When watching the rolling credits at the end of a movie, one of the credits you see is “script supervisor.” This person, also referred to as a continuity supervisor, usually works on film and television production sets as an independent contractor. In a nutshell, her role on the set is to oversee anything and everything concerning the script.
A script supervisor functions as a second pair of eyes for the script writer and director. She is responsible for reading through the entire script. While she does not have to memorize the entire script, she must know the script well enough to recognize any issues in continuity. For instance, one scene may reveal that a particular character has two siblings. Another scene may say the same character has five siblings. When a continuity issue is identified, the script supervisor is responsible for notifying the writer or director to ensure the issue is corrected.
Timing & Giving Lines
The script supervisor is present during rehearsals and production shoots, with a copy of the entire script in hand. The script is usually in a professional binder. It is the script supervisor's responsibility to closely monitor each actor's lines. If an actor forgets lines during rehearsals or a shoot, the script supervisor is responsible for giving actors lines without delay. She is also responsible for running a stop watch during rehearsals to get an accurate time count on the script from start to finish.
If the director makes changes to the script during rehearsals, the script supervisor is responsible for noting these changes on the script. She also makes other rehearsal notes, including the actor's blocking and sound cues. If the actor uses a prop in the scene, the script supervisor makes notes on how the prop is used. As an example, if the character is pouring a bottle of wine using his left hand, the script supervisor makes sure the left hand is used during each of the following takes.
The script supervisor is responsible for communicating important script details to all members of the production crew. She notifies the hair, makeup and wardrobe departments of consistency concerns. For instance, if a character has a fight scene, the hair, makeup and wardrobe team has to make the actor look as if she has been in a fight. The script supervisor also ensures the entire production crew, including the camera operator, video editor, producer and director has a printout of all script changes made during rehearsals and production.
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