Script Supervisors: The Eyes and Ears of Continuity

Introduction to Script Supvervising Script Supervisors

By Johnny Papan

 

 

Continuity is a vast valley that requires precise attention to detail and spawns through many departments. To save time and money, films are often shot out of sequence and it is up to the script supervisor to make sure props, costumes, makeup and things of the like are exactly how they should be in order to look continuous on screen, despite being filmed separately.

 

A key part of being a script supervisor (commonly referred to as “scripty”) is paying attention to actors and their performance on set. It’s not uncommon for actors to go off-script, forget their lines and change movements between takes. Without proper attention, this can prove to be disastrous in post-production, as the editor may not have the right footage to cut things together seamlessly or cinematically. In essence, the supervisor serves as both the eyes and ears for the director and editor.

 

Debra Margolis is a mentor, teacher, and retired professional script supervisor who began her career 1987. She garnered her years of professional experience in this role on shows such as: Masters of Horror, Da Vinci’s Inquest, Dark Angel, So Weird, Cold Squad, and The Collector, to name a few.

 

“I’m always running back and forth from the set to the monitor,” Margolis states. “Sometimes the director will wanna be close to the actors and they’ll tell me to go make sure everything looks good on the monitor. Sometimes I have to be close to the actors because they forget their lines. If there’s any deviation, I’ll mention that to the director and they’ll make changes.”

 

Script supervising is an ideal role for proficient multitaskers. While keeping an eye on performances, set decoration, costumes, and things of the like, the “scripty” must meticulously jot notes on everything as well, including the length of each take as well as how long it took overall to setup and achieve the shot. This plethora of paperwork is known as the Script Supervisor’s Bible and will assist the script supervisor in making sure that everything is how it’s meant to be.

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