Author Topic: Rehearsal Reports  (Read 6203 times)

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jaceezekiel

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Rehearsal Reports
« on: Oct 18, 2015, 03:00 pm »
I recently got feedback from the professor who oversees the student SMs that my rehearsal reports need to be more detailed. He proceeded to email me three examples from another student SM. While I love getting that kind of feedback, and recognize that the other student SM writes pretty good reports, I feel like I need more variety to learn from -- not just the work of one person. Is there anyone out there willing to share their own examples?

(If this post belongs in a different place, feel free to move it. I'm still pretty new to the site, sorry.)

iamchristuffin

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #1 on: Oct 18, 2015, 09:25 pm »
I can send you a few examples - DM me your email!

C

BenTheStageMan

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #2 on: Oct 18, 2015, 10:10 pm »
I also could send some detailed report samples.  Perhaps too detailed at times...
"Show people are doomed!  Doomed to a life of booze...and pills...and heavy meals late at night!" -Judy, "Ruthless!"

loebtmc

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #3 on: Oct 19, 2015, 01:39 am »
Here's a good rule of thumb: If you missed the performance, what would you need - or want - to know? You don't have to go line by line, but a sense of the show, a sense of the house, whether there were problems that need to be solved. Was there a standing O (even a partial one)? Was something especially wonderful or memorable? Did someone solve something in the midst of a scene? Did something fall or break? Was something in the show particularly wonderful?

You don't need to write a novel, but a sense of the show, a feeling for how things went, is vital. And learning how to write so people who need to can read between the lines......

PSMKay

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #4 on: Oct 19, 2015, 10:10 am »
@loebtmc great suggestions for performance reports. Any recommendations for rehearsal reports?

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SMrose

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #5 on: Oct 19, 2015, 02:25 pm »
I ask SM's to write to me (as PM and sometimes Designer) as if I wasn't at the rehearsal (which I'm not on a nightly basis)--don't assume I know what you're writing about.  " The character Jessica needs a brown purse" --how large, small? Does she take anything out of it and what? Short strap or shoulder strap? What Act/scene does she need it? and so on.  Just those descriptions would give me a sense of what to get/build.

PSMKay

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #6 on: Oct 19, 2015, 10:24 pm »
Part of writing good, detailed rehearsal reports is understanding what other departments need to know in order to do their jobs. I suggest you dip a toe into as many other areas of backstage work as you can - carpentry, scenic, costumes, lighting, sound, FOH, etc - to gain awareness of how each area must respond to what evolves in the rehearsal room.

Also, consider taking a look at our forum game from a few years back called "Hell in a Handbag," which focuses on exactly the issue of details in reports.

EDIT: Now that I think on it, good rehearsal reporting also requires a knowledge of the skill levels of your design team. If you've got a very creative and autonomous designer they might need less detail than a student designer with only a few shows under their belt. If you've got a sound designer that loves floor mics when you really need overheads, it helps to know that so you can specify. If you've got someone who tends to get a little too creative about their design choices, you would know to just say "please speak with [director name here] about the new painting needed in II, 4."
« Last Edit: Oct 19, 2015, 10:37 pm by PSMKay »

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SMMeade

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #7 on: Oct 19, 2015, 11:26 pm »
Also, I would say don't be afraid of pictures. Obviously don't crash everyone's inbox with a gigantic spread of them, but a quick phone shot of "hey this prop broke in a really weird way, please see picture," is helpful if it's truly odd to describe.

Aerial

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #8 on: Oct 20, 2015, 12:46 am »

EDIT: Now that I think on it, good rehearsal reporting also requires a knowledge of the skill levels of your design team. If you've got a very creative and autonomous designer they might need less detail than a student designer with only a few shows under their belt. If you've got a sound designer that loves floor mics when you really need overheads, it helps to know that so you can specify. If you've got someone who tends to get a little too creative about their design choices, you would know to just say "please speak with [director name here] about the new painting needed in II, 4."

In addition to knowing the skill levels of your designer team, I'd say that getting a sense of how set in their vision your director is is important.  Sometimes its a loose idea we're playing with in rehearsal.  Some directors have a very rigid idea of what they want when they begin the process.  "[Director's name] would like to ADD: ..."

Another area I find it very important to be really specific is just what your furniture is in for.  "Please ADD two tables.  We will stand on them." or "We will be standing on the chairs in 2.5.  The ones you have provided seem up to the task so far."

If you would like some specific examples of my reports, please message me.

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XanderQCall

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #9 on: Oct 20, 2015, 04:13 pm »
In my experience, it's not just about the details in terms of notes to the designer but about having a relativlely detailed chronicling of what happened at the rehearsal. What was accomplished vs. what the goals were for that day? How were the actors that day? Was therae a particular scene or a beat that was giving them trouble, etc? One production I worked on, I found that these details really helped my director keep track of areas to focus on for the next rehearsal. Also, he was gone on a cruise for a week so these detailed really helped keep him apprised of the progress being made.

One thing I learned from a stage manager mentor, in terms of designer notes, particularly props and scenic notes, is that she would phrase the note from the perspective of the item itself (if that makes sense). Instead of saying "we want/need the table to be 2 ft. wider" she would word it "the table wants to be 2 ft. wider." Basically she was personifying the item in question. I find it helps so that your reports aren't too "We want/need this, We want/need that," etc.

loebtmc

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #10 on: Oct 21, 2015, 09:32 pm »
(eek thanks PSMKay - I just wasn't paying attention!~)

But rehearsal reports are kinda similar - a general idea of what happened but condensed to a sentence or two. A feel for the rehearsal, what was accomplished or discovered, which scenes / songs were completed or sketched or off book - things like that.

examples of designer notes - things like
COSTUMES: please add a brown 60s style purse for actor x to accomplish y (big enough to hide a gun, three pockets to find three specific props) etc; or LIGHTS: Video needs to run behind onstage action on a screen center stage, so please discuss pipe assignments with the Video team, and note that spots will not be feasible for lighting actors.

I always say please and thanks, esp for things completed (which I also note, eg) SET: thanks for the lip on the upstage platforms. The actors feel much safer.

Maribeth

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #11 on: Oct 21, 2015, 09:39 pm »
I always say please and thanks, esp for things completed (which I also note, eg) SET: thanks for the lip on the upstage platforms. The actors feel much safer.

Putting a thank you in for a completed item serves a dual purpose- it also lets everyone else who gets reports know that something got done. So if you've been asking for a prop to get fixed for 3 days and you put a "thanks for fixing the table!" note in, the PM knows it's been taken care of and that they don't need to follow up.

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loebtmc

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #12 on: Oct 22, 2015, 01:50 am »
yup.....

jaceezekiel

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #13 on: Oct 22, 2015, 10:47 am »
Thank you all for the responses! It's all super helpful. I will PM those who offered examples.

I have one more specific question: What is the best way to ask for an ETA on something? I've gotten feedback to say something like "Do we have an ETA on (desired thing)?" or "How soon on the schedule is (desired thing)?" But both feel a bit awkward to me.

Beatr79

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Re: Rehearsal Reports
« Reply #14 on: Oct 22, 2015, 12:56 pm »
How about flipping the question around?  Instead of asking for an ETA, I often will present a specific time line request (ei: Is it possible to have the show-swords in the rehearsal hall by Wed, when we will be holding our next session with the fight choreographer?).

This tack helps the production team / designers prioritize the many requests that accumulate during even a week's worth of reports.

And avoid the phrase ASAP.  If you always ask for everything "as soon as possible," the phrase loses all meaning.  And again, it provides no specificity about urgency or immediacy of a request.

 

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