To be a script supervisor, you’ve got to get the continuity right!
The script supervisor is in charge of continuity on the film or TV set. If you’re entering into a career as a script supervisor, you will be a key on a film. Meaning you will be one of the indispensable people, much like (among others) the Director, Director of Photography or Production Manager. It’s always nice to feel wanted. You will also be a department, all by yourself!. You’ll be one of the few departments that has no-one but them involved, which is not the norm on a film set.
I am the guy in charge of what gets written on the slate. So if we’re doing American version slating, and if it’s scene 3 we will write scene 3 on the slate. Then we add in the take number; take 1, 2, 3 etc. The next time we move the camera it’ll be take 3a or 3 alpha. In the British version of slating you start with slate 1 and through the rest of the production you just go through the numbers sequentially.
- J. Timothy Hunt
The function of a script supervisor is that you are the eyes of the editor on the set. You’ll be in close contact with the director at all times, you’ll sit behind them (not in a creepy way) or next to them, you’ll watch and take notes of everything. This way, the editor will be able to know what has been filmed so they have enough information to put the movie back together and that all the parts and pieces will actually fit where they should fit.
It’s absolutely standard that every script supervisor works the same way across all film and TV. Some seasoned pros will still use good ol’ pen and paper but it’s more common these days to us computer programs. Computer programs help with the breakdown process but they also help to organise what is going to be discussed next and what happens when the film starts rolling. When the director calls action you’ll have the script in front of you on your computer or paper (often both) and you’ll be watching the action. You’ll also be taking constant notes about the blocking. For example, “She raises hand here” or “She puts cup down with left hand”. This is the continuity notes and these are incredibly important to stay on top of.