Hello Directors !
Every director has their “go to places” to find out how to do things for their show. This tool box is built over the years and gets added to every production we work on. But what if you are a new director? What are some of the go to resources you should have? Here are some of my most frequented resources from my toolbox:
Ah yes, the chat room where the techies hang out. Controlbooth.com is a chatroom where various theatre technicians from all over the world share ideas about different things-answers to light board issues, questions on how to do certain show specific effects, general information about building scenic pieces, and more. This site is a wealth of knowledge for anyone trying to solve a technical theatre challenge.
Q Lab is a cue management software that allows you to program in sound cues so that your show can be run with the click of a space bar. Rather than playing off of a CD or Playlist where you have to adjust the volume for every single cue, Q Lab allows you to insert the effect and set volume levels so that you don’t have manually operate them every time. Q Lab is only available for Mac users, but they are working on a PC version. The pro version has even more exciting features for projections, light cues, and more but the free version is more than enough for most smaller theatres.
Canva is a graphic design website that allows you to create signs, posters, flyers, etc. I have used Canva to create show posters, promotional table tents to put out at local restaurants,programs, show logos-the list goes on and on. Unlike other design software, Canva doesn’t require tons of training to be able to use and gives you very professional looking results. This is a great tool to add to a director’s toolbox.
This site has SAVED me so many times. This team is amazing. When an accompanist is unable to be at rehearsal or if you need to divide up your cast to run through a song, you can go to this site and find the piano accompaniment for so many shows. Most shows feature songs divided out by character with rehearsal lines so your cast and learn their parts-especially those harmonies-with the help of beautifully crafted tracks. I cannot say enough about this site!
These seem like an obvious resource in this day and age, but they are so valuable to use for yourself, with your production team, and with your cast. Both options offer the ability to make folders by department-Cast, Music, Costumes, Scenic, Props, etc.-and you can share that specific folder with the people who need it. Upload your schedules, reference images, T shirt order forms, rehearsal music links, and more to your folders so you can simply say “It’s in the Dropbox Folder” anytime someone asks you for that thing you sent them back in January…
Yep. The same place you go to find healthy recipes also serves as a production image clearinghouse! You can search the name of your show and find all kinds of cool pictures and posts about the set, costumes, specialty props, and more. You can also search for information on building simple scenic pieces, signage for your backstage area, and form templates to use in your process. Pinterest is every director’s best friend.
As an audition coach and a director, this site is right at the top of my bookmarks list. StageAgent is site dedicated to the details of each production and features character breakdowns(voice type, size of role,etc.), song breakdowns, excerpts from the show to use for sides, and audition suggestions for different characters. It’s a great resource to look at when planning auditions.
MTI / Concord Theatricals / Theatrical RightsWorldwide/ etc
I know, I know-this is more than one place. But many new directors do not always know about all of the resources that their performance rights company offers them. Several of the companies offer rehearsal track software programs, logo services, transposition services-the list of resources they have is incredible.Some of the companies even have where you can find out about other productions of the show near you so you can connect with those directors about how they did different things or even rent their materials. Be sure to check out each company’s website to see what all is available.
Sign Up Genius is a free service (with a paid option) that you can use to coordinate many different components of your show. From scheduling audition time slots to organizing parent volunteers for ushers, ticket sellers, concession workers and more-Sign Up Genius allows you to schedule, collect contact information, and ask any other questions you may have all in one place. If you are looking to go paperless with your show or to even streamline your process, check out Sign Up Genius.
Grosh Backdrops/ Grosh Digital
How could I write a post about favorite resources and not include Grosh? Even before I was part of the Grosh team, Grosh backdrops & projections were part of the productions I worked on. Often, I will use Grosh backdrops as examples of painting styles for the practical pieces when discussing things with my production team and I will frequently look through the Grosh Backdrop & Digital Projection catalogue for concept ideas for the show I’m working on-just to see what others have done with this show. The artists at Grosh are a fantastic resource and definitely a place that new directors should turn to when they are planning their next production.
What are some of your favorite resources when you are working on a production?
Are there ones you think I should add?
Please share them with me! I’d love to hear about some new places to check out!!
Best Wishes Onstage and Off!