Author Topic: PROMPT BOOK: Creating a Calling Script (meta-thread)  (Read 29682 times)

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Tigerrr

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #45 on: Feb 22, 2009, 08:23 pm »
This is why I LOVE this website! In 13 years of stage managing, it has never, ever occurred to me to write my cues in ink after the show's opened. Heh!

Count me as one of the sticker-averse. I would be way too scared of one of them falling out.

As for stand-bys, I don't have a set time (like 20 or 30 seconds). If I only have a lx cue to call, I keep the "down-time" short since all the op has to do is hit a go button. If it's a sound cue, I give a little more time to allow the sound op to double check that they're cued to the proper track and are set at the proper level. If it's a rail cue, I give even more time for them to get to their post (if they haven't already), double-check the count of the cue, and such (yes, I give warnings for rail cues). When I give cluster stand-by's, I always default to the longest.

I also group by type. So, if I have a sequence in the following order: LX 18 and SND 3 - GO, LX 19 - GO, LX 20 and SND 3a - GO, I say my standby as "LX 18 through 20 and SND 3 and 3a".

Don't rush your cues. Say the words clearly. And always say them at the same pace...try not to change it up. This means getting a sense of the actors' timings. If at all possible, try to practice in rehearsal (if you're not taking other notes). For instance, if I KNOW there'll be a cue at a particular point in the script, during one of the last run throughs in the rehearsal hall, I'll say the cue in my head. That helps me gauge timing and gives me a chance to practice before moving into the theatre. Don't worry too much about that though. There will come a time when you are capable of following along on book, watching for blocking errors AND calling a cue all at the same time.

One more thing...I always say the number of the cue when I call it. I don't just say "LX GO", but I say "LX 3 GO".

kiwitechgirl

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #46 on: Feb 22, 2009, 09:36 pm »
I also group by type. So, if I have a sequence in the following order: LX 18 and SND 3 - GO, LX 19 - GO, LX 20 and SND 3a - GO, I say my standby as "LX 18 through 20 and SND 3 and 3a".

I only do this if I have separate operators; if I have one operator who is running both LX and sound (which is the norm for me), then I stand the cues by as they happen - so the above example I'd stand by as "standby LX18 with SQ3, LX 19, and LX 20 with SQ3a."  It's just a preference that I and the operators I normally work with have.  If I have a big chunk of cues happening within a short space of time (a musical number, usually) then I'll say "stand by for the Springtime for Hitler sequence" and write a list for the operator of what each standby sequence entails (and put it in my book) - this was an idea that an operator and I came up with between us, and it works well for us when I don't have time to call standbys in between cues.

madiobrien

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #47 on: Feb 23, 2009, 12:01 pm »
This is so helpful! So many great ideas. 

Do you usually use your blocking script or do you use a clean script for calling cues?
Mad Dog.

yesterdaysroses

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #48 on: Feb 23, 2009, 12:42 pm »
I have used my blocking script in the past because that's all I was provided with, but after my last show, I'm going to be using a clean script for calling from now on. We had so many "L" names and "S" names in my last show that I was panicky each night. I was SO scared I was going to mistake a blocking note for a cue or vise versa.

I've been converted to the clean script team. ;D

kiwitechgirl

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Re: Creating a Calling Script
« Reply #49 on: Feb 23, 2009, 10:10 pm »
Do you usually use your blocking script or do you use a clean script for calling cues?

It depends on the show.  Musicals, always a clean script to call from, mainly because I integrate script and score into a calling script, but don't want the score in a blocking script as it makes for far too many page turns!  For a straight play, it varies.  I did The Country Wife a couple of years ago, and we cut it quite heavily and I typed it up so I had a clean calling script with no big black lines through sections which had been cut - but I used the original version in rehearsals so I had the same page numbers as the actors and director.  But if it's not a play which has had changes made to the script during rehearsal, then I'll just use one script.  My blocking notes get written as far away from the actual script as possible, and my cues as close to the script as possible, so I'm not usually worried about getting blocking notes and cues mixed up.

Rebelsw/oapplause

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PROMPT BOOK: Calling Script
« Reply #50 on: Mar 02, 2009, 06:20 pm »
Hi all!

This is my absolute first time creating a calling script, so I have decided to post a scene to see what you think. The show is rather large (Guys and Dolls), so I have decided that I will use two different scripts. One will be my "bible", and the other will be my calling script. For my calling script I will be using a typed up version of the script. After tech, I will high the various cues and standbys with Microsoft Words highlighter tool in yellow and green colors. I have also used footnotes for blocking notations. Is this a good idea? I was just thinking that having the blocking on hand would be helpful. Thanks alot, and I would love some constructive criticism.

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

MatthewShiner

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Re: Calling Script
« Reply #51 on: Mar 02, 2009, 07:50 pm »
You might want to avoid colors in your calling script - unless you will be printing your script in color.

You might want to go with specific shapes. 

I print in black and white . . . but do the following on the word version of the calling script.

Highlight, bold, underline the word I start saying the cue.

I bold and border the word I say go on with a callout going to the side of the script with the cue.

I use a circle around a word that has a cue light go off it, but doesn't have anything that I say "go" with.

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Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

Rebelsw/oapplause

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Re: Calling Script
« Reply #52 on: Mar 02, 2009, 07:58 pm »
Is it a bad idea to include by blocking notations within the calling script?

MatthewShiner

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Re: Calling Script
« Reply #53 on: Mar 02, 2009, 08:09 pm »
What's the point?

Seriously, when calling the show, do you need to know the blocking?  Are you going to be giving blocking notes during the run of the show?

I always find it better to have the blocking script on deck, so as understudies go on, they have the blocking available to them.  I usually can give blocking notes based on my knowing the show.

Now, if you are going to go ahead and creative some sort of master archival script and want to add blocking go ahead, but I think it's okay to have one for calling and one for blocking, that's the way I do it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Anything posted here as in my own personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of my employer - whomever they be at a given moment in time.

ReyYaySM

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Re: Calling Script
« Reply #54 on: Mar 02, 2009, 10:27 pm »
The only blocking I have notated in my call script is blocking associated with a visual cue (i.e. call when Actor X slams door).  Otherwise I maintain my blocking notes in separate script.  However, I do find it helpful when doing a musical to have some basic dance notation in the dance breaks.  I call off the music, but if I have to deal with a problem or get behind for some reason I know they do the box step in measure 99. 

I wish you the best on calling your first show!

PSMKay

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Re: Calling Script
« Reply #55 on: Mar 03, 2009, 04:47 am »
Definitely do not commit to color in the calling script until you know what color the booth lights will be.  Blue booth light has some strange effects on highlighter ink!

Rebbe

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Re: Calling Script
« Reply #56 on: Mar 03, 2009, 11:12 am »
Using footnotes for blocking  is an interesting idea I haven’t seen before.  It has the advantage of being very neat and legible.  I’m not sure I understand your plan for writing in Qs though.   Most SMs I’ve seen write Qs in the margins, typed or handwritten, but your margins look fairly narrow for this.  Maybe you can post an example.  I’ve never felt the need to color code my call book, but I know some SMs find it useful; maybe you can see if you really need the colors before you do the extra work.

I do sometimes include blocking in my call script.  I hole punch my calling pages on the right side of the page,  and put it on the left side of my book, and have a corresponding blocking page that is hole punched on the left side, and put that on the right side of my book.  Notes on my blocking page are numbered, and I’ll either hand write those numbers on my call book where the action happens, or type the number in at the appropriate spot (bold and grey highlight).  I am not a memorizer, so I find it useful to have all the info together during tech, to remind actors where they’re going if they forget in the midst of other changes, or if designers are asking me about a character’s blocking, and so I can update blocking information as it changes.  When I’m running understudy rehearsals, I can explain what’s happening technically at the same time I give blocking notes.  Plus I just don’t have to have two binders, or one really, really fat one. 

If your whole script is already typed up with blocking the way your example is, you might as well keep blocking in as you have it, and just shrink your text to keep the pagination when you add Qs, if that’s important.  Or just go with separate scripts so you don’t invest too much energy tweaking it.  In the end there are lots of ways to set up your books, and this is a great chance for you to learn what does (or doesn’t) work for you.  Since it sounds like this is your first show, I'd suggest finding a method that is the least labor intensive; you're going to have a lot to deal, and don't want to be spending too much time creating the perfect formatting.
       
"...allow me to explain about the theatre business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."  (Philip Henslowe, Shakespeare In Love)

SMrose

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Re: Calling Script
« Reply #57 on: Mar 03, 2009, 06:52 pm »
I guess I'm just very "old school".  Back in my day...we wrote blocking on the blank left hand page and cues on the right hand margin of the dialouge/script (in a 3-ring binder).  In high school...I used 2 copies of the script to get an even and odd page to page version in a 3-ring binder---didn't have xerox machines then.
So... to this day, my blocking etc., etc. is included in the final calling script.  I still make notes on the right hand margin as to whether a cue happens visually or underline the line I call a cue on.  As for Warns/Stand Bys---I just write: WARN L-4...SB L-4...#L-4 (the pound sign is my version of GO)
I'm used to seeing everything in one book: blocking, dance notation, motivation, cues. I see things as one big picture that way.
Been doing it this way for so long--don't know if I could change?

loebtmc

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Re: Calling Script
« Reply #58 on: Mar 03, 2009, 07:58 pm »
I did it that way for a long time - even using my first Monday off after we open to make my clean prompt book w blocking on the left (corresponding to numbers nicely printed in the script) and a clean calling area on the right.

This stopped on an original where the blocking changed drastically in tech, combined w my first experience using post-it flags. Nice neat calling script with nothing else in it, here I came! Add to it the fee I wasn't going to get to turn in a clean readable copy of the updates (vs my scribbled note as they happened) and I have not merged since, other than one show that I knew would be touring so I added the clean blocking (for u/s reh) to my clean calling script.

So much less time and energy....esp as these days, most producers look at me strangely when I try to give them the archive copy (my calling script plus any of the design stuff I have been able to get from the dept heads).

(oddly, I just had my first LD refuse to give me the plot, citing artistic/design rights)


BLee

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Re: PROMPT BOOK: Creating a Calling Script (meta-thread)
« Reply #59 on: Jun 27, 2009, 08:37 pm »
I don't know if anyone has heard of this method yet, but my current PSM picked up from a previous gig and now uses it for our summer stock program. It is a great method of using only one script for both blocking, cue-ing, and tech notes that is extremely clean and easy to use. And solves the right-handed woes of writing blocking on the left side of the binder.

When you copy your script hole punch the paper on both sides. For rehearsals put the script in so that the fronts of the pages are on the left. That means your script will be backwards and you will flip from the back of your binder to the front (pages turn left to right). It is a lot easier to get used to that you think to retrain your brain to work this way. Split the blank pages of the script in half long way so that you have two columns. On the left side you write your blocking. I use the method of writing the blocking and assigning numbers which correspond to the moments on the script. The right column is used for any tech notes, especially useful for creating run sheets, prop hand offs, etc.

Once it comes time to go into tech simply flip the entire script over and place back the normal way. Now you have your script on the right again (easy to now write in cues) with all your notes, reminders, and blocking on the left.
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