Film school students may forget the importance of a script supervisor, but this quiet, ‘background’ role is what will help guide them to success on any film.
Here are four reasons why you shouldn’t neglect your script supervisor.
1. They get you the coverage you need.
The script supervisor (or ‘Scripty’ / ‘Script girl’) is there to help the director get everything they need in order to create a coherent story. Not only this, but they’re constantly watching out for potential continuity errors no one else really notices.
On a student set, there may be one or many reasons a script supervisor isn’t included in the crew, and if they’re not there, you simply have to rely on the memory of the DP, director and their shot list, which sometimes can be enough but often won’t be as detailed as the script itself.
2. They save your location owners from hating you (If there’s no location manager).
On smaller sets, particularly student films, there won’t be a locations manager. The director or producer will most likely be the one communicating with the owners of the location they’re shooting at before the shoot is scheduled.
One of the many important roles of a script supervisor is to take pictures of every nook and cranny of the set before anything is touched. They’re usually one of the first ones to arrive in order to make sure everything’s returned to normal by the end of the day.
Once again, if there’s no script supervisor on set, you’re relying on this job being delegated to someone else who already has a lot on their plate.
3. They’re the editor’s representative.
The scripty will spend most of their time taking notes, writing down everything the editor might need to know when their time comes to edit the film.
The editor doesn’t “need” notes in order to do their job, but it sure does make their life ten thousand times easier. They’re able to see which takes are printed, which takes have the sound of a leaf blower in the background and which ones have equipment in the middle of the frame NO ONE NOTICED UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE.
If the editor was on set, they would most likely be constantly fighting the urge to blurt out all the future mistakes they see happening right in front of them, thankfully the script supervisor is there to prevent any of these things happening.
4. They save you hours in post.
Along with being the editors representative, the script supervisor ensures the post-production team can have important information they need in order for a smooth process.
The notes they make on set and the pictures they take will often stay relevant months and even years into the post-production process, especially when/if it comes to reshoots.
With these notes and pictures, the reshoots film crew can almost jump right into where they left off from the first time they shot.
The script supervisor is an important role that often gets neglected, it’s a role film school students might not appreciate but it is a vital part of the film process if you want to know how to make movies.