May 10th, 2011
Hey Lovers of Sideshow,
Yes, our relationship is on that level now. Lovers level. I expect you to buy me flowers, take me out for expensive meals, and buy me jewelry. And not some cheap ass jewelry either – I want that shit to sparkle.
Now that we’re so closer, I want to test you too. Like only girlfriends do. So – did you notice anything different about ME? ME being THIS. Well? Take a look. Look real hard. And no, I didn’t get a haircut. No, I didn’t lose weight. Wait, you think I was fat before? I HATE YOU.
Ok, so it’s not me your looking at, but the Sideshow website. But she is different. She’s the new Sideshow website, and she’s pretty sweet! She looks like the old website. Sorta.
But really, the most important thing about the website is the MAN behind the website. The most secret (until now!) extraordinary Sideshow volunteer, STEVE PERSCH!
Steve is a website design master. He can do things I truly cannot understand. Like write code, then have the code make pretty pictures, and then the code talks to the internet and he helps the internet agree to have the code show up online as things that look like websites. It’s a cross between voodoo magic and Harry Potter style wizardry. And now, our website is epic!
There are many wonderful things about the website, but here’s a quick list of my favorites:
1. There’s a tiny top hat that appears at the top of the browser where you type in the web address, and also on the tab. It’s cute!
2. There’s a spot on the home page with the latest of the Sideshow Blerg news! I like being featured…
3. The Contact Us forms have already facilitated awesome conversations with fans all over the globe, including the UK and OHIO!
I had a chance to sit with Steve and ask him some questions, because I told him the world needs to know about his awesomeness! Enjoy!
Hey Steve, thanks for making our kick ass website. Did it take forever?
Almost forever. I think we started talking about it in fall 09′ but we didn’t really kick it into gear until about a year later. I worked on the Sideshow site in my free time from my day job…making other websites. So it mostly went in fits and starts over the course of about six months.
Why on earth did you decide to do this for us? You are the nicest to volunteer your expertise!
Out of college I built Lookingglass’ website and a couple other sites on my own. Working on the Sideshow site allowed me to exercise my knowledge in the aspects of creating a website that I don’t do as much in my day job. I wanted to work with Sideshow specifically because I like the mission of the company. I like theater companies that do new work. And new work that is based on familiar stories, even cooler! I particularly enjoy seeing a twist on a story that comments on the original. Heddatron was a great example of that kind of storytelling.
How did you get into website building? From your online website, you studied theater and communications (yes I’m stalking you!).
That’s ok, I’m pretty stalk-able. I think for the first two years we knew each other Jonathan Green only called me stevepersch.com. Between my junior and senior years of college, I interned at the Lookingglass Theater Company, and after a couple of weeks filing headshots, scheduling auditions, and doing normal intern stuff, I overheard that one of the artistic directors wanted to start a blog and online magazine. This was before everyone had blogs; way back in 2006. I had just taken a class on HTML so I put myself forward to create the blog and online magazine. I spent the rest of the summer learning how to use and customize the WordPress platform and by Fall we had a blog and a magazine with a new issue for each Lookingglass production! I continued working with them, and by the next summer I had gained enough experience and read enough “For Dummies” books to pursue freelance contracts.
What’s it like writing code?
I think THIS COMIC summarizes how I feel if I spend too long writing code. It also can feel like I’m paid to do math homework; or to play with legos. A lot of my work is done using a content management system called Drupal. Drupal provides a common base and “modules” that provide different functionality and it’s up to the person building the site to combine all the pieces in such a way that the vision of the site is fulfilled.
You are a man of many talents. What else do you like to do in your free time?
I’m an improviser and just got cast on a long form team called Mrs. Ulysses. I occasionally play with a late-night short-form improv show called Thirsty. I’m also on a Playground team called RECESS that does short-form for kids. Our main gig is a monthly show at Children’s Hospital.
What do you love about improvising?
Creating something new. Some improv shows have a lot of structure and some are very loose. In either case it’s the job of the improviser to build patterns, games, and relationships on top of whatever structure is predetermined. In college I knew I could find that creative and collaborative spirit in improv and theater. It drew me to companies like Sideshow. I didn’t expect to get the same creative energy from web development, but the Drupal community especially seems to have a great deal of enthusiasm for collaboration and creativity.
Plug your next project. Where can we see you again? Both in real life and online.
Mrs. Ulysses performs the first Tuesday of every month at 8pm beginning August 2nd at the Mayne Stage off the Morse Red line stop. Or follow me on twitter @stevector. In the web world, I’m working on releasing a mobile photo gallery module for Drupal!
There you have it. Thanks Steve, truly, for helping Sideshow make our technology world better.
Hugs and Kisses,