Young woman scriptwriter earing glasses and headphone brainstorming ideas with male scriptwriter

How to Become a
Script Supervisor

Gabriela Bercenas
By Gabriela Bercenas - CPRW, Content Writer II
|
Last Updated: April 20, 2023
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Working in the film industry is an exciting career where you can balance your creative vision and writing abilities to help produce mesmerizing shows and movies. We’ll show you how to become a script supervisor and outline the education requirements, salary and career outlook. We also offer career resources, including our professional Resume Builder, libraries of templates and free resume examples to optimize your resume.

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What Does a Script Supervisor Do?

A script supervisor works closely with directors, camera operators, cinematographers, photographers and film editors during filmmaking's production and post-production stages. They manage any changes to a script and ensure that the script is being adhered to during shooting.

A script supervisor also oversees scene continuity and the integration of picture and sound while filming a movie or TV show. They must be able to have strong communication and organizational skills.

General script supervisor duties and responsibilities include:

  • Monitor details in each shot to ensure continuity.

  • Assist during rehearsals and work with the actors.

  • Analyze the script to determine wardrobe, makeup and camera use.

  • Script breakdown to coordinate and provide specific instructions to the film crew.

  • Update scripts for future shots.

  • Guide the film editors in the post-production phase.

How to Become a Script Supervisor

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for these occupations is projected to grow 12% from 2021 to 2031, much faster than the average for all occupations, as expanding cable channel offerings and availability of online movies and shows are increasing the need for filmmaking professionals. Let’s explain how to become a script supervisor in this competitive industry.

1

Get a degree:

To become a script supervisor, you can start with an associate or bachelor's degree in liberal arts, film studies or production management. With these degrees, you will be able to receive theory, script writing and management, as well as film continuity.

2

Apply for an internship or fellowship:

Internships are often an excellent way to access the film and television industry. You can also jumpstart your career by working as a trainee. Regardless of the pay, you will gain practical experience and hands-on work on a film set. Another ideal way into the screenwriting industry is participating in a contest or fellowship program hosted by a network, studio or organization. Doing so will gain real-world experience and a broader understanding of the role.

3

Go for a specialized certification:

By becoming certified, you can take your career to the next level. You can improve your filmmaking skills and television screenwriting with the MasterClass Annual Membership to gain access to film classes.

4

Create a job-winning resume:

After gaining experience, you can continue to apply for script supervisor positions on other film sets. For this, you will need to create a stellar resume. Even without experience, you can make your resume stand out. Showcase your most robust qualifications and credentials with our Resume Builder. This online tool features a library of 30+ resume templates you can personalize. The builder then uses your information to generate an industry-specific resume that you can save and use to apply.

You can also compare your resume to other script supervisor resume examples to make a targeted resume. Make your job application process shine with a matching cover letter — this detailed letter can help the employer learn more about your qualifications. Read a few cover letter examples to learn how job seekers describe themselves.

Script Supervisor Skills

A script supervisor should have strong visual skills and the ability to translate the written word into a visual medium. They should be detail-oriented and possess strong verbal and written communication skills. They are responsible for conveying directions in the script to other personnel on a set and generating reports.

They should be comfortable working closely with others and meeting tight deadlines.

Let’s break down the essential skills every script supervisor needs to succeed.

Hard skills:

1Character development
2Creative writing
3Dialogue
4Screenwriting
5Formatting
6Storytelling
7Improvising
8Plot development
9Editing
10Framing
11Professionalism

Script supervisor soft skills:

1Writing skills are required to create exciting and unique story ideas and concepts.
2Interpersonal communication is a must to effectively network with production companies, directors, actors and crew on a film set.
3Problem-solving helps you strategize and understand structure within scenes, sequences and acts.
4Passion is needed to create art and develop meaningful stories.
5Consistency is essential to meet deadlines.
6Networking is a critical skill to help you develop your work team, crew members and actors.
7Creativity in taking risks and pushing boundaries.
8Communication to write effective synopses, outlines, treatments and loglines.

Insights from a Script Supervisor

To get more details about becoming and working as a Script Supervisor, we spoke with Roe Moore, an award-winning producer, actor and Script Supervisor. Following is our question-and-answer session with Ms. Moore.

What is the common career path for a Script Supervisor?

A Script Supervisor is a department of one, so there isn't necessarily a ladder to climb or a "seniority."  Usually one becomes a Script Supervisor after working as a production assistant or as a former editor. Occasionally, those working in another department find delight in continuity and make the change. In the early days of filmmaking, an up-and-coming director would work as a Script Supervisor to learn to direct. Nowadays, there are career Script Supervisors as well as those who do jump up to the director's chair.

What should someone consider before becoming a Script Supervisor?

When considering becoming a Script Supervisor, I would suggest considering one's skill level in organization, detail-oriented, and a capacity to have a powerful memory. The Script Supervisor is the on-set representative for the post-production team. They are the last line of defense before the cameras roll to catch any errors like missing props and/or continuity errors. They are responsible to review what is being recorded to ensure that dialogue lines are said correctly, that movements matched what was discussed in rehearsal, and if the take can 'cut' with any other footage or coverage for the scene. Because of this, knowledge in other areas of production is highly suggested because our position interacts with every other department. If one is familiar with the other departments, the Script Supervisor can then collaborate to find smart decisions in the event an error happens or additional support is needed.

A powerful memory is important because one has to remember (or notate) the movements of multiple things at a time while the camera records the take. After each take, the actors and props reset to their original positions and the Script Supervisor is the authority on those positions. In addition, the Script Supervisor has to know the script better than anyone else on set. This is to field any changes that could affect the story line as a whole or for a single character and determine if the change is something that can be done. More often than not, the director/producer/writer may know that in scene 2, the character gets punched. But they decide to remove the punch from the script, making the dialogue in scene 3 about the punch irrelevant and changes the story. The Script Supervisor has to be on top of the script to catch these errors before they are put on film.

What type of person excels at this job?

The type of person who excels at this is strong with details, is organized, experienced in record keeping, and is self-motivated. A majority of our job deals with maintaining the continuity of a script as well as what has been filmed. This means keeping track of props, actor movements, wardrobe, dialogue and more. In addition, there is a lot of record-keeping for the production and the post-production teams. The Script Supervisor is responsible to take note for every take and provide reports to the teams regarding information like camera rolls, audio rolls, script coverage, editorial log and more.  The accuracy of these reports is crucial for these departments to do their jobs well.

What are some of the most important skills - hard and soft - for Script Supervisors to have?

Most of the bare minimum skills needed have been stated above. Additional skills that are helpful would include: the ability to multitask; be professional and prepared; and be a team player. Because we deal with so many working parts on set, a Script Supervisor is known as the point of contact for the majority of the departments. To be able to multitask your own workflow while working with these departments on the next setup is invaluable. As with every job, show up on time (or early) and be prepared. It will make you the most effective person when other departments are shorthanded. Being a team player is essential. When you're on a production or on set, there's one common goal: to create. If there is a way that you can add value while carrying your weight, it helps everyone look good.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Script Supervisor?

One of the main reasons why I became a Script Supervisor is because I have an incredible interest in all aspects of filmmaking and through working as a Script Supervisor, I get to work with each department to create the best film possible. I get to be a collaborator and play a part in the decision-making for big productions. I have OCD and doing this job allows me to place that energy where it is appreciated.

How Much Do Script Supervisors Get Paid?

The salary of a Script Supervisor in the United States can vary. Some might belong to a union, such as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE),and would thus be paid contractual rates as set by the union. The average salary for a Script Supervisor is $100,556.

Script Supervisor Resources

Below you will find several resources that can help you understand more about what Script Supervisors do and whether this career is right for you.

On the Web

Tales From the Scripty
A blog providing a personal look at the life of a Script Supervisor. Also includes an overview of the occupation titled 'Script Supervision 101'.

Script Supervisor
This blog features news, interviews and other information relating to the field of script supervision.

Filmmaker Magazine
An online publication providing news, interviews and more with relevant professionals in the field of filmmaking, including directors, producers, writers and Script Supervisors.

Script Supervisor Books

Script Supervising and Film Continuity
A classic look at the career of a Script Supervisor, covering this profession's functions, methodologies and craft.

Beyond Continuity: Script Supervision for the Modern Filmmaker 1st Edition
A professional Script Supervisor guides you through the demands and responsibilities of this career, from training to working full-time in the field.