Revisiting American Hollow

Filed under:General — eric @ 5:16 am

Back in April of 2001, I posted a short entry about American Hollow, a documentary film with an accompanying website about a family that has lived in the same isolated hollow in Kentucky for seven generations. Somehow, that entry has become the place on the web to talk about the film, and comments have been left by both viewers and family members who are quite close to those featured in the film. It’s been a pretty neat thing to sit back and watch, and it’s things like this that make me glad I started this website.

This weblog recently passed its fourth anniversary. In years past, I’ve marked the occasion with a collection of highlights from the months-gone-by. I’ve got something different I want to do this time (even if it is a little late). I mention it here as a reminder to myself to get it done already.

[Listening to: Find the River - R.E.M. - Automatic for the People ]

And another goes by…

Filed under:General — eric @ 5:04 am

The bulk of another big task passed by yesterday, bringing me a bit closer to mid-October, when everything is done and the missus and I head off into the sunset for a couple weeks.

Here’s the background: the Town & Gown Players (the theatre group in Athens that I’m currently the president of, for those of you just joining me) sells season tickets each year. Quite a few, in fact. We have several different types of tickets, and several types of contribution levels beyond that. There is also a recognition program for those that have consistently bought tickets over the years, with levels based on just how long one has been buying tickets. The theater is celebrating 50 years this year, and some of our season ticket holders have been buying for 25 years now. It is a lot of information to keep up with, and up until now, the season ticket committee (usually a single person) kept track of all this using a system of note cards (often yellowed, dogeared, and stapled together). Tickets had to be individually numbered, labelled with all the right information, and then all that had to be recorded in a variety of other places. It was a horrible, thankless task. Of course, I had trouble finding anyone to take over the duties this year. Who’d want to, right?

Well, one of my general pushes as president this year has been to computerize and streamline all of the recordkeeping and paperwork that goes into running the theater. Throughout the history of the place, most of the positions of responsibility have been filled with people that are great at producing great theater but not so great at all this other stuff. By making a suite of tools that make those other tasks utterly easy, those folks could get back to doing what they’re great at. So I set about building an on-line system for purchasing tickets, recording orders that come in (regardless of how), keeping track of mailing addresses, contribution levels, recognitions, ticket numbers, and all of that. It’s done, it works, and it’s totally easy. I’m one that tries to put my money where my mouth is, so I went ahead and decided to handle the season tickets by myself. And sure enough, it was totally easy. Several hundred got mailed out this morning, and from here on out, it doesn’t have to be a horrible, thankless task.

Upcoming major things to cross off my to-do list:

  • Move my office to my company’s new building
  • Put up Our Town (did I mention that there weren’t enough auditioners, so I ended up playing the Stage Manager?)
  • Get through my company’s annual user conference
  • Make sure T&G’s annual meeting and elections go well
  • Make sure that the Georgia Theatre Conference convention, being held here in Athens using some of T&G’s resources, gets the support it needs from T&G

Somewhere in there I have an interview for a new job I’ve applied for — a part-time job as manager of the direct marketing program for Georgia Organics that would keep me occupied through the winter and most of next year. I’ll post more details about that later.

[Listening to: Blue Moon of Kentucky - Patsy Cline]