What I’ve Learned (so far) from Scoring ‘The White Whale’: Part 2

I’m in the process of scoring The White Whale for Slung Low. It’s on in September. Tickets are free but there aren’t many left… call The Carriageworks Theatre on  0113 2243801 for the last few remaining. 

How to paperlessly mark up a script

Stylus on iPad showing GoodNotesIn my last post I talked about priming the subconscious to do the heavy lifting when it comes to idea generation, and the need to capture ideas when they bubble up, as they are wont to do at the most inopportune times (in the shower, in the crisp aisle at the Co-op, in the wee small hours…)

My favourites are Evernote and a good old notebook or three.

Notebooks, scraps of paper or sticky notes are everywhere in my home and studio and are absolutely the fastest way for me to get a good idea down in concrete form. However, these scraps are as easily lost, so transferring into Evernote, either as a photo or transcribing when I’ve a moment is important; having a single, central ‘inbox’, a place to collect said notes, before inputting into Evernote is essential.

I’ve tried to go completely paperless this year but those hand-scribbled notes seem to be the one archaic hanger on, through simple efficiency rather than stubbornness on my part.

The script though, is a different animal. I’ve looked into ways of marking up a pdf of the script for several years now, and never found an efficient, effective way to do it quickly, say, during meetings, in a way that didn’t leave the pdf permanently marked and looking like a 5 year old had had their scribbly way with it. Which probably says more about my stylus technique, handwriting quality and impatience to learn a new system… but I digress.

In the past I’ve tried using Skitch (a nicely integrated part of Evernote for a while now) to mark up scripts, but my hitherto aging Mac system didn’t allow the latest version… til now. Earlier this year I upgraded the studio system to the latest Mac Pro (Hate to be a fan girl but… I’m in love. It just effing works, no stuttering, no stalling, rarely crashes even when I’m thrashing it with RAM-intensive virtual instruments, even with my old firewire audio interface and a now legacy Bamboo tablet). Skitch was better – I could notate multi-page pdfs now, but the handwritten input using my Bamboo stylus was messy, and writing with a fingertip on the iPad wasn’t much better. It even hurt after a while and I wasn’t interested in going down the RSI route again.

Also, as an aside… Skitch is a bit amateur looking, with its drop shadows, fat arrows and heart symbols. You know… a bit like Microsoft WordArt.

*shudders with less than fond memories of secondary school computer studies*

More recently I had a meeting with Al (director) and lovely Lucy (movement director and helping me out with music directing the actors whilst I’m not on site, v talented lady), who showed me an app on the iPad that she keeps all her scripts in, notated by highlighting sections that need attention. Sometimes all I need is proof of concept that a system is functional work-wise before I jump straight in. Ms Lucy has a much better memory than me… I have to write everything down, rather than just a highlighted reminder, so if I was going to go paperless script-styley I was going to need a stylus for the iPad. I had to be one of those people (crikey – I’m so prejudiced).

I’d toyed with the idea but they were all so damned expensive with cruddy reviews last year when I first took the plunge and got an iPad (I’m not an early adopter in any shape or form). I checked again and found the Adonit Mini for cheaps. It arrived; its work in Skitch was less than stellar. A bit of google-fu and I plumped for GoodNotes, ridiculously easy to use but with just enough in the way of extra features to tidy up my scrawl. Works a treat with the Adonit Mini. Import from and export to Evernote is dead simple (though it would be rather lovely if it synced, this is unlikely to happen any time soon since Evernote bought out Skitch and Notability). Job’s a good ‘un!

Might be old news for you chaps, but for me this is a revelation. I’m always leaving my show folder lying around and forgetting it. Remember when I mentioned my shoddy memory? No lie. This way, even if I forget the iPad, it’s on my phone (lovely, lovely Evernote, syncing away in the background). Which leads me to the next thing I learned (which was obvs really, but still worth noting) – how much easier it is to ship this notated pdf round the interwebs for the other creatives on the project to use as reference. More on that and being as uber-efficient as possible in the next post…