Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Reply All

Another rant (partially because I am so sick of people's lack of tact).

Reply all is a wonderful thing.  You can press one button without retyping all the email addresses.  However, it really really should not be your default in theatre.

If you're having a scheduling chain of emails between all of your directors you should be using reply all.  Why?  Because everyone involved needs to know when you're busy, when you're not.  Your music director needs to know when to teach a particular song if you want to teach a particular dance soon, etc, etc.

If you are sent a rehearsal report and it says:  "What size camera are we using'?  And the props designer gets back to you with the size but also is wondering: "Are we using a flash with this same camera?"  In that case, using reply all is a fairly good idea.  The director(s) is/are probably going to have thoughts about that, the lighting designer might have thoughts.  The sound designer might wonder: "Is the flash going to be making a noise?  Will the camera be providing this noise?"  Hence a situation where it helps everyone to know about your response.

When shouldn't reply all be used?  When you are replying in a fashion that has the potential to embarrass the person you're replying to if the entire production team,etc reads the reply.  That happened the other day, where our set designer was talking about the backdrop and our lighting designer had misunderstood her several times about what type of material the drop would be.  The set designer tactlessly replied to the entire team saying: "Oh! You didn't understand?  I've been perfectly clear."  And there was just no reason for that to be sent to the entire production team and if our set designer had used a tiny iota of sense, they would have realized that embarrassing another designer is not a way to make friends.

So what if you need to reply to five out of twenty people?  A) Press reply and add the rest of the names you need.  B) Press reply all and delete the rest of the names you don't need.  Or C) Send a separate email to the people you specifically need to talk to.   It's not that hard.  I just don't understand.  Yes, the stage manager and director(s) should be included in a lot of replies, but reply all is frequently not the best way to include them.  Sigh.

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