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  • Writer's pictureDorsa Sajedi

Editing Class 7: Script Supervision, and the relationship between Editor and Director.

Book recommendation: Modern Post By Scott Arundale, Tashi Trieu


My previous experience in script supervision is limited, we were never really taught about it up until now, so last term when it was my first go, all I had to go off from is online tutorials/youtube videos/asking the other editors who also did script supervision what their approach was. I had researched worksheets, and made a variation of my own (which is still on my blog if you scroll down). It wasn't perfect, but I'm looking to make another worksheet applying my knowledge from my last experience and from today's class.


KEY THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR AS SCRIPT SUPERVISOR

  • Timing and cues — blocking, interaction, cinematography

  • Dialogue coverage

  • Geographical cues

IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE

  • Lined script and script breakdown — location information, etc.

  • Take copious notes: everything that was shot, including slate info, take numbers, length of takes

  • AC and other departments should come to you for camera/lighting/sound notes*

  • Take pictures — frames beginning and end of every scene as things change and move

  • Know where actors were positioned, especially if they move around

  • Line readings for talent — if lines have changed, take note of this

  • Have a stopwatch to measure timings

  • Rehearsal continuity — be there for the rehearsals to know and keep an eye on how the movements would work (or the test shoots even)

* I didn't actually know this, but this makes a lot of sense and would've been really helpful to me during the last shoot I did. The more you know!


CONTINUITY ELEMENTS


Prop continuity

= where things are positioned.

Time continuity

= i.e. a clock on the wall, watch on wrist, make sure they match

Eye-line continuity

= ensure talent are looking in the right direction

Wardrobe continuity

= especially if the shoots go across several days

Dialogue continuity

= i.e. ‘morning’, when the clock in the background says its the afternoon

Action continuity

= How actors interact with propers, pick up with left hand, etc.


180 degree rule

= I'll be doing a recap of this below

Blocking for position

= Shifts in movement, no shots justifying movements, take notes of key blocking positions.


RAPID 180 RECAP (and how to keep track)

The quickest way to recap on this, especially since I'm a visual-based learner, is this convenient diagram:

Don't cross the line!


Going from the image on the right, we can tell when its we've crossed the line when the person in orange is on the right instead of the left -- especially since the other shots we've got is with them on the left. It's inconsistent, and important to pick out and keep an eye on. The DoP will obviously be keeping an eye on this too, but it is always important to have that extra layer of security.


I'm not sure how productive this would be, but I'm considering having a little box on my worksheet where I can map out where the camera is positioned (like the image above, just way way more basic, like three circles with the letter of each character and C for camera). I will look into this further.


SCRIPT BREAKDOWN

  • Work out the exact props, case, location requirements for each page

  • Props/Vehicles/Location/Wardrobe/Makeup/Hair/Special Equipment

  • Having two facing pages in a binder, lined script on the right

  • frame.io

  • Colour coding for each category

  • You will be marking up a script as you film — but its good to also have a lined up script already

  • Departments need to be feeding you information, like sound run time, camera run time (you will time this),

  • Take director favourites of best performance takes

  • Remind sound and AC to feed you info!*

  • Actor’s job to be consistent, your job to note down any inconsistencies, and relay this to AD

  • Downwards line = Covered action that will be on screen

  • Zigzag line = Covered action that won’t be on screen/dialogue that isn’t captured coming out of the actor’s mouth - aligning with the storyboard for example.


WORKING WITH DIRECTORS AS AN EDITOR

PREP
  • The only film that exists after shooting is the one in the footage and the stress of trying to shove the footage into a shape it doesn’t fit isn’t worth it

  • ^ (solution to above) Try your best to do an editors cut, super roughly put it together to show the director a film that works rather than a collection of footage — reassurance of narrative

  • Director’s should endeavour to provide as much time for discussion and prep with the editor as they can before the edit

  • Shot ‘shopping list’

  • Maximise coverage — no time saved by cutting early

  • Don’t put up with an edit schedule that you’re not comfortable with

  • Watch dailies together (director & editors) watch all the way through, silently, taking notes — compare after. Ask what they like/don’t like and why.

INTERACTIONS IN THE SUITE
  • Set daily expectations: what are you going to get done and when — i.e. do a scene at a time

  • Schedule appropriate times for the director to come in (set boundaries if ever needed)

  • Ask directors to collate their notes if they’re very all over the place, just to help it be more productive

  • Always have a notebook: keep a dedicated section for director’s notes (with dates)

  • Making the editing suite a nice place for the director to come to — beneficial to film and director’s sanity

  • If you think something is a bad idea, at the very least try to execute it so you can show the director how it doesn’t work

  • Make sure the director tells you why they didn’t like bits (constructive)

  • Suggest breaks where needed for you and the director both

  • Arrange viewings (outside of the edit suite) — excited, bored, confused?

  • ^ cast & crew are too close to production, get people outside of the project to view and feedback too — could discuss this with producer at the appropriate time, booking out a room, bringing people outside of the group to watch

  • to do the above, try your best to do a quick audio clean up, make sure it’s not heavily messy that you have to reassure people during the viewings

DELVIERY
  • Audio clean up: no gaps, no clicks

  • Export all draft edits for feedback with timecode (crew screenings)

  • You are responsible as editor for the material — having backups

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