Just what is a Script Supervisor?

By Gianna Sobol

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The script supervisor's job is so far ranging that it's pretty tough to summarize, especially on a show as big and complicated as True Blood. Our very own Jain Sekuler took some time out of her busy day to tell us a little bit about how other departments might try to sum up her job. Little do they know that her responsibilities include all of the below, and so much more...

  • The producer thinks the job is to keep track of camera time (when was the first shot, wrap, lunch, the first shot after lunch), how many pages were shot, how many scenes were completed and how much screen time accrued.
  • The director thinks the job is to track what has been shot and what’s left to shoot, to take notes for the editor and let them know what the director’s intention is for the film shot the previous day. At any point in time the director can ask, will that match, will that cut, how long is that playing, are the eye lines correct, do we need to do close ups, did we already do that two shot and what is that camera operator’s name.
  • The editor is the person most concerned with continuity because in order to cut together coverage from different angles, the actor’s words, positions and actions have to be the same every take; what the editors don’t seem to understand is that actors are not machines that can be programmed to hold the drink in the same hand or drink out of it at the same time or say the right words or put their hair behind their ears at the exact moment in every take.
  • The actors think the job is to know, at any given moment, what the word is that they can’t remember and in what hand were they holding the drink and when did they take a sip; the script supervisor’s job is to help them with their words and actions… which they frequently look upon as ‘scolding.’ I start every new job by going to the actors and saying soothingly, “the script supervisor is your friend, she is not here to scold you, she is here to help you… the hair and makeup people are here to make you look pretty, the script supervisor is here to make you look smart.”
  • The hair department thinks the job is to know when the actor tucked the hair behind her ear and which ear it was, and if long hair was hanging down the back or down in front, and if front, right side, left side or both sides.
  • The set dressing department thinks the job is to know in what manner the blankets on the bed were rumpled and what time should they put on the clock …
  • Etc.
  • Etc.