advice on best way to create multiple versions of a play

Hi–I’ve got a musical i wrote with scrivener. After it’s first run, i need to make a substantially shorter version for another theatre company. I was wondering how it would be best to do this: snapshots, a whole new project, or duplicating the folder with all the scenes and then working on that. I am cutting a couple of scenes out which made me think of duplicating the folder… I am making some changes that I would want in future versions in the cut-down version which made me think more of snapshots. I’d appreciate any advice. Thanks.

In a way this depends on how much time pressure you are under to get that short version out. I think you will definitely want to duplicate the folder, because you want to retain both the longer (albeit updated) and short versions. But as you already know, as soon as you do, you know you are going to find yourself working the short version and wanting to take some of the edits over to the longer version.

If you had world enough in time it would be nice to do an edit of the longer version and get as much of the changes you know you want on that, and then duplicate the folder and create your short version from that. That would probably not eliminate, but would certainly reduce the amount of carry over you would need to do later.

But when is the world so generous with our time — maybe never. So, my second thought is quick edit of a few spots if you already know what they are, duplicate the folder, snapshot everything in it, then shorten it as intended. Get that off and then worry about reconciling. You can later set up your longer version in one side of a split editor and use the other side to put up a comparison doc of the shortened scene (compares the short scene with its initial not yet shortened initial state). Walk through those changes and work into the longer scene the changes you want to carry back over.

Maybe someone will come along and have a more genius suggestion.

So, I guess my answer in short is duplicate and snapshot!


P.S. There is a middle ground where you set the long and to be shortened scenes side by side and work the shortening, copying over any good stuff you wanted to carry back to the long version. While I see this possibility, I can’t imagine wanting to work this way!

It seems like this situation is one that collections are custom-made for. If you could break down the scenes into parts that will only be in the long version and parts that will be in both, you could compile the entire document for the long version, but compile the collection for the short version. If you need to replace a section of your long play with a much shorter part (say a one-sentence voice-over instead of an entire scene), you might need to define a short and a long collection. Either way, you only have one copy of any given section/scene/however-you-break-it-up, and so if you edit a scene that’s in all versions, you only need to do it once. I hope that’s making sense.

That is a nice idea — and not having the doubling would be great. Maybe how happy it would be to work this way rather depends on to what extent it would turn out that, in the end, the short version would differ from the (updated) long version by omission. If your expectation is that that would be substantially so, then using the split function to split scene docs into as many pieces as necessary, you could achieve this nice suggestion of specifying two Collections, one that included all the docs intended for long version, and one that just included the docs for inclusion in the short version.

I would probably do this by associating one of three labels with the docs and creating smart collections to track the two versions. That way you can easily specify inclusions just by setting the label on the doc, and in addition, if you establish three labels for Long, Long&Short, and Short (w/ one smart collection looking for ‘Short’ and the other for ‘Long’), you can easily create divergences in the places necessary. Labels have the virtue also that you can have label colors tint your binder items, so you would see at a glance what was what while working.

You really would be thinking through your short and long versions simultaneously, but this majes it sound doable…

I really like this suggestion.