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Holding Book , Part 2 -- Blocking Notes




Not all directors ask the bookholder to take blocking notes. However, some find it's easier to allow the bookholder to act as scribe so that they and the assistant director are able to concentrate on what is happening on stage. Some tips for writing down blocking:

  • Use abbreviations - you are going to have to write quickly. It doesn't matter what they are, just as long as you know what they mean. Here are some suggestions:

U - Upstage

L- Left

B - Behind

D - Downstage

R - Right

F - in Front of

C - Center stage

ex - Exit

en - Enter

X - to indicate a cross

  • Note entrances and exits, as well as the actor's relationship to the different elements on the stage. For example, when an actor has been blocked to move behind the sofa at upstage right, coming from downstage left, your notation in the script may look something like "XUR-B sofa." Make the notation in the script at the point in the dialogue where the actor is supposed to begin moving.
  • Remember, stage right and left are from the actor's perspective - facing the audience. Get used to having your right be stage left and visa versa. This takes some practice.
  • Be familiar with the characters and the actors playing them. This will help you keep your directions straight.
  • Don't be shy if you miss a blocking note; things move fast sometimes. If you're lost, say so. If you miss something, ask the director or a reliable cast member for help.
  • This a job for a pencil, NOT a pen. Bring either a good mechanical pencil with lots of extra lead or several sharp wooden pencils. Also bring an extra (big) eraser. Blocking often changes in the first few weeks of rehearsal.
  • Make sure you can read your own notes; you may be asked to remind the actors where they are supposed to be.

Next: Prompting the Actors
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