Captioning
5 min read

How to Prepare Your Surtitles for the First Rehearsal - in Under 1 Hour of Work

Innovate your theater

Learn how you can bring more spectators via better accessibility into your theater:
How does it work?

Embarking on the journey of incorporating surtitles into your theatrical production? Surtitles, or captions, elevate the theatrical experience, especially for a diverse audience who may grapple with language barriers or auditory challenges. Yet, their creation and management can be daunting. To aid you, here’s a concise guide to prepare your surtitles efficiently, ensuring they're rehearsal-ready in just 60 minutes.

1. Patience is Key: Await the Final Script

Dive into the world of surtitling only once your script stands finalized. Initiating the process earlier might seem tempting, aiming to save time. However, theater is an ever-evolving art. Scripts undergo modifications, sometimes even radical ones. Starting with a premature script may leave you retracing steps, syncing captions to unanticipated changes. Wait for the script to settle, then proceed.

2. PowerPoint: Not the Hero We Need

While PowerPoint reigns supreme in the corporate world, it's not tailored for theater captions. The platform, though familiar, proves cumbersome for surtitling. Edits become a slog, especially as the play evolves. Moreover, if you're faced with a last-minute change in screen specifications, adjusting to a new aspect ratio might mean reconstructing hundreds of slides. Spare yourself the nightmare. Opt for dedicated captioning software or platforms tailored for theater use.

3. Brevity is the Soul of Surtitles

It’s essential to remember the rapid pace of theater. Overloading your captions with an abundance of words might seem like a thorough approach, but it risks overshadowing the essence. Too many words clutter the screen and challenge audience readability. Aim for concise, impactful captions, ensuring they resonate with the scene's essence without overwhelming the viewer.

4. A Seamless Narrative Thread

Continuity is the lifeblood of theater. This principle applies as much to your play as it does to your surtitles. Your captions shouldn't jar the audience or disrupt the narrative flow. Ensure a smooth transition between captions. They should weave seamlessly into the play, enhancing the story, not breaking its rhythm.

In Conclusion

Surtitling, when done right, can be a powerful tool to augment the theatrical experience. By adhering to these guidelines, not only will you enhance the accessibility and reach of your play, but you'll also ensure that the process remains efficient and pain-free. Embrace these strategies, and step confidently into your first rehearsal with surtitles that resonate, inform, and captivate.

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