A script supervisor or continuity is a member of a film crew responsible for maintaining the film's internal continuity and for marking the production unit's daily progress in shooting the film's screenplay. On early films, the job of script supervisor was performed by an individual credited as the "continuity clerk" or "script girl," and while in fact a great many script supervisors are women, the title "script girl" is considered archaic and incorrect. In modern films, Script supervisors are either credited as such or as "Continuity", in a film's closing credits.
In pre-production, the script supervisor creates a number of reports based on the script, including a one-line continuity synopsis providing basic continuity information on each scene and a wardrobe synopsis used to track changes and damage to wardrobe. These reports are used by various departments in order to determine the most advantageous shot order and the quantities and types of clothing that may be needed. A character that wears a particular shirt that (in different scenes) progresses from clean to dirty to dirty and torn may require at least three sets of that shirt in order to ensure that continuity can be properly managed.
During production, the script supervisor acts as a central point for all production information on a film shoot, and has several responsibilities.
The script supervisor is responsible for ensuring that everyone involved has the most current copy of the script. Once the script is finalized, changes are made a different color of paper. The script supervisor is given any changes, and ensures that they are printed on the correct color paper and distributed to all necessary parties. This will on many productions lead to a multi-color working script. The actual progression of colors can vary. One such progression is (starting with the final script) -- White, Blue, Pink, Yellow, Green, Goldenrod, Buff, Salmon, Cherry, Tan, Gray and Ivory.
The script supervisor takes notes on all the details required to recreate the continuity of a particular scene, location, or action. The supervisor is responsible for making sure that continuity errors do not happen. For every take, the script supervisor will note the duration of the take (usually with a stopwatch) and meticulously log of information about the action of the take, including position of the main actor(s), screen direction of their movement, important actions performed during the shot, type of lens used, and additional information which may vary from case to case. When multiple cameras are in use, the script supervisor keeps separate notes on each. The script supervisor will also keep track of dialogue as it is spoken and ensure that if it varies from the screenplay, this variation is made known to the director and noted.
The script supervisor interacts with the second assistant camera operator and the production sound mixer to make sure that each take of exposed film has a consistent and meaningful slate, that the sound and picture slates match. The script supervisor also notes the sound roll of each sync take, and the state of all MOS takes.
The script supervisor is responsible for keeping the most current version of the shooting script, and for keeping a copy of it as the lined script for the shoot. A lined script is a copy of the script with vertical lines drawn down the pages, indicating which takes cover which part of the script.
The script supervisor is responsible for preparing daily reports for the production team. These reports vary in form depending on the studio or production company; however, they generally include a continuity log, a log of the actual times that shooting and breaks started and stopped, and a breakdown of the pages, scenes and minutes that were shot that day, as well as the same information for the previous day, the total script and the amounts remaining to be done. Also included are the number of scenes covered (completely shot), the number of retakes (when a scene has to be re-shot), and the number of wild tracks.
In their role as scribe, the script supervisor is the primary liaison between the director (who decides what scenes are to be shot) and the editor (who is usually not present during actual filming but needs to have exact records of the filming in order to do his job of cutting the film together.) The script supervisor is a technical rather than artistic position and is generally considered as part of the producer's or studio's staff. There is usually only one script supervisor on a given film production.