This blog is about continuity script supervising, and what it entails. All from my point of view of course. I also blog about my experiences, achievements, mistakes… But I’ve gathered you here to learn more about what a continuity script supervisor does. And one of those awesome things… is PRE-TIMING
People want to know how long their film is going to run. So they hire someone to do Pre-Timing. Someone to study the director and editor’s previous work, identify the tone of the film. And then ACT IT OUT, WHILE TIMING IT
Script Supervisors are often hired to do this - not because they’re talented, super skilled, oober beautiful and slightly dramatic - it’s probably more so because they’re known to have a stopwatch in their hands. No no, seriously. It’s another part of their job. Pre-timing is a well paid gig, typically allotted 2 days to complete for a feature length film.
There’s even a Pre-Timing category going up on IMDB.com. Isn’t that funny? My teacher and mentor, Randi Feldman, is a script supervisor who did pre-timing movies like SWEENEY TODD. I laugh when I think of her acting-out the murder scenes and music. She said once, while doing a pre-timing gig, she was staying in a cabin. Getting the work done in her own wild privacy, people were walking by on casual walks outside, probably alarmed at the craziness going on somewhere inside that cabin
The Daily Progress Reports that Script Supervisors submit during production include the “estimated running time” of the film (from the pre-timing exercise) and compare it to the “actual running time” which is gathered as the scenes are actually shot. While on set, the script supervisor times each take, and at the end of the day, looks at the takes that the director likes, estimates how editing may work out, and does the math to give a daily report of the running time of your film, while everyone’s still in production.
Essentially, the knowledge shared in the reports can save the production lots of money. Either during pre-production, or production, you discover your film could end up too short, or too long. Because of the Script Supervisor’s reports, everyone knows this immediately. The director can start pacing differently or adding scenes, maybe even add some shooting days, before post-production even begins. And cool! This could save continuity as well, because coming back to pick up or add scenes weeks later is harder, when you’re trying to get all the same props, wardrobe and makeup/hair crew - who have by then moved on to other gigs.
Save continuity. Save money. Make your editor and producer happy. Know your running time. Maybe hire a Script Supervisor to do Pre-Timing