Recorded pre-show announcement?

CSCTech

Active Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2010
Location
U.S.
Hello,

I was thinking about getting a better way to let the audience know that a show is about to begin, I thought it might be better to have a recording saying something like "Ladys and gentleman, please make your way to your seats. The show is about to begin." And maybe another saying "Ladys and Gentleman the show is about to begin, enjoy your show."
Instead of flashing the houselights.
I was just wondering if anyone had a recording of something like this, we can always record our own, but just want to see what other people to or have.

Also, what do you do to let the audience know the show is about to start?
 

Edrick

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
Joined
Mar 20, 2007
Location
Boston, MA
I would do a chiming noise with an announcement. Then bring the lighting down 25% or somewhere there abouts.
 

Eboy87

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Joined
May 3, 2004
Location
Chicago, IL
It varies with every show I do, but usually some variation of "Ladies and gentlemen, please turn off your cell phones, and no texting. Please enjoy our performance of whatever show we're currently doing." It generally gets the people in their seats.
 

cpf

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Joined
Aug 25, 2010
Location
.
I have a deck of pre-recorded announcements collected over the years for various needs. I find the most effective method, however, is simply dimming the lights slowly, eventually (30-45s) people realize that, hey, it's way darker now, must be showtime.
 

DaveySimps

CBMod
CB Mods
Premium Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2007
Location
Macomb, MI
We use a chime for the Lobby, and dim the house lights to half as we are ready to begin, pause for a second, then slowly dim the house out.

The Stratford Festival makes Lobby announcements exactly how you purpose to at 5 minuets and 2 minuets before curtain in the Lobby only.

~Dave
 

Anonymous067

Active Member
Joined
May 31, 2008
All pre-recorded:

30 min to curtain-start playback timed track in lobby.
10 min to curtain- "Ladies and Gentlemen, the show will begin in 10 minutes"
5 min to curtain-"
1 min to curtain-" "Ladies and Gentlemen, please, take your seats, the show is about to begin."

House lights from 75 down to 30, sound go-"Welcome to "[insert high school name here] Theatre. Please take this moment to switch off all electronics and cellular devices. There is no flash photography allowed during this performance. Thank you, and enjoy the show."

House lights to 0, aisle lights up.

Show begins.

We also have a lobby CD for the intermission...all there is on that one is a 2 min return to your seats. haha
 

Les

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Joined
Feb 24, 2004
Location
DFW, Tx.
That sequence is dangerously wrong. The MOMENT you start to dim the house is when the aisle lights need to be active, not when all the lights are already out...
Good catch! Most venues I have worked in don't even have the aisle lights (or "kicker" lights as I call them if they're recessed in a wall or the ends of the rows of seating) patched in to the dimming system. This means that they are on at all times, regardless of the status of the lighting console/cue stack. This is the best practice in my eyes because it is much more fail safe.

...The multi-part house to half, house out cues are the most effective, possibly used in conjunction with chimes. Usually, I find that 5 dings for 5 minutes, 2 dings for 2 minutes works well (though I usually use the audience recall chimes for intermission).

I NEVER flash the house lights. Way too tacky for my blood.
 
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kiwitechgirl

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2009
Location
Sydney, Australia
We have foyer announcements pre-recorded:
- house open, please switch off cellphones and watch alarms
- show starting in five minutes, please take your seats
- show about to start, please move into the theatre immediately

We also have foyer chimes and if I need to, I can flash the foyer lights to get people moving (but this is a last resort!). Once in the theatre, it varies a bit from show to show, but the usual sequence is take house to half, play cellphone announcement, give them a few seconds to switch phones off, take house and preset out and start show. Some shows we don't have a cellphone announcement at all, some shows we'll record a specific one rather than use either of our two generic announcements which are a spoken message, and a whole lot of different cellphone rings.
 

Van

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CB Mods
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Jul 27, 2006
Location
Portland, Or.
Our preshow announcements are a thing of beauty. Now as a warning we have the standard dimming of lobby lights to get everyone into the house and seatedthat is at approximately 5 mins. It's going to vary however, according to how full the house is that night, sometimes you must do your dip a bit earlier. A lobby-light dip is pretty universal, coupled with a soft chime or Ushers with small hand bells, this is a pretty efective way to get the folks motivated to thier seats. Once they are in the house and most everybody is seated we usually roll one of three of four pre-recorded curtain speeches. These always include the standard reminders of cell-phones, candy wrappers, late seating policies, no recording devices and then go on include anouncements of our season and show sponsors. Quite often we incorporate actors from the particular production to do the voice-over. Sometimes the Director wants the Voice to be no one associated with the show, I've been tapped to do it, My Daughter is recording one for our next production. Sometimes they are realy funny, mostly they are really straight. I just saw Lt. of Inishmore at ACT in Seattle Last week, they did theirs in Gaelic with a second voice translating into English.
 

mbenonis

Wireless Guy
Administrator
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Sep 1, 2003
Location
Chicago, IL
We typically had 15, 5, and 2 minute announcements in the lobby, as well as a preshow announcement in the theatre. However, our announcement was after we faded to blackout. It went something like this (I used to have it memorized):

"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the XXX Department of Drama's production of YYY. Please take a moment to locate the emergency exit nearest your seat. Exits are located to the left, right, and rear of the theatre. Please also take a moment to silence your cell phones and beepers. Recording and photography are strictly prohibited. Thank you! And enjoy the performance."

We also did themed announcements for various shows containing the same information but in a more show-related way (storm at sea for Midsummer, Radio Announcer Voice for the Tuna shows, etc).
 

NHStech

Active Member
Joined
Apr 30, 2009
Location
Southwest Michigan
Pre-recorded announcements are great. If you choose to use them or not depends on your audience. Depending on the community, event, or venue, some people just do not know certain things - such as the dimming or flashing of lights means x minutes until show.
FOr me, I dim the lights to half house (I have florescents, yuck!) and set the cd to my speil, depending on time of day, mine goes something like...

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for attending tonights performance at niles high school. The show will begin shortly. At this time, please turn off all cell phones and pagers. When the show begins, please enter or exit only between songs or acts. For the safety of our performers, please do not use flashes when taking pictures. There is to be no recording of tonights performance. Thank yo for your cooperation in these mattters, and enjoy the show.

Many of my clientel will have not set foot in a PAC or auditorium prior to this, so they will not know what certain signals mean. That is why I went to the cd.

I like the idea of having music when house opens and having the announcements built in to that.

Unfortunately, I cannot control lights, nor do I have any sound, out in the lobby.
 

Chris15

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Jul 15, 2005
Location
Sydney, Australia
Many of my clientel will have not set foot in a PAC or auditorium prior to this, so they will not know what certain signals mean.
Ultimately a theatre audience, like most gatherings of people, will behave like sheep. If you can get the first few people responding to a signal, then most of the rest of the audience are likely to follow them...
 

Anonymous067

Active Member
Joined
May 31, 2008
Ultimately a theatre audience, like most gatherings of people, will behave like sheep. If you can get the first few people responding to a signal, then most of the rest of the audience are likely to follow them...
Generally a few well-planted decoys will also help with this.

It's kind of like the jokes that nobody "gets" during the show, or the audience is unsure if they are "allowed" to laugh, so the designers/directors have to start the laughing/applause. Personally, my favorite part of being a designer. Knowing things the audience doesn't! ha.
 

nd925a

Member
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Location
Western New York
In our High school the director says flash lights... 5 min later flash lights again...etc. until the hallway is empty then house goes out (floor light switch is in a seperate location from the light board so they are on when house opens) and preshow announcment cue then show starts
 

howlingwolf487

Active Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2006
Location
Collingswood, NJ
ToolsForStagecraft has one. For a nominal fee, they'll even put your own custom message on there.