Author Topic: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question  (Read 16887 times)

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SMeustace

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Re: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question
« Reply #30 on: Jul 28, 2014, 08:20 am »
Thanks, good note. I'll try emailing their individual notes instead of sending out a single document.
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bex

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Re: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question
« Reply #31 on: Jul 29, 2014, 03:16 pm »
If you type up line notes then distribute them to the actors- do you email all the line notes on a single document to the cast, or do you email each actor individually with only their own notes?

I have an excel file that I use for line notes- the 1st column is the actor's name, then page #, "Error," then the line itself.

I type the lines in order as I go through the script, then sort by actor's name to group all of the notes for each actor in their own section. Then I hide the notes for all the actors but one, and either pdf it or copy/paste into the body of an email to the specific actor.
I start a new sheet of the document for each day's rehearsal that I'm giving line notes for, that way it's easy to go back over the previous rehearsals and see what they have been consistently missing.
You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

Thespi620

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Re: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question
« Reply #32 on: Jul 30, 2014, 12:31 am »
I've used a form before as an ASM, but that just confused me.

I tend to use a combination of shorthand in my script and post-it notes. I'll jot down the page # and line on an actor-specific post-it when the line is flubbed. If it's a line that is consistently forgotten/flubbed, I'll mark it in my script using my shorthand, and put that day's date--in addition to noting it on the post-it with a star next to it.

In really dialogue-heavy scenes where transcription isn't possible onto the post it notes, I'll mark it in my book during the run, and place a blank post-it on the side of my script page as a reminder to go back and transcribe onto individual notes before distribution. Then, typically the note reads something like: "p 76 MAN: How dare you.... THRU WOMAN:....again! pls run with [scenemate's name]"

I also make sure to give every actor in the company at least one post-it at the end of every rehearsal. For those with no line notes, I'll put a smiley face or another encouraging doodle. For those with especially tricky passages or just trouble learning lines in general, this takes away from the embarrassment. However, the whole room notices when one actor gets a stack of notes. That warrants a bit of shame, typically.

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PSMKay

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Re: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question
« Reply #33 on: Jul 30, 2014, 03:22 pm »
The coder in me is screaming internally here.

So one of the current trends in web development is to separate the different pieces of code into 3 different layers.
Lowest layer - Provides all the information. (In this case, the script)
Middle layer - Interacts with the Lowest layer, and outputs results to the top layer (In this case, you.)
Top layer - Receives input from visitors, formats output into a readable version.

(For those of you other coders out there you'll know this as MVC.)

What I'm seeing here is a conflation of the Middle & Top layers. I'm thinking ideally that you'd set up a fast method that allows you to easily flag line notes (Middle Layer) and then output them in any format desired by the talent, be it flash cards, page-per-actor, or everybody on one page. (Top Layer)

Matthew, if you wanted to try a database, this would be your chance. ;)

MatthewShiner

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Re: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question
« Reply #34 on: Jul 30, 2014, 05:57 pm »
Oh - PSMKay - Projection Scorpion - the code name for my current Data Base project is killing me already.

Ultimately, this is a tricky thing about line notes and who is on book and who is giving lines notes - and the team dynamics - ideally you have one sm on book and one sm taking line notes - but some staff sizes would limit that - even on my luxuriously large teams, I don't think that is the best use of resources, except for perhaps during a run.

I am worry about putting this all on to a computer - and here's my on my well worn soap box - a computer, by nature, and how we interact with it - is a multi-task machine - and putting someone with an open computer, you really have to fight staying focused on the task at hand (prompting / being on book / line notes). 

I think the easiest high tech way of taking line notes is open the script, highlight missed parts, and then cut and past into email.  Saving that script with a date.  I never want my assistants to put the WRONG thing they said, so, sending a note

HAMLET
To be or not to be

Should be enough to give the actor note where he messed up (And yes, I had an a Hamlet call for line after that . . . he really just screwed up his blocking, but being off in blocking made him screw up his lines)


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bex

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Re: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question
« Reply #35 on: Jul 30, 2014, 06:44 pm »


I am worry about putting this all on to a computer - and here's my on my well worn soap box - a computer, by nature, and how we interact with it - is a multi-task machine - and putting someone with an open computer, you really have to fight staying focused on the task at hand (prompting / being on book / line notes). 



I don't typically type my line notes as we go through the run- I either do it while the director is giving notes post-run, or while I eat dinner, etc. I can't type AND be on book at the same time, much as I would like to. I've only once been in a process with the luxury of having one person taking the line notes while I typed them in real time, and then I got applause for handing the actors typed line notes within 3 minutes of the end of the run.
I prefer to type them because I type infinitely faster than I write by hand, which gives me the ability to be more specific/include more information in less space than handwritten notes would. I've tried printing blank line note forms and then filling in by hand, but I found that it was more time consuming and seemed to waste a lot of paper. It was also easier for a cast of 3 than a cast of 12- my table was consumed with piles of line notes for each actor.
I've never tried highlighting the lines in the script and then copy/pasting, but I might try that...
You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

PSMKay

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Re: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question
« Reply #36 on: Jul 30, 2014, 07:07 pm »
You got Project Scorpion? Lucky.  I'm stuck working on Project Short Ribs.

(back to topic ... go.)

Dart

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Re: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question
« Reply #37 on: Aug 13, 2014, 10:07 pm »
From the emailers - what is the advantage of emailing rather than handwriting? Are you on your computer during rehearsal, or do you do this when you get home? How large are your casts?

I would email line notes (individually to each actor) when I was in college, and I did for my first professional show. But I found that even though it was a small cast of 8, I was spending at least an hour a night, if not much longer, dealing with notes. Add this to rehearsals running until midnight, getting home, and sending out rehearsal reports, and I could be up until 4 or 5am every day of the week.

I don't remember who uploaded the original form, but I adapted one from this site for my next production and not only do I use it all the time but actor-SMs have asked me for the template so they can use it as well. And my post-show emailing is reduced to my report, which means more regular sleep for me!

MatthewShiner

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Re: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question
« Reply #38 on: Aug 14, 2014, 09:27 am »
I think of lot of how you deal with line notes depends on the size of your team.

I tend to work with large teams, so one person is responsible for script and line notes (it makes sense, in my mind to bundle these).  This also allows this person to deal with line notes they way they want to.

I don't care how the notes go out - most of the time.

One of the biggest benefits of typing and email is you have a record of the lines missed, and it can go to multiple people.  (Oddly, I have had playwrights and directors wanting to be cc'ed on line notes being emailed out - partially because they are control freaks, partially to show them "Hey, Stage Management is doing their job, it's the actor who is not learning their lines. ", partially to track how often the actors is messing up the same line.)

If all things being equal and there are no special requests, I let the team member responsible for lines notes to be the one who figures out the best way to give them - I have helpful advice, but why micromanage.  Now, if they are working 2-3 hours later in the day after rehearsal . . . then, well, we have a problem.

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leastlikely

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Re: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question
« Reply #39 on: Aug 14, 2014, 04:01 pm »
I prefer to email for several reasons.

  • I type a lot faster and neater than I hand-write
  • if an actor says "I didn't get that note" I can point them directly to the email
  • I have a record, so that if notes are consistently repeated, I can remind the actor that they have received it multiple times, and maybe work with them to find a better way to remember it
  • the director I have worked with the most prefers to be copied on line notes, because if he received it then the actor definitely received it so they have no excuse to not address the notes (plus just seeing his name in the CC section can intimidate some lazy actors into actually doing their work

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caroline.dargay

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Re: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question
« Reply #40 on: Oct 23, 2018, 02:25 pm »
A different question but still in the same vein, how do I decide what needs to be marked as a note and when? When I was ASMing my first college production a tip my SM gave me was to not bother with the smaller mistakes early in the rehearsal process and to note the more significant, plot-changing line issues first. I agree that this a good way of going about giving line notes at first so as to not bombard the actors at the start of their role in the show, but when should I start being more nit-picky? Is there a definite answer of  "by this week in the process you should start noting every change" or is it dependent on how you feel the cast is doing?

Maribeth

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Re: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question
« Reply #41 on: Oct 25, 2018, 04:25 pm »
It's a judgement call. Similar to what you describe, I like to start with the bigger notes first, then move on to more specific notes as the actors get more solid with the lines. This might mean that an actor who memorizes all of their lines by the 3rd day of rehearsal gets more "nit-picky" notes earlier, and if someone else is just getting off book by design run they are still getting more general notes by then.

One thing that can be really helpful is to make sure the actors are not learning lines incorrectly, which can be hard to fix later on. If there's an actor who's consistently giving an incorrect line, I will jump up (with script page in hand) and quietly give them the note verbally. This is especially useful if it's a line that affects another actor's next line.

emilymdykhouse

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Re: Rehearsals: Giving line notes - a real novice question
« Reply #42 on: Oct 20, 2019, 01:10 pm »
In my theatre department, we use digital line notes. We create a different Google Doc for each member of the cast, adding a table where we type lines in one column and add specific notes in the other. This is also a useful system because we can indicate lines an actor messes up on multiple times (we make the text red) and we can indicate lines they've fixed (we add a strikethrough). Also, multiple ASMs can work on line notes at the same time!

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