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ePlays help
Some quick tips on getting around

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To handle basic calendar functions:

  • To edit the calendar, you must have an expertise level of "powerful" or greater. You may view it at any expertise level. To edit the calendar, you must have an expertise level of "powerful" or greater.  You may view it at any expertise level.
  • Navigate to the proper calendar. The new appointment BELONGS TO the calendar under which it is created, though visible elsewhere. Navigate to the proper calendar.  The new appointment BELONGS TO the calendar under which it is created, though visible elsewhere.
  • To create a new single appointment, click the [+] next to the date. You will be taken to the appointment form, with the date filled in. To create a new single appointment, click the [+] next to the date.  You will be taken to the appointment form, with the date filled in.
  • If desired, fill in the start and end times. Shortcuts such as 7p or noon are fine, but 7:00 is ambiguous as to am/pm. If desired, fill in the start and end times.  Shortcuts such as 7p or noon are fine, but 7:00 is ambiguous as to am/pm.
  • Select the item type. This affects where else and to whom this appointment will be visible, to help prevent conflicts and collisions. Select the item type.  This affects where else and to whom this appointment will be visible, to help prevent conflicts and collisions.
  • If you must lock the appointment down, restrict its editability. Be judicious, as this makes coordinating with other shows less easy. If you must lock the appointment down, restrict its editability.  Be judicious, as this makes coordinating with other shows less easy.
  • The item field is what is shown on the calendar itself. The other (optional) fields will normally be hidden behind a popup link. The item field is what is shown on the calendar itself.  The other (optional) fields will normally be hidden behind a popup link.
  • Click the [create appointment] button to create this appointment. You will be taken to the main calendar for this club. Click the [create appointment] button to create this appointment.  You will be taken to the main calendar for this club.
  • The exact appearance of the calendar and its appointments depends on the item type, and on your own calendar settings. The exact appearance of the calendar and its appointments depends on the item type, and on your own calendar settings.
  • Hovering or clicking on the [[=]] link reveals appointment details. The [->] link shows the details on a separate page. Hovering or clicking on the [[=]] link reveals appointment details.  The [->] link shows the details on a separate page.
  • To edit an appointment belonging to this calendar, click the [ / ] link associated with that appointment. To edit an appointment belonging to this calendar, click the [ / ] link associated with that appointment.
  • Make the desired changes on the form as above, and click [update appointment]. (Prior versions are displayed for reference.) Make the desired changes on the form as above, and click [update appointment]. (Prior versions are displayed for reference.)
  • To delete an appointment, type the word 'boneyard' in the 'Start date' field, and click [update appointment]. To delete an appointment, type the word 'boneyard' in the 'Start date' field, and click [update appointment].
  • The boneyard, below the calendar, maintains a record of deleted appointments. They can be resurrected and edited as usual. The boneyard, below the calendar, maintains a record of deleted appointments.  They can be resurrected and edited as usual.

Background:

The interactive calendar on ePlays.org is a powerful collaborative tool designed to minimize collisions and conflicts between events that happen at the same venue, and people that are working on the same event. Unlike the traditional approach of creating a schedule that won't change and imposing it from above, then changing it as needed by telling some of the participants, the ePlays.org calendar keeps everyone involved in the loop, whether you remember them or not. Your lighting designer won't show up unexpectedly thinking that the space was available, nor will she have to wait for confirmation from some central "calendar official" before being able to commit to hang and focus. Every update is instantly available to all concerned, and no central authority is needed.

Because this can be overwhelming for some, creation and editing of calendar appointments is disabled for those who have elected an expertise level below "powerful". This includes all new users. You can easily update your expertise level by following these instructions.

Key features of the calendar:

  • Selected foreign appointments are shown. Each club or area on ePlays.org has its own calendar, and appointments created within that club's calendar are "native" to it. To illuminate possible conflicts, a club's calendar will also depict key events from other sister clubs (other clubs with a common parent, such as Shows by the same Venue) and outside events that are marked as conflicts (such as school events that could impact audience share). Authors and Performers each have their own calendars, and selected events from clubs they participate in (such as rehearsals) can show up on their own calendar as reminders, when the calendar is viewed by the owning Author or Performer.
  • Native appointments are collaboratively editable. For example, cast and crew of a Show have editing access to the appointments on that Show's calendar, allowing it to be used as a two-way communications tool. This is arguably the most important feature of the calendar; cast and crew can use it to indicate their availability, clear up misunderstandings, negotiate conflicts, and add key details to an appointment. Judicious use of this feature can help all theatrical operations run much more smoothly and eliminate bottlenecks waiting for a "calendar authority". All calendar edits (including deletions) are logged, and the history of an entry is visible just below the form used to edit the entry. (Click the [ / ] icon associated with an appointment to access the history.) Groups not ready to make this adjustment may disable or restrict this feature when making or editing an appointment.
  • Templates automate calendar creation. By creating a calendar template, you can make it easy to apply a pattern of appointments to the calendar of any club under that domain. This automates the creation of schedules for Classes, Shows, play readings, or for any events that share a calendar structure.
  • Calendar display is highly user-customizable. Appointments are displayed differently depending on their type. Users who would like to customize their own view of the calendar can easily do so. In addition, the start of the (display) week can be changed from the more traditional "Sunday first" to a "Monday first" setup that keeps the weekend together, or to any other day.

To interact with a calendar, first, navigate to the area in question. Shows, for example, are listed under their respective Venues or theaters, so you will need to click on the VENUES menu item, then select the venue in question. Shows are listed at the bottom right. Continue by clicking on the show whose calendar you wish to see. Then click on the [Display Calendar] button.

The calendar is split into two parts; the future appears first, and below it is another calendar with the past appointments, putting the most important information up front.

If you are viewing a calendar to which you have editing rights, you can make an appointment by clicking the [+] icon next to the date. To edit an appointment, click the [ / ] icon associated with the appointment. In either case you will be taken to the appointment form.

Dates and times can be entered in almost any reasonable format. Times need to be am/pm unambiguous, so 7:00 is not ok, but 7:00 am and 7pm are. So are noon, midnight, 1900h and 19:00

When creating an appointment, you need to select the item type, which controls the context and visibility of the appointment. Context and visibility determine which visitors see an appointment, and on which calendars it can appear. The only other required entry is the item itself.

If you have editing rights in a club or area, then you can a group of appointments into that club's calendar all at once. These appointments are independent, but can also be edited later en masse. There are three ways of doing so:

  • To enter multiple identical appointments in a single month, click the [++] button and fill in the form. Check your entries, especially the month and year before submitting!
  • To enter monthly repeating appointments in a single year, click the [+|+] button. It results in a group of independent but identical appointments.
  • To create appontments from a list or template, click on the [+=] button. In the resulting form, select the desired template, enter the actual date of the base event (the event from which the other dates will be calculated), and submit the form. You will be presented with a calculated list of appointments to be added. Uncheck any you do not want and submit the form.

To delete a calendar entry, simply edit it to change the start date to "boneyard". The event will be moved off the calendar and into a special storage area called the boneyard, and the edit will be logged (as usual). The boneyard is visible to the owner and minions of an area, and is located at the bottom of the calendars. Events in the boneyard can be resurrected if desired by editing them in the usual manner.

All calendar edits are logged, and the history of an entry is visible just below the form used to edit the entry. (You need to click the [ / ] icon associated with an appointment to access this form, but you needn't actually edit anything if you just want to see the history.)

You can control the appearance of the calendar on your computer. Click on [update all calendar preferences] in the calendar header, or in your ACCOUNT page.

How do I ... Just click on a question (and maybe scroll back up [^]) to read the answer.

orient myself?

do the basics?

use special features?

interact with a show or event?

empower assistants?

use advanced calendar features?

manage an author area?

manage a show or event?

set up a theater?