In 2004, Ben Peoples began working as ATD at a small regional theatre in Berkeley, a city he had never worked in before. The TD was new that season as well, and neither of them knew anyone in town, which made finding overhire labor incredibly difficult. After a few months of intense networking, they found enough people to fill their calls, but the problem nagged at them: how do you find people to hire when you're new?
After Ben’s experience that summer, he began working on and idea that eventually grew into GoodTheatre.org. Goodtheatre was a classic social networking site geared specifically towards theatre professionals; it connected people with others they knew, but it also featured a novel ranking system that allowed people to rate others they had worked with, as well as fairly objectively rating their skills.
Goodtheatre quickly grew to 1000 users in the San Francisco Bay Area and operated successfully for several years, helping Bay Area professionals network more easily, and get their job listings in front of the people who needed to see them. Even in those early years, though, Ben saw the potential for the site to do even more - reducing the friction in the hiring process by getting real-time job notifications to the people with exactly the right skills for the job. The technology simply wasn’t available yet to make that a reality.
Fast forward to 2014. Mobile technology has made it easier than ever to reach theatre professionals who are always on the move, and Ben started wondering if the same networking and hiring problems still exist. A little research indicated that there was indeed an opportunity for improvement in the industry, and Overhires grew out of that effort. The modern smartphone connected world, coupled with about 10 years of growth in technology, has allowed us to do so much more than we were able to do with Goodtheatre in 2004.
We're close to a public unveiling this summer (in time for your fall hiring), so stay tuned.
Ben has worked in various aspects of the entertainment industry for almost 20 years. He studied technical direction and lighting design at Carnegie Mellon University, and then moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where spent 7 years working as a theatre consultant and technical director. Ben currently lives in Pittsburgh, PA, where he runs the theatrical electronics studio Trinculo's Attic.