Author Topic: PROMPT BOOK: Creating a Calling Script (meta-thread)  (Read 28607 times)

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MarcieA

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Re: Creating a call script
« Reply #30 on: Aug 16, 2006, 10:00 am »
Being based in England call scripts are so standardised that I don't dare to do it on computer even though I would like to. (Script goes on the left hand page and the right hand page has a number of columns; lighting cues in the left hand one; sound in the next; other cues in the next and blocking in the last. Everything is in pencil with no colour or highlighting.)

If you havw the means to, Froggy, I'd love to see a copy of one of your scripts. It seems different from anything I've seen.
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Red Hand Scot

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Re: Creating a call script
« Reply #31 on: Aug 16, 2006, 12:17 pm »
I have begun to scan the script we're doing in the Spring (lots of lead time) and my HP scanner, although somewhat slow, scans directly into Word (or a PDF, if that's what you want).  The OCR software is remarkably accurate, making edits mimimal.  I am saving each scene separately so as not to make the file size too large initially, and will print them out with annotations for my call script.

Good idea on the callouts, Matthew.  I will use these.  Thks!


damjamkato

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PROMPT BOOK: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #32 on: Nov 29, 2008, 08:31 pm »
This is my first experience actually calling a show as SM.  I have SM'd twice before, but that was in middle school, and the Technical Director/Theater Production teacher would call it.  Those two shows were to "train" me.  

It's now my job to actually call the show, and I now have to write in the cues for sound, projection, and running crew.  The TD is going to call the lights, because she thinks its best for me to get used to calling without having to worry about lights.

Anyway, how to you normally go about writing the cues in?  An electronic script is definitely out of the question.
I know this is one of those things that varies from SM to SM, but suggestions, please.

Dan
« Last Edit: Jun 09, 2009, 02:32 am by PSMKay »

kiwitechgirl

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #33 on: Nov 29, 2008, 09:11 pm »
There are as many methods of marking up a prompt book as there are stage managers!  Everyone develops their own style which works for them; personally, I have the script on the left-hand side of the binder, and a blank page (obviously, the back of the next page of the script) on the right.  Cue words are marked up as follows, with the cue word being "fox" in this case:

The quick brown ¦fox¦ jumped over the lazy dog__________________________

The line goes across the gap between pages (cues on the blank back of the page) where it looks like _____________LX98 GO

Standbys go about 30 seconds before the cue - you'll soon learn to judge how far up the page 30 seconds is!  Musicals I call from an amalgamation of script and score, using the same method except that cues are done by musical beat rather than by word, generally.  If you have multiple cues going off the same cue point, always call them in the same order (and give your standbys in the same order) so the different departments know what they're listening for.  In that kind of case it becomes LX98 SQB AV15 GO rather than an individual cue for each department.  Depending on your deck crew, you may find some sort of cue light system easier, because they may not be able to be on comms for scene changes unless you have wireless comms or someone stationed on comms and not actually running around the stage doing changes.
« Last Edit: Nov 29, 2008, 09:14 pm by kiwitechgirl »

sarahbear42

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #34 on: Dec 01, 2008, 11:52 am »
I do mine about the same as kiwitechgirl, but with the cues often in the margin of the script page-- just in case there's several cues on a page, I'd be afraid I'd get muddled on which line corresponded to which.

After tech is over I often highlight my cues in various colors (green for sound, pink for lights, etc.) just to make everything clearer and easier to see.

The most important thing when writing in your cues is to be sure that everything is crystal clear, legible, and easily read in the dark/almost dark! You have to be able to look at it and say "if I were hit by a bus, someone else could call the show from this book." (That was actually in the SM handbook of the last company I worked for, btw.)

Aerial

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #35 on: Dec 01, 2008, 07:15 pm »
Another thing that can be helpful (without an electronic script) is to use the copy machine to manipulate pages that might have a lot of cues, like the beginning or end of acts.  I find it helps to have a bigger chunk of white space to write in all the requisite begining stuff, like house to half, etc, so I shrink down first pages, if they're not already laid out that way.  I orient my calling script with the script on the right, and my cues in the right hand margin because I don't like to look across the binder rings for my cues.  The important thing to remember is that there's no right or wrong way to do it, just think about the various suggestions and see what makes it easiest for you.

Tempest

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #36 on: Dec 02, 2008, 12:36 am »
I use different colored sticker dots for the various types of cues, with the number/letter of the cue written really big on it.  1/2" circles are too big, 3/8" is about right.  This is REALLY useful in tech, as it's a lot easier to just peel up a sticker (or cluster of stickers) and move it, than to erase a nice, big, clear cue and line.  I've found this works GREAT in musicals where you're calling off the score, as the sticker doesn't get lost in the "chaos" of the music as much as a hand written cue does, and you can put it right over the correct beat.  Also, depending on how fast and furious your cues are, you can put the sticker right in place, in the middle of the text.  Sure, you lose a few words, but they're words AFTER the cue, I don't much miss them.
And, the different neon dots almost glow under blue or red running lights, making them even easier to see.
Usually I end up going back over my script and neatening things up at a point once we've opened, but the stickers save so much time in tech week.
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geoffsm

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #37 on: Dec 02, 2008, 01:28 am »
I do mine about the same as kiwitechgirl, but with the cues often in the margin of the script page

Likewise.  I underline the surrounding text, indicate the "GO" word of syllable in the way that kiwitechgirl demonstrated, then I draw a line to the margin, where I write the cue #.  However, I have my text on the right side.  Although I don't highlight the cue itself, I DO use Post-it flags to point to the cue and call my attention to it.  Yellow for lights, Green for sound, and Red for complicated sequences where there isn't enough space to flag each individual cue.

I also actually write "SB L12, S5," and "Warn Deck 1, L14" , etc.  in their approximate locations for stand-bys and warnings, but I don't designate a specific line.  This way I can still keep everything consistent, but I have the ability to adjust slightly depending on circumstances.

Personally, I also like to note if there is a follow, or something else special about a cue, so that I'm not surprised during the first few techs when I'm still getting used to the show.

Best piece of advice....write lightly for the first few tech rehearsals and have a big eraser on hand.  Also, try to stay flexible, it's not uncommon for designers to be changing cues the day before opening (I've had them grab be and want to make changes at half-hour on opening night).

sarahbear42

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #38 on: Dec 02, 2008, 11:06 am »
Best piece of advice....write lightly for the first few tech rehearsals and have a big eraser on hand.  Also, try to stay flexible, it's not uncommon for designers to be changing cues the day before opening (I've had them grab be and want to make changes at half-hour on opening night).

YES! Having a clean copy of the script ready to transfer to can be helpful too, especially if a huge section gets changed-- you can just copy onto a new set of pages once the changes are "finalized" (though they're rarely REALLY final.)

yoyomankind

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #39 on: Dec 05, 2008, 11:45 am »
I am also a sticker user; however, I get small transparent colored stickers from Staples, that allow you to still be able to read the script when you place the sticker over a line. 

I also usually use a different colored sticker for all standby's and warnings.  I find it makes it easier read whether it's a cue that I'm giving, or a standby and I should get ready for a cue.

As for standby times, I usually use 20 seconds instead of 30 seconds.  I've always felt that 30 seconds seemed to give too much dead time, unless it is a complicated cue where there has to be a lot of prep for it.

KMC

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #40 on: Dec 05, 2008, 02:41 pm »
I am also a sticker user; however, I get small transparent colored stickers from Staples, that allow you to still be able to read the script when you place the sticker over a line. 

Careful, stickers can (and do) fall out.
Get action. Do things; be sane; don’t fritter away your time; create, act, take a place wherever you are and be somebody; get action. -T. Roosevelt

crazylady

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #41 on: Dec 05, 2008, 03:13 pm »
Yeah, i stopped using stickers for that very reason. Instead I just write everything in and once the show is up i will go back over in black ink. For whatever reason, i associate very well with shapes, so I will have my SB's in a square, and so on. I don't know why that is, but I see the shape and my brain clicks. it's basically figuring out what works best for you but at the same time making sure someone else could pick it up at a moments notice.
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jennaline

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #42 on: Feb 22, 2009, 12:23 am »
I like to use those highlighter tabs. They are easily moved and stick out even in a dark area. So, supposing your booklight malfunctions, you might still be pretty solid with cues. Though, I've found in the show that I am currently working on, the tabs have enabled me to memorize most of the script. So, I can go into another room for a frozen reeses, and call over headset "Light Cue 32, GO."

My whole cast thinks knows I'm crazy.

loebtmc

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #43 on: Feb 22, 2009, 12:46 pm »
Quote
So, I can go into another room for a frozen reeses, and call over headset "Light Cue 32, GO."

um, yikes that kinda scares me - I can't think of a time I would call a cue without actually seeing what was going on onstage, just in case someone was late or early, or something fell, or the moment needed another half-beat, or whatever. Leaving the booth? already a grey area at best, but never when there are cues to be called unless (in some of the small theaters I have worked without an asst) there is direst emergency and someone else who knows the show cold is watching the stage while I solve.

nystagemanager26

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #44 on: Feb 22, 2009, 04:29 pm »
However you write your calling script, it must be clear and readable by someone other than yourself.  If for some unforseen reason you can not call the show and someone else has to step in, it's important that your script is clear enough for that person to call the show.

I used to use highlighters, and dots and all of that.  I found that is I write in black (after tech is done) and large enough, put a border around the cue (and yes I have done this with several cues at once) I have a clear script just in case.  I have done with for plays and musicals.  It works well.  I don't like using a score except for opera.  Moving scenery means your eyes need to be on the stage not the score.

As for leaving the booth, unless someone is in need of first aid and you are the only person able to provide it, don't do it.  Always make sure you have outside communication (landline or cell phone) especially if you are the only stage manager on the show.

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