first make sure you turn off and remove Adobe Gamma if you have used it in the past.
for pre calibration yes make the adjustments to black point /brightness and contrast as directed. Adjust the color guns as recommended
Then open up the program...I use optical pick gamma 2.2 if using pc or 1.8 if using mack. Pick 6500K as white point. Go to edit>preferences and pick precision.
Now when it calibrates it will first allow you to adjust the black point and then it will read some colors and gray scale and ask you to adjust the contrast/white level. Go back and double check white point. You may have to go back and forth until these are at target levels. When done, hit continue until finish and set the profile as the default.
Remember to totally remove the Adobe Gamma from startup and monitor profiles.
I use a Colorvision SpyderPRO with OptiCAL 3.7 and it works great. I get dead neutral black and whites when printed on my Epson 2200 and the color prints match the monitor very close.
Hope that helps.
Bill Taking It One Day At A Time