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Follow Spot Cues

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by DHSLXOP, Jan 15, 2007.

  1. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    Hi everyone...
    In the next few years, I am going to become the calling stage manager at my school. I know how to call the show and everything, but I have been wondering about how to call spot cues.

    Right now, the senior stage manager calls the spot cues as "Warning Spot 1 on xxx person with a xxx gel." ..."Spot 1 GO"

    The way I was thinking about doing it, is giving each spot op a cue list of all of their cues...it would look like this: (When viewing this chart, please take note that each column should be underneath each other...but I couldn't figure out how to get it to do that)
    Cue #|Spot #|Gel Color|Intensity|On Performer...
    1 1 Blue 100% XXX
    2 1 White 100% XXX
    2 White 100% YYY
    3 2 White 100% ZZZ
    Then all I would have to call is "Warning spot cue 1"..."Spot Cue 1...Go"
    Which method do you guys think is better to call the cues? Also, assume that each spot op has a music stand w/ gelled music stand light to be able to see this list upstairs
    Thanks
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Most of the time I give the spots a cue sheet with LX numbers. Usually the pick up of a spot is also with and LX cue. If it is not, simply call "spot cue #" and the can reference their sheet with what the cue is, what frame to have in, and what the intensity, iris, and all that good stuff is. Don't be a mother hen to the spots. When calling a show you want to limit the amount of stuff you have to say over com. This is how I prefer to call a show and have a show called to me. I would much rather here "standby shift 14, rail 6, LX 22, spot cue 13 and sound F" then "standby main rag in, wagon B to center, big drop out, light cue 22, sound phone ring, spot frame 3 mid body pickup Mary".
     
    DHSLXOP likes this.
  3. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply. I'll probably start calling the shows that way.
     
  4. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I second, < as I often do > Footer. The spots need to learn their cues. the only time I've seen cues called the way you described is when I have been doing R&R gigs. When the spots don't have time to learn cues and the LD will just give a " spot #1 pick up < Insert favorite rock star here> S.R., Body, color 2."
     
  5. celtictechie

    celtictechie Member

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    I see your questions but two question came to mind
    How many spots light are you using
    How many different people are you spoting
    Are there a enough spotlights for all people being spoted
    Are you using the smae people everyshow

    If there is a enough spotlight and same people for everyshow then call like this and have them memerize it or put on sheet of paper where the can see it

    Spot 1 Color # and type of shot ie full head or mid

    They should know and see were there people are all the time. You should have to to them. Spot light can be late by 3 seconds no one will notice.
     
  6. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    We have 2 spot lights
    And the amount of people being lit depend on the show (we generally spot the leads when they are singing or are part of a song...so it dpeneds on the number of leads)
    So i guess no there are not enough spotlights for all people being spoted
    Those people will most likely be the same everyshow
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    It sounds like we are talking about a high school situation. In which case you might not want to change things quite that much.

    How experienced are your spotlight people? How many rehearsals will they be able to watch? How many rehearsals will they be able to actually run the spots? How well trained are they? How responsible are they? Not to go against Footer... his points are very good in the college and adult world... but often follow spot is the lowest guy on the food chain in high school. Your spot ops may be recruited at the last minute and have no experience, may not know the show, may not even know the names of the actors/characters. It's also a job that requires some pretty good listening and concentration skills... something some students have difficulty with. In all these cases the more information and warning you the S.M. gives that person the better.

    I'm all for efficiency and running high school theater like it's done in the real world. Just make sure your follow spot operators are trained and know the show really well or you could be in for a really bumpy ride. In the end this might not be a corner that it's worth cutting. A good S.M. should both know the crew and show and makes adjustments according to the skills/show's needs in order to have the best performance possible.
     
  8. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    Yes this is high school theater I'm talking about. The spot ops do get to see about a week's worth of rehearsal before actually going into the theater, where for 4-5 days run the spot during the rehearsals. In our case, its an honor to be up in the booth (we work in a university's theater and not everyone can just say they want to run it and be allowed up in the booth) Also, the spot ops know the show pretty well, and i'm fairly certain that if they had a question, they would ask.

    The main reason that I'm asking this, is because I always find that if I'm calling every little detail, I loose my place in the script, and I might miss the cue.

    But I do understand your points and I have started to think about those type of things.
     
  9. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    While on the topic of follow spots...

    This year, we have a new girl that wants (plus we're down on techs, and we need a spot op) to be a spot op for our musical this year. We are going to be teaching her how to use it and everything, the only problem is we're not sure if she'd be tall enough...We have-i believe-super troupers (sp?) at the theater, but she is only between 5'2" and 5'3". Do you think that she is too short to be able to run one, or should she be ok?

    The only reason I ask is because we won't have access to the spot until tech week, the week before the show.
     
  10. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I'm 5'6 and have yet to find a spot that I can not run. Let her at it. If the spot is properly balanced she shouldn't have any problem.
     
  11. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    This is great news! Thanks for your quick reply!
     
  12. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    The only issue I could see would be if the spot was raised abnormally high to clear a balcony rail or wall, which might lead to having a hard time reaching the iris,chopper,fader. Other than that I with Footer < again> Let her at it ! . I love the old Super Troupers. I have about 1200 hrs on a carbon arc Super T. Ah those were the days, white hot pieces of metal thrown intoa coffee can, toxic fumes swirling around your head......
     
  13. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Van that explains a lot about you. No wonder you're in Portland... it surprising you aren't working in Eugene, I hear they do a lot of work with alternative flame sources down there. :cry:


    Anyway back to your questions.
    -It sounds like you've got a pretty good situation and some fairly professional student techs you are working with so maybe you can cut back. The key is to make sure you are giving them all the information THEY need. You might start out describing the cues and then cut back to just giving numbers after a rehearsal or two if they are comfortable with it. Talk to your spot ops about it. See what they are comfortable with. Maybe there is medium length version of the cue call that will shorten your text but give them more info than a number.

    -I had a girl who was as short if not shorter than you are talking about run spot for me. No problem.
     
  14. highschooltech

    highschooltech Active Member

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    We use modified S4s with iris and gel boxes for our spots. They work great. The only issue is that if the spot opp isn't paying attention his light comes up in the wrong place
     
  15. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Gaff, That was when I was in OKlahoma, Oklahoma,Oklahoma ! hehehehehe :mrgreen:
     
  16. TechiGoz

    TechiGoz Active Member

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    If your dome (spot) operators are seeing a good weeks worth of rehearsals etc, they should be able to follow the play. Giving them a cue sheet, allows them to be incharge of getting ready what they need, while you focus on the 101 other things you need to when being a stage manager.

    When I'm stage managing, I give everyone a copy of their own cue sheet, whether it be FX, LX, Dome, Fly's, Stage Crew or whatever. I have a master sheet, and when I give a "Standby" they will give me an answer (could be "FX Standing By" or whatever). This means to me that they have read their cue sheet and know what is coming next. This allows me to call complex series of cues such as "Standing By LX35, FX56, Flys8, StageCrewPosition6A, Dome32" and after reciving a whole bunch of "standing by's" I can just say, "LX, FX, Fly, Crew, Dome GO"

    If they do have any questions though, they are able to confirm with me during the standby.

    I find that giving their own cue sheets is a much more efficient way of calling a show. Every one makes sure they are on track.

    Good luck.
     
  17. PhantomD

    PhantomD

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    Can somebody show me what this cue sheet should look like?

    I'm looking at being followspot captain as well as board op for several reasons that are irrelevant to this discussion!

    Got a pair of new followspots (one of whom is pretty **** short) and I'm going to start them from the start - and I want them to have a lot more independance than spots have had in the past.
     
  18. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    The way I was thinking that it should be designed is: (remember that the chart should be lined up with each other--so like if you see two ones in a row, one should go to one column and the other should go to the other column; Also-I have added in another section that I didn't say when I first brought up the topic)
    Cue# | Spot # | Gel Color | Intensity | On Performer | Cue Line
    1 1 White 100% XXXX "No don't go..."
    " 2 " " YYYY "
    2 1/2 White 100% ZZZZ "Hello down there"
    This is the way I was thinking about doing it, but I'm sure someone else has a better/more professional way of doing this.
     
  19. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Make seperate sheets for each operator that just had their cues on it. Also, I would not give them a pickup line, because with that they will get confused. Just give them q#,frame #,douser,iris,and perfomer
     
  20. DHSLXOP

    DHSLXOP Active Member

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    Just wondering--why would you not put in a pickup line? And also, what is a douser?

    Thanks
     

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