I first launched my journey with Project Ghost Light while working on some of my college theatre productions. While I acknowledge the way that we do things, I have this nagging sensation that things could be better, and by that I mean, more efficient. To say I am obsessed with efficiency is a bit of an understatement. I don’t consider anything that our industry is doing now is incorrect. Instead, I think that we are on the cusp of a necessary change as the industry transitions into the digital world.
Currently, we exist in an in-between, most tools we work with are digital, but the thought of a stage manager calling a production off a script on their laptop is horrifying. As a stage manager and one that considers themselves a digital stage manager, I still prefer to work with paper. Mainly, this is because the digital tools I want don’t currently exist so, it is time to produce them. However, I don’t want to create tools that function independently; I want a fully connected network that negates the need for repetitive work. I believe that I am ready to develop a software suite that will take the theatre and hopefully, the live entertainment industry as a whole into the digital age.
I call this suite, Project Ghost Light. The main characteristic to note is how this system will store data. Data will be stored efficiently, and then presented to each user in the best form depending on their position in the production. Everything will center around a base user, a free account that every member of our industry can have. This free account allows for uploading resumés, headshots, and functions as a LinkedIn for the theatre industry. There are modules that users, venues, and touring shows can purchase to interact with their data in more radical ways. Once a production team is operating using the Ghost Light system, they will be able to automatically and appropriately access the work that other members of their production team are doing.
For example, a stage manager takes blocking notes which are a code of symbols that describe every movement an actor makes on stage. This information is essential for a design team; however, it frequently only exists in the stage managers’ script. With Ghost Light, as the stage manager takes or digitizes this data, the ghost light system can automatically translate these symbols into something that any team member can read. For a theatre professional, this will change the way our industry functions. While this is simply one small example of what this system will do, the philosophical idea of how this software will improve the workflow of our industry is what is genuinely significant to take away. I believe that the best way to create an efficient system is to give users as many customizable options as possible, and plan on integrating that into Ghost Light. The most critical part of Ghost Light is efficiently storing the data, and then presenting that data to the user in the most accessible and productive way for them.
This is the start of a long journey, however, I believe that the product we create will be both rewarding and exciting.