Author Topic: PROMPT BOOK: Creating a Calling Script (meta-thread)  (Read 28820 times)

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dxj

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PROMPT BOOK: Creating a Calling Script (meta-thread)
« on: Apr 09, 2006, 12:25 pm »
Hello all.  I'm an old stage manager who hasn't stage managed in years (did the producing thing for years), but now I'm back to calling a show.

I'm curious if any of you fine folks could recommend a program for creating a callbook.  I'm pretty tech savvy, but the last time I called a show my laptop weighed about 35 pounds and I did my report on a typewriter.

Rather than try and invent the wheel in the hopes of making MS Word work for me, I'm hoping somebody will have a suggestion of what might work.

The show's not huge, but also not just up and down.  About 30 sound cues, 100 LX cues, about 20 follow-spot cues, and lots of wireless mics on and off.

Thanks for any thoughts!  Comps for everybody!!

NOTE: This is now a meta-thread, consisting of at least four separate threads all merged together. - PSMK
« Last Edit: Jun 10, 2009, 03:28 am by PSMKay »

MatthewShiner

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Callbook
« Reply #1 on: Apr 09, 2006, 05:43 pm »
I actually have found a pretty easy way to make a call script on MS word, with the callout graphic box.  It's complicated to explain, although fairly easy to do.

I can send you a copy of my current script if you shoot me an email to Matthewshiner@stagemanager.net.

Thanks
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Mac Calder

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Creating a call script
« Reply #2 on: Apr 10, 2006, 01:09 am »
There is a lot to be said for the old way of making a prompt book. I would not rule out using pen and paper yet.

Unfortunatly, there is no accepted format for the distribution of scripts electronically, which basically means that there is no dedicated stage management tool. The needs of a SM also vary between shows, which means that 9/10 stage managers that choose to use computerised scripts, also end up using a run of the mill word processor (like MSWord). I played arround with using PDF files and text edits, it works okay if you have a pc with a touch screen, in fact I would say it is damn nice if you have a touch screen, because you end up with a little blue ^ at every thing that needs calling, and you just touch it to see what it is (ie SB LX1).

All in all though, I like my paper prompt books because they end up exactly how I want them.

kaliedascope786

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Creating a call script
« Reply #3 on: Apr 10, 2006, 10:49 am »
I agree. The paper and pen approach is still my favorite. Working on projects from reading to production I enjoy having the ability to change cues from one production to another without re-doing the entire prompt book. I did however recently transition from a three-ring binder to a spiral bound script and find it is much easier to work with - the pages rarely rip out completely.

jensparkingonly

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Creating a call script
« Reply #4 on: Apr 10, 2006, 02:55 pm »
I am a paper and pencil person myself, but I have started dabbling in creating my calling script electronically.  Especially helpful if it is a long running show and different stage managers may be calling.

I use Microsoft Excell. I put the script into the right column and the cues into the left. I use the drawing buttons to add lines and arrows which indicate the 'X' point.
Jen Matthews
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nmno

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Creating a call script
« Reply #5 on: Apr 10, 2006, 02:58 pm »
I'm a new convert to the Word approach.  Do take Matthew up on his offer - he's created a pretty good system.  I was able to use it as a building block to create something that would work for me. (Also, I'd be happy to send you a few pages from one of my scripts).  
What I like about the computer version...  I'm easily able to save several versions without losing the previous version; pencil marks for changes, notes, etc really stand out against the printed type; it's very clear (for me and for a sub if I get hit by a bus); easy to replace pages.
This last show was my first attempt at creating my own calling script on the computer (I'd used one as an ASM on a show but didn't have to create it myself).  I was lucky enough to get most LX and Sound cues early so I had plenty of time to rough them in.  I used text boxes for standbys and I found it easiest to have a second doc open where I created a bunch of text boxes and could then just drop and drag into my script.
The thing that took me the longest was reformatting the script so it was a size I wanted, taking out unnecessary stage directions, etc.  But again, I got started early, and doing a few pages a day made it feel much less laborous.

centaura

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Creating a call script
« Reply #6 on: Apr 10, 2006, 04:14 pm »
I'm still a pencil & paper person, never having worked on a show that had a copy of a script that was saved to computer in any format.  And not having the time to type the whole thing in.  I did see a recent tour come through here where the SM had a script that had been done on a computer, then printed and in a three ring binder.  For that application - a multiple month tour where things aren't going to change - that made a lot of sense.  He had his cues as highlighted bits of text on the right hand side of the page.  Very similar to how I would write things in my own books, but typed.

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SMJon

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Creating a call script
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2006, 07:32 pm »
I find that paper and pencil are very useful.  Not all scripts are available in electronic format and page numbers are always different if you type a script into the computer.  So for adaptability I usually use pencil and paper.  Plus, I cannot afford to waste paper to print a new script every time the lighting designer decides to change a light cue.

MatthewShiner

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speaking up again for the computer version
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2006, 09:45 pm »
Again, I don't tech on the computer . . . I still tech with a script, a pencil and ruler.  But, at the end I put in in the computer.

I typically do shows that run up to ten weeks.
I do very technically complex shows.
I normally I have to pass the show off to someone else to call.
Every show I do has a possibility of future life (either a transfer or a future remount).

I do it for the clarity of the calling script, I call a better show from a typed calling script.  Plus, I have a back up of my calling script. I am not sure how many stage managers have a copy of their calling script.
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VSM

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Copy the Calling Script
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2006, 12:28 pm »
Either on the computer or a pencil & ruler version, I ALWAYS copy my Calling Script after Opening Weekend. It's amazing, (okay, tragic) the damage a single spill of any type of liquid does to paper...
Ordo ab chao

BalletPSM

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Creating a call script
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2006, 04:48 pm »
Question for people who use electronic scripts and call books -- what do you do, type the whole script over, or scan the pages onto your computer?

Anyone out there do this with musicals, or better yet, an opera or balllet score?  How do you justify the time that this takes? Or are you lucky enough to have interns who can do it, or an expense account to be able to take it to the copy center and pay $1 per page to have them scan it?

My Peter Pan score was a full 3"-3 ring binder for just the music - I can't imagine what the time would be to scan all that into a computer, esp. since most of the scores are oversized and old and falling apart!

I guess until they come out with an online library of scores and scripts that you can download as word or PDF documents, it will be paper, pencil, and post its for me!  

Ballets are constantly remounted and the Bible is the most important documentation -- but if the paper copy is ever lost, there are always clean copies of the scores in the "score drawer" at the studio, 3 copies of the Q sheets (paper, hard drive, and CD), and always a DVD to watch to re-create Qs.
Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!

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Creating a call script
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2006, 07:14 pm »
Quote
Anyone out there do this with musicals, or better yet, an opera or balllet score?


Well, not quite the same, but I was working on a repertory of ballets recently, and the other stage manager would type out his cues ahead of time, with colored ink in Excel...i.e., fly cues had a red "background"or maybe technically "shading" in the cell, light cues yellow, etc....then he hand cut out all the cues and taped them the appropriate places in the score.  Was very different looking, and the cues popped out, but I'm not sure how handy that was.  I chose to use colored post-it flags myself on that one - since his was a remount  (mine wasn't) he knew better what the cues might be, though a new lighting designer so he still had to move many of them.  I guess it was a little cleaner than mine at first glance, especially during tech when things go fast and furious....Let me make it clear, the whole score was not in his computer, just the cues, which he then cut out.

Erin

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Creating a call script
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2006, 08:26 pm »
Quote
Question for people who use electronic scripts and call books -- what do you do, type the whole script over, or scan the pages onto your computer?  


The theatre company I work with creates the electronic version of the scripts.  The production interns scan, format, and edit the scripts.  They format them in such a way that the pagination exactly matches the printed version.  When I come in for pre-production, I have the ability to change the margins and set it up exactly how I need it for my book.  

I haven't done a computerized call script, but I think I'm going to try on my upcoming show.  I'll stick with pencil and a ruler during tech, though.

KC_SM_0807

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Creating a call script
« Reply #13 on: Jun 02, 2006, 02:18 am »
I haven't really tried the electronic call script method.  Pencil, paper, and a few good highlighters now does the trick for me.  I originally did glow dots and all sorts of things until I really found what fit.  For me, the cues have to stand out and I have to see what I'm doing and what I'm about to call, so highliters are so great for me. I'm still in the process of seeing what works for me and what doesn't, so maybe I will try the electronic method!
"Perhaps, therefore, Stage Managers not only need to be calm and meticulous professionals who know their craft, but masochists who feel pride in rising above impossible odds."

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Creating a call script
« Reply #14 on: Jun 02, 2006, 05:22 pm »
I agree w VSM and always make a clean calling script as soon as we open (that's my Monday off tradition). And I use paper and pencil.

I don't understand calling from the computer - that would be too much general light in the booth for me to see the stage for some darker entrances/exits. At least I think so - maybe I am imagining something different than you mean by calling from computer? Do you mean you set up your laptop and read down the script from there?

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