Author Topic: PROMPT SCRIPT: Ensemble tracking  (Read 3765 times)

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margaretheff

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PROMPT SCRIPT: Ensemble tracking
« on: Jan 14, 2014, 11:27 pm »
Hello!

I am working with a cast of 45 for a college production of Sweeney Todd. As we all know, there are several lines throughout the full cast numbers that are assigned to people in the ensemble.

How does everyone keep track of who says what? Is there a way that seems to work best for you?



Thanks!

Edited to add topic tag. - Maribeth
« Last Edit: Feb 06, 2014, 02:24 pm by Maribeth »
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Maribeth

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Re: Ensemble tracking
« Reply #1 on: Jan 14, 2014, 11:49 pm »
Are the lines assigned to specific characters? Or to specific actors? If it were me, I would designate it based on character name, and actor name if the ensemble was designated by Ensemble 1, Ensemble 2, etc. 

BayAreaSM

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Re: Ensemble tracking
« Reply #2 on: Jan 15, 2014, 03:57 am »
Are you asking for a creation of a character/scene breakdown, or notating the lines in your script/score? If in your script, I usually just put the actor's initials at the front of each line. I did a production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, where every ensemble member takes on different narration lines, and everyone plays multiple characters, with the exception of the actor playing Nicholas. I just used each actor's initials to assign their narration/generic character lines in my script, to help me know who was supposed to be speaking. (And who should be hit with a spot.)


RuthNY

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Re: Ensemble tracking
« Reply #3 on: Jan 15, 2014, 07:56 am »
For every production I do I make a document called a "Blocking Key." This document contains the actor's name, the main role s/he plays, or Ensemble etc.  I then devise a one or two letter code, sometimes the actor's initials, sometimes the first letter or letters of character name (it depends on the show) and that becomes the actor's designation for the blocking script, and for the calling script, if I am taking visual cues off that actor. For example, I am currently doing a show with the characters "Robert" =Ro, and "Harry"= Ha. In this particular production, all actors have a character designation, but in some shows I use the actors'' real name initials (John Smith=JS.) You can write your chosen designation anywhere in the script you need it, and it always will refer to the same person or character. And, I ask that all my assistants, if any, use the same designations. I've been doing this for years, and it works very well.
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nick_tochelli

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Re: Ensemble tracking
« Reply #4 on: Jan 15, 2014, 11:05 am »
Hello!

I am working with a cast of 45 for a college production of Sweeney Todd. As we all know, there are several lines throughout the full cast numbers that are assigned to people in the ensemble.

How does everyone keep track of who says what? Is there a way that seems to work best for you?



Thanks!

Use the actor names. If you have characters (ie: Fogg) sing one of the Ensemble parts, use the character name.

loebtmc

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Re: Ensemble tracking
« Reply #5 on: Jan 15, 2014, 12:06 pm »
You can also color-code key ensemble players eg actor 1's lines are green highlight, actor 2 are yellow etc - of course, not if everyone in the ensemble has a line, but certainly where possible, I color code a track rather than a character

margaretheff

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Re: Ensemble tracking
« Reply #6 on: Jan 16, 2014, 01:21 pm »
The cast members have been assigned random, unnamed lines for songs during music rehearsals. I've been writing them in my script, but that's not the best way to communicate this with my director so he can block accordingly. Does anyone make a separate document to keep track of this?
"To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time." -Leonard Bernstein

MatthewShiner

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Re: Ensemble tracking
« Reply #7 on: Jan 16, 2014, 01:32 pm »
My best bet would be to have a digital version of the script and as lines are assigned . . . denote the line assignment

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd.  [JAKE]
His skin was pale and his eye was odd. [LEWIS]
He shaved the faces of gentlemen [BETTY]
who never thereafter were heard of again. [PHYLLIS]
He trod a path that few have trod [ERIK]
Did Sweeney Todd? [ALL WOMEN]
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. [FULL COMPANY]

Why isn't the director making these choices?

It will be important to have this tracked with the script for the mixer down the line, so might as well just update the script . . . and deal with new pages.  I am unsure why you wouldn't make these changes DIRECTLY onto the script as opposed to another document.

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loebtmc

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Re: Ensemble tracking
« Reply #8 on: Jan 16, 2014, 02:44 pm »
again, highlighted color coding has saved my ass more than once.

MatthewShiner

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Re: Ensemble tracking
« Reply #9 on: Jan 16, 2014, 07:40 pm »
I am just unsure how you color code 45 different people . . .

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loebtmc

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Re: Ensemble tracking
« Reply #10 on: Jan 16, 2014, 08:29 pm »
I don't use it for casts of 1000s, but it really helps with tracks for key ensemble members. And most of the huge shows I've done have tracks that don't include solo lines for everyone, just the key ensemble people. I know it's not true for all shows, but it has been for the ones I've done.

Also for shows where a few folks play myriad characters.

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Re: Ensemble tracking
« Reply #11 on: Jan 21, 2014, 11:36 pm »
I, too, am a bit surprised that the director hasn't figured this out, but then again we've all had a similar situation at some point.

I like both the digital script version suggested and the blocking key. Even if not for this particular purpose (where I'd try to write the whole name in my script for clarity), I also recommend creating a shorthand blocking key for each individual person on stage. There's nothing like realizing later that you've been using "S" for two different people because you hadn't figured out a method beforehand. Really crazy when ensemble members have the same first AND last initial and no one figured it out until you're writing things quickly. The Blocking Key is always at the front of my script, too, for that "hit by a bus" referral. It also includes my other hieroglyphics for sit, stand, cross, etc.

For operas, I definitely color-code...but I think the most I had to get was 8 colors at once for what I was doing. My romantic leads are almost always pink and blue. Hate the stereotype of it, but certainly makes it easier to follow along!

Erin