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Community: Peal Out the Watchword.

I may not know just yet what the Pig in My Panties is, but I can see problems that we can fix without a messiah.

In small theatre communities the problems are cliche: capital and space. To avoid this as best we can we need to eliminate resource redundancies and maximize the talent pool.

That’s easy.

Well. Not easy easy.

It requires communication. Communication requires contact, and contact requires a meeting place.

In a more romantic time that central place would be a bar or coffeeshop. A real world place where a person newly washed up on this shore could head to take the temperature of the community.

I don’t know about your town, but I haven’t heard tell of that place here in Austin.

For a town like this with no central place to meet it makes a lot of sense to me to create on online space for that to happen. An always on place for people to ask questions, solve problems, and meet people.

This isn’t a perfect solution. Theatre folks aren’t early technological adopters. So you need to make it as user-friendly as possible and make it clear what the benefit to them is quickly.

A smaller town like Austin doesn’t need something as comprehensive as the Chicago Theatre Database (132 venues?!). It needs Facebook.

Rather, a specialized social networking application.

Take the Facebook model. It’s something that folks are familiar with. Now instead of a goofy picture of you and your cat your use a headshot, and your profile is a searchable resume – for actors, directors, technicians, designers and writers. Pages for companies and venues, and groups for casting calls, resource requests, and discussion.


I think people would use it.

It’s familiar. Are folks tired of signing up for things? Sure. but Again, the benefit will be evident to the users.

The problem of course is that I have no background in hosting, customizing and maintaining a social networking site.

There are open source and turnkey options like Mahara. But the technology is all a little beyond me. So I would need help from an as yet unknown person or entity getting it in motion.

It has legs

What am I missing?

EDITED 8:54 AM 7/8

It’s important that a project like this not exist inside a walled garden like an umbrella arts organization would create. Membership in something like Austin Circle of Theatres has it’s benefits, but shouldn’t be the gate to entering the community or sharing it’s existing resources.

It should be free, and open.

Waiting for the Call

I mentioned before that I come from a religious background. My family is as unconventional a bunch of charismatic non-denominational Protestants (with a laissez faire evangelical streak) as you’re likely to come across. They have the proud distinction of being in that class of Christians who simply tries to live the book, rather than beat you with it.

That sort of beginning means that despite my current free agent status as regards religion all of my personal metaphors (the one’s not covered by sports) are religious ones.

For those of you in the know, you can imagine how bated my breath is as I sit and wait in my 33rd year for my ministry to begin. After my forty years in the wilderness of New Hampshire and San Francisco I will rise up out of Austin to begin my Great Work.
(My space, my mixed metaphors)

And not for nuthin? But I am the adopted son of a carpenter.

Naturally.

Well. Anyway. While I was waiting this week I read this post from Patti Digh’s blog on living intentionally. Take a moment to go read it (intentionally) then come back and talk to me.

<Waits>

Oh. I know you didn’t click over, but you’re missing out.

After relating a wonderful anecdote about her daughter Tess she asks:

What’s the pig in your panties?

(You know what? I could have lived an entire lifetime without ever having had the excuse to write that question. I feel oddly satisfied now that I’ve had the opportunity…)

What Pig is worth the risk? What Pig is not worth the risk? Distinguishing between the two is important.

And the short answer is?

I have no idea. It drives my wife crazy. It’s part of the reason I started this space to being with. To work it out (in fear and trembling).

What do you do without a focus? A Specialty? A Mission? A Calling?

If you’re me? You hone your skills, and make damn sure that when you do get knocked off your ass you’re ready to go.

So until I do find the pig in my panties? I’m going to help others with theirs. And when The Call comes I’ll be prepared, and there will be people there who will be ready to help.

What’s your Pig? Your Chicken?
What will you risk for them?