SMInstagram Takeovers

I've signed up to do another "SMInstagram" takeover for the Year of the Stage Manager Instagram account. On April 13, 2021, feel free to follow me there that day. I'll have a virtual event that night that I'm really looking forward to doing: The First Amendment: What It Is & What It Isn’t (Subtitle: A very timely “Join the Conversation” event from WSHU). It will be free to attend, and features Former ACLU president Nadine Strossen, NPR's media correspondent David Folkenflik, and Connecticut's Attorney General William Tong, hosted by WSHU's Senior Reporter Ebong Udoma.

I've done this twice before for YSM. Here's what was saved as a highlight story...though not every image was caught either time:

Tonight, I realized I had kept the November images on my phone, and can share them here. I want to feature more of my virtual gigs in this blog, fresh on the heels of a post about turning my tablet into a second monitor. The images below show the setup I was using back in November, before both the tablet trick, as well as the new contraption that supports my laptop. Click on any given photo to enlarge it.

Erin Joy Swank virtual stage manager
Intro photo for the day - Scooter and the Muppet are still in my background these days.

Screenshot of early alarms on a phone
The day starts early when you're working two time zones away...

Texting with the sound associate
Lots of texting can happen during a virtual event - this is with Associate Sound Designer Joel Abbott to check how our recordings are sounding.

Texting with Sound Team
The Associate Sound Designer is asking permission to enter the Zoom, but we're in the middle of recording. I have the waiting room setup to prevent interruptions.

Texting with Actor to reschedule
I had to make a scheduling shuffle due to a COVID cancellation of another actor's tv production. Yay, punting! Note, it's only 9:12 AM for me at this point.

Showing Erin's virtual setup
This is how I was set up back in November 2020. I had found a wire mesh shelf that originally had my larger monitor on it. At this point I had the laptop on it instead. I also was using a set of square LED lights at the time.

Screenshot of Megawatch Calculator stopwatch app
I love MegaWatch! Meanwhile, this is the view on my 2nd computer (desktop), so I can see it as others see it. (It's shared from my 1st computer, a laptop.)

(Oh...looks like the downloadable version is no longer available. Hmm. The one I use is Windows-only and operates off of Excel. The link above is now an online option.)

Erin's choice of headset
A question came in about which headset I was using.

Disclosure: As a newly-minted Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases of products listed, if you go through my links. Meanwhile, I just looked and not only is it priced less than I paid, there's currently a $10 off coupon for it too!

Screenshot of actor, stage manager and director
Pictured: Bob Cratchit (Brian J. Carter), Stage Manager (Me) and Director (Mark Shanahan)

For this production, we were recording every actor separately, from their own homes, and then they uploaded them to a Dropbox link. I would remind them of the file naming protocols in the chat. Later, they used my screenshots as publicity on Facebook, like this:

Blueblocker glasses of two sizes
I no longer have to look like Edna from the Incredibles with the over-the-prescription-glasses blueblockers. Love the nice looking ones from Zenni! Though I still use the bigger ones if I'm not on camera and feeling particularly fatigued.

Screenshot of how I track hours for multiple jobs
Toggl works well for me to keep track of multiple hourly jobs.

I can run weekly reports easily with Toggl; you can choose which day of the week to start each week, as unemployment records definitely want Sunday-Saturday as I report partial earnings. I can also choose a custom length report, as I turn in an invoice twice a month to WSHU. It's available both by website login and an app on my phone, and they sync with each other. You can also adjust stop and start times if you forget to click it......nah, that never happens.....

Socks with hedgehogs on them
I do believe these are still my favorite pair of socks.

Laptop showing three women in a virtual meeting
The radio play recordings are over for the day - and I was blessed this week to have two jobs at once....very rare especially during a pandemic.

I love working with these two women from WSHU Public Radio in Connecticut, where I stage manage their virtual events on the Shindig platform. Joelle Cyr (Middle - Corporate & Community Engagment Manager, and a talented wedding photographer too) has learned to assist me behind the scenes in our platform. A. Rima Dael (Right) is the General Manager as of January, and she was Station Manager when we took this. Rima and I last saw each other in person in the late 1990s when I was a stage management intern fresh out of college, at the now-defunct StageWest and she was the house manager. The event we were planning was a surprise retirement celebration for General Manager George Lombardi. You can check out a video of the event.

Screenshot of my shadowing opportunity for other stage managers
You can join me in Shindig, too.

Writing with wet erase marker to go green
Trying to be as green as I, now I'm in an Actors' Equity Convention Delegate virtual gathering. So much screen time this day!

Screenshot of bad news that unemployment benefits were ending earlier than expected.
This was shocking news, suddenly losing the potential of several thousand dollars between my husband and I.

I found out during the day that the unemployment benefits that I was on were expiring eight days. Because of the work I had lined up, it meant I suddenly had received all unemployment compensation that I was eligible for....until the second stimulus was passed. I essentially had no income for all of December, because I would have had to try for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) in a different state. I thought it was only going to be a few-weeks gap between my filing date for that last week of State Extended Benefits (SEB) until a new stimulus was passed, certainly effective by December 27th. Between federal delay and re-programming of our system, I didn't actually receive any unemployment funds from the first week of December until the end of February (and only received back pay for December 27th forward). Thankfully, my husband and I had a financial cushion....and some rewards points to use up to buy some extra items. Meanwhile, my husband has still been out of work over a year now (union stagehand). His payment gap (all of his was repaid) was from the first week of January to the end of February.

Erin and Eeyore
Final image of the takeover: Did it really happen, if Eeyore wasn't captured on camera?