As more and more people are going into confinement, the Internet has become our lifeline to the outside world. Some people are busy juggling online jobs with online schooling for their kids, and their homes are a welcome cacophony of kids’ voices and cries. But imagine the silence for those who are alone; so please reach out if you can. People are “zooming” around, creating online happy hours, digital group activities, and virtual family reunions. I like the creativity.
In our little niche, more and more companies are providing free online training or beefing up their offerings. A new example is Avolites, which has announced the "opportunity to improve or update your skills via online webchat, training or tutorials from our Facebook community forums for both Titan and Ai platforms. Our PC based products, the T1, T2, Titan Mobiles and AvoKeys are still available should you wish to have all the latest features we have developed when our industry bounces back.”
I also appreciate the ingenuity of certain folks, such as my friend, and frequent LDI speaker, Daniel Fine, assistant professor of Digital Media and Performance at The University of Iowa, who has announced #SocialDistancingOfficeHours, as a new a way of getting people to communicate with one another. “This is just one more way of getting people together who have common interests and want to share their ideas,” he says, inviting students and pros to “drop in to talk about classes or art or technology or…I am officially holding Open Office Hours for the upcoming weeks. This is dedicated time I put aside to be in my virtual office, ready to chat with you. No matter who you are. No matter where you are. Let’s chat.”
Another friend, lighting designer Chris Werner, has compiled a list of online resources which he hopes might be of use to friends and colleagues within the entertainment industry. Be sure to check out his work, as two of his projects won our Live Design Excellence Awards this year, including his beautiful holiday lighting of Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store in NYC.
The Technical Theatre Educators Facebook page is a potpourri of information, from summer camp positions and job postings to online teaching tips and cool things like Disney’s Imagineers In A Box. There’s a lot of valuable information here as well as a forum to ask questions and share experiences, even tips on how to sew facemasks. And stay in touch!
Another nice online resource is the digital production series from the Royal Shakespeare Company, a perfect way for students, teachers, and all of us to enjoy the bard while at home. Until the time comes when we can board a plane and visit the RSC in the charming town of Stratford-Upon-Avon and walk in their hallowed halls, this is a good alternative.
Please keep the digital lifeline going, especially those who are home alone…