Last year I submitted an earlier version of “I’m Sorry I Love You” to a film festival for feedback.
Today I got something back from them.
I have watched other production managers who approached this role as strictly a ‘bean counter’ and hard line disciplinarian of cast and crew. I have studied management styles in various industries for years and been in that leadership role periodically.
Currently, I am at work as a production manager for a feature film (All-In Madonna). I went into this job with some preconceived notions about the role. And, as always, the reality has taught me a few lessons!
Throughout my experiences on both sides of the management department, I have developed my own sense of team management.
As a production manager, I would say my focus is on building up my team in a way that facilitates an attitude of holding space for creativity. While there is always the consideration of cost and budgeting – both time and money – my management decisions are based on answering one key question: does this help to create and hold space for the team to focus on their craft and do their best work?
During a film production, we become much like a family, and I find this approach gives us each the space to be our most authentic selves as creative people; developing and learning skills together.
The YAH WAVE production family photo.
My first love is storytelling.
I was that weird kid who spent summer vacation researching topics that interested me, then writing creative stories for my friends and me to perform for our families.
I’ve become that weird adult who pretty much does the same thing, except that now I help other writers and directors tell their stories the way they envision.
I grew up in a small northern BC town and although I didn’t think of it much at the time, I grew up in relative poverty, not white and not native.
My grandfather left the reservation when he fought in the Second World War, but he handed down the few stories and teachings he could remember. And taught me to love the stories of many cultures.
This love of people and their stories brings me to my work today.
2019 will see me focusing more on screenwriting and producing films, and I’m excited to be participating in the screenwriting program Tricksters & Writers!
Development & Production
Development & Production
Springboard Producers’ Panel
With the filmmaking industry growing the way it is in BC, production companies are meeting the challenge of working in more environmentally sustainable ways.
B.C. is one of the top three international full-service production centres in North America with more than 65 film studios, the industry contributed $3.4 billion to the province’s economy in 2017-18.
With so many things in production year round, there are many opportunities to develop enviornmentally sound filmmaking practices. Some of the strategies we’re consistently seeing include switching to electricity from diesel generators, using hybrid cars, implementing a print-on-demand system and reducing the consumption of beef on set.
As a script supervisor, I am seeing the swtich from paper to digital tools such as laptops and ipads with software like ScriptE and Scriptation to perform our roles on set, and personal use items like reusable water bottles and coffee mugs are becoming the norm rather than disposable water bottles and paper cups.
A number of movies and television shows have started keeping track of sustainable practices. As an example: 21st Century Fox says on its website that its “X-Files” season 10 production managed to divert 81 percent of its total waste from landfills and by recycling all of the aluminum and steel used in construction. “X-Files” Season 10 was filmed in 40 locations across B.C., each requiring elaborate set construction, lengthy transportation demands and intensive fuel use. Greening this production even saved the company $41,000, the website says!
Making movies is about creating new worlds and the sets made for those worlds require wood, much of which is lauan wood and comes from Southeast Asia – from rainforests. If the wood is Forest Stewardship Council certified then it is a better option. Anything with an ecolabel is more responsibly managed.
Much of the sustainable lifestyle choices we make on set are frequently seen on screen too, with heroes driving electric or hybrid cars, characters using reusable water bottles, and recycling household garbage. Film and TV is a great influencer over cultures, so seeing these things play out on screen helps to foster their use in our everyday lives.
Next time you’re on set, take note of the things we are doing to practice environmentally responsible, sustainable filmmaking in BC!
It has been said that “teamwork makes the dream work” and in filmmaking I have experienced this to be more so than in other industries, in part because a production team is there to literally make someone’s creative dream come to life.
Recently, I worked on an independent film set which was beset by a number of challenges that would have, typically, halted production. In this case though, the leadership of our directorial team was such that we adapted and overcame everything from missing equipment, to transportation issues, bad weather, a double-booked filming location, and more!
Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was brought in by the director, Larke Miller, for this production only days before we began shooting to replace the original script supervisor and I’m so glad I agreed to jump in! It was a great learning experience and reinforced for me that I’m working in an industry well suited to my nature, creativity, and skills.
As with many independent film productions, members of the cast and crew stepped in to fulfill more than one role, lending their varied expertise in set decoration, sound and lighting design, special effects makeup, and even craft services. It was inspiring to see so many rise to the challenges with grace and generosity in order to bring our writer/director’s vision to life.
To the directorial team, cast, and crew of Pluto, I send out a round of applause for a job well done in the face of many challenges, and my sincere gratitude for sharing your individual stories and knowledge of filmmaking with me.
Big excitement for a small town in BC, as Ladysmith plays host to film shoot for Paramount Pictures’ Sonic The Hedgehog!
While many locals have been hired to help crew the shoot, others stand by in hopes of seeing their favourite A-list stars, Jim Carrey and James Marsden.
The shoot is rumoured to have a $7 million budget for the portion scheduled to shoot in Ladysmith, and locals are thrilled with the facelift of storefronts and investment in the local economy. The film shoot has brought jobs to locals who work in the BC film industry and the production is utilizing local businesses not just for a pretty location, but as suppliers of goods and services.
The shoot has been off to a rough start due to inclement weather, but rain delays are a part of life for experienced film crews and local islanders. Shooting is expected to resume on Monday.
Why do you need a script supervisor for your production?
From script breakdowns and pre-production meetings to the last day of shooting, a script supervisor is the extra eyes and ears of the director and the safety net for continuity.
We know the script inside out and backward because we have broken it down scene by scene, line by line, to make sure we know where all the moving parts of a storyline fit together.
- We help the director to make certain no coverage is missed during shooting and our notes inform the editor of how the director wants the story to come together.
- We are the official timekeepers on set, recording the times of first and last shot of the day so the crew can be paid.
- We determine the slate numbers of each scene, setup, and take.
- We track scenes, shots, and takes, with notes about what is good and bad about each take.
- We are intensely focused, attentive to the details so that we can draw the director’s attention to a potential problem.
- We monitor the integrity of axis and eyelines.
- We track the daily progress of the production to keep it on time and on budget.
- We track every detail of the shoot as it unfolds on film so that the director and editor can find exactly what they need when they need it during the editing process.
Your Script Supervisor has the answers!
The script supervision role is technical rather than creative; our skills ensure the magic of storytelling happens with the best possible efficiency and integrity.
We are the secret Ninjas of film production!
Since I began training for this role, I have experimented with several different digital tools and spoken with a good number of script supervisors who are currently using the various apps and hardware. I have also created my own templates using various spreadsheets and word processing programs.
The general consensus is: Shooting digital has made our work more demanding and the digital products available aren’t as helpful as I had thought they would be. Ultimately, we need something which will help us organize our notes and tracking information efficiently because the more we write down, the less we have to remember!
The most common software currently used seems to be ScriptE.
It is available for both Microsoft machines and Apple iPad; however, the iPad app has many more options and functionalities, which really forces one to purchase an iPad and Apple pencil in order to fully benefit from using ScriptE. I resist this, because I don’t like being forced to buy anything and would honestly prefer to continue using my laptop.
On that note, there are productions which will not even hire you, if you do not use ScriptE.
Right now, I prefer using my own paper forms and report templates, using my clipboard and binder to keep everything organized with me on set. I can send my photos from camera or smart phone to my laptop using bluetooth tech and from there email whatever the office needs.
When you have ScriptE on an iPad Pro with Apple pencil and use a PDF editor, you’re essentially using pen and paper on a much more expensive digital set up. But if you don’t have these digital tools, you could lose your job. Apparently, it’s the producers who are asking for the technology; true to our modern times, they think that access to these programs make a good script supervisor.
I maintain that if you can’t do the job ‘old school,’ you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t understand what to put into the software to begin with. And if tech fails you (as it is wont to do), you’re screwed.
Conclusion: I know how to use ScriptE, but I prefer using the tools I have: paper, pen, smart phone, and laptop.
Here is a list of some other useful digital tools.