Any Questions? Call us 401.289.2942

Creative Conners eStore Now Has Reviews

Home » 2014 » January

Creative Conners eStore Now Has Reviews

Spot Block Creative Conners Inc

We launched our new eStore a couple weeks ago. and the response has been great! Orders are coming in, and boxes of goodies are shipping out. Not all of our products have been placed on the eStore yet, but more are being added every day.

Now with reviews

So what could be better than ordering automation gear online? Reviews! Everybody loves reviews. Reviews give you, dear reader (our fabulous, good-looking, and intelligent customer) a chance to share your experience and gives potential customers access to peer advice. So, we thought it would be great for the first-ever online automation catalog to have customer reviews too. If you already have some gear, and are itching to share a nugget of knowledge about our products, please head on over to the store and add your 2¢ to the conversation.

Scenic Automation Seminar: Lives Were Changed in Austin, TX

Gareth and Royal took their automation show on the road this month as they traveled to the wild landscape of my home state, Texas.  The USITT Southwest Regional Symposium graciously invited the Creative Conners team to Austin to hold a seminar teaching the ways of scenic automation in general, and getting the most out of our Spikemark system in particular.  Seeing an opportunity for spring thaw from our record breaking New England winter, the guys were all too eager to polish their cowboy boots, dust off the Power Point slides, and jump on a plane.

--USITT SW Automation Seminar. Photo credit: Greg Andrews--

After setting up gear for the seminar (huge thanks to Paul Flint and Alexis Tucker from the Zach Theatre for the equipment), more than twenty students greeted Gareth and Royal at the January 18 morning session.  These brave automation thrill seekers were assured of bringing something new back to their theaters, having a good laugh at Gareth’s recollections of all his mistakes leading up to the solid success of his automation line, and troubleshooting their own experiences with automation.

The “Diary of an Automation Junkie” presentation segued into a discussion on the importance of motor size and component selection.  If only we could stuff our scenic plans into the equivalent of a Brannock Device and get just the right size motor.

--Brannock Device / Shoe Sizer--

Well, Gareth insists, it really can be that easy.  As explained in the seminar, one can use the Creative Conners Motor Calc to work out specifications for your gearing and capacities (it’s free, you have no excuse not to try it).  This tool was created to further our principle that this shouldn’t be the hard part for you.  More of your time should be spent on your custom mechanical design, not the motor selection.  Size it up quickly with something like Motor Calc.  Get a good fit from AA narrow to 2E wide.  Bunions and all (ew).

Another great tip came up with regard to the ease of flipping motor direction using a simple crossover cable, a great solution for getting encoder values to accurately reflect positive / negative or upstage / downstage movement.  We highly recommend our Estore for convenient purchases of essential items like the crossover cable.

And if the morning participants came away remembering only one thing it would have to be don’t use two dogs on a curved track.  Unlike two furry dogs on one leash that, with enough training, could move in sync, two mechanical dogs on one curved track will jam up with friction faster than you can say, “How many days ’til first dress?”


For attendees already familiar with the system who were ready to roll up their sleeves and wrap their brains around some of the finer points in automation, an afternoon “Spikemark Intensive” got underway after lunch.  Key features of the free Spikemark software were highlighted but not before a reveal of what’s inside a Stagehand.

--Stagehand Innards--

--Bionic Stagehand Innards (Smithsonian Channel)--

After identifying the name and purpose of each interior component, the conversation honed in on motor tuning.  Although it’s a critical component of smooth automation, tuning all too often takes more time than it should.  Biggest pitfall?  Not getting the proportional gain completely adjusted before moving on to other parameters.

The most important take aways from the discussion:

1.  Look at our Motor Tuning Flow Chart, from page 84 of the Spikemark manual.  In fact don’t just have a look.

Print it.

Laminate it.

Staple it to your operator’s arm.

--Motor Tuning Flow Chart--

2.  If half an hour goes by and you’re not getting anywhere, look for mechanical problems.


Did people come away with a better understand of scenic automation equipment?  Yes.  Are these technicians now better equipped to achieve their automation goals? Absolutely.  Was cholesterol lowered?  Well, let’s not get carried away.  Taking the magic and mystery out of automation, and laying it out simply for anyone to utilize is our goal.  We believe these seminars are an important step in building the skill set of any theatre technician.

Many thanks to the good folks who attended the seminar, and of course our gratitude to Rusty Cloyes and Dave Vieira from UT Austin for their organizing efforts and warm reception.


Our team, however, is not done educating the world about scenic automation equipment.  March will usher in two more opportunities for them to change lives. Check us out at the Southeastern Theatre Conference March 6 – 8 in Mobile, AL.  And keep your suitcase handy for traveling to the USITT Annual Conference and Stage Expo March 26 – 29 in Fort Worth.  We’ll be there at Booth #1229  changing lives the best way we know how.












A Ruff Day at Creative Conners

Friday was a ruff day at Creative Conners as it joined the ranks of reportedly pet-friendly businesses like  Ben & Jerry’sGoogle, and Build-a-Bear Workshop.  In the midst of assembly, manufacturing, and travel preparations, we hosted two canine friends,  “Miko”, and “Sprocket”.


Ryan & Miko

Miko is Ryan’s adorable Shiba Inu, and Sprocket is Gareth & Emily’s rather hillbilly Lab / Basset Hound (lovable hillbilly of course).  In addition to relaxing along side their hard working humans, our companions delighted in patrolling, playing, sniffing (lots of sniffing), and even doing a little computer work:

Sprocket & Miko at Work

Clearly from Miko’s bright eyed alertness she is the owner of the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee in the picture.  Sprocket couldn’t be bothered with her Power Point presentation on the merits of the new Deck Chief.  He’s more of a “What time is lunch?” employee.


It Seems to Be Working for Amazon

Online shopping.  It’s going to be big.  Yes, Amazon has been doing it for…well, a bit longer, but now Creative Conners will also offer all the convenience of 24 hour online shopping.

Presenting the Creative Conners eStore.

estore blog image

You may think it’s not exactly groundbreaking here in 2014 to embrace e-commerce, but it is an important step for our company in our efforts to fulfill your automation needs as completely and efficiently as possible.  Many products are in the online catalog right now, and the rest will be added faster than you can say Make It Move.

If you know what you want to purchase and don’t need a free consultation or quote, head to the online store.  Shipping and applicable taxes are calculated with your purchase, and payment can be made with a variety of credit cards:

or the perennial favorite PayPal:

You can access our online trove of automation treasures by

• clicking on the eStore link at the top of the navigation bar,


• click the “Buy It Now” button on any product page.


• or bookmark Creative Conners eStore right now(!) in your browser.

Don’t see a product you need to order?  Let us know and we’ll get it into the eStore.  Our goal is to have every product and kit available for online purchase.  Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments about your experience in the eStore, and know we are still very happy to take your order via phone or fax or even in person (seriously, if you come in person to place an order that would be impressive, and we’d definitely take you out to lunch).

We invite you to give it a test run and add a product to your cart, if for no other reason than to watch the cool floating orange bubble.

Scenic Automation Presentation in Austin at the USITT SW Symposium

USITT Austin


USITT Southwest Symposium

Next week, January 17-19, the USITT Southwest Section is hosting a Symposium for students and professionals to share technical know-how on a variety of theatrical topics.  There is a fabulous selection of sessions including Armor Construction, Audio, Wig Construction, and… Scenic Automation!

Royal and I (Gareth) have been invited to present two sessions on Scenic Automation.  We are thrilled and honored to be a part of this event.  One of my favorite parts of this job is getting out and sharing our experience and knowledge with bright and dedicated technicians in theatres around the country.

Diary of an Automation Junkie

Our first session is slated for 9am on Saturday the 18th:

We will cover the basics of automation, discussing fundamentals like: torque and motor selection, positioning sensors, motor drives, and motion controllers.  The session wraps up with a quick demo of our Spikemark software and Stagehand controllers running various machines.  We explore all this information by examining the greatest automation blunders in my career, which is always fun to share.

Spikemark Intensive

At 1pm on Saturday the 18th, we’ll start the second session:

Over the course of 2 hours and 45 minutes we will dig into our Spikemark software.  We’ll show you how to get from initial setup and motor tuning, to advanced cue links, to techniques for teching and running your show.  Whether or not you are currently using Spikemark, this session will provide some great in-depth knowledge of how to use the most popular automation system used by more than 200 theatres, schools, and scene shops across the country.

In case you haven’t heard, Spikemark is now free (yes, free) and includes a 3d Simulator for off-line cueing.  So grab a copy and bring your laptop to the Spikemark Intensive session to follow along.


As a special reward to our Southwest customers, we will be handing out a limited number of coupons at the sessions that are worth ~30% system purchases that are made in January and February. So, if you’re contemplating a purchase this is a great opportunity to save some money and stretch your budget.


Special thanks to Rusty Cloyes and Dave Vieira from University of Texas Austin for inviting us to come to the Symposium.  Also, a huge thanks to Paul Flint and Alexis Tucker from the Zach Theatre who are lending their Creative Conners gear to the event, as well as their time and energy getting it all to the venue.  It is great to be part of such a vibrant and generous community of enthusiastic technicians.

USITT Southwest Regional Seciont

Introducing Deck Chief – The Simple Solution for Motor Control

We are thrilled to announce our newest motor controller – Deck Chief.

Have you ever needed a simple, manual control solution for a machine on stage? Perhaps a projection screen in your auditorium, or a turntable in your trade show booth, or a traveler curtain in your theatre? You just want a knob and a button, something easy that anyone can operate. The Deck Chief was made for you.

Don’t let the Deck Chief’s simplicity of operation fool you, inside this guy is packed with features:

  • Industrial pushbuttons to start forward and reverse motion
  • Inputs for end of travel and slow-down limit switches for repeatable positioning
  • Indicator lights for limit switch and drive status
  • Emergency stop circuit with SIL-rated components
  • High-quality Mitsubishi variable-frequency drive (VFD) for smooth motion and plenty of power
  • Lock-out switch to prevent unauthorized operation

When you need a safe, affordable, variable-speed, no-frills motor controller put a Deck Chief on the job.
Get all the details…

Google+ Google+