Is this role right for me?
To do this role, you will need to:
What does a Script Supervisor do?
It is the Script Supervisor’s role to monitor whether it is possible for each filmed scene to be edited into a verbally and visually coherent sequence. Film and TV dramas are usually shot entirely out of script sequence. The Script Supervisor ensures that the finished product makes continuous verbal and visual sense. They work as part of the camera department.
During pre-production they check the script for any errors and/or inconsistencies and prepare estimated running times. They develop story synopses and character breakdowns. They check the shooting schedule to ensure that the required scenes will be shot and covered from all required angles, distances, etc. They attend recces and pre-production meetings to feed back any identified issues. During rehearsals they record detailed timings which inform the shooting schedule.
During the shoot, they work closely with the Director to anticipate and solve any potential problems. This entails keeping detailed written and photographic records of dialogue, action, costumes, props and set design, all camera and lens details, all slate and scene number information, so that when different takes are edited together, the fictional world of the film is not disrupted by continuity errors. These records provide an invaluable resource for Directors and Editors enabling them to assess the coverage, including how many shot options there are for each scene and how each shot was filmed.
On each day of principal photography, Script Supervisors file their record of the previous day's shoot and prepare all paperwork for post production. During filming they closely monitor the script to check that no dialogue is overlooked, and cue actors where necessary.
They liaise closely about continuity with other departments including sound, costume, make-up and hair, props and lighting. Where pick-up shots are required, they provide actors with dialogue start points and exact continuity details. They re-type scripts to reflect any major dialogue changes, and mark up scripts with slate numbers, cut points, and other relevant details for post production.
They prepare detailed Daily Continuity Reports, Editors' Daily Log Sheets and Daily Production Reports. They provide production with records of the requirements for any outstanding shots or inserts.
Will I need a qualification?
You don’t need a formal qualification to become a Script Supervisor. However, some film schools and training courses offer a good basic grounding in the skills and knowledge you’ll need.
You will need good knowledge of the theory and grammar of filmmaking and, in particular, of editing. This is essential in order that you can understand the craft of constructing scenes out of individual shots.
If you are considering taking a TV or film production course in higher education, the following courses have been rigorously assessed by the film and TV industries and awarded the Creative Skillset Tick for the high standard of education they provide and the degree to which they prepare you for a film or TV career:
What’s the best route in?
You could start out as an Assistant Production Co-ordinator or as a Production Assistant in television - this would give you essential on-set work experience.
You would need to assist an experienced Script Supervisor for a minimum of 30 weeks before you could progress to script supervision on 2nd camera shoots, and 2nd unit work, progressing finally to become a Script Supervisor.
Where might the role take me?
From being a Script Supervisor, you could move into other areas of production, including producing, writing, directing, editing and script editing.