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Script Supervising and Film Continuity [Paperback]

Pat P Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

29 Jan 1999
This definitive handbook explains how a script is transformed into a motion picture or television program. Readers will learn the methodology and craft of the script supervisor, who ensures that the continuity of a film, its logical progression, is coherent.

The book teaches all vital script supervising functions, including how to:
.prepare, or "break down" a script for shooting
.maintaining screen direction and progression
.matching scenes and shots for editing
.cuing actors
.recording good takes and prints
preparing time and log sheets for editing

This revision of an industry classic has been updated to reflect changes in the film industry in recent years, including the use of electronic media in the script supervisor's tasks. While it is written for the novice script writer, it can serve as a valuable resource for directors, film editors, scriptwriters and cinematographers.

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 3 edition (29 Jan 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240802942
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240802947
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'Full of useful illustrations, forms and diagrams...' - Videomaker

"Script Supervising and Film Continuity is a must for those would-be directors, writers, and editors who are long on ambition and short on experience. By divulging the techniques and tools of creating continuity this book is a valuable resource for the continuity conscious." - Videomaker, April 2000

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It would benefit you enormously to gain entry into a movie studio lot-at your earliest opportunity-and observe a studio sound stage while filming is in progress. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
A good begining to a career in script supervising. I am a PA and am looking into going into Script Supervising and found this book explained a lot of things that I didn't know about in regard to the craft. Although along with reading this book you'll definately have to have real life experience on the set to really get your career going. If you want to take classes in Script Supervising there is this great guy who I am taking classes with (kind of like a private tutor) who does classes in LA and NY. His name is Mark Thomas and can be reached at 310-453-1700 or 212-252-2303. I would recommend taking his class bc he can hook you up with real work too! The book is a little confusing in some ways bc I think it is hard to explain certain concepts if you've never been on set before. But I would definately say this book has to be the best/if not the only comprehensive Script Supervising book out there! It teaches you a lot of thing you otherwise would not even realize is under the responsibility of the Script Supervisor. And if you are reading this Pat...THANKS!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  17 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Basic Starting Point.. 23 Feb 2005
By Daniela Saioni - Published on
Hi everyone:

I am based in Toronto, Canada and have been script supervising feature films and television series internationally for 12 years now (read my imdb profile if you're interested in my "street cred"). During that time I have had the pleasure of training dozens of working script supervisors in the classroom as well as on set.

I would like to say that I do recommend this book to all my students as a basic starting point - especially for those who never went to film school - mainly because nothing exists out there that is as clearly written and includes much of the basics (thus, the necessity of my Script Supervision 101 and more advanced seminars, and other in-depth courses available in different cities out there). As another user commented, most of what can be learned about script happens either on a film set or in the editing room, not by reading a book.

Further, the limitations of this particular book are that she deals mainly with the old Hollywood studio system and does not account for the present-day realities of technological advances, the more recent varieties of on-set politics and settiquette, and alternative/maverick directing and coverage styles. If this book is all you know about script, you're going to get fairly frustrated fairly quickly.

The complexities of the job do require a certain knowledge base, and learning as much as you can from a working pro before stepping out onto a film set will save you months or years of trial and error down the line.

However, that being said, do give this book a read and augment your learning with great books on the art of coverage and directing (for example, Daniel Arijon's classic "The Grammar of the Film Language" can be very useful to the new script supervisor) - then get out there and shadow a script supervisor directly, or edit a few films for yourself or take an intensive course then jump right into the fire.

I wish you all well in your burgeoning careers!

ciao :)

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Necessary resource, if unglamorous treatment 15 Mar 2005
By PL000 - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Miller's book provides the necessary foundational data one will need before getting into script supervising. Her writing doesn't exactly scintillate with humor like some of the new "guerilla filmmaking" books out there today -- she tends to write like a 1950s schoolteacher, precise and methodical -- but in an admittedly esoteric specialization of the industry where there are only a few books on the topic available, you really don't have a lot of options and you'll need this book. It's NOT sufficient for giving one the complete training needed to actually work as a script supervisor, however. Whoever wrote that you can learn what you need to know "on set" is just asking for trouble -- it's like thinking you can read a book on piloting an airplane and just get behind the yoke and learn "what you need to know" in the air. On a "real" film set (not some zero-budget digicam or student project that no one will ever see) mistakes are EXPENSIVE. Mistakes by a poorly trained s.s. can cost thousands of dollars (not including the cost of therapy when the director and editor go bonkers trying to cut the film from the scripty's notes.) Trying to learn on a "real" set could make it the first and the last real movie set you'll ever work on. I value Miller's book but it must be combined with a good course of study with a real-life teacher who can answer your questions. A course that includes on-the-job training and followup and information on how to research and obtain real jobs doing script supervising is critical -- obviously no book can contain all this. I found Jim Kelly Durgin's course to be helpful in this regard, and there may be others out there too if you look for them. BTW, I don't feel that the 3rd edition of the Miller book is substantially different or better than the 2nd, so if you need to save some money, you'll do just fine with the 2nd edition. I agree that she is old-fashioned (she doesn't deal _at all_ with the new continuity software on the market, a huge omission) but, again, there aren't that many books about this subject readily available.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for the newbies and those with experience 29 Jun 2002
By A Customer - Published on
This book is a great tool for those with experience as well as those who are just thinking about getting into the business. I carry a copy with me on every set! :)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't be happier 17 Jun 2009
By Lily Holden - Published on
Great book to start learning the craft from. It would help to include some of the modern technological advances, such as programs to do all the paperwork / script work on the computer. But other than that, fantastic.
8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comments on other Reviewer's comments 6 Jan 2005
By Bruce Clark - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just want to toss my hat in here about the Pat Miller's book on script continuity.

This book was recommended to me last summer when I was on a film shoot. I was cautioned that the book was very old but it was basically the "Bible" for script supervisors. Hey it was published 1998, written maybe 2 years earlier so given it's 2005, that's almost 8 or 9 years ago. I was told to read the book and to use what I wanted from it. The script supervisor who recommended the book was also nice enough to give me her forms that she uses on set.

The problem with reviews by Larry D. Madill Jr. and "a reader" about courses by Jim Kelly Durgin and Mark Thomas is that (1) I don't live in LA (2) I need to come up to speed reasonably fast for 2 small films I am working on (3) if Durgin or Thomas are such 'experts' why haven't they written books on the topic (4) script supervision is something that you learn on the job and not from a course (although a course is sure better than a book and a book better than nothing at all).
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