As with almost everything, there are multiple ways you can use different tools. I share here one method that makes my performances much easier and less stressful.
How many of us have put our movers in our set, or had them starting out onstage? We’d have to wait until the curtain closed, rez our sets then hope all the dancers could find their movers before it was time for the music to start and the curtain to open? THEN we’d have to cache the dances. This always added a lot of stress for me.
Using the Spot On Performance Director, Choreography Designer, and Stage Manager, I now find this much easier and less stressful.
First – what are these tools, and how do they relate to this?
The Performance Director can contain multiple “act” or routine cards. Example: My performance director has a card called Carousel PD and Dark Horse PD. Each of those are one of my dances I perform. I click on “Carousel PD” on the performance director, and when I play it, it plays all the animations for Carousel. When I click on Dark Horse and press play, it loads the instructions on that notecard and plays everything for that routine. For each, every dancer has a dancer number. Carousel only has dancer 1, Dark Horse has dancers 1 through 9.
Choreography Designer – this is used to create your movements for your routines. Dancers each sit on a pad. When used with the Performance Director, each pad must have a dancer number. One of the powerful things about the choreography designer movers is that it can contain multiple notecards. In my mover 1, I have a movement card called “Carousel PD” AND a notecard called “Dark Horse PD”. Each of those cards have the instructions for dancer 1 for each of those dances. In mover 2, I just have one dance notecard – for “Dark Horse PD”. Dancer 2 isn’t in Carousel, so I have a “dummy” notecard in the mover for it. See the dummy notecards post for more info about this.
Stage Manager – there are actually two purposes for stage manager. It can be used to pack and rez sets, but it also replaces the old position marker. What does this mean? In the stage manager, there is a stage location notecard where you list all of the platforms and venues you dance at. Using the Stage Manager position marker, you identify the center point of the stage and the rotation (which way it’s facing). This is put into the stage manager notecard. You’ve packed a set into your stage manager from your building platform and go to one of your dance venues. When you rez your set, the stage manager says “Hey! I know where the center of this stage is! I’m going to put this here, and this here, and that here”. You should generally not need to do any adjusting at all! BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! You’re using your choreography designer, flinging waypoints here there and everywhere. If you have your stage manager out, and it knows the center point of the “stage area” where you’re creating waypoints, when you get your notecard from the choreo designer ring, it will add new “offset” information. What is this “offset information” I speak of? You’ve taken your stage manager to another venue. The venue is in your stage locations notecard, your set rezzes beautifully. Now, dump out a copy of your movers – ANYWHERE! On the roof, under the floor, on top of the manager’s head…..and whoosh – they’ll disappear! Why? Because your movers say “hey! there’s a stage manager here, and the stage manager says that the center of this stage is over there and in my notecard for this routine it says I should be here and rotated this way from the center of the stage. Woot! No more have to exactly measure to get your movers in just the right spot. They’ll zoom there on their own. For each dance and mover notecard you create, it will also automatically provide the offset information with the movement information. Just copy and past that to your mover notecard for that act.
OK, now what does this have to do with having my movers on the stage? Let’s summarize our findings so far:
- you can have multiple notecards in your movers
- you can have multiple notecards in your performance director
- Each mover notecard for an act will also include the offset information for that act if you have a stage manager configured for where you’re working. This is the “starting point” of your routine based on your starting point and stage where you created it.
- When you click on the name of an act in your performance director, it will “look for” the notecard inside the movers with the EXACT same name and “load” this information.
- Your movers will then use the offset information and JUMP to the starting point for that act.
- When you press play on the performance director, your movers will move.
So, what do I do?
I created a Backstage Routine!
- I went to one of the main venues I dance at.
- I rezzed out my stage manager and made sure it said it was configuring for that stage in local chat.
- I put out 8 mover rings backstage, out of the way but centered behind the back wall of the stage
- I rezzed 1 waypoint in the center of each ring
- I did “getnotecard” from each ring and created a notecard with this information and the dancer number at the top.
- I named all the notecards “Backstage PD” (this is important)
- Then I created folders – Backstage PD dancer 1, Backstage PD dancer 2, etc. in my inventory
- I put the appropriate notecard in the appropriate folder
- I then created a very basic Performance Director notecard with the group All|1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 and the normal stuff
- I saved this in my inventory as Backstage PD
- I added the Backstage PD notecard to one of my act Performance Directors
- I added the Backstage PD notecards for each individual mover to the appropriate movers
What did this do?
- After I put on my Performance Director, I now see Backstage PD AND my dance act listed. I click on Backstage PD
- I rez out my movers from inventory right after I arrive
- All the movers automatically move to their backstage spots!!
- I now click on the name of my dance act in the PD
- All the movers automatically move to their positions on stage!
Your dancers can get on their movers backstage, and when it’s time, just click the name of your act on the PD and they will automatically zoom to their starting positions on stage!
What else does this do? Because your dancers are on the movers, you can precache ALL the animations in your PD early if you want to! When they are in place on stage, you can pre-cache just the Routine animations if you want to do it again.
BUT WAIT! There’s more!
Dancing at a venue where backstage gets cluttered with people, or they prefer everyone wait out of the way? I used the same process and created notecards for an understage location, repeating the exact same process but naming everything Understage PD.
Dance at a different venue where “backstage” is on the side? Just create a set of notecards for that venue and call it “ABC side stage” or whatever you want. The whole key is the mover card and PD card names MUST be identical so they can “talk to each other”.
Because I have all of these notecards in my inventory, when I create a new dance I finish the act first, THEN I add the backstage and understage notecards to the mover and PD. Ta da! I can rez out my movers early, I can move my dancers from understage to backstage and to their starting points with a click of a button. I can cache my animations early and on stage. No more hoping that people will find their pads in time!
I hope you find these instructions easy to follow. If you don’t, please leave a comment and I will do my best to answer questions or clarify the instructions above.
Q: I have stage manager, but I don’t use it for my sets. I want to create these Backstage notecards, but do I have to rez my sets from the stage manager?
A: No! You must have a stage manager, your stage manager must have the platform/venue locations in the stage location notecard, but you DO NOT have to rez your set from it. Just place the stage manager anywhere at the venue and it will act like a “GPS” for your movers.
Q: I created my Backstage PD notecards, but what do I do with the designer rings?
A: Delete them. You only needed the rings to get the information for the notecard – they’ve served their purpose.
Q: I never dance with more than four dancers – do I have to create these Backstage PD notecards for 8 movers?
A: No. You choose, just make sure your PD notecard lists the same number of dancers that you’ll create mover notecards for. I use 8 because that’s normally my maximum and the maximum default slots for the Performance Director.
Q: My dance will only have two movers, but the Backstage notecard in the performance director lists 8 dancers. Do I need to change it?
A: No. I frequently dance with less and never change the Performance Director card. If you do get a warning about dancers 3 – 8 not being present, just ignore it.
Q. I followed these instructions but it’s not working!
A. Check the following things:
- reset your stage manager. Does it say it’s configuring for your stage or does it say it can’t be used until a stage location is set?
- Check your movers and your PD. Are the names EXACTLY the same? Don’t add any numbers, they must be IDENTICAL.
- Check your Backstage PD notecard in the movers. Does it have a dancer number listed? Do you see the offset information in the bottom section? It will say offset and a bunch of numbers, and this will be right after #BEGIN NOTECARD and before the information for your first waypoint