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Beyond Continuity

Book Description

A guide to the craft of script supervising, Beyond Continuity features practical instruction through real-world examples demonstrating and explaining the skills needed by a professional script supervisor.

Mary Cybulski, one of Hollywood’s premier script supervisors, imparts her sage wisdom as she walks you through the process of training and working as a professional script supervisor,, covering the basic skills of breaking down a script, taking notes on set, matching, cheating, determining screen direction, and knowing what the director, actors, and editor expect from a script supervisor. She also details many of the more subtle, but just as important skills― how to get a job, how to think like an editor, how to tell what is important in a script and on set, how to get along with the cast and crew, and how not to get overwhelmed when there is too much information to process.

Also included is access to a companion website which features downloadable versions of the various forms, templates, logs, and checklists used by professional script supervisors.

This title includes additional digital media when purchased in print format. For this digital book edition, media content may not be included.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Dedication
  6. Table of Contents
  7. Foreword by David Mamet
  8. Chapter 1: Introduction
    1. What’s So Good about being a Script Supervisor?
    2. What a Script Supervisor does
      1. Supervising the Script
      2. In Charge of Continuity
        1. Continuity Within a Scene: Matched Action
        2. Continuity Between Scenes: Progressive Action
      3. Technical Advisor for the Grammar of Filmmaking
    3. Basic Script Supervising Skills
      1. Understanding Cinematic Language
      2. Artistic and Personal Sensitivity
      3. Good Organization
      4. Paying Attention for Long Periods of Time
      5. Intensity and Ease
  9. Chapter 2: Getting Started
    1. Building Script Supervisor Skills
    2. How to Get a Job
    3. Meeting the Director
    4. Making Your Deal
    5. You have the Job
      1. Read the Script Again!
      2. Prep Time
      3. The Production Office
        1. Payroll
        2. Production Office Staff
        3. Assistant Directors
        4. Other Departments
  10. Chapter 3: Preproduction: Breaking Down the Script
    1. Overview
      1. Breakdowns for Every Movie
      2. Special Breakdowns
      3. Electronic Script Supervising Programs
    2. Defining the Scenes
    3. Page/Time/Scene Tally
      1. Making the Tally Sheet
        1. Overview of the Breakdown
        2. Setting Up the Columns
        3. Adding Scene Numbers
        4. Wait to Describe the Action
      2. Scene Count
      3. Page Breakdown
      4. Script Timing
      5. Filling in the “To Do” and “Done” Blocks
    4. Master Breakdown
      1. Overview
      2. Setting Up a Master Breakdown Form
      3. Scene Numbers
      4. Interior/Exterior
      5. Day/Night
      6. Location
      7. Action (or Description)
      8. Characters
      9. The Importance of Matching Back
      10. Props/Art/Wardrobe/Make-up/Special Effects
      11. Voice-over/Video and Audio Playback/Visual Effects and TV/Airplane Dialog
      12. Matching
    5. Time Breakdowns
      1. The Different Uses of Time Breakdowns
      2. Story Beat Breakdown
        1. Setting Up the Breakdown
        2. Logic and Guessing
        3. Day Breaks
        4. Representing the Director’s Ideas
        5. The Power of Time Breakdowns
        6. How to Think About Time
        7. Cheating Time
      3. Day Breakdown
    6. Special Breakdowns
      1. Visual Effects (VFX)
      2. Many Parallel Story Lines
      3. Change in a Character
      4. Weather and the Natural World
      5. Injuries
      6. Complicated Hair and Make-up
      7. The Big Boards
      8. Non-Continuous Time
      9. Post-Modern Time and Place
      10. The Warehouse
      11. What I Don’t Do
  11. Chapter 4: Preproduction: Non-Breakdown Preproduction
    1. Rehearsals
    2. Rewrites
      1. Flagging Changes on the Page
      2. Changes in Scene Numbers
      3. Changes in Page Numbers
      4. Color Pages
      5. Kinds of Rewrites
      6. A White Copy of Revised Pages
    3. The Read Through
    4. Tech Scouts
    5. The Production Meeting
    6. Getting Physically Ready for the Shoot
    7. What’s in Your Kit
      1. Equipment
        1. Necessary Items
        2. Other Useful Tools
      2. Weather Gear
  12. Chapter 5: Production Overview: Keeping the Notes
    1. Introduction, Three Kinds of Notes
      1. Every Day, Every Movie
      2. Some Days, Some Movies
      3. On-set Matching Notes
    2. Notes Used Everyday, on Every Movie
      1. Lined Script
        1. Lining the Script
        2. How Editors Read the Lined Script
        3. Wildtrack
        4. Numbering Dialog
      2. Facing Pages
        1. Setting Up the Facing Page
        2. Describing Camera Moves
        3. Time Code
        4. 3-D
        5. Special Elements
      3. Editors’ Daily Log
      4. Script Supervisor’s Daily Report
        1. To Record the Crew’s Work Day
        2. To List the Work that was Planned for this Day
        3. To Track the Progress for the Entire Production
        4. To Note the Details of the Day’s Work
    3. Notes Used on Some Days or Some Movies
      1. Wildtrack Tally
      2. Wild Picture Tally
      3. Owed List
      4. Lined Storyboards
      5. Visual Effects
    4. On-Set Matching Notes
      1. Some Useful Notations
      2. Points of Action
      3. Examples of Matching Notes
      4. Working Script vs. Final Script Page
      5. Set-up Frames
    5. Slating
      1. The American System
      2. Skipped Letters
      3. Slating Added Scenes
      4. Slating Two-Camera Set-ups
      5. Slating Scenes with Many Set-ups
      6. More Set-up Distinctions
        1. Reshoots
        2. Slating for Second Unit
        3. Slating for Visual Effects
      7. The British System
      8. European Slates
      9. An American–British Hybrid
      10. Limitations on Making Set-up Names
      11. Camera and Sound Roll Numbers
        1. Multiple Cameras
        2. Second Unit
        3. Test Rolls
    6. Setting up Your Book
  13. Chapter 6: Production Overview: Maintaining Continuity
    1. Why We Need Continuity
    2. Two Kinds of Continuity
      1. Matched Action
      2. Progressive Action
    3. What to Match
      1. Checklist for Matching
        1. Dialog
        2. Motion Overview
        3. Motion and Dialog
        4. Motion and Blocking
        5. Body Position
        6. Tone and Pace
        7. Emotional Performance
        8. Make-up and Hair
        9. Wardrobe
        10. Props
        11. Handling Props
        12. Set Dressing
        13. Times of Day and Date
        14. Cars and Other Vehicles
        15. Screen Direction
        16. Background Actors
      2. Nobody is Perfect
    4. Thinking Like an Editor
      1. When Continuity Matters
      2. Master and Coverage
      3. Master to Master
      4. Master Only
      5. Matched Action Between Scenes
      6. Understanding the Cut
      7. Easy and Difficult Matches
      8. Protecting a Difficult Match
      9. Understanding Dominance and Visibility
        1. Visual
        2. Story
        3. Repetition of Cut
    5. Variations in Continuity Style
    6. Cheating, when what’s Wrong is Right
      1. Some Common Cheats
        1. Repositioning Into or Out of the Frame
        2. To Add Detail
        3. Body Position
        4. To Limit Movement
        5. Cheating Looks
        6. Audacious Cheats
    7. Will this Cheat Work?
    8. Some Cheating Tricks
    9. When You Disagree with a Cheat
    10. Notes for Matching
  14. Chapter 7: The Language and Grammar of Filmmaking
    1. How to Think about Film Grammar
    2. What’s in the Film Grammar Toolkit?
      1. Sympathetic and Observant Camera Positions
      2. Camera Height
      3. Frame Size
      4. Matching Frame Sizes and Variations
      5. Lens Choices
        1. Depth of Field
        2. Perspective
      6. Perspective and Cropping
      7. How Perspective and Cropping Are Used in Coverage
      8. Close and Wide Eyelines
    3. Screen Direction, the 180 Line
      1. Why the 180 Line is Important
      2. A Little History of the 180 Line
      3. How the 180 Line Works
        1. Drawing the 180 Line
        2. Camera Right and Camera Left
        3. Common 180 Line Coverage
          1. Three People
            1. Three in a Line
            2. Three, Interrogation
            3. Three in a Triangle of Singles
          2. A Group in a Line
          3. A Group Not in a Line
          4. Big Groups
          5. Courtrooms and Auditoriums
          6. Reading, Writing and Looking
    4. Maintaining Screen Direction in Motion
      1. Matching Chase Direction
      2. Moving Two Characters Toward Each Other
      3. Traveling Objects
      4. Changing Direction
      5. Neutral Bumpers
    5. Unusual Matching Situations
      1. Parades
      2. Telephone Conversations
      3. Hugs, Kisses and Other Embraces
      4. Full Reverse
      5. Vehicles
      6. Screen Direction and Maps
    6. When Actors Move the Line
      1. Characters Shifting the 180 Line
      2. Off-Camera Movement
      3. Cutting into Moving Actors
    7. When the Camera Moves the Line
      1. Coverage for a Shifting 180 Line
      2. Matching Camera Movement
    8. The Power of Jumping the Line
      1. Jumping the Line in Action Sequences
      2. Tension in Coverage
      3. Jumping the Line in Dramatic Sequences
    9. Why the 180 Line is Elusive
      1. Theoretical Editing
      2. Style
    10. Cutting on Camera Movement
      1. Character of Camera Movement
      2. Matching Movement and Speed
    11. Composition
    12. Three Dimensions
    13. Working with Coverage
      1. Factual Information
      2. Subtextual Information
  15. Chapter 8: A Day on Set
    1. The Call Sheet
    2. Arriving
      1. Breakfast
      2. Call Time
      3. The Truck
    3. Setting up for the Day
      1. Notes
      2. Equipment
      3. Electronic Equipment
    4. Blocking
      1. Private Blocking
      2. The Shot List
      3. Blocking for Department Heads
      4. Various Blocking Styles
      5. The Most Current Script
    5. Lighting the Set
      1. The Crew has the Set
      2. Continuity on Set
      3. Review and Revise Your Breakdowns
      4. Distribute the Shot List
      5. Running Lines
      6. Set-up and Roll Numbers
    6. Rehearsal
      1. Representing the Editors
      2. Overlapping Dialog
      3. Checking the Dialog for Content
      4. The Dialect Coach
      5. The Master Shot
      6. Set-up Notes
      7. Rehearsing on Film
    7. Rolling Film
      1. Going on Bells
      2. Where You Sit
    8. Slating
      1. History
      2. Time Code
      3. Phonetic Alphabet
      4. Checking the Set-up and Take Number
      5. Calling the Slate
      6. Tail Slates
      7. MOS Slates
      8. Slating Multiple Cameras
      9. Pick-up Slates
      10. Hand Slates
    9. Notating Time Code
    10. Timing the Take
    11. First Shot of the Morning
    12. Notes for Each Take
    13. Circled Takes
    14. Lens Information
    15. Continuity Photos
    16. Drawing Set-Up Frames
    17. What to Look at
    18. Not Matching Well
    19. Delivering Off-Camera Dialog
    20. Giving Notes to Actors, Directors, Crew Members
    21. Moving on to the Next Set-Up
      1. Before You Move on
        1. What You Need from the Scene
        2. TV and Airplane Dialog
      2. Getting and Distributing Information
      3. Completing Your Notes
      4. Prep for the Next Shot
      5. Turning Around
    22. Moving on to the Next Scene
    23. Lunch
    24. Throughout the Day
      1. Comb Through Your Story
      2. Reloading the Camera
      3. Film Break
      4. Notating Playback
      5. False Starts and Series Takes
    25. Wrap
      1. Immediate Concerns
      2. End of the Day Notes
      3. Dailies
      4. Homework
    26. The End of the Job
      1. Final Notes
      2. Hang Out with the Editors
  16. Chapter 9: The Big Picture
    1. Actors are Angels
    2. Pick Your Projects; Follow Your Leader
    3. The Girl Thing
  17. Acknowledgments
  18. Index