Wednesday, March 21, 2012


John Bruno discusses the importance of the script supervisor.
Here in the Pandora Machine we gave up on script supervision awhile ago.
This is one of those movie making rules like "never mix drunk" -- we don't pay attention to it although it's not that it's a bad idea in and of itself.*.
For me the difficulty with script supervision is that most of the work they do goes unused. The picture editors don't really trust the script supervisors to give them everything they need to know so they tend to not even look in the script supervisor's book during post. The other thing is that I really don't care what anybody has to say on set if they're not an editor. Whether a DP or a fight director, if you haven't edited a feature then you really don't know what you're doing. You might know a whole bunch of rules, and it may tend to be that if you follow all the rules you know you'll tend to not get into trouble.
But we don't really have time for all that.**
We just have time to shoot all the action, all the dialog in closeup, details of anything anybody does in the scene (like light a cigarette), a clean of anything anyone refers to in the scene (like the dead body on the floor), and whatever amusing thing anybody in the room tells you to shoot (if there's time).
This is one reason we like having Maduka Steady with us on shoot days. And the end of a scene I can turn to him and say "Anything else we need to get?" And sure, there's a whole shtick made up about how he invariably says "Get feet, closeup, walking in and out." But I'll tell ya -- we use those shots more often than you'd think in the final picture edit.
Picture edit. It's where the movie is actually made. I mean, sure, you can argue it's the dialog edit where the picture is really made but... picture edit. It's where the movie is actually made.

*Why on earth would I use that analogy? Oh. I see.
**The one think I do wish we'd do is write down the location of wild audio takes in the master script. Because knowing that is useful in post.


JB Bruno said...

Andrew, I think people would be surprised at how much I love your blog and what you guys do. I should point out that I do mention in that post that if you aren't going to have a scripty on set, have an editor, which is surely way better than having an aspiring script supe. You seem to have that covered - look forward to checking out Prometheus Trap! Best of luck!

Andrew Bellware said...

Ha! Thanks!
I'm not criticizing your blog. I'm just demonstrating the disconnect about the way we work and what we might call "good practice" (your way of working).
If only anybody in post gave a damn about the script supervisor's book I'd be a lot happier with using one.
Of course we cut every single corner there is in production. That gets harder on a bigger-budget show.

Kangas said...

Your statement about DPs is false though. My DP has saved my bacon a couple of times, and he's not an editor. He just knows what he's shooting and what's needed.

Now a fight director? Yeah, wouldn't trust that guy on anything but choreography...

And yeah, script supervisor is one of those things like a 1st AD that I'd LOVE to have but cannot afford. So, I just do it all.

Andrew Bellware said...

Our camera people are all editors. So yay me!
I want a 2nd AD. Now THAT would be useful.