Friday, October 21, 2016

1880 Compliant

I coined the phrase 1880 Compliant or 1880 Compliance to refer to things that will still work, or keep working, if the power grid goes down. "Compliant" as in goes along with or works with, and "1880" because the first commercial power generator went online in about 1881. It's like a shorthand for business continuity without electricity: what happens if the power goes out? What happens if the power stays out? Actors are small businesses. Anything 1880 Compliant is a thing that works whether or not the power is working.

Important deadlines and other things don't care what infrastructure is doing in your area; you either showed up for work, or an audition, or you didn't. You could download the script/sides, or you couldn't. The movie/video/TV show could be watched our it couldn't. The theatre's lights could turn on or they couldn't. Business continuity isn't a major focus for actors (nor should it be) but since the internet today has many sites down, I'm going to write this instead of waiting for them to come back online. I have shared the phrase 1880 Compliant for years, but today I'll commit it to (digital) paper. Seems kind of apt. And ironic (not quite what that word means, but I digress).

Something you or a business does is 1880 Compliant for some amount of time. Books printed on paper are 1880 Compliant forever, books on a digital readers are 1880 Compliant for the life of the battery: they're basically not 1880 Compliant at all or are for only some hours or minutes.

Things that are 1880 Compliant can include:

A paper date book
Unless you lose it, burn it or otherwise physically destroy it, a paper date book will be available, complete and serve its purpose until the paper rots away. It won't care no what the power company does.
A bicycle
If it works today it will likely work tomorrow and the next day. Eventually its maintenance may need things like replacement parts and lubricants, and those need power to be available where you are, but a bike is effectively 1880 Compliant for the foreseeable future.
Talking in person
Face to face conversation doesn't require electricity to happen, and if the people's basic survival needs are met (the modern world requires electricity enabling the technologies that make food and clothes that end up in our presence), they can effectively communicate like this for the rest of their lives.

Things that are _not_ 1880 Compliant could include:

A digital planner
If you can't charge its battery it won't help you know what's next or next week. And if you think an online or home back-up will save you, you are right-ish: those will extend its 1880 Complaint time-frame, and may make your schedule retrievable, but eventually all those 1s and 0s do nothing for you if the power doesn't come back on soon.
A car
You may think "but I don't have an electric car, my car uses gas," and while that can be true, surprisingly almost all gas stations use electrically powered pumps without a petroleum product powered generator as back-up. Despite the distribution and sale of petroleum products being almost the entire business model of a gas station, they depend on the power being on. This means that in many natural disasters people have been left to abandon their cars and walk, even if they are right next to a gas station that has underground storage tanks full of fuel. That fuel is totally out of reach because the power the station's pumps rely on is not available. Remarkably foolish and tragic: this lack of a generator back-up slowed evacuations after the storm surge knocked out power before Hurricane Katrina made landfall.
All communications with screens or microphones involved
Kind of obvious; electrical technology may work during a power outage at first, but eventually telephone and cell phone systems' back-ups will run out of their ability to keep things running if the power grid stays down long term.

As actors, when working on a film or TV set, the production may have brought its own generator and may then be able to keep working without interruption for a time. They may be able to keep filming and "make the day" without the local power grid providing electricity; a set might be 1880 Compliant for some hours. Our work certainly doesn't require electricity to be done, though the systems that capture it and all the people working on the shoot probably will eventually need power from the grid to work well or at all. Plus, if the power went out because of anything that wasn't limited to the power grid (like a storm or other natural disaster) then filming probably stopped for other compelling reasons.

On stage, the show probably won't go on with out the power on; most theatres don't seem to have backup systems to power everything for hours if the power goes out. The light board and sound systems may have backups for their computers, but the lights, lobby and ticketing areas are probably going to go dark and stay dark. Rehearsal might be able to happen, in a park or a space with windows during the day, and auditions maybe could too, but with out the power up, traffic signals and subways probably don't work so getting to a rehearsal or audition might not be possible. A lot of what we do for work doesn't work when the power doesn't.

A corollary I'll mention that I also coined is being 1980 Compliant, meaning working without internet connectivity. The internet wasn't widely adopted until after 1980. Now I'm off to go to an 1880 Compliant in-person meeting ;-).

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this posted by David August at 12:34 PM 

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