Start your own SHARE
A number of people have asked us how they can start their own SHARE, what equipment they need and how much effort is involved. First and foremost, please do get in touch with us. We would love to know about your efforts and help.
We have invested lots of effort and equipment in running SHARE, but don't let that scare you: you can start your own with some time, a place and some form of audio amplification. Don't be afraid to start small and let the event grow as more people become involved.
Find a place which will be available on a regular basis. A club may offer a good soundsystem, but require that your event generates income. Ask if they have free time on an off-night when monetary expectations are low. Choosing an off-night also means fewer local musicians will have other commitments. Any space in which you can play audio and video will do: a college club room, practice space, warehouse or garage. Don't pick a space that asks for rent. Keep asking until you find a place that will donate space.
If the amp has only one audio input, audio artists will have to take turns playing. Taking turns can be a good way to learn new sounds and techniques but being able to jam is even better.
For people to jam together, you'll need multiple inputs into the amp. A four- or eight-input hardware mixer works well. An alternative is to use a computer with a multi-channel soundcard, with its output going to the amplifier and inputs available for jammers. Many laptops and hardware have a line-in that can be used to daisy-chain many performers together, with the last person plugged into the amplifier. In computers, check if the driver for your soundcard supports hardware-through. If not, you will have to use a piece of software that can read from the input and write to the output. Software-through adds latency. For other audio gear, try to avoid passing the input through any EQ or effects. One other way to get lots of people in on the jam is to run software that lets people collaborate on one audio output.
If possible, place the mixer or audio inputs in the center of the space where people can easily access it. Long cables or a snake can extend the reach of audio inputs.
You should announce in advance what form the audio inputs will be so that people know what cables to bring. If possible, provide a few loaner cables: from minipin (headphone-out on laptops) to your audio inputs and also minipin-to-minipin for chaining computers together.
For a video jam, it helps to have one or more monitors or projectors. Although laptop video artists can play directly on their screens, it is not always convenient for other people to see. If one projector or monitor is available, find out if any of the video artists can bring a video mixer. Another way to get many people in on the jam is to run software which allows people to collaborate on a single display.
Telepresent collaborations and audio/video streams require a broadband Internet connection and local network. See if your venue will take on or split the cost of a DSL or cable connection and a router to share it. You can stream your event with Darwin Streaming Server, which is free and open source.
For a successful SHARE you'll want people to learn about it and come back. Return participants sharpen their jamming skill; new participants add new sounds and dynamics. Try to run SHARE on a regular basis: every month, weekly or biweekly, etc. If your SHARE jam has a long time slot, you might consider scheduling featured audio and video artists.
Announce to lists, local music groups, computing groups and friends. Make sure the announcement includes all relevant information, such as what cables people need to bring to participate.
Once your SHARE is on its feet, let us know so we can add you to the map and give you a [city name].share.dj address. We can also set up discussion and mailing lists for you (using Mailman and Dada Mail, respectively).
sharing the work
One person shouldn't have to provide all the gear and set up everytime. Participants can volunteer for task and bring equipment with them. The announcement can include a list of equipment which would be useful if anyone could bring.
Good luck! Once your SHARE is under way, drop us a line with the info so we can list it on share.dj.