The iSM PROJECT

Encouraging an intelligent approach to Stage Management

INTRODUCTION

Centred around a desire to share existing knowledge by building a database of resources for students of stage management, this project aims to encourage those students to consider elements of their management practice as they go about their studies and practical work by offering a selection of tips and other resources as food for thought on a daily basis.

Using both existing websites, apps, feeds and other media or material curated from areas of both teaching and my previous career as a stage and company manager, this project will continue to develop with the addition of material and feedback offered by the students themselves, industry practitioners and other interested parties.

RATIONALE

Management and by extension, stage management is about two things: our relationships with our colleagues and the way in which we interact with our environment. Whether it's people or props, it is our attitude to each that is all important.

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iSM Tips brings a selection of quotes, hints, techniques and a scattering of theatrical superstitions, offering food for thought each day.

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iSM Article BANK offers a mechanism for sharing a variety of published material in several different formats. I shall add articles on a regular basis and invite others to share any that they feel might be of interest.

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iSM Surgery is a blogging platform to allow users to interact in order to solve problems by sharing knowledge and advice.

Harvard Business Review provides daily tips and techniques across a variety of platforms. Invaluable to any manager, I find at least three out of the five weekly articles from their tip of the day to be thought provoking. INC.com, LIFEHACKER and others provide sometimes amusing approaches to a variety of life and management issues.

For those of you who are more technically minded, iSM Surgery is powered by Blogger, the sharing function by Share This, the search function by Free Find and the iSM Article BANK relies on a rather nifty bit of php by Marek Rei at Encode Explorer.

A BRIEF HISTORY

Originally conceived as a daily email to stage management students at Rose Bruford College in 2010, iSM has been through several iterations since then.

It started life as an occasional tip - SMART for the day (Stage Management Additional Relevant Thought, to avoid trademark infringements like Radio 4's Thought for the Day or Harvard Business Review's Tip of the Day) - but before long had gained in popularity and I started a search for solutions to automate the process. The sporadic nature of work for many of us dictates that we afford blocks of time for particular projects. It simply wouldn't be possible for me to consider spending a set amount of time on a daily basis to work on this, I wanted a feed of some description, some mechanism into which I input data and that fed this data back out in a timely fashion. RSS perhaps. iSM - Intelligent STAGE MANAGEMENT - was born.

Starting with existing SMART entries, the feed has been developed to include a wide range of useful and hopefully thought provoking material. Additions included the Article BANK in 2011, since developed as a separate entity. This is simply a collection of relevant articles curated from a range of sources. iSM Surgery followed, as a way of encouraging the sharing of ideas.

As a package, iSM was designed to both trial and enhance an m-learning platform at Rose Bruford College, but the resource may be useful to a wider audience.

iSM has also informed the development of THE PRODUCTION BOOK, a project to develop a website/web-app for use by production departments in the theatre and associated performing arts industries. Whilst valuable in its own right, this project forms a major part of my doctoral research, details of which may be found on the research page.

PROJECT SITE

You'll find iSM at www.ism.uk.com; simply go to this site on your smartphone and save a link to your homescreen. And while you're at it, sharing may get iSM recognised across the industry. Then... who knows?