the weekend. People's fear and uncertainty of the Internet is so prolific I took great enjoyment calming fears and quelling anxiety. I think many went home with a little more confidence in technology ready to start exploring the benefits of social media.

It may be hard to believe for some that Equity does not have any form of conference calling available or that applications such as a forum discussions on the website are not yet available. What you have to remember is that this is a work force who do not have a PC on their desk, or a desk for that matter and for the majority who have a PC at home they spend much of their working lives on tour or living in digs with no Internet access. These are the IT curious its just not part of their world. For them the journey is just beginning and for a community so geographically remote from each other the Internet is a gift beneath the Christmas tree that has yet to be unwrapped. Mobile phone web access will be a revelation when they own devises capable and web sites optimized to look at.

It was with the magic of wi-fi and with my trusty laptop I had the opportunity to introduce the IT curious to Second Life giving them a guided tour around Pilot Theatre's Second Life presence. The set designers especially saw the potential of Second Life and 3D environments. I often struggle with business people to convey the power and potential of the 3D web or virtual worlds but here they all got it immediately it was a breath of fresh air.

It was directly in response to the conversations about social media, social networks and Internet security fears during the ARC and their desire to see a functioning social networking application that I came home and created one to give an opportunity to experience first hand a private social network and participate in its growth.

Screenshot01 I'd been considering setting one up using the Ning.com platform model ever since joining the Association of Virtual Worlds. Now I saw it as a way to demonstrate what services I could offer to Equity and other clients by inviting them to take part in one. I could also unite my diverse networks in to one place.

During my career I have collected and recorded my contacts in indexed books and business card files. I have used many time and again and passed names on too. My Indexed books are invaluable as they contain all the businesses I have done business with and the items or services they provided me, and for which production through out my time in stagemanagement and props acquisitions all around the UK. Since turning my eye to the business world I have received business cards like never before. What do I do with them all?

I am a great believer in the purposeful expansion of a business network.

Screenshot02 I have groups for the events or organisations I wish to network with and share with others. I do not wish to take traffic from anyones web site so I encourage members to use my network as a hub. I will also be introducing members to other web 2 platforms with short tutorials written specifically with the community's needs in mind. I'll also be looking at helping them unify their online presence and promote them selves online building a profile to harness the social media channels they develop as their confidence in the Internet grows.

Feedback to me, Is this going to be useful place?
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