Super Duper Secret Project

PHP and jQuery and CSS, oh my!

So, it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about creating something from nothing. I want to post my next project on here. I’ve discovered a lot of neat things, and tricks that I’d like to use to my advantage on this next voyage. First, I want to mention that this project is an extension of one of my websites at actingshowcase.com. Currently the site has a couple of hundred profiles, of which, most of them have been inactive for quite some time. I want to re-ignite the flames of this old project. Let me give you some heads up what inspired me to make this website.

It was 2007, and I’ve dabbled in some acting and local film making around the Cleveland, Ohio area. Didn’t think Ohio had a film industry, did you? On average, there are about 12 projects per day produced, be it independent films, industrials, short films, etc. This is excluding theater. So, what is there to do for a local film maker who needed help and didn’t have anyone to help him? Well, since he’s a programmer (and yes, I’m talking about myself here), he decided to write a program to keep track of his projects.

At the time, I only knew ASP. And not even .Net. Just classic ASP. So, I got me an access database going, and voila, in a week, right before production on a major project of mine, I whipped up what was to become the birth of this magical, secret project. When it was done, I was able to write a script, split up the scenes, break down scenes and characters, keep track of my wardrobe and props, locations, and I was able to accomplish the hardest part, which was scheduling. I could also print out rough “reports” of the scenes to be shot for that particular day.

Later in life, ActingShowcase was born

while working with local actors, I noticed that everyone could benefit if they had a place to upload their headshots and monologues, which could then be used by visiting producers to connect with actors. The website was born after learning some PHP and jQuery, and has evolved since 2007.

Much later in life, ActingShowcase found its purpose

Fast forward to about a year ago, I met up with a co worker after unsuccessfully trying to find the destiny of the site, and with his help, we were able to narrow down what the site was supposed to do. What if we could connect actors and producers on a personal level, through casting. Script writing, scheduling and breakdowns could be just extensions of this amazing casting tool that could open up video chats between actors and producers, and casting directors could use it to record instances of auditions, which in turn could be passed to directors, and other production members.

There was a lot of competition on other websites focusing on actual production, but no one broke the barrier for casting. The cast, after all, are the characters in your story, and without them, there is no story.

So, we focused on building just the casting tool, but something was missing. A chain. A way to link everything from pre-production all the way to production, and beyond.

Sadly, my friend could not invest any more time after working together on it for over 8 months, and here we are. I’m at the point where I’d like to simplify everything, and keep the bare minimum necessary to run. Like my friend, Isaac, said to me, “Focus on the minimum viable product (MVP).” I’d like to keep him posted with the progress of this tool. Unfortunately, the tool is only accessible if you sign up for a producer account on actingshowcase.com.