Virtual Box Office

I spent this week writing software, so we’re going to talk about software. A lot of the people that read these articles are software people themselves; if that’s not you, feel free to skim it or skip it entirely! We’ll be back to scenic arts next week.

First, why am I writing software for this show? I made a conscious choice last year to not get too wrapped up in the user experience around buying tickets. I was going to use some existing, well-known service for selling and managing tickets to a small theater production and just let it be. I had too much to do and too much to learn to try to build a product from scratch.

I’m glad I made that choice, because I learned a lot that I didn’t know and therefore wouldn’t have been able to act upon if I built something from scratch in the first place! I wrote more about this way back in December, and you can catch up on those notes yourself. The gist of it is: in a traditional system, my show ends up looking like 20-30 separate performances across three days, and these platforms are just not designed to streamline that.

So I’ve built my own system that only really works for me, but for me it works perfectly: date and time selection are designed around many interchangeable admission windows on relatively few days, all tickets are strictly Will Call, and only one show is on sale at a time. I don’t ask for phone numbers or billing addresses; it includes all the informational text a customer might require and not a word more; the admin view is precisely what will be useful as guests arrive during the production; it integrates with my mailing list; it’s perfectly branded to fit in with the rest of the marketing pages; it supports Apple Pay.

The only problem is that it’s not live yet. Most of the features are done, and I’ve started deploying it to the web, but deploying an application to the web for the first time is not my strong suit. (For the software folks: I’ve got SSL and Nginx running on my EC2 instance, and I scp’d the first copy of the app in there until I get Capistrano configured, but I still need to finish setting up Postgres before I can create the database.) I’ll get it there tonight, and tickets will be purchaseable for a couple days before they’re offically on sale next week, on the 26th. So if you see an option to buy tickets in the next few days and you feel so inclined, go for it!

The next thing to do is finish that dang poster. That’s this weekend’s project, and then I’m back to sculpting. I still have a lot to sculpt! I should never stop sculpting!!!