Set Changes


Does anyone have s spreadsheet or Word template they use for set changes for any show. I need to post set changes backstage, and I'm wondering if there's a "best way" to do this. Thanks.
I've taken a sheet of paper with 2 scale drawings of the stage on it, one above the other, and drawing of before and after of the set change. I.e. the scene A and scene B. On there is a list of what linesets move and a list of who is moving what set piece. I kept a set of copies for myself, gave everyone involved in set changes a set, and posted a set on a wall.

The scale drawings with "lineset movement" and "stagehands" colums could be used for any show done on the same stage. If you're working in a school setting, then I find that this works fairly well.
If you have a slow crew or actors moving scenery try using pollaroids of what each scene is to look like from the position where you post the pictures.
We usually have hand-written sheets that outline what has to happen/be done by operators at each loaction, and the SM (me!) has a 'master plan', again hand drawn, in the Prompt Book
WHen we did a show a few years ago there were lots of changes that happened really quickly. Normally we just memorize the show but this was a little too much to do. What we did was type up a list in word of the scene, and everything that needed to be on stage for that scene. IT ended up working really well for us. You could also draw up some diagrams for what each of the scenes should look like.

We use a combo of having a deck manager that their whole job is to sit there calling shots written in his script to the hands with headsets on each side of the stage. As a back up we also have a script and a typed sheet of cues on each side of the stage as well. Headsets are great though..we have one channal for video(director and his two camera ppl and the controller for the remote camera robot mutent), and one for everyone else(sound, lights, stage manager, deck manager, TD, and the head hands backstage. Very good for stuff like battery changes, cue calling, etc.)
greg now look wat you did you screewed it all up no wat has been happening is that for the past 2 plays our stage manager has been back stage to call the cues but we still have a deck manager to get all the sets on and off and the cue lists that we use are simple and easy say you need to have 2 trees on stage right at the back of the stage moved to the stage left front and a statue needs to go in the middle of the stage it would look like this

scene .....(wat ever scene) trees sr. ft.
pg..... (wat ever the pg. # is) statue mid.

and so forth
I've used a hand drawn plot of the set with a diagram of what set moves were when and by who. its a bit like what directors use to do blocking, you know little circles and arrows. think football play chart. also if you have the time, really choreocgraph you set changes. it'll look better if its choreographed down to the second and i find it easy to memorize.
We use Microsoft Word. It is a good program for this sort of use becasue it has the shape-making capabilities and is relatively simple.
I've seen this a couple different ways. If the stage manager is handling this all through the rehearsal process, the table is often too crowded to have another notebook for set notes. We take our script and photocopy it to fill the page. On the other side of the script we photocopy and scale down the floorplan to fit at least two drawings on the page. This way the stage manager can diagram the blocking of the current scene and show when the new set pieces come in and where in association to their cue in the script. Now if you've got time... you can use Power Point. You take a basic floorplan and make it a master slide (so you can have it as the backgorund for every scenechange). Now make each set piece that moves a simple object. Using the transition tools you can show which side the stage it moves in, how fast it takes, etc.. Now using the text tools or the space for presenters comments, you can note who takes the set piece on or off, what cue number it is, etc.. (you might want to label that particular slide the Cue # it refers to). Doing it this way gives you a visual tool to show the director if that's what they want and when you go to the crew, you have a working "playbook" of all the moves. If you want to get ambitious and you have a lot of moves, you can make spheres, label them as your crew members and move them with the set pieces so you know where your crew members are and if they can get to another set piece to make the next move.
We draw out each scene and just list if it apears more than once. We then make a list of scene order and normally the SM and ASMs will have most of the show memorised.
Sometimes at my place, we give each scene (change) a nic-name. Something thats catchy, and easy to remember. Usualy we all throw out nic-names for a scene, and then go with the stupidest/funnyest ones.
....Stand By for: "Your Mom"....
.........."Standing by"......
Hey, it works for us.
Sometimes at my place, we give each scene (change) a nic-name. Something thats catchy, and easy to remember. Usualy we all throw out nic-names for a scene, and then go with the stupidest/funnyest ones.
....Stand By for: "Your Mom"....
.........."Standing by"......
Hey, it works for us.

That's actually an awesome idea. At our school we usually get a large bit of posterboard and divide it into set-changes. Then within each set-change, we list each thing to be done (and how) and who should be doing it. For example:

-Fountain on (from right)...Claire, Becca, Tristan
-Town backdrop in...Kyle
-Scrim out...Amanda
I usually just use either hand plots and photocopy it, or i use simple diagrams made on microsoft word, using the drawing diagrams etc.

I do two diagrams to a page, what it is before and what the set is after. I assign crew members different letters and then put a list of who does what on the side of the diagram, whether it be main scenery, props, flys, floor electrics or whatever.

Hope that helps
Micrsoft Word is good, I've also worked a show where the SM used Microsoft Excel to do a stage plot, it work out rather nicely.....
For my last show, which had 31 set changes, I used a format like this:
SC 14 During Scene 16
MUSIC CUE and STONE: “How’d you know it was my birthday?”​
- Chris and Jesse: Bed CSR
- Christine: Night table USL of bed​
SC 15 During Scene 18
STONE: "First, you level."​
- Chris and Jesse: Bed offstage
- Christine: Night table offstage​
SC 16 At end of Scene 18
VOICEOVER CUE: "Another dame. Another gun."​
- Sam and Noah: Bed offstage
- Emy: Table offstage
- Emma: Phone booth USL
- Chris and Jesse: Gurney DSL​
SC 17 At end of Scene 20
BUDDY: "And just one morgue scene!"​
- Noah: Phone booth offstage​
we use excel. at the top is: what needs to be done (phrase it however you want, but its when things have to be moved or rigged or what-not). who does it. page number. cue (light, line, whatever would help someone). thats the basics. also for things we moved, we would highlight them with the same color as the tape that marks where it goes.
Hey Maggy Great ides highlighting in the same color as the spike tape. I never thought of that one. Love it! Got to go buy a bunch of different colors of highlighter now.

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