May 24, 2017 11:50 AM
TheaterForms.com, a division of DWDurkee, LLC, is announcing the immediate availability to theaters in the United States of a service for hosting customized online audition forms. At a cost of $15 per production, TheaterForms' AuditionForm allows you to gather all of your auditioner data in advance, including résumés and headshots, as well as optionally scheduling appointments for auditioners. One advantage of collecting this information in advance is that it allows you to see if you are reaching actors you need fill all of your roles, or whether you have to put in an extra publicity effort before your audition, which is easier than doing it after the audition. Another benefit is that it makes the auditions themselves run much more smoothly.
AuditionForm makes auditioner data available to the producer and other authorized staff members in several ways. The audition’s sign-ups page lists all auditioners and can be sorted by appointment, name, or signup date. For each auditioner you can view or print a datasheet and view or download a résumé or headshot. You can also download those files for all auditioners at once or view/print the datasheets all at once, and for auditions with appointment scheduling you can do any of those things for all auditioners coming on a particular day. You can also print a sign-in sheet for each day with scheduled auditions. And you can download a spreadsheet (a CSV file) of the audition data for all auditioners.
The producer can communicate with auditioners in flexible and powerful ways. You can configure automated sign-up confirmation emails that will be sent to auditioners when they submit their form and reminder emails that will be sent just before the auditions, improving audition turnout. At any time you can also send individual emails, emails to all auditioners, or to all auditioners signed up for a particular day, all from the sign-ups page. All emails are sent as separate messages to protect auditioners’ privacy and include mail merge features. You can personalize the messages by including the recipients' names, appointment information, or links they can follow to reschedule or cancel their appointments.
For the director at the audition, hand-filled audition forms are replaced with datasheets, which can be printed out or viewed on a laptop or tablet to save paper. (This also saves time because you can just pick it out of a sorted list instead of having to shuffle through a pile. This time savings applies to résumés and headshots too.) The datasheets are neatly organized and present the information needed at the audition in a single page, without extraneous text (like the questions) taking up space, leaving room at the bottom for director’s notes.
Handling of rehearsal conflicts is a stand-out feature. Having the auditioners fill this out ahead of time improves the chances that they will have this information available. Second, the form asks about the specific dates of the expected rehearsal schedule, making it easier for the auditioner not to miss any. The conflicts calendar is presented in the form as a calendar where the auditioner can just mark each conflict. It’s shown as a calendar on the datasheets too, which is a big readability improvement over a list of dates. When you are putting together your rehearsal schedule after casting, you can view the conflicts for the whole cast in a grid in the auditioner spreadsheet.
Many aspects of the form can be customized to your needs. There are several optional questions, such as ones you might use only for musicals or shows with children. Several of the questions can be customized, so instead of just asking about training in general, you can ask about specific training or skills you need, like stage combat or musical instruments. Additionally, you can add custom questions where the answers are typed in or a set of choices. And you can sign people up for your mailing lists with checkboxes for their specific interests, like audition notices, play announcements, or volunteer opportunities. (Mailing list questions are used to generate a CSV file that can be uploaded to your mass-mailing provider.)
Producers from interested theaters can try out AuditionForm by first creating a user account at www.theaterforms.com, then registering their theater, then creating and customizing the AuditionForm for a production. No charge will be made until and unless the form is published. TheaterForms recommends creating your AuditionForm before publishing your audition notice. TheaterForms does not advertise auditions.
David Durkee, the creator of TheaterForms, has over thirty years of professional experience in software development. He was a software engineer at Adobe for twelve years, where he worked on Edge Animate, Flash Professional, Encore DVD, and other projects. Before Adobe, products he developed or lead the development of include MultiAd Creator, HyperSpeller, and Comic Strip Factory, a unique graphics application for the original Apple Macintosh, published in 1986. Prior to that he was an editor and contributor for Softalk, a pioneering magazine for Apple II enthusiasts.
David has always preferred to work in areas where technology can support creativity. When he left Adobe in 2014 to start up DWDurkee, LLC, he had two projects in mind: a modern version of Comic Strip Factory for the Mac, and online audition forms for theaters. He is a board member of the Eden Prairie Players community theater, and he worked on prototypes of the online audition form for that group’s productions for two years while also developing and bringing Comic Strip Factory to market. Eden Prairie produces musicals, full-length plays, one act collections, and plays with children, so he was inspired to make the audition forms flexible for the needs of different kinds of productions. He began working full time on a commercial version of the service he dubbed TheaterForms in mid 2016 and launched it to the public at the end of the year.