Following on from connectivism and afiliation we are asked to explore our top five information networks. Looking at other students' blogs on the subject, I am not surprised to find that, like me, most students choose the internet as their top vessel for sourcing information. The internet has become the new 'word of mouth' communication tool and, with information technology evolving almost daily, with the creating of devices such as the iPhone and iPad, one is able to source information immediately, at the touch of a button.
My main sources of information are as follows:
1. Internet Sites: Dancers Pro, Singers Pro, Ents Web. These web sites are specifically designed for professional performers:
I use all of these sites to gain information about auditions and castings and also as a means to find out about prospective employers, dance agencies companies etc. They have blog pages where you can interact with other professionals, which is often useful for asking other users about industry related queries. Employers can view my profile and my showreel, whilst I can update my professional information and contact details at any time. My account is linked to my email account and I am alerted instantly on my phone when any messages are left on my profile page, which gives me a distinct advantage when applying for auditions.
2. Google: I have my internet homepage set to Google. I find it so convenient as a search engine, being able to just type in what it is I'm looking for and get instant results. A good example is searching for sheet music. I can find the music, pay for it, download it and print it off within minutes. This has saved me hours and hours of time hunting around music shops. I use Google for almost everything I need to know, including the weather, information I need for this blog, the local cinema times and researching particular dances etc.
3.YouTube: I have only recently started using YouTube in a professional capacity. I have my own showreel account and I send out the link to prospective employers, casting directors etc. It has become a valuable research tool for me too, as I can look at how other performers have interpreted or acted certain roles I am auditioning for, or to look and listen to how singers have portrayed their version of certain songs.
4. The Stage: www.thestage.co.uk . This is a newspaper for the performing arts industry. I don't buy the paper, I read it online. It has information about current art issues, funding etc, as well as reviews of new shows and, most importantly, has a section for jobs and auditions allowing me to apply for anything that I think I might be suitable for. It also keeps me up to date with current activities in the entertainment industry. I also have this as an app on my iPhone, so I can read it on the train or tube.
5. Blogs: This is a very recent source of information, but one that I find myself using more and more. Blogging has become a big part of my daily life, as I spend lots of time writing my blogs and looking at other people's blogs on the various components of the BAPP course. When I was unable to attend the campus sessions due to work commitments, I felt I was not penalised at all as I was able to read the course tutor's, and fellow students', blogs on the day. Because of this, I could take detailed notes and even attempt some of the activities. As well as gaining valuable information I have been able to interact with other students in the same 'boat' as me, and this has been a comfort at times when I haven't understood what I should be doing.
I have been honest in my top five sources of information and it is, I suppose, sad that one of my top five sources is not face to face contact with friends and colleagues. However, it is an ever evolving technological age we now live in, where Facebook, twitter etc., have, to some extent, replaced verbal communication. Also, it is interesting that even newspapers, books and journals have evolved to fit these new technologies, as they can often be downloaded onto our computers, iPhones or Kindles. I have also made the choice to not list my agent. This is because I am not particularly close to my agent and I have not found them to be a good source of information. Most of my professional contracts I have found myself and I have never found my agent to be easily accessible or particularly approachable.