A script supervisor makes sure that the film follows the principles of continuity, even when each shot may have been taken at a different time and in a completely different order. During a film project, a script supervisor will:
- Compile a script breakdown. During pre-production, a script supervisor will read through the entire script, breaking down the various elements in each scene—for instance, what time of day a scene is supposed to be set at, what props and costumes the scene will need, and so forth. These notes are compiled into a document called a script breakdown, which is then used to inform other departments about what they need to prep for ahead of production. By getting this information to various departments beforehand, the script supervisor will be able to prevent many continuity errors before they happen.
- Take notes during every shot. During filming, the script supervisor will take careful, detailed notes during every shot—keeping track of details like which hand an actor used to pick something up, or which direction an actor was looking in when they said a specific line. This information helps the film crew reset a scene without breaking continuity. Script supervisors will also keep track of other details, like how many takes the crew shot of each scene, the length of the scenes, and even slate information.
- Maintain the most current script. If any changes happen to the script during film production (whether an actor improvised a detail or a plot point was tweaked), it’s the script supervisor’s job to write these changes down for future reference. The script supervisor is in charge of keeping the most up-to-date version of the script, so that if a department head comes up to you with script questions, you’ll be able to give them the answer that maintains continuity.
- Consolidate notes into production book. Once shooting has wrapped, the script supervisor compiles their notes into a series of production reports called a “production book.” This book serves as a reference point for the post-production team (mainly editors and visual-effects artists), helping to ensure they’re following the right script so they can avoid making continuity errors of their own.
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