Author Topic: My first prompt book  (Read 2426 times)

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My first prompt book
« on: May 27, 2016, 03:26 pm »
Even though I have been a stage manager for years I have never made a prompt book. The only time I have ever seen one used was when I was working for a stage lighting company.

I am currently stage managing and technical director at a new upstart of a theater company a few long time friends have started up. And we are starting to get a following of the same people working back in the dark.

So I was wondering what is the best way to go about getting a group of people to start using them as well as maybe a list of often used short hand to start off with

I am the only person who has ever run a stage in our group and want to make this transition for others as easy as can be after seeing wha canon wrong during a production when no one is taking notes during rehearsals.

Any and all advice is welcome.


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Re: My first prompt book
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2016, 11:32 pm »
Taking notes is a lot more important than people think.  I would encourage you/them to definitely have someone in charge of jotting down little notes during rehearsals, even if it's not a formal report format. 

Also, I just did my first show without a formal prompt book, and I was totally lost.  I felt incredibly disorganized and I will never not have one again.  Having all the show information in one place is extremely helpful, especially if you can't always be there.  Schedules, medical information, the script, notes... keeping it all together just helps the show run so much more smoothly!

Half of the things I have picked up as a stage manager have been things other stage managers have used and I've observed!  I would just start doing things (keeping notes, assembling the book, encourage daily communications, that kind of stuff!).  Sometimes it takes one person being really into it to gently nudge others into trying it.


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Re: My first prompt book
« Reply #2 on: Jun 10, 2016, 07:56 pm »
PM me your email, and I'd be happy to send you some sample documents. I always keep a Blocking Key in the front of my script so that if someone else picks it up, they can follow along.

Are you asking both about recording the blocking and also notations for writing in cues? Some stage managers split these into different books, but I'm one of the all-in-one-script people (unless working on a long run).

Also, you might pick up Laurie Kincman's The Stage Manager's Toolkit. She has a pretty good chapter dedicated to "The Prompt Book" that explains some of the "whys" of a prompt book. There is no one way to set up your script and we all do it a bit differently. I don't tend to use lined blocking pages, for example, except on opera I found it more useful.

The older I get, the more I try out new things with each script too. Some new ideas stick for the next time (like a checklist of who's in the scene on every page). Some ideas don't! I have templates on my computer and I adjust them each new show given the circumstances. The last show had two venues, so my minigroundplans had to show how we adjusted for both venues, for instance.

Enjoy putting yours together!


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Re: My first prompt book
« Reply #3 on: Sep 14, 2017, 11:35 pm »
I could never imagine doing a show without a prompt book. Firstly, the prompt book needs to be assembled for the show in the event an ASM or somebody outside of the SM team needs to fill in, in the event of an emergency. Secondly, it is the central location of all information regarding the production which allows quick access to accurate answers directly recorded by the SM. Thirdly, on a more personal note, in my opinion the SM should know everything that happens on stage at all times throughout the show which includes: lighting cues, transitions, blocking, directorial notes, etc. I personally would forget things if i did not write it down on a sticky note and put it on my prompt book. I highly encourage you to get into the habit of using one as I have found it is the most helpful tool in the Stage Manager's arsenal. 
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