A lack of continuity in a feature film or television drama can be incredibly distracting to the audience. If you have a keen eye you may notice certain inconsistencies – for example, when an actor is wearing glasses in one shot and then the glasses mysteriously disappear in the next. These mistakes happen because separate takes of a scene may be shot and re-shot days or weeks apart. If copious notes aren’t taken to ensure that each take matches perfectly, you end up with glaring errors such as a Roman soldier wearing a digital watch in ‘Gladiator’!
A good Script Supervisor needs to be a knowledgeable diplomat – to know how films are made and understand the dynamics of each scene – to know that each scene is made up of shots which, when edited together, will form the seamless flow of action that tells the story. This is the magic of film.
What skills does a Script Supervisor need?
- Shorthand, typing and computer literacy with detail-orientated and fastidious organisational skills.
- A good sense of visual composition, perspective and movement with the ability to observe and retain visual information.
- To be knowledgeable about digital and film cameras, editing, lighting and audio mixing and recording.
- An extensive knowledge of film and television production.
- Clear note-taking and excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- The ability to collaborate, to work as part of a team and to be able to be calm in difficult situations.
- Diplomacy and sensitivity when working with artists and crew.
- Ability to trouble shoot and respond quickly to changing circumstances.
- Knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures.
- The Script Supervisor’s Group
- The British Society of Cinematographers
- GBFTE – Guild of British Film & Television Editors
- British Film Designers Guild
- The BSC Club
- Guild of British Camera Technicians
- BAFTA – British Academy of Film & Television Art
- WFTV – Women in Film & Television
- BECTU – the trade union representing camera personnel
- Network Nine News
- Variety, a weekly publication for the film, television, music and interactive entertainment industries
- British Cinematographer
- American Cinematographer
- Sight and Sound available through the BFI website
- Screen International
- Moviescope – for film makers
- Supervisor’s Script Book – Raymond Dreyfack
- The Role of Script Supervision in Film and Television: A Career Guide (Communication Arts Books) – Shirley Ulmer, C.R. Sevilla, and Robert Zentis
- Script Supervising & Film Continuity – Pat P. Miller
- The Five C’s of Cinematography – Joseph V. Mascelli ASC
- In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing – Walter Murch
- Grammar of the Edit by Roy Thompson, Christopher J. Bowen
- Continuity Supervisor (Media Manuals) by Avril Rowlands
- Continuity in Film and Video: A Handbook for Directors, Script Supervisors and PAs (Media Manuals) by Avril Rowlands
- Practical Cinematography by Paul Wheeler
- FilmCraft: Cinematography by Mike Goodridge Mike Goodridge & Tim Grierson
- The Invisible Cut – How Editors Make Movie Magic by Bobbie O’Steen
- The Complete Film Production Handbook by Eve Light Honthaner
- Beginning Filmmaking: 100 Easy Steps from Script to Screen (Professional Media Practice) by Elliot Grove
- From Script to Screen: Collaborative Art of Film Making by Lynda Seger & Edward J Whitmore