Getting Through Script Breakdowns Without Having A Mental Breakdown

31 01 2013

2Work Station

Breaking down a script is one of the most important parts of a script supervisor’s job.  The task requires patience, dedication, and frequent emailing back and forth with production.  Piecing together all the details in the script and doing pre-timings can be enough to bring anyone to The Edge after they’ve been at it for a few days.  To avoid that, I have my own little system and treats built in to my workflow to  keep going at the times when its 9pm at night and my family asks, “Have you even moved from that spot all day?”  Here is my set up:

First of all, I set up all my work on my kitchen bar counter.  I like the option of being able to sit or stand as I work.  I find that standing helps my mind work better.

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Every single day of breakdowns starts with a cup of coffee, Hazelnut coffee to be precise.  I regularly drink French-vanilla, but when it’s time to get to work I reach straight for the Hazelnut.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My script is open on my motion computing tablet where I’ll mark it up with page counts, Days, Scene #’s and so on.  I like using my tablet because once I’m done I can just email my marked up copy to production without a visit to the photocopier or scanner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My iPhone usually hold the AD’s breakdown for reference.  I like to complete a scene and then see what the AD got for his page counts and scene descriptions.  Other time’s I’ll have my latest emails pulled up on that screen to see the answers to my questions regarding what time of day a scene takes place more then not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Directly in center of everything is my laptop with the One Liner in excel.  I’ll keep plugging away category by category rather then scene by scene to get it done. For example, I’ll go through to get the page count of each scene, then the time of day, followed by the characters and so forth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Off to the side I keep a little pad of post-it notes to write down any questions I think of as I go through everything.  After I’ve filled the page, I’ll send off an email to the AD to get my answers and get back to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Of course, I have my stop watch handy for pre-timings!  I love pre-timings because I get to act out each scene all around the house.  Do you go all out for your pre-timings or keep things saner?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Law and Order SVU.  My favorite show to have on in the background is Law and Order Special Victims Unit.  I should probably use my iPad to show emails or the AD’s breakdown, but I don’t.  This show makes the room feel alive when I’ve been in the same spot for 5 hours reading scene 32 for the 4th time that day.  Whenever I need a mental break I put down the work and watch this show for a few moments.  There is always something dramatic going on that allows me to reset my mind and get back to the breakdowns right after.

 

 

 

 

 

Now you know how I set my work up and next time I say that I’m breakdown a script, you’ll know where to find me. How do you set up your area?  I’ve heard of some people spreading everything out on the floor to have a large space to work with.  Do you treat yourself with any special coffee or background entertainment?  Do you prefer to sit or stand?  I’d love to see some pictures of your work area.





Top 10 Script Supervisor Apps for iPhone Part 2

24 01 2013

06_archimedes_35438535_620x433A couple of weeks ago, I brought you ‘Top 10 Script Supervisor apps and accessories for iPhone’ and received some great suggestions for even more apps!  After a recent I.A.T.S.E. Local 161 seminar, I talked with Diane Hounsell (IMDB) and Sharon Watt (IMDB) over some drinks to learn what their favorite on set apps are.  Some of these I already have, most of them I plan to download soon.  Have you had any experience with these apps and what are some others you use?

Paid 

mzi.dkmuzqpo.175x175-75mza_1338675674821677609.320x480-75ScriptCalc  is a calculator that works in 8ths of a page and time code.  After a long day on set, with constant note taking and matching, the last thing any of us wants to do is add and subtract fractions and time bases.  ScriptCalc was built specifically for script supervisors and helps calculate page counts, timings, and scene totals for your end of the day reports. ScriptCalc cost $4.99, click here to learn more and download the app.

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wraptime-icon-150x150mzl.gxibijqo.320x480-75Wrap Time is a digital time card that can keep track of your hours, pay, meal penalties and job information right from your iPhone.  This is another great app that takes the stress off of having to figure out what to put on the time card at the end of a big day.  Wrap Time cost $1.99, click here to learn more and download the app.

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mzm.cugayptm.175x175-75Scanner Pro is great for emailing mid-day and end of the day reports to production as a PDF file. Fill out your production reports and just snap a picture of it through this app and it transforms it into a standard PDF as opposed to emailing it as a jpeg picture file.  I use excel for my reports, so I don’t think I’ll be downloading this one, but if you work off of paper, then this is a great way to digitize the notes! Scanner Pro cost $6.99, click here to learn more and download the app.

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mzl.mgymxdsq.175x175-75mzl.atubwqpw.320x480-75Big Word allows you to write and display large messages with white text on a black background on your iPhone.  This app has so many potential uses on set.  Suppose you’re by video village and a take just wrapped;  The 2nd AC wants to know if the last take was ‘Apple’ or ‘Baker’.  You can write ‘Baker’ on this screen and hold it up as you shout it so he sees and hears it from a distance.  You can even make the text blink and flash.  I think it’s a great way to visually shout on set and I can’t wait to try this one out.  Big Word cost $0.99, click here to learn more and download the app.

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mzl.obamaunc.175x175-75Atomic Clock displays the exact real time of day on your iPhone.  This app get’s its’ time from an atomic clock server and cannot be argued, so it works great for debating whether or not the crew has entered meal penalty.  This works best with the iPhone’s built in screen grab function.  To use it, just hit the home button and the sleep button at the same time and the screen’s image will be saved to the photo reel.  When it gets close to meal time and the camera is still rolling, get this app ready and snap a screen grab when the AD says you’re cut.  Atomic Clock cost $1.99, click here to learn more and download the app.

Free

mzl.zqobukks.175x175-75Flashlight is a simple app the uses the iPhone’s flash as a flashlight.  You can set the brightness with a single tap of the screen.  I use this app in dark studios to find my extra pen in the dark without making too much noise.  It also comes in handy if someone next to me needs some light quickly.  Click here to learn more and download the app.

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download-Find-MY-Friend-appmzl.vxgrhgdz.320x480-75Find My Friends uses GPS to show you where your “friends” are. This app very effective if everyone on set uses it.  I could “friend” the AD or Director and then locate them without having to run around asking everyone if they’ve seen where they are.  The same goes if anyone needs to find the script supervisor right away.  When you  see a lot of your crew “friends” in once place, you’ll know exactly where location is as well.  Click here to learn more and download the app.

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mzl.kcexgfem.175x175-75mzl.ccydyiyu.320x480-75AccuWeather is one of the best weather apps I’ve ever used.  It always helps to know what the week holds in store for the shoot so I can bring the correct weather gear in my kit.  Click here to learn more and download the app.

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mzl.vhhzrdbc.175x175-75mzl.veeiffiq.320x480-75HotStop is THE app for getting around New York City.  It has all the arrival and departure times of each subway and bus lines.  I’m never late to set with HotStop, and neither will you be. Click here to learn more and download the app.

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Google-Maps-app-icon-smallmzl.qgjezosz.320x480-75Google Maps is the best way to get directions to the studio.  Have you ever received a call sheet and have no idea how to get set? it’s not a problem with Google Maps. Click here to learn more and download the app.





How I Met Your Mother cast introduces a fan to their script supervisor

18 01 2013

howimet

Over 20 Million Facebook users are fans of How I Met Your Mother. To celebrate this achievement, the crew of the show invited a fan on the air to ask any question about the show she wanted and they would have to answer it. Find out what she asked and how the script supervisor fits into all of this by watching the video clip here:

How do you feel about the fan’s question? I think I would have asked the same thing, would you?





Top 10 Script Supervisor apps and accessories for iPhone

12 01 2013

photo The iPhone is one of my favorite multi-purpose tools to use on set. There are so many great apps out there for any film department to use. Here are 8 apps that I’ve chosen to keep in my “Scripty” category.

Free

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The basic camera app is by far the most useful tool on the iPhone. I take my continuity stills with it for easy recall later on. It even allows me to zoom into the photos with a single swipe on the screen.

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iPhone-Clock-icon

The clock app is also installed on the iphone and it has a great, basic stop watch that can be used in a pinch. I wouldn’t recommend it for commercial shoots, as it isn’t accurate enough to get timings on those quick shots, but it is a great alternative to a stopwatch for narrative projects.

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The email, of course is oh so useful for sending continuity stills to the hair, makeup, and wardrobe department on set, as well as viewing copies of the script on a second screen if needed. I also create a personal “hot-spot” with my phone in order to email notes at the end of the day to production if there is no wifi available.

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adobe-reader-icon-150x147

Adobe Reader is a PDF editing and viewing app. I send out all my notes as PDF files for easy printing and I like to be able to pull them up on my phone if necessary. Since it is an editor, you can can mark down some notes on the page if you like. For myself, I just use it check my emailed documents for accuracy. Click here to learn more and download this app.

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DropBox-Icon

Dropbox is a cloud based sharing app. I have it installed on my laptop, tablet, iPhone, and iPad so I can share and use any file I create. This is great for saving facing pages, editor logs and lined script so you have access to them anywhere. For one client, the DIT and I always set up a Dropbox account on set so he can get my notes as close to instantly as possible. It saves me or a PA a trip down to his area throughout the day so everyone is happy. Click here to learn more and download this app.

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Paid

360_Panorama_Icon_512

I love 360 Panorama because I can take virtual continuity still of the whole location. Using the phone’s built in gyroscope, I can go back to any location and move my iPhone around to see what was there when I first took the image. Here is an example of an on set photo from The Guide.360 Panorama cost .99 cents, so click here to learn more and download this app.

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The Pages app is the one is use to take notes, brainstorm and jot reminders on. There are many reminder and notes apps for the iPhone, but I like this one because I can export everything into Microsoft Office files to use later. Furthermore, I enjoy the the calming colors and designs that it employs. Pages cost $9.99, click here to learn more and download the app.

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MovieSlateIcon

Movie Slate is a fully-loaded digital slate. You can set the time timecode to start at any point, or set it to time of day (my preferred method.) I use this app when I’m working in a situation where the camera is running on time code and there are scenes that have to be shot without video village. I’m able to set this app to the time code and pick up the information independant of a monitor. It is a life saver. You can also log shots and set the the slate if you’re in a pinch. Movie Slate cost $24.99, click here to learn more and download the app.

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Accessories

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

My all-time favorite accessory for my iphone is the Lanskin! It’s a lanyard for the iPhone. I do not go on set without it. I have my iPhone hanging around my neck so I can easily take continuity shots and use those great apps I talked about above. A few years ago I saw one of these being used for the first time by the prop stylist on a shoot and I had to know where she got it. Everyone on set can benefit from a Lanskin. Buy yours here at www.lanskin.com.

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T1u3KbXdFzXXXrHIgT_011150

Last, but not least, is an extra iphone charger. Pick one up on ebay, at the apple store, or from a friend. While the iPhone battery lasts a long time, taking photos, running time code, and uploading notes will kill your phone by the end of first meal. I have one of these in my kit at all time so I can charge my phone whenever there is a company move or large reset. Also, you will make friends by allowing others to charge their phones when you’re not using it. iPhone chargers are the 21st century equivalent of borrowing a cigarette. Don’t leave home without one.

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If you’re a script supervisor, what some apps that you find yourself using the most on set? For people in other departments, what are some of your go to apps and why?





I Dream of Continuity

12 01 2013

Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 9.36.07 PMWe all still love watching I Dream of Jeannie. I was recently re-watching the series on hulu, when I came across an episode where Jeannie was hired as a script supervisor! Instead of timing the scene with a stopwatch, she uses a mini hourglass.

Ironic Note: In part 2, when Jeannie is in the TV studio, in the wide shot, her notebook is open, in her close up the notebook is closed. I love that one of my favorite TV shows had a whole episode about continuity. You can watch it on youtube here:

Everybody’s a Movie Star Part 1

Everybody’s a Movie Star Part 2

Everybody’s a Movie Star Part 3





Jot that Down: Script Supervisor Interview

12 01 2013

newslogo

I just wrapped up a great short film by the name of Workaholics Anonymous through RAB Media. RAB Media is gathering interest of the film by releasing a weekly newsletter and I was elated to be interviewed for a short column. The full article is quotes below and you can view the original at www.rabstudios.com.

“Jot That Down
March 20, 2010

Workaholics Anonymous continues to get sliced and diced in the editing lab, as the Rab crew works tirelessly to make draft deadlines. However, a little known fact is that much of the post-production process relies on the notes of one person.

The Script Supervisor (also called the Continuity Supervisor) plays a massive role during the production process, working closely with the Director to make sure all necessary scene coverage has been accomplished. ForWorkaholics Anonymous, Jonathan Barbato took the reigns of Script Supervisor and recorded extensive notes that would awe any obsessive-compulsive workaholic.

“The contiuity notes provide the editor with all the information of what happened on set,” said Barbato, “from the coverage of scenes, to what the director liked about his preferred shots. This way, the editor does not need to spend hours guessing what shots are best, and can get right to work.”

Director Robert Bartolome commented, “Having all of this information, including those little scene observations I probably mumbled under my breath, keeps everything that much more organized and smooth. Production is a crazy thing, and details tend to get lost in the shuffle. Luckily, we have Jonathan to write them down for us.”

Keep checking allworkaholics.com for new updates!”

Excerpt





31 03 2010

 








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