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Software for stage managers/iPad

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by Oobleck1441, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. Oobleck1441

    Oobleck1441 Member

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    Does anyone know of and free software that can help me keep myself organized while running a show?
    Maybe one with a digital cue sheet?
    Or a digital Prompt book?
    Any help would be great!
    Thanks,
    Oobleck1441​
     
  2. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    openoffice.org.... thats about it. Most people that do "soft" prompt book have their own way of doing it. There is some software out there for SM's, but from last check it was not that well developed and I cant remember who made it. It cost about 300-1000 for a license if I remember.
     
  3. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    I have seen script writing software, but I don't know if it could really work for a prompt book, unless you were going to print it after. Cues sheets are easy, could be made in Excel or File Maker Pro, or Microsoft Access. YOu might also look into Google's new MS Office alternative, it is free, though you need to be online to access it.
     
  4. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    There are a couple of good books out there on Stage management. Some if not all have examples of all the forms you need. I would start with one of those. In my opinion there really isn't that much a software program can do for you. You need to develop a system that works for you while keeping all the needed information organized. So start by finding out what others do and work from there.
     
  5. thorin81

    thorin81 Active Member

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    I do not think it is wise to use a "soft" prompt book to begin with. There are too many factors that could cause you major issues mid-show (computer crash, power bump, spilled coffee, etc.). With a hard copy of the prompt you eliminate a lot of the issues that could happen otherwise.
     
  6. thebikingtechie

    thebikingtechie Active Member

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    Also in my opinion it's easier to be able to hand write it in, that way you don't have to worry about where you are and you can walk around with it freely.
     
  7. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    Tablet computers my friend.

    As for software, there isn't a defining piece of stage management software out there yet.
    There is some doubt in our minds that there ever will be, mainly because of the nature of the animal.(SM's are quite particular)
     
  8. kwotipka

    kwotipka Active Member

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    The website http://www.thedvshow.com/ has some scriptwriting software and other management software but it is mostly for television. Maybe you can adapt it's use for your needs.

    kw
     
  9. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    I was just told about something interesting:
    http://www.online-stopwatch.com/

    I used it today, and it works great.
     
  10. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Ah yes, the 1200 dollar device doing the action of a 10 dollar device... BRILLIANT!...

    Running the downloadable version would not be a bad idea however, at least to have around.
     
  11. thebikingtechie

    thebikingtechie Active Member

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    I still don't want to be carrying around an expensive piece of electronics in a theatre environment just to take some notes. One stupid actor and there goes a thousand bucks down the drain.
     
  12. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    That would be why the screens are made of composite materials similar to Lexan.
    You can buy steel cases for the computer also.
     
  13. dvsDave

    dvsDave Benevolent Dictator Administrator Senior Team CB Mods Fight Leukemia

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    weight and battery life are a factor that needs to be considered as well.

    I do think that typing up your notes is always a good idea. I used to use MS Word and turn on the revisions feature so I could place the cue right where I needed it on the right line of the script. It was extremely handy. It takes a bit of work to make it print with the "prompts" and to color code them, but the advantage is that you have a perfect human-readable text (I'll admit, my handwriting is nothing to ...err... write home about)

    (I also make the font a lot larger so it's much easier to read in the dark or find your place if you get distracted for a second)
     
  14. PadawanGeek

    PadawanGeek Active Member

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    Pocket pcs are very handy.... except for that one time wen an actor hit my hand that had the PDA in it and it flew up in the air and hit the ground... it still worked but had a bunch of scratches around the edges...
     
  15. LD4Life

    LD4Life Active Member

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    In my experience, MS Excel works as good as any. I use it for my light cue sheets for shows. The nice thing about it is that it can be as simple or as elaborate as you want/need. If you don't have MS Office, OpenOffice is a great alternative.
     
  16. bendersen

    bendersen Member

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    I used this same format for my most recent show, and it was a ton of work, but well worth it. The end result was a fully-modifiable, fully-legible prompt book that anyone could read (my handwriting is not anything to write home about either) and call from.

    Typing up notes has a couple benefits -- one of which for me is that I type faster than I write by hand.

    However, I do print my book out, I don't use a soft book. The biggest reason was battery life; something I found out the hard way when I realized I was running out of juice during a dress rehearsal. I didn't have a hard copy with me, and had the battery gone, I would not have been able to call cues for the rest of that rehearsal. Thankfully the director ended the rehearasl early!
     
  17. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    I'm trying to find this free software that I saw a couple years back. It allowed you to load a script into it and then add a bunch of notes. They had a library of about 50 public domain scripts that you could choose from. Or you could scan and upload your own. If remember right it was more for the film industry and story boarding, but it could be customized to work in theater. It may have been the link that Kwotipka was talking about above... but I don't see it on that site now.
     
  18. cdcarter

    cdcarter Member

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    Perhaps Celtx?
     
  19. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Yep Celtx is it. I played around with it for a day or so. It is really more for someone writing their own script, comic, or screen play... and then producing it.

    First you have to have a text copy of the script, which of course has all kinds of potential legal issues. Once you have the script you can go through it, highlight a word and then assign that word to a category. So for example if the script says, "Look out it's a snake!", you can highlight the word snake and assign it to the props list. Or you can take the stage description of what an actor's costume looks like and put it on a costume list. It's useful... but I'm not sure how much more useful than just sitting down with a spreadsheet.

    The biggest disappointment is the Notes feature. You can pick any point in the script and add a note. This at first sounds like a great way to add in cues or blocking. But it just isn't executed in a way that would really help an SM. It's close and could probably be REALLY useful with a few tweaks. But it's also free so who's complaining.

    They have a bunch of little symbol packs they sell which again look like an interesting solution for blocking. They are inexpensive and how they make their money. I didn't buy one, but I don't think they are the right symbols.

    So, it's close, but not quite what we are looking for. Hey Celtx, if you're listening we would be glad to tell you how to tweak it to be the ultimate theater tool.
     
  20. EricE

    EricE Member

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    What a difference four years makes - refurbished wifi-only iPads can be routinely had on Apple's web site for $350 - and with 10 hours of battery life, it would be a marathon production to outlast one :)

    There is one stage manager app with mediocre reviews: ShowTool SM for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store

    Also, I have seen the Bento database application mentioned in a few other threads - they also have an excellent iOS app and it's pretty easy to move databases between iOS devices and Bento - you can create pretty powerful stuff fairly easily. A cue list manager would be fairly simple - in fact I think I may just finally get Bento and work on one myself...
     

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