Author Topic: NEW WORKS: Original Script  (Read 2555 times)

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NEW WORKS: Original Script
« on: Mar 25, 2006, 12:39 am »
I am currently working on an original scipt with a notoriously difficult director... who happens to be the playwright as well. I am ready to murder her. There are nightly re-writes and she doesn't make copies for me, or even for all of the actors in the scene, we are into week two of rehearsals and she doesn't even know what is going on. I get phone calls in class, at work, late at night and early in the morning with her asking questions that she has the paper work with which she can anwser her own questions.

I am about 5 steps from the door on this. However I am afraid that if I leave I will ruin my referances. And my reputaion, not to mention that she is one of my professers this sem.

I am a student and taking a full load of classes, but because  am the only stagemanager in our university with original script experience (I've worked on three original straight plays and one musical) I was basically thrown into it. (for those of you who read my last topic this show is why I didin't get the Musical... they had other plans for me)

Any advice would be appricated, even if it is suggestions for organizing my blocking script... which changes so often I haven't had time to transfer blocking before there is a new re-write. Even if it is just advise for how to remain positive about all of this.

« Last Edit: Jun 08, 2009, 11:10 pm by PSMKay »


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Original Script
« Reply #1 on: Mar 25, 2006, 03:09 am »
First (and only) easy fix: make separate blocking sheets. What worked best for me on an original show I did last year was punching holes on the "wrong" side of the page, so each blocking page faces the script page it refers to - then use numbers to track moves throughout the dialogue. Saves a ton of time, when you have frequent rewrites. An even faster fix (though a tad messy, if you're rushed) is to use sticky notes for everything, and layer them on the pages as you go.

About the professor: if she is overstepping her professional bounds - i.e. expecting you to shelve your academic work - she is asking too much, and that should be addressed first through the SM advisor, then through Production Mgt higher-ups, and finally through the department chair and/or campus conflict resolution mediators. You are at the college to get your degree first, and to stage manage for this person second; it is unreasonable to expect you to put aside your school work (taking calls during class or after a decent hour at night, for ex.) for a faculty-directed show. As faculty, part of her responsibility is helping you become a productive, educated adult with the ability to prioritize - the "in loco parentis" part of teaching, basically.

About the reference issue: are you depending on this person for a recommendation in the future? Does she (or will she) have any influence on your future at your school or in the area you hope to work?

About the reputation issue: college theater departments tend to be gossipy places - sometimes beneficial, sometimes damaging. You said that this director is notoriously difficult; that seems to be a point in your favor, as far as reputation goes - by sticking it out, you will prove your mettle. Should you choose to leave the show, I think (and I hope) that your department is understanding of the difficulties this director presents, and will take that into account in assessing your choice and in future show assignments.

Best of luck.


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Original Script
« Reply #2 on: Mar 25, 2006, 03:18 am »
Streamline the re-write process.  Often on a new play the current script is maintained by an assistant director person, or a dramaturg, etc.  Only issue new pages for additions or changes of more than a line or two on the page, otherwise note the line change and distribute that day's line change log to the people who need it.  If you can mark the change in your prompt book without adding a new page and without making it too hard to follow, do so (i.e., in the case of line cuts or word changes).  

I keep blocking notes on the facing blank page of the text so that when I add new pages, I just tape the new page over the old one and I only have to transfer the blocking reference number, not the whole description.

But since you've done new plays before, and a new musical, you probably know this already.  What is it about your process that's not working?  Or is it not _your_ process, but is it that the director isn't keeping you up-to-the-second with re-writes?  Lobby hard for the school to give that director some support.

Stage managers need to be able to identify the constraint on the system and elevate the process to remove that constraint.
Heath Belden

"I'm not good, I'm not nice, I'm just right." - Sondheim


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