The art of sound design is complex. Making phones ring shouldn’t be.
Ever since the telephone was invented, playwrights have been making vital news arrive onstage with a ring. Until the 1980’s, this was handily covered by the TeleQ™. But mobile phones don’t come with wires.
So we’ve created StageCaller – an app that allows users to trigger up to 5 “smart” devices (iOS 5+) using nearly any modern computer – either via traditional theater playback software, or with free tools that come on most machines. All you need is StageCaller, a reliable WiFi network, your devices, and your show computer.
No more in ear monitors coupled to tiny speakers, wedged into pouches added by overworked wardrobe departments. No more planting practicals all over the stage, or faking it from nearby sources. More than just a stage ringer, you can also make a phone vibrate, or trigger any sound you’ve made. Sounds are added via Dropbox or Google Drive . StageCaller runs in the background, so the actor can’t accidentally turn it off, and it lights up the phone, just like a real call. Created by the fusion of a Tony award winning sound designer and one of the industry’s top app developers, StageCaller lets you stop sweating the small stuff, and get back to focusing on the show itself.
9/15/2017 – 1.3.11
• updated for iOS11
• fixed Dropbox on iOS9/10/11
• fixed “swipe to stop action” on iOS10/11
• added back iOS8 compatibility because someone asked for it
One purchase of Stagecaller allows the user to install the app on up to 5 devices registered to the purchaser (limited only by your Apple ID.) Each device has a unique ID, allowing you to trigger each one individually.
Once installed, you are prompted to link your device(s) to your dropbox account. Dropbox is currently the only way to add sounds to Stagecaller – it is a free application (url), and easy to install on any computer or device.
When you’ve connected to Dropbox, Stagecaller automatically creates a folder for you, and populates that folder with a selection of ringtones we’ve already generated. You can, of course, also add any sounds you want to this folder, allowing you to create custom rings, conversations with Siri, or even a crying baby.
To make it work, you need to make sure your computer and the devices are on the same WiFi network. We strongly recommend a dedicated and robust wireless router – Apple’s “Airport Extreme” is one router we’ve found to be very reliable. We also recommend, once you’ve loaded up all your sounds, that you put your devices into “Airplane Mode” (on iPhones, you’ll need to do this then turn WiFi back on.)
StageCaller has been used at major theaters in the US (Steppenwolf, Mark Taper Forum, Signature) and is a highly reliable tool. As in any theatrical “mission critical” setting, we always recommend a backup, just in case something fails (actor drops the phone, router gets unplugged, operator decides to change network settings so s/he can post a status update…)