SCRIPT SUPERVISING

PREP IN PRE-PRODUCTION

CONTINUITY, CONTINUITY, CONTINUITY...Scene Continuity, that is...is forever the main word that flows through your mind and in your veins during the production as a Script Supervisor. 


You comb through every page in the script and note any physical props, any particular costume pieces that will be worn, how and where they will be worn or be handled, sometimes, literally, which arm?  Which hand?  Which finger?...So things flow from one shot capture to the next.


We naturally, as human beings, may not remember exactly when we pointed to the picture on the wall when we said a specific word in our sentence.  Hey.  What's the deal with that?  Well.  It's a big deal if, say, Jonie says "Hello, everybody" as she points to the picture of a globe on the wall in one take/angle.  Then, the DP has to move the camera for another angle the Director will record.  The actress who plays Jonie may walk to another room or haves someone approach her about something entirely different than what's in the scene during this transition.  Okay, a few minutes later, she lines back up on the mark where she stood.  Now, the camera is set with a different camera angle/set-up.  Jonie says, "Hello, everybody" and AFTER she points to the same picture of the globe on the wall this time around. 


When these shots are reviewed in editing, Jonie's hand will appear to take a double take.  Sure...you can use just that one shot/angle, but let's say...on the other camera angle, where Jonie moved her arm on a different word,  there is another character who moves in to jump on her back, but this shot cannot be included because the establishing shot was not continuous as the next shot captured.  If this is confusing reading this scenario, how do you think it would be watching it?


Exactly!  So, now you see some key reasons why it is important to have a Script Supervisor take avid notes on the set to make sure every scene consistently flows.  With all of the varied angles and camera shots detailed...with his/her meticulous notes on each scene, page and take for actors' consistent actions, comments... Yes, for things such as, how the hat was tipped on a particular actor, how their hair was tossed back...their zipper moved up...in which scene and with which specific action at what time...etc.


ALL OF THESE MINOR DETAILS MAKE EACH CAMERA SHOT FLOW WHEN IT IS CONSISTENT FROM ONE CAMERA SHOT TO THE NEXT.


YOUR DETAILED TALENTS IN PRODUCTION

With the numerous camera set ups in each and every scene, for intriguing effects and keeping attention as the story progresses, your task is so important to make sure everything stays continuous and consistent in EVERY SHOT on each and EVERY SET UP and EVERY TAKE.  Even note how many takes per scene and per shot, how many characters, which direction they are facing, which costumes are they wearing, how is their hair styled?  Are there any accessories they are wearing at the time?  For instance, someone with long hair, was their hair in a ponytail or worn down and straight in a particular part of the scene?  Which line did they take the band out of their hair?  This needs to stay consistent for editing purposes.


With your Script Supervising notes clearly organized and noted, you are making sure the audience is not double-taking when they view scenes on the screen.  We've seen it happen before.  Let's say, two people are sitting at a table and talking to each other, but, in the midst of their conversation, one person drinks soda out of a drinking glass. When they speak and they set their drinking glass down, the glass is half-full and when the person on the other side of the table speaks, the person’s glass on the first side of the table is completely full when the other camera responds in that same scene!


We've seen this before. How did that happen?


Is the soda confused and going down and up by itself?! NO!  It’s a continuity issue! 


You, wonderfully detailed Script Supervisor, definitely are needed to make sure that everything that the characters physically handle, WHEN THEY SPEAK a particular line...that it’s consistent in every single take, at the same exact time.


If they break a pencil to express their disappointment, they must do so every time they end or begin that word or line so that it can be redone in the next camera angle with the same intensity and timing.


Say a car sits outside in front of a house, in the driveway or on top of the house in a particular scene. You all break for lunch and leave that location. Say, on this particular day, during lunch time, the Director finds out that an emergency filming needs to be picked up in another part of the city. You all need to move your operations there now. This emergency scene takes longer than expected and you wrap at this second location for the day. Then, the following day you return back to the scene you began recording with the car the day before. But now, you have to place the car back in the same spot and direction it was in the day before. But now, yo have to place the car back in the same spot and direction it was in the day before...This time, instead of one character walking in the house where the scene was last recorded, you all have to pick up where another character exits the house, in film time, seconds after the first character walked in the house. In that scene's 'real' time, the car is supposed to still be parked in the same spot. But say you did not mark down where the car specifically was the day before, before you went to film the emergency scene? Now, you're not certain. You place the car back where everyone thought it was. But, when the second character, in the scene's 'real' time, walks in that same path, the car is facing the reversed direction this time! This can cause the audience to laugh uproariously and the scene was not meant to be comedic. 


Using a POLAROID or DV camera to confirm/capture the exact physical placement and direction of items in each scene can eliminate unappreciated audience responses. 

FINE TUNING, IF NEEDED, IN POST

Your detailed Script Supervising notes on your observance on the film/TV set...or notes from the Director directly, are clearly needed in editing.  Say, for instance, if the production deviated away from the script for a particular reason.  Any discussion/reasoning for such, etc. will be marked in your detailed pages and help the Editor and Director in this phase. Keep up the good work so the Director continues to flow as his/her new 'revelation' is verbally discussed while he/she can just speak it out to the cast/crew. Your skills in quickly noting/recording this will also help in a wonderful manner.