When you’re running a live show, you have a lot of pressures on you. When you’re running a show with multiple acts and links you have even more pressure – you have to hit your timings or break curfew. Venue curfews are to be taken seriously, only last year Bruce Springsteen broke his licensed slot and the promoter had to pull the plug on his set. That isn’t good for anyone – annoyed artists, disappointed punters, a fine from the council, and a massive pain in the backside all round.
To avoid breaking curfew, you hit your timings. If the headliner has a 21 minute slot and you have a 22:30 curfew, they HAVE to be performing at 22:09. That means a 2’30s link HAS to keep to time and start at 22:06:30… and backwards through the day. If you have 20 acts in a day, someone at the bottom of the billing overrunning means you have to cut time – and that had better not be the headliner who people paid to see!!
Attached is an excel template which you can use to plan and run multi-act events or any other events with tight timing (TV shows, etc). I created and have used this a few times and it works for me. Feel free to adapt it to your own needs.
So – how do you use it? Well it’s pretty self-explanatory once you start exploring. You will see cells in either darker or paler yellow – you can edit the paler cells, the darker ones are predefined or formulas.
- Start off by naming your event in row 2
- Cell J4 contains your start time – this could be curtain up, TX or the Voice of God announcer. Use time in 24h clock format, and hh:mm:ss (note the colons). I’ve defaulted the template to 19:30:00 to get you started.
- Row 5 you can set draft numbers/versions/dates and when the script is locked to FINAL
- Start entering the show items from line 10 (item seq 1) – they’re uniquely numbered to tie to any scripts and easy to refer to.
- As you update the script and timings, the on and off times for all other rows update automagically, and the overall Off time (line 4) does too. That’s what you want to keep the right side of your curfew time!
What details would you add to each row? As many or few as you like, but to be useful I suggest at a minimum the description and duration. For instance you may start with…
- Description – ‘Voice of God’ (‘Ladies and Gentlemen…’)
- Artists – ‘A Announcer’
- Area – ‘Booth side of stage left’
- Sound – ‘Announcer Mic’
- Source/Screens – ‘Sponsor slide’
- Duration – 00:00:25 (25 seconds – always use full hh:mm:ss format – notice how the timings update throughout the sheet)
- Turn Around – ‘act 1 take violin with them’
- Notes – well, notes.
As you add items the times keep updating and so you can print and distribute your running order. Your show caller can then work through the script and make sure artists are standing by to travel to stage, etc as the show progresses. If one act overrun, you can know to the second how much time you have to cut from elsewhere in order to get the headliner on stage taking a bow just at curfew!
Please feel free to use and share this template – all I ask is if you find it useful please comment below which show you used it for – I find it rewarding!