A few weeks ago, we hosted our scratch night over zoom Scratch That! I realise that we have been talking a lot about it on the blog and over social media but it was a very good learning experience for us. We are really glad we went ahead with the project and worked towards this night. It was great because we got to connect with playwrights but we also got to create teams for each project. It’s lovely to hear that some of these teams are now also working together. We are very proud of everyone’s involvement.
However, today I wanted to write about something a little more technical. I want to talk about the on the night running of the show. Early on, we decided that neither of us were going to be in show as performers or writers. Normally, as a rule, we only take on two positions (so producer and actor; producer and writer; director and writer) and not more than two. We’ve found two is manageable; three is not. For this night, though, we decided we were not going to have a creative hand in the evening and to solely devote ourselves to running it. This turned out to be a fantastic decision because there was so much that was new to us. Hosting the show (for Charlotte) and running the show (for me) were two very big jobs.
On the night, we streamed the scratch night from Zoom. We debated using OBS. OBS is a streaming platform that allows you to stream through it and onto Facebook or YouTube or any platform of your choosing. The upside to using OBS is that it allows for lighting changes and transitions (I’m sure it does more but I only experimented a little!). We decided in the end to not use OBS. We were worried a little about the look but we were able to create a professional production with a good online look. We wanted the show to really flow. We decided that Charlotte would start the performance with an introductory speech where she introduced everyone. We then created slides to bookend each performance. This meant that the flow of the performance was not interrupted. The slides allowed for real clarity and a time for the actors to prepare and get ready. They were very simple. The intro one just stated the show’s name and playwright; while the end slide was used for credits (credited the creatives and cast). This is what we spent most of our time on for tech. We practiced the transitions between me muting/unmuting for any sound during the transitions but also how to stop and start screen sharing the slides as seamlessly as possible. We also had a monologue series that we strung throughout the other plays. This provided some continuity and also some transition time between the longer pieces. Thirdly, we really encouraged audience participation in comments which was lovely for actors and for us alike.
We were very proud of the look of the evening and received extremely positive feedback. We are excited to host more online events – even as we come out of lockdown. We are obviously super ready to get back into those theatres but it’s wonderful to be able to bring creatives and audience from all over the world onto one YouTube page to share in a night of new writing.