Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Open Office and a Record Album

I am poor. I scrape by a living working freelance (I am not complaining, I get to do a job I love), but that does mean that I run into problems finding the tools I need sometimes. Many of the theatres I work at have very tight budgets and no tools of their own, which compounds the problem. And the point of telling you this...I can't afford PhotoShop. Eventually it is something that I need to purchase in order to make paper props, but for now I have to borrow from friends or find other options.

Recently while working on The Drowsy Chaperone I found a great new option, "Open Office-Draw". On Openoffice.org you can download a full office suite; write, calc (spreadsheets), draw, and impress (slideshows), completely FREE. It is all very compatible with microsoft office software, or to make double sure others can view your work, you can export your documents as PDFs incredibly easily. The album cover for The Drowsy Chaperone needed to be nice enough to be seen by the audience as close as 5 feet away and the director wanted real production shots to be included.

With the Draw program I was able to insert photos easily, manipulate text, size the documents to exactly the size of the album I was covering and export them as PDFs that I had printed at Kinkos. And I was able to do it all incredibly quickly too. I took the photos during tech on Tuesday and was able to have everything done by the first run on Wednesday, and that was with learning a new program. Totally worth the price!

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