The Art Bug

In all honesty, I don’t use this blog as a blog.  I use it as a place mostly to post short articles on what ever topic I want to write on.  Today, I’m really writing about me.

I usually focus on design, not art.  Design is about creating items (in my life scenery or lighting) to support concepts or ideas developed by others (the script/the playwright).  The difference is art is about creating items to share your own ideas.

I have been working on  a project for the last year that I will hopefully be able to fully talk about soon.    A few years ago I did a 365 project.  A 365 project traditionally means creating a work of art everyday for a year.  What I really did was try to create 7 a week.  My work schedule meant that I got a lot of art done in tight blocks and then would go days without doing anything.

It was fun focussing on art projects that I wanted to do, that expressed what I wanted to express, that used techniques that I wanted to explore.   As much as I would like to do that again, I am no longer largely living on my own, my duties have expanded both at home and at work, and another 365 isn’t in the cards for me now.  However, the art bug is back.

I have a handful of small projects I want to do (and I suspect I will have a BIG project connected with the project I can’t talk about yet).  But over the next few weeks, I hope to do an art piece.  An art piece for me.

I have an idea — something I want the piece to be about.  I have a form I want it to be (a variation on a triptych).   I will have some experimentation of media and supplies to get the look I see in my head.  But for a change I working on art for me.

In the end the idea may not be earth shattering, and the methodology may not be as ground breaking as I think — but it will be momentous for me. . .

. . . Because I will be an artist again.

This is something I need in my life now.

There’s an App for That

I was asked to do a short presentation on Apps for theatre.   I surveyed friends and colleagues, then did a bunch of research.  The presentation went well, but I was asked to post the handout which was a summary of the apps I found.  This seemed like a good place, so here is the hand out I, well, handed out!




There’s an App for That:

IOS and Android Apps for Technical Theatre

The following list contains apps that we may discuss today.   Some apps are free others cost money.   Listing does not imply recommendation.  IOS is the operating system for IPads, IPhones, and IPod Touches — not all IOS apps will run on all IOS devices.  Android is the operating system that many smart phones and the Nook Color run — again, not all apps will run on all devices.


Decibel Ultra (IOS )

Turn your device into a decibel meter.


Decibel-O-Meter (Android)

Turn your device into a decibel meter


eSet (IOS)

Almost every technical theatre vocabulary word you need to know, includes synonyms.


MultiTrack (IOS — although similar apps exist for Android)

Quick digital audio workstation for your device.


Prospero (IOS)

Stage management tools.  Scene break downs, prop lists.   List things by location or by character or by scene.


Scene Partner (IOS)

[NOTE: App is free, but you must by the scripts]   Scripts available  from public domain sources and Dramatists Playservice and Samuel French.  (other publishers may be available).  Allows you to get off book via recording in other actors lines, or using a text to speech ap.


ShowTool LD (IOS)

Beam Calculator.  Gel calculator based on fixture (good but in metric). DMX Dip switch calculator. Power consumption calculator


ShowTool Swatch (IOS)

Apollo, Gam, Lee, Rosco gels.  Graph, Complementary colors, Can bank gels into collections, favorites lists.  Suggests gels for various types of lights (i.e. Backlight, cyc lights, etc).  Select color from image, suggests gel color.  Lists suppliers by country/region


Stage Directions (Android)

Download (for Free) current and past issues of the magazine to read on your mobile device


StageHand (Android)

Dip switch settings, Light beam calculations, Color Calculator, Pin outs, Wats to Amps converter.   Pro version also available.


Stage Lighting Beam Calculator (Android)

Calculate throw distance, beam diameter, field diameter, and foot candles for various instruments .  Includes frame size, gels cuts per sheet and lamp. 


Stage Write (IOS)

There is a free demo of this app (which is good because it is expensive).  Blocking notation on your device.   Full version allows lots of flexibility


Stanley Level (IOS — although similar apps exist for Android)

Turn your device into a bubble level.


Swatch   (IOS) 

Apollo/Gam/Lee/Rosco gel libraries.  Select a color, see its response curve.  List of similar gels from other manufacturers, complimentary gel color.  Find gel via picture. Compare 2 gel colors.  Put two gels in one light, find the resulting color.


Technical Theatre Assistant (Android)

Dimension Calculator, Stair Calculator, Triangle Calculator, Rope Strength Calculator, Material Information.


Theater Blocking (Android)

Record blocking, stage diagrams, etc.  (this seems like a cool app, but my android device is my phone, and the screen is just much to small to be useful to me — your milage may vary)



In addition the apps listed here, there are many apps that are designed to work with specific equipment turning your IOS or Android device into a remote for such device.   Most ETC light boards (especially those that run Net III or Art-Net) can be run via an IOS app.   Yamaha makes an IOS app for most of its digital sound consoles.