Studio Duplicating Service, Inc. was New York’s leading script duplicating service from 1957 until 1997. It started in the East Village of New York City in 1957 and then moved to West 43rd St in 1962. In 1967 the Studio Duplicating Service moved to 446 W. 44th St and continued operation there until 1997.
When a play or script was typed or handwritten the author needed many copies for distribution to agents, producers, and ultimately all the cast and crew of a production. Studio Duplicating filled this need. It provided proof-reading, formatting, duplication and binding of scripts for playwrights, screenwriters and authors writing for theater, television and films. It was the necessary link between writing and production.
Live television and production required fast turnaround on script duplication and correction. Studio Duplicating was located in the heart of the theater district, just a few doors from the Actor's Studio, near Broadway, rehearsal halls and television studios. This location, and the fact that often there were duplicators working 24 hours a day, made it easy and fast for productions to make changes and keep going. Authors could bring their manuscript into the office to do brief re-writes and have the changes made right there.
Scripts were typed onto wax stencils, proof read and corrected with wax ink.
They were then mimeographed on to paper.
Mimeograph is a process where ink is emitted through the impressions of the letters in the wax stencil. This is all done on a rotating drum so many copies could be made.
Copies were done onto white for originals, or colored paper indicating to which version of the re-write it belonged. The pages were collated by hand, holes punched, then held together with brass brads threaded through the holes. The script was then bound in one of several colored covers with the title, author and Studio stamp embossed in gold ink. The distinctive cover with the gold embossed Studio Duplicating stamp on the cover became the standard of professionalism in New York theater.
With the invention of Xerox machines the mimeos became extinct, but copies for reference were always kept. One copy of each script lined the office walls and the mimeo-stencils filled the basement in stacked manila folders. This was done so that if only a part of a particular scene needed rewriting the specific pages involved could be retrieved from the archives, replaced and duplicated as the revised ready to use version. This script duplicating process was eventually replaced by computers and desktop publishing.
The Studio’s type set and format of the script page was established at it’s inception and is still widely used. The character’s name is indented to the center and below that the dialogue starts at the left margin.
Among thousands of scripts duplicated at Studio Duplicating, there were Pulitzer, Tony, Obie, Oscar, and Emmy winners.* These scripts now reside in the Performing Arts Branch of the NYC Library.
Jean M Shepard began duplicating scripts and binding them for writers and producers to use with actors, directors, crews and agents. She approached Tennessee Williams and suggested that if he told people where he duplicated his scripts she would do his for free. After he agreed, she never had to advertise.**
She supplemented many actor’s salaries with work at the Studio and worked with sometimes unconventional schedules to accommodate for auditions, rehearsals and performances. It was one of the few businesses owned and run by a woman in New York at that time.
* Fiorello!, The Subject Was Roses, That Champion Season, Angels In America, West Side Story, Saturday Night Live, The Godfather…were just a few of these.
** Some of the other authors benefiting from Studio Duplicating were: Edward Albee, Woody Allen, Frances Ford Coppola, Herb Gardner, William Goldman, Spike Lee, David Mamet, Arthur Miller, Agnes Nixon, Neil Simon, Stephen Sondheim, Sam Shepherd…
-- Do you have any memories, photographs, writings or drawings of Studio Duplicating that you would like to share? Visit the Your Experiences page and send us your entry to include in our guest log and see what others have written. Also you can contact Grey Shepard directly at firstname.lastname@example.org