|CONTINUITY SUPERVISOR: Sue Clegg McGeachan
The Continuity Supervisor or Script Supervisor, as I'm often called, is a second pair of eyes and ears for the Director. I'm there in rehearsals, and filming, taking notes of any action or dialogue changes and the camera moves. On the set the Director will give an idea of the shots he wants, so I make a note of each one - a close-up here or a panning shot there. I make notes for the Film Editor, listing which 'takes' the Director wants and why; this helps the Editor to see quickly what we've shot.
The first thing I do in pre-production is to read the scripts three or four times so that I am really familiar with them. Then I break down the scripts into day order. Sometimes it's really straightforward - when the action goes from a 'day' to a 'night' scene then that is obviously the end of one day. But there are times when a night scene doesn't separate two different days. It's important for wardrobe to know if someone should be wearing the same costume. I then do a breakdown for each scene. I list the characters and any props that might be required - Mary's prayer book or spectacles, for example; anything that needs to be remembered. I only had about three weeks to break the six scripts down before we started filming. This was quite daunting at first but I had enough time in the end - just!
It's important that, if the audience is engrossed in a story, its concentration isn't broken by something illogical - an actor holding a glass in one shot that is nowhere to be seen in the next. It was Sue Clegg's job to make sure this didn't happen: "During each shot I stand by the camera and, as well as checking that the actors say the exact words in the script, I make a note of everything that is done by them in the scene. If they sit, or move, or eat, or drink or sew, or turn their heads, I have to note at exactly what point they do it. When there are several actors in the same scene, it can be very complicated. When part of the scene is reshot from a different angle, I remind each actor what they did before, so that everything will match when it is cut together by the editor".
From: "The Making of Pride and Prejudice" published by Penguin. ISBN: 0-14-025157