Author Topic: Prompt Books: Blocking Charts?  (Read 5183 times)

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Idleuphoria

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Prompt Books: Blocking Charts?
« on: Aug 21, 2006, 04:29 pm »
I am going to be a senior in High School, and I have been stage managing for three years, I have been looking around the site and noticeing that a lot of people make blocking notations in their scripts. I, however, dislike that because it gets very messy when you start to add and move cues to call for the show. I usually make maps, blocking charts of the actors movement. A top view of the stage and the basic set that either doesnt move for that scene or the whole show, and then write the line on which the actor moves underneath the map with initials for that character on the actual map of the stage. It turns out to be a rainbow map of what is going on for that scene. Is this unheard of? I find it easier to reteach slash teach people who missed,   the blocking this way simply because I am a visual learner. 
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 12:52 pm by PSMKay »

stagemonkey

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Re: Blocking Charts?
« Reply #1 on: Aug 21, 2006, 05:51 pm »
It is not unheard of. I am actually doing my first show now where I am trying to use blocking maps as you put it and it is very useful in my mind.  When you open my script you will see on the left side 4 boxes of the scenic layout and on the right the text laid out in space and half formatting.  Then under the text i will have noted something like "------> door" meaning the one speaking is crossing to the door, then on the map I have their initials with an arrow to the door.  Then in the Left margin i just put a little 1, 2, 3, or 4 to signify that from that point down is that number map you need to look at.  This way i dont clog up the maps with lines which makes them simple.  Then my maps shows more of just hte crosses where as under the text I can be like "picks up prop" "jumps up" etc something more descriptive like "sumnersalts backwards to door."

Ultimately I think no way is unheard of as every stage manager will have their own way of doing it that works best for them and the show they are doing.

Aerial

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Re: Blocking Charts?
« Reply #2 on: Aug 22, 2006, 11:55 pm »
I use charts in addition to taking notation.  My blocking page has numbers for the notation, to correspond with where I marked the number on the text.  Usually when I take blocking, I scrawl it all over the text page(because its usually just me in the room), and go back and rewrite it on my blocking page.  Next to the numbers for notation, I have 1 or 2 shrinklets of the groundplan.  I use these to have a reference point of where all my actors are on stage on any given page.  In addition, I have a lines for prop and furniture notes below this, For one show, I used my blocking page to track which side of the stage each actor was on on each page, as there was no cross over, and we had to rehearse out of order.  This is what I find works best for me.  Everyone's different.

KC_SM_0807

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Re: Blocking Charts?
« Reply #3 on: Aug 24, 2006, 10:56 pm »
I agree, which is why I have found a solution that works for me.  I use two scripts, one for blocking notation and one for calling the show.  I then have a "Script Notes Page" that I print on the back of every page in my blocking script that has sections for blocking notes, costume notes, light and sound notes, etc. with a diagram of the stage and that sort of thing.  I do my blocking by numbers.  For example, wherever the blocking takes place on the script, I will assign a number beggining with 1.  Then on my Script Notes Page, I will write 1. and list the blocking notes.  This way, if something is moved or changed then all I have to do is fix the number on my script and it stays neat.  I also use odd numbers to assign blocking notes, so that I have at least one number in between in case something else is added.  I've found that this works best for me.
"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."

ljh007

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Re: Blocking Charts?
« Reply #4 on: Aug 25, 2006, 07:53 am »
My system is similar to KC's. I draw arrows and x's all over the page (if possible, I photocopy a mini groundplan on the back of the page), illustrating the blocking flow. I write blocking notes under the drawings, corresponding to letters in the score. Sometimes, if I need to show a pose or specific posture, I'll even draw stick figures. Hey, it works!

JenniferEver

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Re: Blocking Charts?
« Reply #5 on: Sep 12, 2006, 08:16 pm »
I do both. I write the blocking in . e.gXDSL or X2Sa, where "Sa" might mean a character named Sarah. I have a one or two letter abbreviation for each character that i use in all blocking notation.

On my left blank page I draw a box to represent a bird's eye view of the stage and use a circle with the character abbreviation mentioned above in it, to represent each person's palce on stage with arrows indicating where they move. for complicated blocking I double circle the initial position, or I will make several boxes representing different stages in the blocking and put a line with an arrow, or a notation like a letter or a star to indicate where it belongs in the text on the right. it's pretty clear, and I can easily see where people are at what moment and know when and how they got there.

Balletdork

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Re: Blocking Charts?
« Reply #6 on: Sep 13, 2006, 09:44 am »
Ah, the great debate between notation and maps! We've been having this discussion for centuries in ballet! I combine both- of course, with a score, not a script. So I'll end up with a line of score and then a line of boxes, and so on until you reach the end.... sometimes a couple lines of score, it depends on how much dance is in a particular peice. If Cinderella is sweeping for 32 bars before her first pas de bourree- chances are good that I'll have a half page of so of score before a map box.

There are millions of great ways to take blocking- none of them are 'wrong' --- the trick is to find what works best for YOU!

philimbesi

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Re: Blocking Charts?
« Reply #7 on: Sep 21, 2006, 11:18 am »
I've done both... I've learned that the right way to layout your paperwork is the way you choose to lay out your paperwork...  I almost always have two scripts, one blocking and the other cueing becuase inevitably the blocking script ends up in the dressing room for someone to review because they forget.   

I do agree though if you try and put all in the same script it gets tough to read.

-Stick Figures ljh?  Heck I can't draw so my blocking maps look like football plays... X's and O's everywhere I've had an actor ask me if he was supposed to buttonhook after the fade pattern before.  :-)
« Last Edit: Sep 21, 2006, 11:22 am by philimbesi »

stagebear

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Re: Blocking Charts?
« Reply #8 on: Sep 21, 2006, 02:55 pm »
i use a little of both - depending on the show. if i have a large cast, i use a groundplan and place everyone on it for each major formation. i number the pages and put them in my book. for the main characters, i write their blocking in the book. all of my blocking notation goes on the left margin of my page and the cues on the right, so it doesnt become messy. you'd be amazed if you saw my book for Les Mis - i did blocking and cues in the score and it's very legible.

Down2life

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Re: Blocking Charts?
« Reply #9 on: Sep 21, 2006, 06:34 pm »
The one I enjoy, although I havent tested it yet, is having the script on the left side of the binder and on the right side on the back of the next page i have a space for a minature groundplan. Below that I have 15 to 20 lines numbered. When a character makes a move i note the blocking i.e. John crosses sl and out. I then right the number in the script on the cue line. So if john says "I am leaving" at the end of the line i place an eight to note what line and reference the other page on what that move is. It is also good because I have a ground plan of every page which helps if there are multiple settings helping with scene changes and giving me a constant reminder of what the set looks like.

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