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Topic: Theatre Cue List Conventions?

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  1. #1

    Theatre Cue List Conventions?

    Hello there,
    I need a helping hand!!

    Is there a particular convention for writing a cue list to be given to a stage manager?

    Chiseen

  2. #2

    Re: Theatre Cue List Conventions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chiseen
    Is there a particular convention for writing a cue list to be given to a stage manager?
    Chiseen,

    I'm not sure, but, having done lots of theatre myself, I would give them a CD (or whatever media they request) and a cue sheet, monospaced (i.e. courier typeface) with the following:

    (1) Track number
    (2) Track title/description
    (3) Track length (mm:ss)
    (4) Volume indicator for playback, if applicable
    (4) Cue line, if available

    e.g.


    TRK TITLE LENGTH VOL CUE

    01 "PROLOGUE/SCENE 1 SEGUE" 02:36 +2db S.M.'s call
    02 SONG: "LOVE IN THE AIR" 03:02 0db Jack: "I love you!"

    etc.


    and lastly, contact information, so they can reach you immediately if needs be.

    I think that would cover most things.
    Steve A. Gallant

    www.SteveGallant.com

  3. #3
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Theatre Cue List Conventions?

    Stage managers must be well versed with the libretto, musical cues and be in contact with the music director at all times before, during, and after the curtain opens. He or she must take notes during rehearsals and dress rehearsals and write them down in the libretto.
    More later.
    Styxx

  4. #4

    Re: Theatre Cue List Conventions?

    I wrote up an exhaustive specification / cue information booklet for the ballet I wrote 10 years ago. I went overboard. I did it for the tech crew who did lighting, stage, sound, etc.
    I broke it down by Acts. At the top of each page I have headings,
    measure / time signature / Tempo / Time (in seconds) and a description of the action or music. I then accounted for each second and measure with detailed infor about each heading
    i.e. Measures = 1-16 / T.S = 4/4 / Tempo = 120 bpm / Time = 0:00-0:31 / Description = Emily is Sleeping. and so forth.

    You DO NOT need to go THAT far!!

    But you want to give them as much info as possible so as to make their job easier. And the result will be less destracting on things which you want to be transparent.



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  5. #5

    Re: Theatre Cue List Conventions?

    Experienced gurus,

    Thank you very much for your help. These posts are very useful. I am just starting out in this field and I can do with all the help I can get.

    It seems to be a closely-guarded secret from other sound designers/Stage Manager (SM's) and AssistantSM (ASM's) here in Hong Kong.

    I've just finished another children's project today which went well. 'The Odyssey'. We had 20 hours to rehearse and perform (In my case, compose, teach, record, mix and balence!) with 5-10 year-olds in English, Their second language!!

    Needless to say, I now have a stinking cold and a severe lack of sleep!!

    It may not be the convention, but I tend to think it would be easier to give the SM/ Director a notated script with all the information on it. So far I have noticed that after I hand the SM a cue sheet, he/she always copies the cue points into their script anyway! Is this an accepted form?

    Chiseen

  6. #6

    Re: Theatre Cue List Conventions?

    Once again, Thanks for your input people.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
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    Re: Theatre Cue List Conventions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Chiseen
    It may not be the convention, but I tend to think it would be easier to give the SM/ Director a notated script with all the information on it. So far I have noticed that after I hand the SM a cue sheet, he/she always copies the cue points into their script anyway! Is this an accepted form?

    Chiseen
    You should provide a cue sheet for the SM to copy into his/her script. That is the generally accepted form. I also provide cue sheets to the director and lighting designer as a courtesy.

    I provide the following information in the cue sheet, which is set up as a spreadsheet that I use as a boilerplate for all shows:

    Cue number

    I use numbers, and most stage managers do as well. Some stage managers like to use letters for sound/music and numbers for lighting cues. I think letters get confusing, but if the stage manager insists, then go with it. If you need to add a cue between AA and AB, it becomes AA.1, which to me, is just a mess. But that's me.

    Page number (from script)

    I make this the second column, to facilitate getting the cues copied into the book.

    Cue name

    I always give cues a name. Sometimes fun names can lighten up tech rehearsal at some point or another. If it's a repeat cue, give it the same name and append a number (Door 02, Door 03, etc.). If it's a different "door" each time, give it a unique name (Anteroom Door, Hallway Door). This will avoid confusion in rehearsal if, say, the director likes one sound more than another and wants to make some substitutions or changes. The idea in all cases is to make things clear and to help facilitate the rehearsal process.

    Start Point (from script)

    If it is a line, quote the line and put the "cue word" in boldface or italics. If it is a stage direction, quote the stage direction. If there are multiple cues or anything confusing on the page, be as specific as necessary. It's not so important that your spreadsheet be perfectly symmetrical from row to row as it is that the information is clearcut.

    End Point (from script)

    Ditto above. If the cue just plays out, notate this. If it has a specific out, notate as above. If it has some kind of special instructions, like a fade, note this briefly, and expand the information in the notes section if needed.

    Notes

    This is the catch-all. There is such a thing as too much information, but anything which the stage manager needs to know about a cue or the effective running of your sound show needs to be noted up, so that everyone can be relaxed and accountable for everything.

    That's how I handle cue sheets. The reason you don't want to put it into a copy of the script is that it is just a waste of paper and time. Things will change so much in tech, usually, that it doesn't make much sense. The stage manager has a LOT of stuff to put into the master "book" as well, including the blocking diagrams, light and crew cues, cue lights for actors, etc.

    Be sure that all of your contact information is listed at the top of the cue sheet. Most designers create a header with the name of the play, the producing organization, and the director's name at the top of the page--as a professional courtesy.

    RUNNING SHEETS....

    This is a little different than a cue sheet, if someone is manually running cues from a CD/MiniDisk/mixer. Usually, the Cue Number, Cue Name, Deck number, and Level is all that's needed...and the latter three columns are usually left blank, to be filled in by the board operator as they are determined in the tech process.

    But, after designing too many shows to possibly remember, I do not use this method any more. I program all of my shows in SFX, by Stage Research. All leveling, output assignment, etc., is programmed before the show even gets to tech, and tweaked during tech--the operator just hits a GO button to run the show.

    MUCH MUCH MUCH MUCH better. Like a light board for sound.

  8. #8

    Re: Theatre Cue List Conventions?

    Thanks Mr Richardson,

    I'm just looking into that SFX software now. So, I take it you simply plug the laptop/DTop into the desk and run the software? Have you had any stabilility problems with using PC's for sound cues? ( i.e. crashes during a performance. )

    Chiseen.

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