Reposting this after a week of pre-anxiety before broadcasting from one of my home theater spaces this morning to a performance art festival in Jakarta and ending the week with exhilaration.
A few weeks ago, I was invited to participate in a “live” online performance art festival. I did not know how to do that, but I was a no-budget solo theater artist for almost 20 years, performing in all kinds of spaces and under all kinds of conditions. So, I accepted the invitation and started researching so that I eventually could fill out the application form by the October 14th deadline and know what I was talking about. Since as a YouTube partner I am eligible for streaming on YouTube, I set a goal of having the right setup and know-how to perform live online. I scheduled a live performance for October 10th, which was four days before the festival application deadline.I teched every day for over two weeks. As a theater artist, I hated tech rehearsals more than anything. They seemed so endless and redundant; and I never understood why the directors and tech crew needed to keep actors (who sometimes were still learning lines) past midnight at times. But now that I have gone through this recent process, I am grateful for every single one of those tech rehearsals. My October 10th dry run was not just a good idea for mastering the basic technical requirements of broadcasting, but also for the simple reason that I have not been onstage as a solo actor for almost 10 years. I adapted my studio (i.e., living room) into a small black box, my favorite type of space as a solo theater artist. I bought a projector so that I could create a multimedia performance with one of my The Harpy videos. I knew that I also needed a good quality webcam. I am not an expert, so I am not going to recommend any products in this post. As I am still using my first HDD camcorder, which I bought in 2007 after months of research, I swear by: 1) deciding how much you want to spend; 2) window-shopping in your price range; 3) comparing reviews of several different products. I learned when I went to the YouTube help page on streaming that I needed encoding software (Set up your live streaming encoder). Since my “control panel” is a Mac laptop, I bought Wirecast Play – again, I am not recommending a product, but the Wirecast tutorials are exceptional. The very worst thing that ever happened to me while I was doing a play was my first play as an adult in college when I had to make a running exit, go down a hallway and around a corner in the dark and then make a running entry back onstage – all this was supposed to happen in about a minute during a short scene between two other characters. While turning the corner, I ran into a door. Most likely, the stagehand who was guiding me and I probably had not practiced enough. One of my contact lenses flew out; and I was dazed and getting a shiner. The stagehand thought we should stop the show. But not I, my mama’s daughter, who was the main character in this particular show. I kept going and was back onstage on cue. What’s more