Film Crew: Script Supervisor
Updated: Jul 7, 2020
I'm kicking off my Film Crew series with a role near and dear to my heart: the Script Supervisor.
The title provides some guidance as to what we as script supervisors do, but it barely scratches the surface. Much like an iceberg, there is a lot that lies beneath.
When I first describe a script supervisor, I often refer to them as the on-set eyes for the editor. It's our responsibility to make sure we film everything in the script, that each scene has enough coverage, or variety of shots, that the movie or show will cut together in an engaging way, and that there is some semblance of organization when the editor receives all of the footage.
In providing the above, it lies on our shoulders to watch for any sort of continuity errors between takes and scenes that range from props to wardrobe to actor movements. It's also up to us to take notes on numerous things associated with each shot, including camera information, timing of the takes, and any notes the director gives us.
In addition to being the eyes for the editor, we're also the director's right-hand-(wo)man. It's important that we help the director achieve their vision for the film. When you're on a film set, time is a precious commodity, so, often they will turn to the script supervisor to make sure they have what they'll need to see their vision come to life.
Script supervisors are the unsung heroes of a film set. We're the only department comprised of one person, and we interface with every other department. It's a challenging job, fairly high-pressured, and not for the faint of heart. But those who have strong attention to detail, organization, and the ability to multi-task will thrive in the position.
Feel free to reach out if you have questions or are interested in learning more about Script Supervisors.
Below is a fun video from Vanity Fair featuring Martin Scorsese's script supervisor, Martha Pinson, as she explains the continuity part of our job. Enjoy!