All I can say is WOW! The response from my first blog was very positive with almost 100 direct link hits. I received over 14 unsolicited positve feedback from people, most of whom I had never met before along with offers to judge, consult, and guest-speak . The only real negative feedback was that it was too long. I agree and intend to keep future blogs shorter. (ok this one is about 500 words shorter, about a 12% decrease...will try harder next time). I had planned to break the 1st blog into 2 parts but at the last minute saw a very long post, and so I got curious as to what would happen if i did post it. More curious than anything else.
Also got blindsided in the face hard with a giant tomato so now I wear a hockey mask along with my aligator skin.
Ok so when they told me to "Go BIG or go home..I was always the first one to go home". While others were giving 110 percent, I gave 85 to 87 percent...88 on a good day. So when I do finally see a prime opening to go BIG if not HUGE...well then Its a new dawn, its a new day, its a new life for me yeah, and thus my continued interest in developing a suite of products to allow SL animations to be edited ...in a virtual sense.
But first I feel the need to address a couple of concerns raised with regards to 'more huds to wear', 'number of scripts' and 'channel usage'.
First off my tools use less than half the number of scripts that the smallest dance HUD uses. Second that huds with menus (channel usage) challenge sim resources noticebly* and are a concern at showtimes. Well first of all I have 3 platforms of tools. The 1st is designed to be used in the privacy of your own home or development studio as this is where you select criterium to direct future scripted actions so this is about as a low-lag of a condition as you could expect and so there should be no concern of performance lag ...since there is no performance But even so, I did an ad-hoc comparison, not super-valid and maybe apples-to-oranges comparison, and my most function-heavy tool weighs in at about 10% of the resources of what is, arguably, the top resource-performance-related HUD. Ok noone was more shocked than I. I expected my baby to relly PIG out on resources. And even, so I do agree I can make it lighter.
The 2nd will be a lighter and less demanding show version with simple icon-based triggered actions. And 3rd will be an even lighter version that is macro-driven so that it embeds into HUDs that you are already using so that you won't have to have yet another HUD on your screen. My device(s) can also be worn on the body as an attachment or rezzed ....if HUD screen space is a concern.
Well thats the plan, anyways. Of course it will take time to create these extra lighter versions so don't expect them to all be released at the same time.
And now for the FREE prize in the cracker-jack box. This time I decided to put the freebie at the beginning since many missed it at the end last time due to the obscene length...they lied when they said size matters
Someone told me that easiest way to create images for my blogs is to create new products, give them away, and take screen shots. Hmmmm. There has to be an easier way...but maybe they're right. I am so trusting. So without further ado, because you've had more ado than any person should have to take...I present to you....TADA!!!...
The DanceTimer I just created was inspired by Nottoo's post on song-timing. (Choreography of a Show). And yes I am offering it FREE for a limited time to DQ members. If I haven't met you then all I ask in return is a face-2-face meeting with you for about 59 seconds and breathe the air you breathe.
The DanceTimer..what is it?:
It saves you from having to watch a timer with a second-hand AND THEN write down the times at precise moments AND THEN calculate the length of each song section, AND THEN time the song 2 more times, AND THEN add the 3 times of each section AND THEN divide by 3 to get an average.
What this timer does is offer a stopwatch face that is toggle start/stop. So simply click on it at the beginning of the song, then click on the RED SQUARE each time you hear a section change. It will remember the times. Then STOP the stopwatch by clicking on the stopwatch face again...and then, if you are happy with your times, click the BLACK UP ARROW to accept and STORE that round of times. (If not then redo it without storing).
Then START the stopwatch again and repeat the process 2 more times. There is an option to RESET when you press the RED SQUARE while the stopwatch is in the STOPPED condition
And there is a PLAY button to play the song using your averaged times. In the future it will be easy to add the ability to trigger other devices at these precise times to say communicate with a HUD, start a dance sequence, trigger a wardrobe-function, fx trigger or ???. You can also name the song sections using a notecard in the HUD. That way the timed sections have more meaning by having a title.
Here is the chat results of 3 sample runs thru 1 of Notoo's 3 SongChange exercises called: Mack the Knife. Ok after going thru it, I could have picked a better song to demo but..hey...this is what ya get.
Most likely I would start a dance about every other section but it was easier for me to click off each section this way.
Averages - Section 1 (Section1) ends at --> 11.0 seconds and is 11.0 seconds long
Averages - Section 2 (Section2) ends at --> 22.0 seconds and is 11.0 seconds long
Averages - Section 3 (Section3) ends at --> 32.7 seconds and is 10.7 seconds long
Averages - Section 4 (Section4) ends at --> 43.7 seconds and is 11.0 seconds long
Averages - Section 5 (Vocals1) ends at --> 54.7 seconds and is 11.0 seconds long
Averages - Section 6 (Section6) ends at --> 65.3 seconds and is 10.7 seconds long
Averages - Section 7 (Section7) ends at --> 76.3 seconds and is 11.0 seconds long
Averages - Section 8 (Section8) ends at --> 87.0 seconds and is 10.7 seconds long
Averages - Section 9 (Solo1) ends at --> 97.3 seconds and is 10.3 seconds long
Averages - Section 10 (Section10) ends at --> 108.3 seconds and is 11.0 seconds long
Averages - Section 11 (Section11) ends at --> 119.0 seconds and is 10.7 seconds long
Averages - Section 12 (Section12) ends at --> 130.0 seconds and is 11.0 seconds long
Averages - Section 13 (Vocals2) ends at --> 140.3 seconds and is 10.3 seconds long
Averages - Section 14 (Section14) ends at --> 151.0 seconds and is 10.7 seconds long
Averages - Section 15 (Section15) ends at --> 161.7 seconds and is 10.7 seconds long
Averages - Section 16 (Section16) ends at --> 172.3 seconds and is 10.7 seconds long
Averages - Section 17 (Solo2) ends at --> 183.3 seconds and is 11.0 seconds long
Averages - Section 18 (Section18) ends at --> 192.7 seconds and is 9.3 seconds long
Below is the results of pressing the PLAY button after you have completed 3 sample entries.
[17:19:07] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: ***********************************
[17:19:07] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Playing Started ! 18 stages
[17:19:07] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Section1 Time Start: 0
[17:19:18] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Section1 Time End: 11.0
[17:19:18] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Clock: 11 seconds
[17:19:18] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8:
[17:19:18] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8:
[17:19:18] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Section2 Time Start: 11.0
[17:19:29] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Section2 Time End: 22.0
[17:19:29] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Clock: 23 seconds
[17:19:29] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8:
[17:19:29] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8:
[17:19:29] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Section3 Time Start: 22.0
[17:19:40] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Section3 Time End: 32.7
[17:19:40] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Clock: 33 seconds
[17:19:40] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8:
[17:19:40] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8:
[17:21:50] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8:
[17:21:50] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8:
[17:21:50] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Section16 Time Start: 161.7
[17:22:01] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Section16 Time End: 172.3
[17:22:01] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Clock: 174 seconds
[17:22:01] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8:
[17:22:01] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8:
[17:22:01] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Solo2 Time Start: 172.3
[17:22:12] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Solo2 Time End: 183.3
[17:22:12] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Clock: 185 seconds
[17:22:12] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8:
[17:22:12] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8:
[17:22:12] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Section18 Time Start: 183.3
[17:22:21] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Section18 Time End: 192.7
[17:22:21] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Clock: 194 seconds
[17:22:21] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8:
[17:22:21] TPT - DanceTimer v1.8: Last Song Section has played
I have found two ways of classifying a production. Vertical and horizontal. Vertical is where one person is in charge of one specialty. Example: One person builds all the sets. Another person choreographs all the routines, another selects all the costumes, while still another is responsible for all of the musical selections.
Horizontal production means that each person is responsible for their own music, set, choreography, and costume, and anything else.
Horizontal productions seem better suited for multiple short acts, while vertical productions seem geared towards a single, longer, act.
It occurred to me that all the many hours spent preparing for a 3-minute routine with lavish sets...seemed to be wasted if only performed once. (I heard that you may see them again in 6 months or so but...) I think that any opportunity to reuse the production, say at another venue in a different time-slot, would give wider exposure to the venue, troupe, and entertainment offering. Many are not aware that this type of media offering exists outside of our circle. But yes, a problem could exist whereby a larger venue is offered a chance to perform away from their home venue...but at a smaller venue. Some sets/shows could adapt and others might not. But for those who could create a 2nd smaller road-show production, there would be more potential playdates....my 2 cents...and I have already seen a move in this direction.
Then I got the idea...well about venues offering to swap or exchange resources. Where applicable, 2 venues could agree to exchange sets, dancers, choreography or whatever else has exchangeable value and practicality. The idea being to offer exposure and widen your viewing audience by presenting to a different locality and time-slot. I have seen some of this happening already. Kudos.
Bring in the Substitute
I've seen and been a part of troupes where one or more members crash during the performance. This is seemingly normal in laggy situations. So I had an idea. How about having an extra troupe member on stand-by to fill-in after some agreed upon time? Good for the show without a doubt, but maybe not so good for egos, pride, and morale. But its an idea worth mulling. I have a device that (in my head), could automatially connect the substitute to the empty dance pad or pose ball after x-seconds of being empty. Hmmmm....
What's the Score?
I have been hearing a lot of comments about what people like and dont like as well as paying attention to what and when people openly applaud parts of an act. Current audiences are so respectful, supportive, positive, uplifting and encouraging, that seldom will you, as performers, hear a discouraging word from audience members, especially if they are not performers themselves.
So a couple people have asked me recently what criterion I used to value a performance. Well I had never stopped to analyze it. After all who gives a .....what what I think?
But...then with due respect, I sat down, slowed down my thought process, and went thru things that stood out that made an impact on me both positive or negative in conjunction with what I've heard others say in private. I tried to look at it using my easy-going-audience hat as opposed to seeing it from the point of a more critical-performer hat, since I think the goal eventually is to play to a higher concentration of non-performing audience members.
So I came up with the following very onofficial, rough, scoring system that is meant to be helpful to those looking for some sort of baseline in determining how well your offering will be or has been received in comparison to an average baseline:
1 - Background
1 - Walls
1 - Floor
2 - Convergent set (3D depth)
1 - BG,Floors,Walls coordinated
1 - Has Props
1 - One animated set of props
1 - Two or more animated props
1 - Breaks 4th wall
1 - Uses particle effects
1 - Parts of actual set structure animate
1 - Higher level platform
2 - Noticeably colorful set
1 - Has Lyrics
2 - Popular
1 - Syncopated Rhythm
1 - Humorous
1 - At least 1 unique dance
1 - At least 2 dances of distinquishably different tempos
2 - Dances change when song sections change
1 - Static opening pose
1 - Static finishing pose
1 - A funny dance
1 - A sexy dance
1 - A dance that shows your backside (a turn)
1 - A dance that uses the floor
1 - A dance that seems airborne for a brief time
-2 - Removal of items in 1st 10 seconds
-2 - Waiting until last 5 seconds before removing any items
-1 - Only 1 round of wardrobe removal
-1 - Plain undergarments
-1 - X-shaped Pasties
1 - Emotes (any type)
1 - Emotes (spontaneously)
2 - Addresses at least 1 member of the audience with a response
-1 - No emoting
1 - More than 1 person dancing
1 - Dancing in Sync
2 - Use of changing formations
2 - Smooth transitions
1 - Same costumes
1 - All emoting
2 - Two different routines performed at same time by 2 different troupe groupings
1 - Allowing part of troupe to freeze while other part continues dancing.
1 - Live Voice MC
1 - Spontaneous unscripted Voice MCing
1 - Host or Hostess
1 - Program Offering
1 - Custom Light setting
How to use the above tabulation method:
Add or subtract points for your performance. The higher the score, the more the audience is likely to have enjoyed it and I am speaking more about audience members who are not performers themselves There is of course a ceiling at which point it can approach gimmickry if one tries to aim for the highest score by thowing everything into the mix.
I think this scoring has more value in relative comparisons for the same show rather than comparing oferings from different venues. It is an indicator of how you will be received in comparison with others acts on the same program. I think the aim should not necessarily to be "the best of show" but to narrow the gap between "best and worst" so the show has a more consistent level of audience-satisfaction.
Active vs Passive
I find I enjoy a show more when I am actively experiencing it as opposed to passively experiencing it. Active implies that I am more attentive and aware of what is going on. Passive implies that I am sort of zoning out, mind wandering, entranced, unfocused. I tend to drift from back and forth between the 2 modes. The more time I have spent actively viewing and listening, the more I enjoy the performance. Maybe I have mild ADHD? If you ask me what I remember about a performance, well the more atentive I was, the more I can recall. The higher the tally, the more "active" I have been. (And yes its possible to be "actively bad" though rare. You are sitting there going WTF and "..are you kidding me?" every minute or so. That only happened twice to me. So kudos to all of you....even you WTFers for better days are ahead.
All I can say is WOW again. I am privvy to seeing what new products and innovations are coming around the corner. When? It appears many new innovations are on target to be released to the public in the JULY-AUGUST 2012 framework. If you are a choreographer, dance troupe, or solo dancer, you will benefit the most. Second will be show producers and audience members who stand to gain the most from the coming enhancements. I am sooo biting my tongue, chomping at the bit, but am remaining hush and mum about what I see innovators are about to unleash on the community.
Many of these new innovations'address and offer solutions to existing problems' while others offer 'extra creative opportunities' for artists. Basically they end up making productons more interesting to view as well as create.
Something Old, Something New
Wow again! So many blog hits got me to wondering what motivates a person to view a blog link directly? It appears that those entries with the most views seem to answer the question "What's in it for me?". That is understandable. It seems that blogs which sort of answer the question "what does it all mean?", that summarizes, draws conclusions, provides survey results, or is a collective resource depository.....seem to garner the most interest. And while browsing, I discovered a trove of interesting articles along the way....so I humbly suggest that in your spare time, you browse some of the older articles at random as there seems to be a wealth of useful information buried in past blogs. Amazing the amount of valuable and varied content Nottoo and others have contributed.
Same Old same Old
I used to be a snob about seeing the same dance done more than once or twice in a routine. But now I find I enjoy any dance that is well placed and fitting for the song being played in that it fits the tempo and segues and transitions nicely and smoothly from and/or to a dance...regardless of how often it is used.
The truth is there are only so many "good dances" and it appears that secretly, unofficially, and unceremoniously "we" all seem to agree on which dances are the "good dances"...the "cool dances". We tend to see them more often than what I would call the "fill dances"....that is, dances that offer variations of the 'stand out dance' that are not as good or noteworthy. I have also seen the same sequence repeat and it totally worked for me because it matched so well with the music, following and changing in sync with song changes and thus accenting the delineation of the song sections. So I have shed my snobbiness since I am going with how the routine makes me feel and not what makes sense academically.
Short Programs and RL
We hear it all the time. Someone has to cancel a performance due to unforeseen Real-Life obligations and when several of these cancellations occur at the same time, it can prove problematic for show producers who feel they have an obligation to present a minimum show offering. So, for example, 6 acts are scheduled to perform and for some calamitous reason, 3 of them have to cancel or postpone, then show producers, feeling they are expected to offer a minimum of say 30 minutes to an hour of entertainment, end up cancelling the whole event.
Well I have heard that this is disheartening to the dancers who did prepare. So I say put on a show with the 3 acts that CAN perform. Heed that "the show must go on", as they say.
So I suggest that for any new clubs (I say new clubs, because I would expect stern resistance from existing clubs who feel they would be sending the wrong signal that their program was waning and dying out) that plan to open, that you consider offering "short programs" some of the time. These will be about 15 minutes long and consist of about 3 acts. Could be 2 or 4, and even include a performer performing twice. I am not implying that you ONLY offer short-programs but that you announce that sometimes you will as the situation arises.
Because there are so many entertainment time slots open in a given week and the viewing audience is at times starved for entertainment of any kind, I suspect that you will have support from at least those who also work behind the scenes to come and support your 'short program' as well as futhering their learning process. Sometimes I feel offerings are of less quality than what producers really want (as was told to me) to offer which could be due to time constaintsm RL interruptions, along with pressure to offer a full program. I understand that and am totally ok with a mix of quality but also salute those who choose to offer less product but offer the same product more often, in order to maintain a higher quality. There is room for both.
Two more new clubs have opened. No more closings that I am aware of.
And now for the controversial part of this blog: (this will be an ongoing segment of this and future blogs where I remove the mask and skin and let you take your best shot..ala..taking one..ok several for the team and the spirit of lively debate).
I am seeing the hint of entrance-fees for shows as demand begins to outstrip supply with regards to performance seating. How much? Well the average donation for good shows seems to hover around 150 to 200 L to upwards of 300 L per....but thats just a ballpark guess. But $ 1 USD for 1 to 2 hours of entertainment is far from unreasonable. (The fee could be waved in favor of a special group membership, that way you dont offend your paying public by demanding a tithe, since you know will most likely value your performances)
The first hint to me has been a recent increase in "shows by reservations'. It appears venues are starting to value their own productions by simply saying "what we do has value" and we want to control the quality of your experience and thus, reservations are in order.
The idea being that you have begun identifying regular (or even semi-regular) conscientous and generous repeat patrons so if you know that say 20 out of 30 people regularly (or semi) contribute and 10 people (not always the same 10 of course) who ALWAYS "fly free"... the thinking may be, why punish the regular 2/3 paying public with extra lag caused by a 1/3 who are saying that what you do consistently has no value, yet continue to come back. (Of course they get a pass if they would.... if they could but have fallen on hard times...this being the age of 'hard times).
This model won't apply equally across the board as there are venues who have been and will continue to do well, priding themselves on having and keeping open doors, while bringing in very respectable donations....so why rock the boat? Granted.
It works well with clubs offering new entetainment often enough to make it practical, but a person might show up and pay the 1st or 2nd time they see a repeated-performance yet bulk at paying beyond that to see the same performance additonal times and in this case you would rather see seats filled than benefit from any type of lag-free-benefit by fee-based attendance.
It only makes sense if you see and feel numbers of avatars are a factor , and you have a hi-powered in-demand offering. accompanied by an identifiable, loyal, and generous fanbase.
You could offer a special type of performance for those who have voted their approval with ther pocketbooks.
I hear an argument coming of "then how do we grow our fan base". Well because you still offer free shows as well. So you ask, 'well then why pay for a show that you could see for free?". Well because you offer a different or special or hi-caliber show to those who feel you are 'worth-a-buck'? Many of us are ardent followers craving this type of entertainment and would not want ot feel we had missed "somehing special".
Expect to see side-by-side 2nd tier special offerings but at a small entrance fee or group-restricted attendance to test the market without alienating the existing fanbase. Don't expect to see this evolution overnight but in the long run..it may be the wave.
I see productions taking a huge leap forward in the near future as far as seeming more TV/movie like....with more control by show producers and the emergence of a new position called show "director" with real directorial responsibilities as they tackle the challenge and opportunities of up-and-coming innovations..
And that's Yummy's *taste* of things.