The note process | Time wasters | Time savers | Added benefits

The note process

Notes are a two-part process; take the note, deliver the note.

You constantly take notes during the different rehearsals. Every designer or department head does the same but you are unique. You do it for everyone: the cast, the crew, the stage manager, the designers, and yourself. Everyone expects you to give her or him notes. That’s a lot of notes to take and to deliver to a lot of people.

The note process is incredibly important. It’s the only way for everyone to correct errors and improve their work for the next time.

Time wasters

You will encounter a number of problems as you take notes and as you deliver notes. These can add a considerable amount of time and stress to a rehearsal day that is already long on both. The goal – get everyone, who isn’t staying to work, out of the theatre within half an hour.

Time savers

Sound_Idea.pngDigital recorders are abundant and cheap. Use two, one for acting and the other for tech. It solves all the problems instantly.

If you need to know where in the script you are, point it at the stage, it will pick up the dialogue.

You can talk much faster than you write.

Your eyes never leave the stage so you miss nothing.

Write_On.pngThis solves all the problems in this part of the process.

Most notes are things to be fixed for next time.

You go home, review the recordings, and write individual notes to all actors and department members who need them. Email them or bring them to the theatre before the next rehearsal.

This is a giant time saver. You spend a little extra effort writing the notes and everyone else gets on with their life much sooner.

If there one or two things that need immediate attention, you can do so at the end of rehearsal. Give yourself a five-minute limit. Ask your stage manager to limit his or her notes to five minutes as well.

Follow these guidelines and you will meet your goal – to get everyone, who isn’t staying to work, out of the theatre within half an hour.

Added benefits

Other benefits associated with this process, although they don’t directly involve time management, are worth mentioning. They fall under the category of people management.

The skill and experience level of your cast and crew will range from complete novice to 30-year veteran.
Individual notes allow you:
  • A level of praise or criticism tailored to each person.
  • Emotional distance from the events so a clear head can prevail.
  • Privacy. E.g. If you’ve made it clear that all actors must know their lines and one actor doesn’t, you can let him have it in no uncertain terms without public embarrassment.
  • Effectiveness. Organize the notes from the start of the play to the end. Actors will keep the notes with them and review them before going onstage the next time. This immediacy sees a high percentage of improvement over remembering a note given the night before.
  • High standards. Expect the best from everyone and challenge them to achieve it.

And on that note, I leave you to direct. Break a leg on opening night. Comments and contributions are always welcome.

If you’re running late and need some help with the opening cues for your show, click on Sample opening transition for a simple procedure.

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