Thursday, November 30, 2006
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.'"
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
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 email@example.com
Dates: Apr 26, 2007-Jun 16, 2007
Pay: Competitive plus housing
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Dates: Apr 26, 2007-Oct 14, 2007
Pay: Plus housing
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.
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 email@example.com
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.
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
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.'"
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. firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
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."
Monday, November 27, 2006
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
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."
Sunday, November 26, 2006
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?
You are welcome to try to integrate rehearsal onto your calendar. It is not, however, a parameter of the assignment.
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:
- what the article was saying
- what the main points were
- how this advice would work/fit within the kind of environment we’ve been discussing
- your opinion of the argument
- 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.
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
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.
DeLong, Daniel F. Mobile Tech Today, 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.
“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
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
-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.
This article, extracted from the official website for the State of
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
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
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
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
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
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’
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
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.
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
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:
- How can we develop good group dynamic quickly?
- What if our schedules do not permit us to meet regularly?
- How can we deal with group conflict?
- How can we work together without wasting time?
- What do we do if a group member is not contributing?
- What do we do if a group member is domineering?
- 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
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,
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.