Want to learn how to become a script supervisor? Are you sure? It isn't a glamorous job, that's for certain. Let's begin with what a script supervisor does. A script supervisor is part of the film crew. The "supervisor" doesn't necessarily supervise people, but instead supervises the script itself. Every great play, movie, production, commercial, monologue, and TV show starts with a script. Everyone who is a part of the project is given a script, from the costume designer to the set designer, and everyone works from the same script. Continuity is imperative; everyone must be on the same page (no pun intended). There could literally be hundreds of changes that the script supervisor must keep up with while making sure that everyone gets the new scripts with the changes.
The script supervisor, also called a continuity supervisor, makes sure that every change is recorded and works closely with the director to make sure his wishes are conveyed in the script. The script supervisor must also keep track of each take and every change that takes place during each take. There is also the blocking to manage: where everyone is standing, where the furniture is placed and who is wearing what costume. How many inches from the wall is the furniture supposed to be? The script supervisor knows; it's her job to know. The script supervisor knows how long the actor's hair is to within a fraction of an inch. Talk about details.
Still wish to be a script supervisor? Here are some tips to make that wish a reality.
- You don't have to have formal training, but you need to be organized to the 50th power. The continuity of the movie depends on you and the director depends on you. You are the director's right hand.
- Start as a script supervisor's assistant. On-the-job training is crucial, even if you have formal training. When a prospective employer see's actual experience on your resume you are more likely to get a gig.
- Formal training for script supervisors is available in the form of classes. Some classes are a week long, and other classes cover script continuity in addition to film-making. Check out local community colleges and film schools near you to review your options.
- Meet the challenge. Script supervisors have to be energetic, have a photographic memory and have the ability to pull multiple tasks together for multiple people. Script supervisors are pulled in twenty different directions, and they must come up with one clear, concise product for the director and cast.
- Come up through the ranks. A successful script supervisor is knowledgeable about every facet of film making. You must be at your best in order to keep up the pace. Get in on the ground floor, learn everything you possibly can, then sell yourself to every director you can.
- Impress the director. Script supervisors are sometimes called the director's secretary. You want the job of script supervisor? Impress the director. You will need more than a polished resume, you need to highlight your experience and show him your organizational skills. No one wants to work for free, but you may have to offer to help out because you feel connected to the project. Get your foot in the door, get the attention of the powers that be, whomever they may be, and show them what you are made of.