I like to be challenged and I get bored easily. So taking on the challenging job as a script supervisor is a perfect fit for me. I am never bored, as I always have to be on my toes, and I have to manage about a thousand details in my head at once. But now that I know the job pretty much inside and out, and have done it for quite some time, I have had this urge recently to be on a film looking at the process from another point of view.
I maybe P.A.’d a couple of times on commercials then did a stint as a UPM’s assistant but I quickly moved into Scriptyland soon after starting in film.
Needing a break from me being the oracle of knowledge people perceive me to be, I called up my bestest wardrobe friend and begged her to let me “day play” (something a scripty NEVER gets to do) on a movie that she is currently working on. My pitch went something like this: ”I know continuity, I know film, and I know how to sew…pleeeeasse!” She said, “Sure, I’d love to have you” …then never called. So, being the good production person I am. I called her again. “Puhleeease? I’ll work for free!” I think the word FREE caused her to reconsider my request.
So, she called me in last Wednesday to work in wardrobe… I made sure I dressed the part. I wore a cute top, a skirt (something I NEVER have worn on set) and sandals (something I also have never worn on set). It was fun to finally be a set chick after all those years watching the wardrobe ladies look so girly, while I sat there sporting my dressed in the dark “boy” look.
When I arrived I got to steam the actors wardrobe, change the extras into clothing that was less obnoxious than what they were wearing and help bring the actor’s clothes on set for changing. All the while I was resisting the urge to be on set, wondering what the DP and Director were discussing, what shots they were covering. I was completely in the dark…my job that day was to dress extras.
The extras were called for so I went up to the area where we were filming with my perfectly ordinarily dressed extras as the 2nd AD placed them in their seats (they were playing the part of the audience). This was my first opportunity to spy on the scripty (you knew I would do it). There she was, clipboard in hand talking with the camera boys, standing by the monitor. My usual place. Only now, I was just watching my extras, being ready if I needed to change anyone out of an objectionable piece of clothing. That was my only responsibility. Wait for the director to hate someone’s shirt.
As the scene started I saw the scripty call out the scene number to the sound guy, the AD was calling the action and the scene happened. I had not read the script, I did not know continuity-wise what should happen I just sat and watched my extras. After they yelled CUT my wardrobe friend said to me, “You know, if you want you can go to the bathroom or grab a snack,” she smiled. She knew that being a scripty, a department of one; you don’t have anyone to “cover” for you if you need to go ten-one hundred. I smiled back. The world was my oyster! I could go eat Heath Bars or pee…or BOTH! I was dizzy with freedom. I paced myself so I wouldn’t overdo it.
The rest of the day was filled with more steaming, taking continuity pictures, and organizing the wardrobe trailer.
As much fun as the day was, I don’t think I would ever switch over to wardrobe. The thing I missed most was the power I have as the script supervisor, I admit it, I love being the know-it-all, the key point person. I do very much like that about being a scripty…but for a day of work concentrating on only one detail it was like a vacation.