3 Things I Love About Being a Script Supervisor
In 2011, I had just graduated from Eckerd College. I walked into an audition room prepared to read for a role in an independent film in St. Pete. After doing my audition (one I’m still not sure if I bombed or not), I mentioned to the director that I was a local screenwriter and would love to work on the crew if I didn’t get the part. Naive little me thought I would be a production assistant. Many people start that way.
Then the director asked me an interesting question.
“How’s your handwriting?”
“What,” I replied?
He proceeds to have me write something down on a piece of paper. I forget what I wrote, but the somewhat neat scrawl on the page seemed to be enough for him.
“Great! You can be our script supervisor,” he exclaimed.
I smiled, nodded, and promptly looked up WHAT a script supervisor was when I got home.
So, there I was on the first of the shoot. I was handed a script and a couple of log pages and quickly tried learning what some think is one of the most difficult mental jobs on a set.
To those in the industry reading this, I do understand now that this was a terrible idea! A green set person being a script supervisor? But I did it! I got it done.
Now, it has been about 6-7 years later of being called a scripty. In that time, I have worked on seven films (with one more in October), one TV show, and a handful of short films in the Tampa Bay Area.
But what IS a script supervisor anyway?
That is probably the most asked question I get when I tell people what I do on set. Even some people on set ask me this question if they are just getting started in production. A script supervisor, or “scripty, ” isn’t someone that wants to get noticed when the final film is released.
(Best example: the “Game of Thrones” cup incident. Enough said.)
Most of the time, a script supervisor has two jobs: maintaining the script’s integrity through production and track continuity. That means that I make sure that through all of the changes and such that happens during the production of a film, I have to make sure that everything stays relatively true to the story AND ensure that everything stays consistent.
Throughout production, I make notes about every take on what went wrong, what went right, and other little details. Those notes go to the editors at the end of production so they know what footage is arriving to be sorted and put into the movie.
While this might sound simple enough, it can be a mental challenge the further you get into production. That is when you have to recall costumes, props, and other things that have been established.
However, there are still a lot of things that I love about being a script supervisor. Here are just three reasons why I like being a “scripty.”
#1: Being a Part of the Story Process
My favorite part of being a script supervisor is helping to shape how a story can change during production. Sometimes, changes need to be made on the fly for situations involving a location change, casting switch-up, or budget issues that may occur.
During these situations, I called to discuss how changes will affect the overall story and make recommendations that keep the film true to the overall plot.
I love this part because it allows me to flex my skills as a writer while on set.
#2: You See the Whole Picture
Another cool part about my job is getting to see the story come together. Since I am keeping track of the continuity between departments, I am blessed to see how each individual part plays into making a film great. This could be how a costume piece informs the character, how an aged prop can tell its own story, or how a closer shot can completely change the feel of a scene.
Sitting in front of the monitor and getting to see it all come together…it’s when you remember how lucky you are to get to do what you do.
What people do not always realize is that During these situations, I called to discuss how changes will affect the overall story and make recommendations that keep the film true to the overall plot. a script supervisor is a department head. That means I get to actively work with the other department heads to ensure they have what is needed to stay consistent with the story.
Sometimes this means helping them understand a particular character’s story so the art department can make informed decisions on decorating the set. Other times it’s making sure the costumes and make-up match what is already established. Occasionally, I even help make sure that the director and camera department has gotten all of the shots they need for coverage. That way, they are not missing anything when it comes time to edit.
I have gotten to work with some phenomenal creatives doing this job the last few years. While sometimes you can get frustrated with each other, you often have new friends at the end of filming.
Want to learn more about script supervising or need a script supervisor for your next project? Feel free to contact me.