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Reel Opportunities

Script Supervisor

Also known as: Continuity Supervisor

What does a Script Supervisor do?

If you’ve ever seen a film and noticed that in one shot, an actor’s glass of juice is empty, and suddenly in the next shot it is full again – you’ve spotted a “continuity error”. This happens because shooting is organized according to the practicalities of location and availability of cast rather than the unfolding of the story. It’s the job of the Script Supervisor to ensure that those errors (and many other continuity issues) don’t happen! They also help organize the footage for the editor (who is not usually on set during filming).

During pre-production, Script Supervisors prepare a continuity breakdown. This is a document that analyzes the script in terms of cast, actions, wardrobe and props in scenes and story days. Then they time the script, which is quite a skill in itself.

Once filming starts, they closely monitor what’s happening to check no dialogue is overlooked and the actions and eye-lines of the actors match. They keep detailed written and photographic records of dialogue, action, costumes and props. All camera and lens details are noted along with the slate and scene number information.

They keep a progress report of each day’s filming which goes to production and the Visual Effects (VFX) Supervisor in the case of VFX shots. These records are invaluable. They help Directors and Editors find what’s been shot and what the options are for each scene. They also ensure that when different takes are edited together, the film is consistent and makes sense.

What’s a Script Supervisor good at?
  • Analysis

    Break down, time and itemize scenes in terms of set, costumes, make-up, props and dialogue according to where they are in the story

  • Filmmaking

    Understand the art of storytelling through a lens, know what this means in terms of required shots and crossing the line

  • Observation

    Have an eagle eye and good memory, have the stamina to remain observant during long filming days

  • Attention to detail

    Be meticulous and methodical in taking precise notes quickly and efficiently

  • Communication

    Let the director, actors, crew, hair, make-up and production know about continuity issues

Who does a Script Supervisor work with?

Script Supervisors work closely with the Director and are the primary liaison between them. They also communicate with actors, hair and make-up departments and production.

How do I become a Script Supervisor?

You don’t need a formal qualification to become a Script Supervisor but you do need a very good understanding of film production, particularly of editing and how scenes are constructed out of individual shots.

A common route is to spend a few years working in the industry at a junior level like a Production Assistant or Assistant Production Coordinator in a production company. From there you can build contacts, get to know the industry and step up to assist an experienced script supervisor.

Become a PA: Apply to be a Production Assistant. This can give you valuable on-set work experience that you can then apply to film and TV drama later on.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.