Monday, July 25, 2011

All the World's a Stage for Work

Before movies, there was only theater. And for a long time the theatrical set of the theater, with a stage, lighting above and in front, sets off to the side and actors moving to and from the stage defined how stories were told. Most of the activity occured behind what is called the proscenium, or an archway in front of the curtain. This opening separates the audience from the performance. Anything that happens behind the proscenium can become any place imaginable, as long at the actors make it believable.

When film was first invented, early movies were conceived to behave like a theatrical stage, with a "still" camera and actors moving back and forth. The fact that moving pictures existed at all was very exciting, and just aiming a camera at a stage was acceptable. However, at some point, filmmakers decided to "splice" the film and shoot one scene, and then cut to a completely different scene. There was concern that this would be very confusing to the audience, but once filmakers tried it there was no going back. Filmmakers also realized that you could change the point of view that the audience might see... close ups and worm's eye view shots were now possible. The results of these changes in perspective was transformative. Here's a wonderful example of this from Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train.

Now of course we have movies conceived from the start in 3D like James Cameron's Avatar.

I got to thinking last night... We have technology that allows us to truly work anywhere, and just about any way we want. Why are we still shooting the proscenium and working in cube-like environments all day? And what are we missing in terms of a rich, collaborative, meaningful and innovative work experience by defining our "office" as a single place? Let's break out of dilbert-ville, turn our idea of the workplace upside down and break a paradigm or two.

If all the world's a stage now, WHY ARE WE NOT USING IT?

17 comments:

Stone Panels Inc.® said...

"If all the world's a stage now, WHY ARE WE NOT USING IT?"

Stage fright?

Tim Miller said...

I work with the IT at Indiana University. We are just moving into a new 21st century green building with an open workspace.

I am a media producer in the group making a tour documentary for the building.

Could I ask you a few questions to help me with my script? I would of course quote you with credit if used.

thanks,

Tim

Our building: Sorry not HOK :-(
http://it.iu.edu/cib/

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Ali S said...

Brilliantly put, Leigh. I always find your posts most enlightening :)

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@Tim Miller: about your building....how does it work for you now that you moved in

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That's right...All the life is a working stage ...this is sad :(

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