What does a Script Supervisor do on an Action On The Side film?

AOTS Script Supervisor _ draft from Patricia Hetherington on Vimeo.

The Script Supervisor has one of the most important roles on set. They record the shots and takes we do on set directly into our Production Spreadsheet. The data they record is used by the Editor for the edit.

The Script Supervisor works closely with the Director and First Assistant Director (1st AD) to ensure all the planned shots are done.

The information they record includes:

– the scene, shot, and take (one row per take);
– whether there were any issues with the take;
– how long the take was;
– anything special about the slate (e.g. second sticks, missed slate, tail slate)
– what the Director thought of each take*;
– any technical issues during the take from the DP and Sound Recordist;
– sound file
– Continuity notes

For every set-up (that is when the camera changes starting position), the Script Supervisor needs to ensure the Director has said which is their favourite take. They record that one as being Good (G). Any takes that can’t be used are recorded as No Good (NG). This makes life easier for the Editor; they can start their rough cut with the G takes and ignore the NG takes.

The Script Supervisor needs to have a high attention to detail. They work with the DP and/or Camera Operator, the Clapper Loader, and the First Assistant Director to make sure they are recording the correct data. Their data is used by the DIT and Editor and will make Postproduction go smoother.

They will always have a copy of the script to hand and will be able to prompt the actors if needed.

We combine the Script Supervisor’s role with Continuity. This means means ensuring the same actions are repeated in every take and that the set dressing stays the same, so there aren’t any massive jumps that will screw up the edit. The Script Supervisor will work with the Art Department to make sure set dressing and props are the same for each take. The Script Supervisor should keep track on things that are likely to cause continuity issues, such as which arm an actor uses, how their hair hangs, whether clothes are rolled up or unbuttoned. Sometimes Production Assistants also help with Continuity. The Continuity person should take reference photos that can be checked if needed.