Thursday, November 30, 2006

Shy and sincere


TheStar.com: "She was accepted by Carnegie Mellon University and began in the fall of 2000, looking back on those years as 'the most amazing experience of my life,' even though she admitted that 'it was so difficult I almost left about 20 times. Our teachers always expected the best from us and so we learned how to provide it.'"

Tony Winner John Cullum to Join Audra McDonald in Broadway's '110 in the Shade'

Yahoo! News: "Lonny Price will stage the Roundabout Theatre Company presentation that will begin previews on April 13, 2007, and open May 9 at Studio 54 for a limited engagement through July 15."

Three 6 Mafia settles injured fan's suit

Yahoo! News: "Rap group Three 6 Mafia has settled a lawsuit by a suburban Pittsburgh teenager who claimed he was severely beaten at a concert when fans followed lyrics of the song 'Let's Start A Riot.'"

Casting calls may violate federal law

Los Angeles Times: "A new report from UCLA's Chicano Studies Research Center suggests struggling women and minority actors might want to bring something extra to their next audition besides a head shot: a civil rights lawyer."

WGA Votes Down 'Last' CBS Offer

Backstage: "In an overwhelming rejection of an offer CBS had said would be its last, 99% of WGA newswriters and others voting in four major markets rejected the eye's four-year contract offer."

Canadian Talks Wrap But Strike Still Looms

Backstage: "Canadian actors and North American producers wrapped two days of contract talks in Montreal on Wednesday with little progress made toward averting an industry shutdown early in the new year."

40 facts about Sleep you probably didn’t know

lifehack.org: "This is not a post with full of tips, but it contains some very interesting facts about sleep. "

'Gifts of the Magi' will get viewers into gift-giving season

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The Theatre Factory's presentation of the holiday musical, 'The Gifts of the Magi' combines two O. Henry short stories set in New York City."

Quantum Theatre makes a run to the border

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Say 'El Paso' to the average Pittsburgher, and he's liable to belt out a stanza or two from Marty Robbins' mid-'90s cowboy lament about love and death in a Texas border town."

Penn-Trafford among schools emphasizing fall play

Post Gazette: "Every spring, when football season is a memory and basketball is winding down, 90 or so Western Pennsylvania high schools turn their attention to the stage and gear up for the annual spring musical season."

Stage Review: ABBA fan? Take a chance on 'Mamma Mia!' touring show

Post Gazette: "The Swedish pop band ABBA inspired a cult following that has lasted long beyond its '70s chart-topping heyday. Nothing gets all ages dancing at a wedding reception like 'Dancing Queen.'"

Stage Preview: Quantum's 'El Paso' is a road saga dealing with the immigrant experience

Post Gazette: "The implication is that it's unlike the usual Quantum Theatre play, whatever that might be. But as usual, Quantum is introducing Pittsburgh to a playwright it doesn't know. Octavio Solis' 'El Paso Blue' is described as 'a dark, rapturous look at the immigrant experience ... part country & western grand opera, part Oedipal tragedy and part buddies-on-the-road saga, with a dirty-mouthed goddess along for the ride.'"

The Vertical Hour Strikes: David Hare's Play Opens Nov. 30

Playbill News: "The world premiere of David Hare's play The Vertical Hour, in which Julianne Moore makes her Broadway debut playing a Yale University politics professor, opens Nov. 30 at the Music Box Theatre."

Producers, AP's, and PA's needed for Dec. 1

Craigslist: "Comcast On Demand is shooting Dating On Demand Singles' Nite at the Convention Center on Dec. 1st. "

Opera Finds a Larger Audience

Projection, Lights and Staging News: "A giant screen, with projection equipment provided by Scharff Weisberg, was set up in the Lincoln Center plaza for a simulcast of the Puccini opera, Madama Butterfly, staged by director Anthony Minghella. The Panasonic, NASDAQ and Reuters screens at Times Square also beamed the production to a blocked-off section of Times Square. The outdoor crowd at Lincoln Center was estimated at 3,000 people. "

If it's Tuesday, I must be Hamlet

Guardian Unlimited Arts: "How does an actor juggle playing two very different roles at once? Patrick Stewart, Simon Russell Beale and Tamsin Greig tell Hilary Whitney how they pull it off "

Response: Who gives a hoot about a celebrity on stage?

Guardian Unlimited Arts: "'If West End drama is to survive, it has to be an event.' Absolutely. But he goes on: 'If that means acknowledging that the public wants to see stars ... then that is the reality.' Absolutely not."

Quick: Paper or plastic?

The Tartan Online: "Six years after School of Drama alumna Roberta Valderrama (’00) graduated, she landed her first regular role on television. She will be starring in 10 Items or Less, a sitcom of less than epic proportions about the quirky staff of a grocery store (Greens & Grains) premiering next Monday on TBS."

Deck the ’Burgh: Light-Up Night kicks off the holiday season

The Tartan Online: "In a month, the semester will be over and it will be time to kick back, relax, and enjoy some time off. For now, you can get your holiday fix by engaging in some of the holiday events going on in Pittsburgh. This weekend, downtown Pittsburgh, usually visited and acclaimed for its almost 400 year-round shops and eateries, was host to countless activities. Lights, fun, and food could be found anywhere and everywhere in celebration of the season."

Google updates Google Spreadsheets

Lifehacker: "Google has pushed out some major updates to Google Spreadsheets, its web-based answer to Excel. Here's the word from Google Operating System blogger Ionut Alex. Chitu"

Lifehacker Book Preview, Chapter 2: Firewall Your Attention

Lifehacker: "You know what? You've got a set number of minutes to spend during your adventurous trip from cradle to grave, so you might as well spend 'em paying attention to the stuff that counts."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

New job: First Hand

American Players Theatre (an 1100+ seat classical, outdoor Equity theatre with Costume Shop of 30+) has openings for a First Hand for 2007 season of five shows in rotating rep. Position available is on the team for Much Ado About Nothing. Experience with period construction, outdoor theatre and/or extended runs preferred. Competitive salary plus housing. Contract dates: April 26 to June 16. Send letter, resume, 3 references (+ phone numbers) to: Production Manager, AMERICAN PLAYERS THEATRE, P.O.Box 819, Spring Green, WI 53588, or email attachment to broh@americanplayers.org
Dates: Apr 26, 2007-Jun 16, 2007
Pay: Competitive plus housing

New job: Production Assistant

American Players Theatre (an 1100+ seat classical, repertory outdoor Equity theatre) seeks early career technical theatre personnel for Production Assistants. Support all aspects of the company and work with experienced professionals. Primary responsibilities: scenery changeovers, assorted maintenance, running crew, miscellaneous lifting and moving. Also focused work with specific departments. Must be able to work outdoors in all weather, and handle regular heavy lifting. Car required and housing provided. Contract dates: 4/26 or 5/14 to 10/13. Send letter, resume, 3 references (+ phone numbers) to: Production Manager, AMERICAN PLAYERS THEATRE, P.O.Box 819, Spring Green, WI 53588, or email attachment to broh@americanplayers.org
Dates: Apr 26, 2007-Oct 14, 2007
Pay: Plus housing

CFA Announcements



Last Call for Artwork _________________________________________________

Deadline for Entry: 9 a.m. TOMORROW Thursday, November 31, 2006

The College of Fine Arts is requesting submissions of artwork for its annual Holiday Card. We are looking for an interesting image that will work for the Holiday Season or the College of Fine Arts ­ or both! The original art can be in any medium as long as the image is provided in digital format and works as an image for a card. The artwork can be submitted as an image only or as a fully designed card with wording. This is open to anyone from the CFA community ­ staff, students or faculty.

REQUIREMENTS

Submission: Must be an original work, created by the submitter. Submit as a
72 dpi digital file but must also be available in a minimum size of 5² x 7² and 300 dpi for printing.

Open to: All CFA faculty, staff and students Send to: Karen Ferguson at ksf@andrew.cmu.edu
Selection: The final image will be selected by the dean and the artist will be notified by December 5.

If the successful submission is student work, the student-artist will get an award of $200.

Time Change __________________________________________________________

The time for the Opera Scenes scheduled for Friday, December 1 is now 7 p.m., not 8 p.m. as originally posted.

ETC __________________________________________________________________

Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center will hosts its Building Virtual Worlds presentation December 6 at 6 p.m. in McConomy Auditorium.

Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education - Inside Higher Ed :: A Primer on Electronic Communication

Inside Higher Ed: "Often enough we are faced with a question that can best be answered by someone else, possibly a complete stranger. The upside of the Internet is that we can quickly contact folks without much effort. The downside of the Internet is that people can contact us without much effort. "

Lauded 'Sheep and the Whale' to Get English-Language Premiere in Canada

Yahoo! News: "A sunken boat. Recovered bodies. A survivor. A passing freighter. A wave of contemporary issues. These are elements of the honored play, The Sheep and the Whale, by Moroccan-born Canadian writer Ahmed Ghazali."

'This could actually work'

Guardian Unlimited Arts: "Can five people write one play? And will the results be any good? Maddy Costa on an extraordinary collaboration about violence, identity theft - and Hermes handbags "

RE-CREATIONS MUDDLE TONYS

New York Post Online Edition: "SHOULD 'A Chorus Line' and 'Les Mis erables' - two re vivals that are pretty much carbon copies of the original productions - be eligible for Tony Awards?"

African Continuum Founder Exiting At Season's End

washingtonpost.com: "Jennifer L. Nelson, the founding artistic director of African Continuum Theatre Company, announced yesterday that she is stepping down from the top job at the city's most visible black theater group."

Keeping Beirut's nights alive

Marketplace: "Amid wars and assassination, many in Beirut have turned to the city's nightclubs for escape. Ben Gilbert looks at the difficulties club owners face in keeping the doors open."

Stage Right students take on 'A Christmas Story'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Tony Marino, artistic director of Stage Right Theatre Company in Greensburg, has chosen the holiday favorite as one of two student productions offered throughout the year by the company's Children and Youth Theatre. He says he discovered the stage adaptation of the movie during a random Internet search of popular holiday plays."

Trouble at a Saudi Play

New York Times: "A group of men stormed the stage during a performance in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, of “Wasati Bila Wasatiya” (“A Moderate Without Moderation”), a play critical of religious conservatives, Reuters reported, citing Saudi newspapers and Web sites."

The Actors’ Temple - The Big Voice: God or Merman?

New York Times: "Impressive, those names in the sanctuary of the little synagogue on West 47th Street in Manhattan: Joe E. Lewis and Sophie Tucker on the stained-glass windows, Jack Benny on a plaque in the rear. The names tell you why, in its golden age, this synagogue became known as the Actors’ Temple. They also tell you something about when that golden age was."

Wilhelm Scream - Hollywood's favorite scream

Boing Boing: "A single scream, recorded for the 1951 film 'Distant Drums,' has made its way into dozens of films, games and TV shows. Afficianados call it the 'Wilhelm Scream' and have cataloged many of the films in which it appeared, from Hercules to Pirates of the Caribbean, The X-Files to the short 'Golden Dreams' film at Disney California Adventure."

Obituary: Albert Olivieri / Actor, owner of popular South Hills beauty salons

Post Gazette: "Both were actors, although one was struggling and one was most definitely not. They weren't related, either, despite the similarity of their last names. But therein lies a tale, and actually, its star is Albert Olivieri, the Pittsburgher -- not the fabled actor Laurence Olivier, who plays only a minor role."

Mary Poppins tries on Bourne identity

csmonitor.com: "'One of the things you notice when you read the ['Mary Poppins'] books is that P.L. Travers was a big dance lover,' says Bourne, who talked about the show during a recent rehearsal break. 'She wanted to be a dancer. People in her stories often end up dancing, and dancing is an expression of joy. I felt we had her seal of approval to put in as much dance as possible.'"

A costume design empress

Los Angeles Times: "It seems an odd match at first: a Japanese costume designer famous for Asian period pieces takes on the decadence of ancient Rome. But Wada, who won an Oscar for 'Ran' in 1986 and more recently worked on the films 'Hero' and 'House of Flying Daggers,' is no slave to tradition. She has banished the toga and in its place has mounted an array of fantastical couture brimming with modern shapes and bold colors. Her royal line is on stage in Los Angeles Opera's production of 'The Coronation of Poppea,' which was set to open on Saturday."

Losing the lion's share

Los Angeles Times: "'The Lion King' is back in town — and it eats dancers like so much zebra meat.
On a sunny mid-November morning, more than 100 dancers of all shapes and sizes, in prim ballet tights, bright African prints, hip-hop gear or sexy Spandex, lined up outside North Hollywood's Screenland Studios at an open casting call for the Broadway and touring productions of 'The Lion King.'"

In 'Pageant,' questions left unanswered

The Boston Globe: "We're all searching for answers. At least, that's what the central character, L. Ron Hubbard, tells us in 'A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant,' which Boston Theatre Works is staging at the Boston Center for the Arts. So here are a few of the answers I'm searching for."

Mob play can go on, judge says

Orlando Sentinel : Theater: "Italian-Americans upset over a suburban school play titled Fuggedaboutit -- A Little Mobster Comedy, performed by 'the Bada Bing Players,' lost their federal court bid Wednesday to halt this weekend's production."

Cicadas be damned, the shows must go on

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: "The first snow of the season has yet to fall, but the powers that be up at Highland Park's Ravinia Festival are thinking ahead to a sunny summer. They also are heeding warnings about an attack of unusually noisy cicadas -- something that has occurred quite regularly every 17 years for the past century, and is scheduled for late May and June next year. "

A Picasso

Pittsburgh City Paper: "Welcome to Nazi-Rama! Two weeks ago on the local stage it was a play set in Auschwitz. Last week, a script about Holocaust survivors. And this week, it's City Theatre's production of A Picasso, by Jeffrey Hatcher, in which the artist is interrogated by -- show of hands please -- a Nazi! Can Sound of Music be far behind?"

The Secret Letters of Jackie and Marilyn

Pittsburgh City Paper: "Grace Kelly was a slut! This point is made repeatedly, and to great comic effect, in Mark Hampton and Michael Sharp's The Secret Letters of Jackie and Marilyn, adapted from Wendy Leigh's novel and receiving its world premiere at the Pittsburgh Public Theater."

Actors' Equity Wins NLRB Election at American Girl Place

actorsequity.org | News #038; Media: "Following a two-day unfair labor practice strike this past summer, and myriad requests for recognition of Equity, the adult actors and assistant stage managers at American Girl Place have voted in favor of Actors' Equity as their bargaining representative. The vote was conducted in an NLRB-supervised election on November 17th and 18th. American Girl Place, Inc must now sit down with Equity to negotiate a contract for all shows at the AGP emporium on 5th Avenue in NYC."

Equity's Memorandum of Understanding: Works For Me

actorsequity.org | News #038; Media: "Working under the memorandum, you have the advantage of receiving all the benefits and protection that our union offers AND you can negotiate your fee with your employer. What actor doesn't appreciate the opportunity to craft his/her own wages?"

New job: Technical Director

Busy production company in Nashville needs a strong willed and experienced Technical Director. Projects like cruise ship entertainment, theatrical shows, trade shows, conventions, corporate events. Drafting skills and project planning skills very important. Comprehensive expertise in all areas of production. Ability to estimate budgets in short time frame and keep producers on track with planning. Challenging full-time position with full benefits.

This is not an official post from the company, I am the scenic charge and they have asked me for referrals. Please email me if you are interested. ericaesthetic@hotmail.com

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Blue Man Group

Las Vegas SUN: "The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 720 is planning a protest of the 'Blue Man Group' production at the Venetian. The protest is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Venetian (better not hold it in the parking garage; no one will find it). The group says it is planning the informational picket to protest the actions of Blue Man founders Chris Wink, Matt Goldman and Phil Stanton. The group contends the protest is the result of 'the failure of Blue Man Group owner Matt Goldman's promise to recognize the results of an NLRB election for union representation his employees won earlier this year.' The news release also features this none-too-oblique warning: 'While a peaceful protest is planned, Local 720 has asked the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police to assist with tourists and their families who may get caught in the crush of activist union members, spoiling their Las Vegas vacation experience, while on the sidewalk in front of the Venetian.' ¦"

Yes, Please Offend Me (But Thanks for Checking)

Inside Higher Ed: "In an era in which seemingly anything can offend anyone, one professor at the University of Idaho is attempting to stay one step ahead by asking film students to sign a “statement of understanding” acknowledging the potentially offensive or repugnant content they’ll be viewing."

Four New Works Will Be Explored in CanStage Reading Series in Toronto

Yahoo! News: "Titles and playwrights have been announced for CanStage's new initiative, The RAW! RAW! RAW! Play Reading Series, a series of readings of new plays in December."

Why all the drama about musicals?

Guardian Unlimited: "Perhaps we get the theatre we deserve. Straight drama will close unless people go and see it. There might be a lot of good drama on the TV and at the pictures but there is even better stuff on stage if people would just make the effort."

NLRB Sets 'Model' Election for Dec. 4

Backstage: "The National Labor Relations Board has set a secret-ballot representation election for Dec. 4 for about 40 production and preproduction employees on the CW's 'America's Next Top Model,' which IATSE has been seeking to organize."

Canadian Actors, Producers Return to Table

Backstage: "Canadian actors and North American producers will return to the bargaining table today to possibly work out a new labor deal and avert a Canadian actors strike early in the new year."

American Girl Contests Union Election

Backstage: "American Girl Place, the doll store that has been sparring with Actors' Equity Association over the union's attempts to represent the adult employees at its Manhattan theatre, is contesting the outcome of the election that gave Equity the right to negotiate a contract for the actors and stage managers there."

Google Calendar Todo Integration

lifehack.org: "Remember The Milk has added a support on integrating their software into Google Calendar, with add, edit, complete functionality on the tasks so you don’t have to leave your Google Calendar page"

A pause to remember Broadway composer Comden

Reuters.com: "Tuesday night the marquee of every Broadway theater will be dimmed at exactly 8 p.m. for one minute in memory of the great Betty Comden, who teamed with the late Adolph Green to write the books and lyrics for some of the most acclaimed and beloved musicals on stage and in film, including 'Singin' in the Rain.'"

What makes Tom Stoppard tick?

Slate Magazine: "The first part of Tom Stoppard's epic 2002 trilogy, The Coast of Utopia, opened yesterday at New York's Lincoln Center, and his new play, Rock 'n' Roll, continues its run in London. In an 'Assessment' published in 1999 and reprinted below, A.O. Scott argued that the playwright was ultimately more of an entertainer than a revolutionary artist. Scott concluded, 'What we get is mostly less than meets the eye: the erudition of the cocktail party and the emotional range of a good TV sitcom, middlebrow pleasures dressed up in the trappings of high learning—modernism without difficulty. Stoppard is often called a playwright of ideas, but he is more accurately a playwright of the idea of ideas.'"

With bodies on display, science center to attract visitors and ethical questions

Detroit Free Press: "Organized by Universe Within Touring Co. in Baltimore, the exhibit features real human bodies, with the skin removed, preserved by a process called plastination, in which fluids are removed and replaced by plastic that hardens and permanently preserves the body."

Curious' "365" stagings amazing

DenverPost.com: "Can theater get any better than the kind that stops traffic?
The initial offerings in the '365 Days/365 Plays' national festival at the Acoma Center created a living, pulsing collaborative energy unlike anything this theater community has produced before."

Trouble for WTC Arts Center

Broadway News: Show Business Weekly: "A terror expert's recommendation that an emergency access lane be built to underground parking sites at Ground Zero may postpone the completion of a performing arts center in the same area."

Something stinks in Urinetown

News: Show Business Weekly: "When a mid-sized, Midwestern stage company licenses a hit Broadway musical, it goes without saying that the writers of said musical should be duly compensated. But what if you had contributed to the show in areas like directing, choreography or lighting? Would you be entitled to a piece of the action?"

David Seah on wall-based productivity pr0n

43 Folders: "David Seah explores a treasure trove of lo-fi productivity pr0n, as provided by the vertical-surface-loving folks at Magnatag. "

Sewell, Stoppard, Turner, et al. Win Evening Standard Awards

TheaterMania.com: "Rufus Sewell, Sir Tom Stoppard and Kathleen Turner were among the winners of this year's Evening Standard Awards, which were presented at London's Savoy Hotel."

Register for the Sennheiser RF Seminar

Lighting&Sound America Online: "The Sennheiser RF Seminar will take place on 6 December 2006 at the Renaissance Washington Hotel in Washington D.C. from 10am to 5pm. Between them, Schmitt and Ciaudelli have over 21 years of RF experience that ranges from the creation of the 3000 and 5000 Series Sennheiser wireless products to frequency coordination for Broadway productions, major theme parks, and broadcast networks. "

Monday, November 27, 2006

Far be it for me to criticize The Eberly Center

The On-Line Faculty Course Evaluation (FCE) system is now open for Fall 2006 Semester courses, and will remain open until 8AM Monday, December 11th.

Research by the Eberly Center and other institutions shows that the single most effective way to increase student participation substantially is for you to explain to students why the evaluation is important to you and how you use the information. If you take just a few minutes to encourage your students to complete the evaluation for your course, your response rates are likely to increase significantly.

FCE login: http://www.cmu.edu/fce

World's Longest Running Play into 55th Year

Backstage: "The producer of Agatha Christie's thriller 'The Mousetrap' predicted on Monday that the world's longest running play would never close.
As the classic whodunnit embarked on its 55th year, current producer Stephen Waley-Cohen said he couldn't see an end in sight for the popular London tourist draw."

Theater Review: Art brushes with politics in 'A Picasso'

Post Gazette: "It's 1941 in Nazi-occupied Paris. We're in a cellar with bare stone walls, cone-shaded lights and shelves of draped objects, one suggesting a corpse. With his back to us stands a trench-coated man, truculent, feet apart, ready for ... what?"

BBC Concert for Children In Need

LIVEDESIGN: "Three powerful gusts of wind lifted and twisted the Serious Stages Orbit roof built over the stage for the BBC’s Children In Need concert at Eirias Park in Colwyn Bay, Wales last week."

Ruhl's the real genius

Chicago Tribune: "For starters, I reviewed the then-unknown Ruhl's 'Orlando' at Evanston's Piven Theatre in 1998 and completely failed to appreciate that I was watching the early work of a woman who would soon be not only a certified MacArthur Foundation genius, but inarguably one of the leading contemporary American playwrights."

Stage Rarities

The Dallas Morning News: "Joel Grey. Harvey Fierstein. Sarah Bernhardt. Tennessee Williams. Gypsy Rose Lee. Truman Capote. These are some of the great names of theater popping up at Lincoln Center, where the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts marks the 75th anniversary of its Billy Rose Theatre Division with an exhibit culled from 9 million items from great shows, plus circus, vaudeville and Americana."

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Production Planning - Season Calendar

Question:

For the assignment "Season Calendar",
Should we consider Rehearsal time?

Or just do the phases (design, budget, preconstruction....)in the Structure "Production Schedule Templates" to make a 07-08 calendar?

Answer:

You are welcome to try to integrate rehearsal onto your calendar. It is not, however, a parameter of the assignment.

Production Planning - Information Distribution Roundup

I am sorry to say that I have been sidelined by a fairly nasty stomach virus or something. So I am going to have to cancel class tomorrow. In lieu of meeting I would like to give you what I hope is an 80 minute assignment covering the same topic. Class tomorrow was scheduled to be about information distribution, memos and email.

Please locate an article from a newspaper or magazine, offline or on, about information distribution within a project group. Read the article and then write a one page summary explaining:

  1. what the article was saying
  2. what the main points were
  3. how this advice would work/fit within the kind of environment we’ve been discussing
  4. your opinion of the argument
  5. proper MLA citation of the piece you read.

This will be worth 10 points and will replace any existing 10 points worth of homework (applied to a single assignment).

Please submit this assignment by email, to me, by the end of the day Friday. I will then cobble together everyone’s work into a memo/email guide that should be at least as informative as my lecture would have been and redistribute it to the class for your use.

I apologize again for having to cancel class. I hope I will see you Monday.

Brogan, Chris. “When Emailing, Think Press Release.” 2006. Long Island University. 13 Nov 2006. < http://www.liu.edu/cwis/CWP/library/workshop/citmla.htm>

1) This article talks about ways to treat an email to a group. The author states, “When emailing, think press release.” He suggests many ways to make the email more effective and interesting for the readers.

2) The author’s main points are:

a. Make the subject stand out

b. Put a useful date in the subject—if the meeting is upcoming, include the day of

the week.

c. Lay all the essentials on the table before going into detail

d. Make headlines so it’s easy to skim

e. URLs help!

3) This article pointed out some good pointers. All of these suggestions are helpful for us. If a PM divides his or her email into sections, the prop master can simply skim to what really matters to him/her after reading the first paragraph (the important stuff—who, where, what, when). Dates are incredibly helpful, especially when one has tons of rehearsal reports in their inbox yet to be sorted, or sorted into a “Pending” folder.

URLs for example make things so much easier. I’m glad the author included this.

4) The author of this article offers great advice. What’s even better? He follows it. I would not have retained nearly as much in this article if it weren’t laid out so nicely.

E-Mail: The No. 1 Productivity Buster.

April 20, 2001, < http://www.wirelessnewsfactor.com/perl/story/9115.html>

This article discusses the loss in productivity that has resulted from email in the workplace. DeLong states that email has replaced the water cooler and conference room as places to confer. He cites a report from the Gartner Group stating that workers spend an average of 49 minutes a day managing email and that a quarter of workers spend over an hour daily emailing. Delong also states the lack of security in email messages. He states that people feel email is more secure, when in fact it is easier to get a hold of an email than a paper message. DeLong claims that unnecessary emails are what cause the majority of the problems within the workplace. DeLong cites the Gartner Group recommending “more use of internal chat rooms, bulletin boards and instant messaging, all of which can be more efficient than e-mail when employees are working in teams.”

Email is used a great deal to communicate within a theatre company and a production team because it is highly irregular for all people participating to be in the same place at the same time. It is very useful to have an efficient communication medium such as email, but we do have to recognize the situations in which different forms of communicating are appropriate. This article explained how email can be an inefficient method of communicating in certain situations. It is very useful to have an efficient communication medium such as email, but we do have to recognize the situations in which different forms of communicating are appropriate. I can see how email can be inefficient to manage, but it is far more efficient than postal mail is. There really just needs to be thought put into an email before it is sent, and consideration of whether it needs to be sent at all.

“Test your friends’ reading ability with Spam Arrest” Life Hacker.com 28 Jan 2005.28 Jan 2005 http://www.lifehacker.com/software/tag/test-your-friends-reading-ability-with-spam-arrest-31452.php?mail2=true#mail2friend

1. What the article was saying

It was about how to prevent getting spam mails by sending reading tests to e-mail senders; when somebody send e-mail, instead of delivering it to receivers, the Spam Arrest will send reading tests back and test senders are real humans or not. After verify once, they will deliver the original e-mails and senders will not have to get the test again.

2. What the main points were

Preventing all spam mails and receive only mails that are written by humans

3. How this advice would work/ fit within the kind of environment we’ve been discussing

When we register in some theatre/ musical websites, we will get information about what is going on in theatre world and will sometimes ask to get some information from members for promotion purposes or else. This Spam Arrest will also prevent those emails.

4. Your opinion of the argument

Nowadays, many companies use email for commercial purpose. When I check my emails, most of them are about what they are selling lately. I remember once when I received about email saying that I was picked to receive a brand new laptop and asking information about me. I put my information and registered on few websites as they asked. However, they were asking endless questions and I gave up on filling in all the information. I surely did not get any gifts from them and I had to call five companies to cancel my registration on their website. Otherwise, I had to pay after their free trials. Each company made me hold more than 30 minutes and it was such a wasting time. After that I do not even read my e-mails and just erase them all, because it takes forever to go over all the emails. Therefore sometimes I miss really important email or information that I am interested.

If I use the Spam Arrest, I will get emails only from human and it will save my times. However I will miss information that I get from companies that I am interested to hear from. It can be convenient, but it seems to be little too much of preventing e-mails.

Gillmor, Steve. “BitTorrent and RSS Create Disruptive Revolution”. Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc. (14 Dec. 2003) 10 Nov. 2006 <http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1413403,00.asp>.

The article, which was published in December 14 of 2003, talks about how BitTorrent peer-to-peer and RSS feeds were disruptive technologies that produce an effective outcome when they work together. It potentially eliminates the problems that exist concerning RSS feeds and its polling issue.

RSS feeds are ‘XML text files generated by blogs, websites and other web servers that desktop clients- called RSS Readers- download on a set schedule, usually once an hour’ (Gillmor 1). The issue concerning RSS feeds is that users are limited to posting information to their subscribers due to size and/or bandwidth usage of the RSS files.

BitTorrent, is ‘an elegant protocol for distributing files, one that takes advantage of “the unused upload capacity of your customers”’ (Gillmor 2). In other words, the program breaks up files for customers to download and collects divided files, assembling them together from local positions. This allows for rapid downloads and therefore, is an immense distribution of data across multiple sites.

Therefore, the author’s proposition works like this, whereby the two programs work off of each other. The BitTorrent program supplies more nodes on the network to serve the pieces of the feeds and, thereby, helps distribute the information faster from one computer to another. The outcome is a much more efficient and powerful way for web-based information distribution.

Information distribution from what I understand is an efficient process for distribution information within a system. For theater, information distribution is very important especially because it is such a fast paced working environment where information needs to be received at a very precise time for the system to be at its best. From this article on RSS and BitTorrent programs, theater in much the same way probably has advanced with its distribution of technology according to the advancement of computing technologies. For example, D. Boevers is using Blogspot, a blogging site to upload articles on a daily basis to inform us of news that concern the theater world. Therefore, the distribution of theater is more accessible through the web and more time efficient. Information distribution has to be a quick and accessible process and this article informs us that in our fast paced environment, time efficient technologies are exactly what we need in the theater world.

Sherwood, Kaitlin Duck. “A Beginner's Guide to Effective Email, Revision 2.0.” World Wide Webfoot Press, Created 10 Dec 1994. 11 November 2006.

http://www.webfoot.com/advice/email.top.html#intro

A Beginner's Guide to Effective Email.” is literally a guideline for people starting to use “email”. It offers the methods for conducting an effective communication when people sending messages to others by email. As a matter of fact, this guideline is not only for an email-using beginner but also for everyone at the age people use “email” as a communication media.

Briefly explaining the content of the article “A Beginner’s Guide to Effective Email”, it is about how a user to write an email from “Subject Line” to “Context”. Furthermore, the article introduces how to quote the previous message and how to use punctuation for appropriately expressing intonation and emotion. Since the various softwares offer different functions to read email, the author also talks about the proper methods to choose “Format “ and to type web links etc. The thoughtful author’s suggestion indeed provides a common guideline for the modern email users.

Nowadays, almost everyone would receive a mountain of emails each day. People working on a project usually pass information, idea, meeting agendas and memos etc. by email. Plus, there are some personal emails and huge junk ones. Then, it is likely fishing a needle in the ocean in order to sort out the emails that we need. Therefore, it is important that we need to make our correspondents promptly find out our email and read it smoothly.

Moreover, the communication by writing is rather different from vis-à-vis. The writing cannot talk, so it is sometimes fairly difficult to convey the correct emotion by email. The worse thing, misunderstanding, might happen. This might cause a negative communication and would affect the efficiency of working by email, as well. Sometime, appropriately using punctuation can help to express and emphasize our meaning.

Despite the communication and information distribution by email is efficient, even we write it carefully, the writing just cannot properly and completely express our meaning. My personal experience let me know oral communication is necessary at times. Even it might be a long distance phone call. After wall, we want to work with other people not only efficiently but also correctly.

Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team. "Information Distribution." 15 May 1997. Internet Issue Team Report. 1997.

My article is from The Forest Health Technology Enterprise System’s newsletter discussing their efforts to use the Internet to maximize their communication and overall efficiency of the company. It discusses the numerous benefits of the company expanding its electronic methods to distribute information by use of emails and a more interactive website. The points it makes are very interesting and beneficial to the world of theater. Here are some of the points the article makes about the benefits of the new attempts of information distribution online:

-Providing easy access to information for a broad

audience.

-Reducing publication costs.

-Enabling on-line training and distance learning.

-Linking interagency tasks.

-Improving customer service.

ALL of these benefits are the same as the benefits of information distribution in theater. The easy access to the broad audience is most relevant. In theater, with so many personal on hand, it is often hard communicating to such a large group.

Holland, Kelley. "The Silent May Have Something to Say." The New York Times 5 Nov. 2006. 8 Nov. 2006 www.nytimes.com

This article is on the notion that many times, in companies, there are numerous people who are not speaking up to voice their concerns or opinions. This can stem from many different things from being the outcast (i.e. a 60 year old in a company full of college graduates), to Managers who just are not approachable as people. Companies that do not address this problem are halting the creative input into the company, and not addressing the needs of all the staff. The good thing is, are that other companies have developed methods to improve the environment.

The main points of the article are this:

It has become a much bigger problem that people are not speaking up nowadays. When a company’s sole goal was to make a product, many managers knew what needed to be done and just organized the workers to get it done. But company’s working with that same mindset nowadays, are losing a chance at critical information from their employees.

Managers who seem reluctant about communication can make employees reluctant to speak about their own concerns, on anything from atmospherics to career goals.

Companies who keep their employee’s muzzled, instead of opening up to them, will lose more than just creative input, they will lose the drive of the employee’s themselves.

IBM has started up ValuesJam, when roughly 50,000 employees logged in at various points to a 72-hour online discussion of the company’s core values and how they were not lived day to day.

General Motors has adapted what they call “Rap Sessions” with all the managers at the plants. It is designed to make the managers vulnerable so that you have to hear people telling you that you are wrong; however, in the end they wind up with a solution that everyone is happy with.

Intuit instituted an annual employee survey that gives managers a snapshot of employee’s feelings on a range of company practices. They also hold “skip level” meetings in which managers meet with people not on their level.

“You’re looking for input so you can make a better decision.”

This advice would fit very well in the environment that we have been discussing. We have been talking about how to not make meetings seem like lectures and also how to make sure that the meeting you are calling needs the people that are there. This article addresses both of those, and it addresses other methods of information distribution, from Value Jams to “Rap Sessions”. These are all better ways to communicate with everyone working on a project and to make sure that everyone’s voice is heard.

My opinion of the argument is that it is a completely valid and justifiable argument. It is very true that there are many people on a managerial level that can sometimes give off an air of inapproachability and completely seem like they do not give a care in the world. I also believe that sometimes being the minority in a situation can cause a great pressure if one tries to voice their opinion. Which is why I think that these other, non-intrusive, pressure free methods work very well in making sure that the voice of everyone is heard and that creativity is not brought to a standstill in a project because someone doesn’t feel that it is safe to speak.

http://www.projectmanagement.tas.gov.au/f_sheets/communicationstrategy_fsv1.0.htm

Project Management. Tasmanian State Government Fact Sheets. Project Management Fact Sheet: Developing a Project Management Communication Model. accessed 11.9.06.

This article, extracted from the official website for the State of Tasmania’s government employees, provides an outline for and explanation of the necessity for formalized communication models within project management. According to the article, a project manager must first identify a communication strategy in which the purpose of the document is identified, along with its background (an explanation), objective (because audiences like to understand a documents purpose, and the identification of a targeted audience, in order to determine effective communication methods and messages. In addition, it is suggested that key messages are identified for inclusion of the communication plan along with communication tools (the methods of relaying the message) along with a communication action plan strategy in which the target audience, methods, and costs associated with the undertaking. The document goes on to further explain each of the individual components contained with the plan, breaking down for the reader what or who a target audience may be and so on. For purposes of this assignment it is not necessary to flush these out as much as it is important to discuss the significance of such a document.

It is imperative when working within any organization that a framework for effective project communication is built into a project management model, whether that project is managed and executed by two or twenty people. Why? Because without effective, ongoing and accurate communication steps may be repeated, ad nauseaum, and to the detriment of the health of any undertaking, whether large or small. Similarly, the need to impart a framework exists because of information overload, much like what happens with the painful email chains that we have all experienced, where people literally attempt to converse, in a group, by email. The end result is disastrous, where the only thing accomplished is the waste of the two most precious professional resources: time and energy.

In an environment like the one we discuss in class, to set down ground rules and explanations for the methods we will employ throughout the duration of a project will be to save employees and managers alike from the unnecessary frustration of misguided or misinterpreted messages. Similarly, to understand an audience, in this case ones employees, and to imagine what information they need in order to be effective, is to demonstrate both by example and doctrine, how to effectively meet deadlines, alleviate confusion, and streamline processes to create a healthful and productive work environment.

Lawrence, Steve, and Lee Giles. "Accessibility and Distribution of Information on the

Web." Nature 400 (199): 107-109. 10 Nov. 2006

http://cybermetrics.cindoc.csic.es/cybermetrics/pdf/94.pdf

This article is arguing that the biased ways of popular search engines are effecting more than just what websites are selected from a search; search engines are beginning to influence the way people think and make opinions. Search engines have begun to screen what websites come up first. It is far more likely for a commercial cite to be first on the list than an educational site. The “indexing” of the websites are also affecting the way we shop and therefore affecting the economy. 83% of people use search engines to find information for research, shopping, etc. Search Engines are beginning to form and manipulate the way people read research, and pick where they shop online, therefore the commercial websites that are more popular and come first on a search engine are more likely to influence, which is a very true and well thought out argument.

In the theater world, research is common; whether it is research about a play itself, or about purchasing trends the research done online will effect the production. Also, depending on the search engine used people of the theater may come up with different solutions. Basically what the article says is that people are putting too much trust into search engines. With the easy accessibility of search engines and the information they provide, the theater world is an easy victim of this.

Heitmann, Herbert. "New European Network for Communication Professionals Founded." Earthtimes.Org (2006). 10 Nov. 2006 http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,19852.shtml

This article is discussing the creating of a network for communication directors and spokespersons in European companies, associations and political institution. The article talks about the creation of this group and how it is important to foster communication between communication professionals. This group is attempting to create uniform standards regarding communication throughout Europe, and through the standards they hope to create qualifications for being in their industry. They hope to create networks and relationships between their memberships as well as providing their membership with training. They also plan to provide practical information as well as information to their group. This article is very pertinent to the ideas and concepts within the group we have been studying. It speaks to the very nature and need for organizations that bring together professionals within a field in order to train and foster networking. We are lucky in our field that groups of this nature do exist in order to provide training and support for members within our community. I feel as though this article speaks to the importance of people within an industry working together, it provides a space to discuss common issues and learn together.

Dennis, Alan R. Information Exchange and Use in Small

Group Decision Making. Small Group Research,

Nov 1996; 27: 532 - 550.

The article is talking about a study where a group was formed to solve a particular task. All of the members of the group were given different amounts of information. They all shared their information in order to come to the best possible decision of how to approach the task. In the end the group made poor decisions based on the fact that the lacked sufficient information.

Main points included:

-How the study was set up, how the groups were formulated etc.

-What variables were in place, how much information was given.

-What the outcome was, how effective the exercise was.

This article is applicable to what we’ve been studying because it explores how to come up with solutions based on limited information. It talks about filling in the blanks and how to approach building a schedule of task list without having one hundred percent of the information.

Oberg, James. "Why the Mars Probe Went Off Course." IEEE Spectrum 36.12 (1999). 8 Nov. 2006 http://polaris.dit.upm.es/~jpuente/strl04/mars_probe.html

This article recaps the major failings of the Mars Climate Orbiter, discussing why the unit went off course as well as the communication shortcomings that occurred among the parties responsible for the unit’s success. The article first announces that the fatal error and loss of America’s $125 million dollar investment was undeniably due to human error, blunders which occurred not only behind the navigation controls, but during the flight planning process as well. The article points out that this was not an instance of a cooling valve gone wrong, or an exploded propulsion system, but that this unit was indeed ordered off a (figurative) cliff and doomed to a fiery death. These orders were carried out on the assumption that key data delivered from the probe’s builder’s to the probes operators were indeed written in the same ‘language,” in reality however the units distributed by the former to the latter were in an entirely different system (English units of measurement were used in construction, while the metric system was used for operation.

While the article goes on to explain exactly what conversion errors were made, it also points out that procedures existing to catch such miscommunications were also not followed, that aside from conversion error a secondary cause for failure was due to “project management grown too confident and careless, even to the point of missing opportunities to avoid the disaster.” Thus, it is indicated that the conversion error was not the true cause of the orbiter’s destruction but rather that the true cause of failure was the collapse of NASA’s checks and balances system. With the breakdown of this system also comes NASA’s mistake in ignoring early waning signs and misgivings, an example of which was voiced through the medium of a memo; and while a meeting about such misgivings was reportedly held, no resolution was made and no issues dissolved.

The disasters that occurred within the Mars Climate Orbiter projects are problems applicable to any project, terrestrial-based or otherwise. For any project, there has got to be a certain amount of wiggle room that allows for the solving of unknown/unaccounted for problems. And the Orbiter project did provide itself with such wiggle room, in the form of a ‘checks and balances’ system, where colleagues double-check, test and simulate certain situations to ensure that they have as much understanding and control over what should happen and what could happen during the final stages of the project. However, it is not enough to simply have this system if it is underutilized. Such systems are in place to ensure that when miscommunications do happen, they don’t go unnoticed, especially when the stakes are as high as $125 of the taxpayer’s money.

This article is an excellent example of how simple mistakes can snowball into the total and complete failure of a project, and that simply double-checking or recapping a situation can sometimes be all that is needed to remedy a situation, which is something I totally agree with.

Walker, Marlon A. "The Day the E-Mail Dies." The Wall Street Journal. August 26, 2004.

This article is about the benefits of reducing interoffice and interproject electronic communication as a way to improve information distribution. Specifically, the story centered on a big Silicon Valley marketing firm who's vice president, Mr. Burton, banned email on Fridays and employed a one dollar fine per email to anyone who violated the company policy. His hope was to encourage phone and face-to-face communication and minimize the crutch that email had become. There was some lashback among the employees who decided to switch their electronic fix from email to instant messaging, but this was soon banned in the policy as well. The article shared numbers about the amount of time employees spent reading and sending email and it was this astounding amount (sometimes over four hours a day) that Mr. Burton was attempting to cut back.

Some of the benefits of this policy were the reduced time spent checking email and the decrease in office clutter from email printouts. Most importantly, however, the artistic director of the marketing firm said that face-to-face communication manages to eliminate the confusion often caused by ambiguously worded emails and that there has been a noticeable improvement in project completion speed as a result.

I see the advantages to minimizing or banning email within the workplace -- it is a concept that has been accepted by several companies worldwide -- but I don't think it is practical for a theater's production staff. There are too many necessary emails that must be sent on a daily (or near-daily) basis such as rehearsal reports, production meeting notes, crew call notifications, etc. that would be impractical to ban. I agree that encouraging staff to discuss problems and conflicts in person would be a good idea to prevent miscommunication, but mass updates are needed on a timely basis to a large number of people. Email in these cases is a great way to reduce paper waste and lag time of information relay.

Baron, Gerald R. "The Role of Technology in Communication and News Management."

Now Is Too Late. Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2002. Prentice Hall

Professional Technical Reference. 27 Dec. 2002. 10 Nov. 2006

http://www.phptr.com/articles/article.asp?p=30356&seqNum=2&rl=1

Survival in an Era of Instant News. The article, titled “The Role of Technology in Communication and News Management”, is about the fast paced way in which information must be distributed, especially in areas where delays could mean lives. Our environment is typically not that high risk, or at least we hope not, but the means discussed in this article can still be modified and implemented in our situation.

The first half of the article discusses the issues that arise during a crisis, and the problems that often occur. In the situation, which the article is discussing, crises rarely happen during working hours when people might be ready to deal with such issues. Thus, the use of the standard email distribution system cannot be used to notify people because then you are relying on the person who is sending the email to have all the necessary contacts. In additions, it points out that while someone may have the initially correct set of contacts, it will eventually be out of date. The article points out that during a crisis, the people who need to be contacted can change any moment, and rarely will the original contact list still suffice. One such example is the need to contact government officials, or spread the word to a specific district of people. These require much larger dedicated systems to handle the flow and complexity of the mass emails that must be delivered. The solution therefore is a dedicated intranet server, designed to handle these exact situations when they should arise. The benefits are numerous and include being able to click one button, or a limited set of buttons in order to start a mass email and faxing campaign, all automated by the server. Also is the ability to call thousands of people in a matter of minutes as a computer can dial numbers and read a script typed in by an operator. Clearly this is the better system to go with, and for emergency situations works wonderfully. For us however, it seems a bit better to be one step closer to human involvement.

One main reason for this is that we are typically not dealing with as many people who need to be contacted. It is best for us to be able to customize very quickly whom we are talking to, what we want to say, and how we want to present it. Though it may seem archaic to hold meetings instead of some sort of integrated survey or teleconference, the fact is that people in our field, especially on the technical theater side, have the ability to think best on their feet and respond quickly. Due to this, it would not prove beneficial to add extra people or machines into the mix in order to get information passed around. The introduction of email and the internet however has been very widely adopted in our field because of how quick, easy, and customizable the information is. While we still do very well communicating person to person, the use of on-line databases to hold pertinent information is becoming more and more typical. The production website for instance is laid out and designed to distribute information in the quickest way possible for the people who need it. With this site however, it is a must that we be able to update it thousands of times a day if necessary in order to keep everybody up-to-date on the happenings and needs of the productions.

I think that for the emergency sector of information distribution, the use of dedicated servers is a very good solution, especially with so much at stake in a crisis. With the introduction of this software, the limitations change from being mostly human limitations when being speedy, to being the cleverness of the software, and the industry’s ability to use it.

Gootman, Elissa. "Klein Says Principals’ Union is Cause of Contract Impasse." New York Times. 9 November 2006.

The New York Time's article entitled “Klein Says Principal’s Union is Cause of Contract Impasse,” summarizes a scathing memo sent from NYC Department of Education Chairman Joel Klein to all of New York City’s public school administrators. In this emailed memo sent out on November 8th, Chancellor Klein blames the principals union for the fact that public school principals have worked contract free for three years. In the memo Klein also expresses a strong level of frustration with the public school system and points shame on to many groups who work under his command. A main point of the article was to show how the Chancellor’s emailed memo was in extremely poor taste, in regard to respectable communication etiquette within a project group. The New York City public school system, an example of a project group existing for a common goal can easily be affected by poor communication. Chancellor Klein used this memo as an opportunity to stand up on a soap box and give an egotistical lecture. Klein’s lack of memo etiquette creates a situation where much can be learned. First off, a memo is not a place to lecture in a demeaning manner. A memo exists for respectful relaying of information. The information doesn’t even need to be collaborative, just courteous of other people and their responsibilities. The information set forth in this article is extremely valuable, however the article portrays Chancellor Klein in an exaggerated way. As half of the article is written in out of context quotations from this memo, Klein is made to look like a buffoon. The fact that the Chancellor has made such sweeping changes to the city public school system, regardless or not the changes were positive or negative, his ability to lead a project group down a path of productivity can not be denied.

Hopkins, Lee. “Barriers to Business Communication.” http://www.goarticles.com/cgibin/ showa.cgi?C=25640

There are six crunching barriers to business communication:

1. Poor structure to the communication. Audience size is not important; the order and specificity of the information being delivered directly relates to how the audience will receive it. In entertainment this applies to a presentation, email, or other form of communication.

2. A weak delivery. Everything presented must have a powerful end or “punch”. This could also be considered as follow up; no information is left open ended.

3. The use of the wrong medium to deliver the communication. Do not have a meeting when a memo would suffice and vice versa. This applies directly to our industry.

4. A mixed message. Deliver one message at a time. Do not announce to meeting in one email, unless it is a follow up meeting. Do not give unrelated messages in one memo. This will confuse the audience, will give a strong chance to have information overlooked, and will more than likely deliver some information to the wrong audience.

5. The message is delivered to the wrong audience. Don’t send an email to someone who does not need it. It again confuses information and can give people a feeling that they should care about the information being given to them, even if they do not need it.

6. A distracting environment. The information will not be utilized properly and it will require delivering the information to the proper audience later on.

Straus, Susan G. "Getting a Clue: the Effects of Communication Media and Information Distribution on Participation and Performances in Computerized and Face-to-Face Groups." (1996). 10 Nov. 2006 http://sgr.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/27/1/115

The article, “Getting a Clue”, by Susan G. Straus, from Carnegie Mellon University, discusses the many different ways that information can be distributed within groups through communication media and computerized networks. It also discusses the different team oriented processes that can be created to organize an efficient distribution to all parties. It also studies the effects of a fast communicating network. The Article focuses fifty-four 3 person groups that were put together and given a problem solving task to work on in computerized conferences or in personal meetings. There were also additional pieces of information that were delivered to all teams that served as clues to the problem. The study showed that participation levels in some of the electronic communication systems were higher due to the reduction of inhibition levels in all participants.

This article focuses on the different ways to organize the distribution of information to different individuals or teams within a project group. It advocates the use of electronic or computerized networks for benefits of higher participation and speed.

This article would work well in a regional theatre environment because of the amount of teams that are involved in its hierarchy. The use of computerized networks would be beneficial for communicating meeting reports and other information regarding various productions.

Hines, Matt. "Near-Time Debuts Online Collaboration Tools." EWeek 27 Feb. 2006. 10 Nov. 2006

Software company Near-Time has released a new version of their online collaboration service. Some features include tools for sharing and reviewing documents, scheduling and tracking work on projects, and organizing and publishing material to the web. The service is browser based and hosts applications and information. This allows unlimited data and software access from any online computer around the world. The service is targeted to small and medium sized businesses but larger businesses have expressed interest in it as well. The cost of the service will depend on how much storage space you use and can be paid for on a monthly or yearly basis.

One problem that Near-Time has solved in their service is cross platform integration. “While many popular collaboration tools do not integrate with other applications, he said that Near-Time has developed connections into most well-known systems, allowing the hosted service to serve as the glue between companies' own systems, saving them valuable time and money. (Hines)” one concern many larger businesses have is the security of their information. Near-Time promises that its service is completely secure but many companies are still skeptical. "It takes more than producing a nice service to make a dent in the market and be seen, but if they get enough exposure, Near-Time could potentially win some people over. (Hines)"

This service might work well for large commercial entertainment endeavors. Project groups including many people all over the world would benefit from being able to access and modify necessary documents and applications. The benefir of this service is that there is no need to install any extra software. You simply access it through your existing browser. This would really help people who are less computer savvy be able to be involved in the collaboration more. As far as traditional short term theatre goes this service would not be helpful. It would not be worth the amount of time setting the service up with such short turnovers in projects.

http://www.learningcommons.uoguelph.ca/ByTopic/Learning/GroupWork/Fastfacts-GroupWork.html

After a decent amount of searching I was able to find numerous scholarly articles related to basic processes of information distribution with a group or academic project. My final choice of article, an informational document produced by faculty at the Learning Commons at University of Guelph (see link at bottom of the page), relates to managing collaborative work and the schedules, information, and materials produced within the confines of that collaboration.

The articles primary objective is to help, “clarify the objectives and expectations that the course instructor has for the group project” (“Collaborative Group Work”, The Learning Commons @ the University of Guelph, pg.1). To accent this objective the article purposes several bullet points dedicated to synthesizing group collaboration within the context of operational best practices and offers a question and answer method on how to approach concerns and conflicts that may arise during the course of collaborative work:

  1. How can we develop good group dynamic quickly?
  2. What if our schedules do not permit us to meet regularly?
  3. How can we deal with group conflict?
  4. How can we work together without wasting time?
  5. What do we do if a group member is not contributing?
  6. What do we do if a group member is domineering?
  7. Where do we go if we need help?

(“Collaborative Group Work”, The Learning Commons @ the University of Guelph, pgs1-10)

Due to the brevity of this assignment, I will not be able to go into the “answers” section of the document but I will give my thoughts on the quality of the questions posed and its applicability to what we are doing in your class.

I believe there to be much validity to the questions posed in regards to how they relate to collaborative work – they offer a methodical breakdown of the group dynamic in terms of efficiency, time management, conflict resolution and inquiry. As I read through the document in its entirety I was compelled by its thorough and concise format as well as its applicability to our upcoming lecture on project group dynamics. I hope this can be of help to us as a class.

Dewan, Shaila. "Anger Joins Grief as Marine’S Family Feels Misled." The New York Times 5 Nov. 2006. 9 Nov. 2006 http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/05/us/05friendly.html?pagewanted=1

This is an article which concerns the family of a young marine. This marine was killed in what the family was told as a “gun cleaning” incident where he was shot by fellow marine. In truth, the marine who shot the deceased turns out to have a violent background as well as may have injured another Marine. The family feels betrayed in that they bought into the image of the “Marine Family” and were lied to when they allowed their son to join the marine core. It is also not the first instance of officers or other members of the military being killed by their own troops. The Marines claim that the issue of troops killing their own is only an army party and not within their own sect of the military.

This article applies to theatre in terms of placing the blame. When a project falls a part it is easy to not take responsibility for what happens. Instead, theatre technicians can shift the attention from one area to another without ever really resolving the issues at hand. Ultimately, hiding the issues and keeping them hidden does not move the project forward.

Just like the budget does not belong to the department but to the show, the project must still get done in order for the performance to move forward. The story of the marine is tragic, not only in the loss of a young life but also to be killed by his own troops. While the application to theatre might not be apparent the concepts of fear and blame and acceptance are all gone through with every project. Also, the mishandling of tools must also be taken into consideration and to realize that what we work with are not toys.

E-Mail Marketing Has a Great ROI.” Clickz Network. (2006) 9 November 2006

http://www.clickz.com/showPage.html?page=3623879

The article that I read talked about the effectiveness of using e-mail for advertising. E-mail advertising has a return of investment of $57.25 for every dollar that is spent on the advertisement. E-mail advertisements are the most effective for of online advertising today. In order to be effective, advertisers must make their ads stand out from the clutter that is inside their consumer’s inbox.

Some of the things recommended in this article were to segment your ads for whom you are e-mailing. Also, make special offers to the consumer and let the consumers know exactly what it is what you are offering them. The article goes on to explain several other methods of effectively appealing to your consumers.

This article shows how effective online information distribution is becoming. Advertising alone has been very effective as this article shows. Many of us already know about how much e-mail is used to simply contact friends, employees, etc.. Now that so many people own their own computer in some fashion, online information distribution is at it finest. It is simple, cheap, and quick to use. There is no doubt that e-mail is quickly becoming the most preferred way of distributing information whether it is advertising, contacting friends, or informing students.

How to prevent poor communications from hurting your projects. Tom Dormo, Grandview Business Solutions. Retrieved Nov 10th, 2006, from http://www.grandview2000.com/articles/How-to-keep-poor-communications-from-hurting-projects.html

The article How to prevent poor communications from hurting your projects, by Tm Dormo, talks about how a poor organization and information distribution can negatively affect your projects: they are late, over budget, short of goals or cancelled.

Some of the problems can never be predicted, because you can´t controlled always every adverse circumstance that may take place… but, many other times, these complications may be solved with a good communication plan.

According to Tom Dormo, the most common problems a company must face have to do with:

o How to distribute responsibilities within the group

o How to communicate significant changes in status, scope, budget or deadlines

o How to detect issues before they become problems

o How to do deal with problems in an early stage before they become disasters

To solve this issue we must develop an effective communication plan, detailing how information must be distributed, and a verification system. Besides, it is also important to centralize all the information in one place. That way all the team members involved in the project can rapidly check the changes, schedules and details about the project.

According to the article, the questions that should be answered to avoid communication problems are:

o What information is required?

o Who needs it?

o When do they need it?

o How will information be formatted and distributed?

o Who will provide it?

Within the Production Planning field, this information distribution issue becomes of great relevance since the productions gather many different people with different responsibilities and deadlines. In this sense, I think centralization and coordination are the two most important aspects to take into account when managing productions.

I think the bigger a company, the more important the information distribution problem . Fortunately, new technologies help us to deal with problems, making information easier and faster to access. With a good organization and with a systematic procedure about how to inform and report to, everyone can check the information rapidly from any location.

“Teams, Stay on Track with Scrum Meetings.” 2004. SMART Technologies, Inc. Nov 8, 2006. http://www.effectivemeetings.com/teams/teamwork/scrum.asp

“What is Scrum” 2006. Control Chaos. Nov 8, 2006. http://www.controlchaos.com/about/

This Article describes a particular style of meeting, called a scrum, which was developed over the last 20 years for Product Development Teams. The article references a group which teaching this meeting technique and more information about the style can be found there.

The format described is to hold a daily, 15 minute meeting of the independent team members, with management observing at best. Each member of the team answers three questions:

What did you do since the last meeting?

What are you going to do between now and the next meeting?

Is anything in the way of you doing your work?

Any issues arising out of the meeting, including any input from management are dealt with immediately following the meeting.

The whole scrum process is larger than this, but the article really only delved into the meeting format. The process is intended to be used in 15-30 day sprints at the end of the development of a specific product. In our case, this most closely matches with Install, though at times the final week or so of Build is also a sprint.

This could be used as a format for the 6:00 pm crazy scheme meeting, but we tend to approach that meeting still as a meeting between teams with different goals (shows), rather than a meeting of a team with a single goal. This could also work for the larger shows, when there is more delegation, as a means for different members of the team to bring forward what they were working on, and what needs to be done to finish it. The article does not give sufficient insight into the process though to tell if the process would tolerate the high turnover inherent in flexibly staffing our shows. There might just be too much information lost as people work one night and are not available the next to download that information to the group. It seems like it would be worth a try however.

CMU School of Drama