Author Topic: Calling shows: Calling Rail Cues?  (Read 9156 times)

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Calling shows: Calling Rail Cues?
« on: Feb 23, 2006, 09:17 pm »
So I am stage managing Arcadia in the Spring, and I just learned that there will be numerous rail cues involved (about 5 different pieces travelling and flying at the same time). What is the standard practice for calling a rail cue. I know that my deck carp will be in charge of them, but I am not sure of the sequencing.I know it will probably be off of cue lights and on headset. Is it just my responsibility to say "Rail Q12 Go" or do I need to walk through the entire thing ("Stadby Rail Q 12, with Rail 12/14 and 16 on Red, 13 and 6 on blue") or is it something I should just determine with my deck carp...
« Last Edit: Feb 11, 2008, 12:25 pm by PSMKay »


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Calling Rail Cues?
« Reply #1 on: Feb 23, 2006, 11:19 pm »
for rails, i always give warning, sb, go.
if it's a fast sequence, i'll warn and standby the entire sequence and then figure out with the ops what makes sense for calling the go's.
i have certain aspects of how i call shows that follows through each production, but of course, there are adjustments to calling each one.
work with your op (and td) to determine what works best. and remember that things change in tech, so if how you thought would work best doesnt, change it.

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Calling Rail Cues?
« Reply #2 on: Feb 24, 2006, 01:29 am »
The way I have usually done it, we have the deck master on cans, with a nice, visible cue light.

"Warning Rail cue x" <- Quite a while before the cue. This is only over cans and the deck master will ensure all rail cues are ready to go.

"Stand by Rail cue x" + Q-light SB <- Deck Hands stand by to execute the cue.

"Rail cue y Go" + Q-light go <- the cue is executed.

Occasionally, only a warning is given over cans and cue lights are used from then, but I am a fan of using both as backup.

Same goes for fly's, except you often dont need to give the warning. A well rehearsed fly team will be able to do two lines each at the same time, and they should know the cues well enough that it takes them only moments to get into possition and remove the breaks.


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Calling Rail Cues?
« Reply #3 on: Feb 24, 2006, 01:03 pm »
I think it depends on the show and how much time you have to rehearse it, as to whether or not you can spell out the cues instead of just calling them by name. it also depends on how much else you have going on to say at that moment. In general, a clearly-written cue sheet given to all the flymen should be sufficient, in addition to a "rail QX- warning/standby/go" sequence, assuming there is sufficient rehearsal time. I have done a show, however, where neither I nor any of the crew knew the show well (both had been brought in for the first time only a couple days before opening) so I spelled things out a bit to ensure we were all on the same page. There is no hard and fast rule- just do what works and be consistant with whatever you decide.


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talk with him
« Reply #4 on: Mar 02, 2006, 11:58 am »
For me, anytime that someone is doing something more than just hitting a button, or swapping a CD, I always give warning, standby and go.  For me, its 'warning' - get the body to the right lineset, 'standby' they undo the lock, 'go' they pull.

But you said it at the end of your post - talk to the person.  Have a few ideas and options in your mind, and then find out what they need.  If they're experienced and can run easliy of a cue list, then you'll call it one way.  If they're new and nervous, then you'll want to add more info to that call.  But definately sit down and talk to them - you can't know what will help them most unless they've had a chance to tell you.



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Calling Rail Cues?
« Reply #5 on: Mar 04, 2006, 09:50 pm »
I have recently taken to giving just a verbal warning, and then using only the Q lights for the standby and the go.  

But, this is in a ballet, where often I have to call so many Qs in sequence that in order to give a verbal standby for the rail I would have to give it way early -- and then they get mad that they have to stand there holding the rope for that long.  And most of the time its hard for them to hear me in the bitch box anyway.  Using just a Q light, I can give the verbal warning 1 minute before the Q so they know to get over to the right rope, then I flip the Q light on in the middle of calling a lighting and deck sequence and when the rail needs to go at the end of the sequence I turn it off, and they go.

Also helps that we tend to have pretty much the same rail crew (or at least the same head flyman) for everything anyway, so they know how I work and know what to expect.

Just one way of doing it -- if you don't have a lot of Qs to call, then verbal standbys and gos are always helpful.  Just make sure the rail has a good Q sheet to follow (what's on what lineset, Q light colors, speeds, etc).
Stage managing is getting to do everything your mom told you not to do - read in the dark, sit too close to the TV, and play with the light switches!