Onstage > Stage Management: Plays & Musicals

PROMPT SCRIPT: Creating a Digital Calling Script


Hello All!

I am currently doing a show at my community college that is allowing for some experimentation with my calling script because for the first time I have a day off in my Tech, Dress, Performance schedule. I thought I would use the time to place the cues into a word document but I realized I have absolutely no clue how to do this. Can anyone help me with this?

Just extra info that probably does not matter I am still doing tech with a ruler and pencil and in the past I have used sheet protectors and wrote cues in with different colored sharpies so I thought I try something new.

All of the thanks in the world,

Edited to add topic tag- Maribeth

I make mine in Word (or an equivalent like OpenOffice). I use the underline feature to create a straight line from the cue word to the side of the page, then I use a text box to write the cue itself. I also put a box around the cue word (or note).

I find it's generally easier to tech with a pencil and paper, and transfer the cues during down time, so that I'm not holding up tech. Once I'm done, I save it as a PDF so that things don't get messed up the next time I open the file. And, I print a hard copy to call off of- don't want to have a computer failure mid-show! :)

I'm not a fan of working with Microsoft Word - two computers printing the same document can have inconsistent page numbers. I try to work with PDF files - where edits are done by replacing entire pages.

There are various tools for adding notes to PDF files, but I recently discovered Stage Write and will try that for my next show.

The basic process is to import a PDF, then overlay it with sound cues, blocking notes, general notes/etc.

You can also chart the stage with blocking / set pieces / props / etc - these are then linked into the script PDF with a reference number.

Then you can either print the calling script or call it from within the app.

Again I've only played with it - but it looks really good.

My last few shows I've been using an iPad and Notability App during rehearsals.  I talk all my line notes, blocking, etc in Notability because it is easy to move a notation, drawing, text etc.  At the end of blocking, I take some time to then go back in and clean up my notes in Notability.  I color code all my cues, type them out, move them to the left or right side (depending on how I like to use it), and then go from there.  Before the show opens, I always print out my notes just in case, but I do use the iPad during the run because of my eyesight it is easier to see than a printed page (color blindness and being old!).  I can also share my notes very easily with my ASM or other people as needed. 


I?ve got a bit more experience with this now.

My setup is an iPad with an Apple Pencil (stylus), a wireless keyboard, and a stand to prop the iPad upright when I?m using it on a desk.

The script was already a word document, but I made sure the director converted this to a PDF to guarantee the page numbers never move.

For my personal copy I used a somewhat convoluted process to add margins to the PDF so that it is the same width and height as the iPad (in landscape orientation), with the page in the middle and large margins left & right. I do this so that I never have to scroll around a page.

I use the Pencil to draw a box around a cue line and a line from there to a note in the margins. This process is seamless and efficient ? I?m able to do a rough draft during rehearsals then tidy it up later at home when I have time to think about wording and timing.

During the tech rehearsal I quickly decided this wasn?t working for me. The iPad is great for data entry, but I can?t stand using it to read the script. I like to peak a few pages ahead to check details of an upcoming scene change/etc and sometimes and this works better with paper. So I?ve printed my digital script and used colour coded highlighters on all of my calling cues/etc.

I used the iPad all through rehearsals and switched to paper for the first tech rehearsal.

Overall I?m very happy with this setup. Crisp black printed text in a small font is much easier to read under dim backstage lighting and the ability to make changes easily means I?m more likely to to correct slight mistakes.

I tried a bunch of apps and I?m not sure which one I like best yet. Anything that can annotate a PDF will work at the end of the day.


[0] Message Index

Go to full version