Flipping the Script Follow-up

I thought I should do a quick follow up entry to the Flipping the Script live-stream issues. In case you didn’t see, insufficient planning/equipment meant that the exciting streamed new reading didn’t actually work until the last 20 minutes, and at that point was running very poor video, and appalling audio quality.

I found this really disappointing for many reasons, but most particularly because as my role as a freelance online comms bod for Theatre Writing Partnership, I’d really been pushing the event, and felt we’d been let down, and worse, had let others down, when it turned into such of a shambles.

This was my (ranty) reaction as I left the mini event we’d set up at the TWP offices:


It turns out they had been trying to use a webcam over a shared wifi connection to run it, and according to a friend who had logged on earlier, had only tested it an hour previously. Although admittedly the reaction audiobooed above is very ranty, the whole experience has reminded me of the importance of emphasising the need to make the tech part of a project, rather than adding it on at the last minute or treating it as a gimmick.

Of course I’m sure Talawa/The Young Vic aren’t going to jump at my height-of-anger offer of interference (why would they), but I was pleased to see that Talawa did respond to the comments in the chat-area of the livestream:

I would like to thank you and at the same time apologise sincerely for the loss of our streaming feed yesterday. Unfortunately, we were relying on WiFi and once the studio doors were closed the signal went with it. We subsequently established a permanent cable link but it was late in the reading. We are grateful for your comments and the very lively exchanges. We learned quite a lot from you and are now ready to hit the ground running with a boosted up, infinitely more reliable, and multi-camera streaming on 8th October. So please join again, or email your comments and/or introduce yourself to me christopher@talawa.com.

I’m really glad that the first knockback hasn’t phased them, and hopefully the 8th of October will provide the brilliant experiment in online new-writing dissemination that the 8th of September failed to deliver. This has been a reminder on my part not to make assumptions about companies’ knowledge or tech-capabilities (for better or for worse), and by far the most positive thing about the experience is that they have revised their approach, and are trying again. Kudos.

Also, on a personal note, my subsequent rant in the mini-gathering at the office about the need to integrate and investigate technology in theatre got me another invite to talk at a conference! That makes three in total, before I’ve even officially started my work. Though always surprised to find people think my rants are of exterior value, it’s thrilling to see that other people are thinking about these things too, and makes me really excited about the prospect of my research. Good stuff.

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2 Responses to “Flipping the Script Follow-up”

  1. Jay Jay September 11, 2009 at 3:52 pm #

    It is unfortunate that there are many creative and intelligent people out there who still (probably quite rightly) consider technology (in this case, the Internet) as a afterthought. You summed it up perfectly in the boo “exoteric” – which is all fine and well if you want to continue down the path you are already on, but when that path changes (and change it will) the preparation isn’t there to help them evolve and adapt to the cultural shifts. I’m often surprised that those who inspired me and helped shape my ideas on this matter are somewhat guilty of forgetting about the need for interaction with the new – it is about breaking comfort zones – and importantly, understanding that the measurement of return on their investment (be it time, money, socialization) may be so far removed from what we traditionally call “a success”.

    It’s great you managed to salvage some positivity from this – and that they are willing to try again. Looking forward to the 8th of October now!

  2. Hannah Nicklin September 11, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    I listen back to my Audioboo now and find it a bit unfair, I think I was just a little frustrated at the powerlessness of having let people down on something I’d put myself behind. I still do believe it could be really exciting, and hope that on the 8th they pull it out of the bag! I also think I’m sometimes guilty of pushing on with passion, and forgetting the practicalities involved in this whole area… much food for thought :)

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