Script Supervision 101

Script Supervisor = Scripty = Script Girl (ouch) = Script Continuity = Continuity Person = Continuity Girl (ouch)

I am often asked:

‘You’re a Script Supervisor, so do you write scripts?’

No, that’s what a Script Writer does. I do write scripts but as a Supervisor I work in the Directing Department making sure the script that has been written is shot entirely.

‘Oh! So, do you correct scripts?’

No, that’s what a Script Editor does. I have edited scripts but as a Supervisor I make sure the script is coherent and has no mistakes in logic and continuity. When I find such problems I contact the Script Writer and then they make those changes.

‘I get it! You’re watching for the liquid in the glass!’

Yes and No. The glass and the liquid in it are props and they’re the job of Standby Props. I keep an eye on props, for sure but they are pretty much at the bottom of my priorities list. My main concern with the glass has more to do with where it comes from, when it will be used by the actors and where it will end up.

‘But I see so many continuity mistakes, like a character wearing a hat in one scene and then no hat in the next one. Is that because you had a bad day and you weren’t paying attention?’

99% of the time, No! The hat belongs to the Costume Department. Like all the other departments they need to keep their own continuity. There’s not much I can do if I point out we need the hat but the hat went missing. I try to fix the problem by suggesting to the Director a believable action that can get rid of the hat and that might save the day. But sometimes it just doesn’t work. And believe me, there’s probably someone crying on the Costume Bus already.

‘So if all departments do their own continuity then why are you needed?’

Because I do all the stuff that makes sure the film will look coherent allowing the Director to concentrate on storytelling and performance. I make sure the script is shot, the lines are said, the camera angles match, we don’t run out of film stock and the editors get enough info from set to be able to cut it.

‘So will I see you at the Oscars?’

Unfortunately no. Unless someone asked me to join them! There is no award for good Script Supervision. If done well then no one will notice my contribution but it will make the viewers believe the film was shot in real time. The directors will always appreciate a good Scripty by their side.

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2 Responses to Script Supervision 101

  1. suzie miller says:

    Hi there – your site is just amazing – thank you so much – would love to know when you might be teaching again soon – i have studied law and mathematics, and I am an Aus playwright – but i would love to do this job – think i have the right weird mix of factual obsession and script background – can you let me know when i could travel to melb and perhaps do your course??
    Thanks

    • MsKemosabi says:

      Hi Suzie,
      Thank you for your kind words!
      Keep an eye on my blog for updates. Open Chanel intends to run this course again early this year but we are still to decide on specific dates. Alternatively contact them directly as they sometimes schedule courses without too much notice if there’s enough public interest.
      Cheers!

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