It's what I've waited for.
A real film...a low budget, indy short...still, a real film. It's what I came here to do, to have a chance working in films...on both sides of the camera.
The director/writer is taking a chance with me...everyone else is long time experienced in the production side of the industry, working with the names. Me? I'm theater sliding over into the other side of this business. I answered her ad, she interviewed me along with other script supervisors with resumes that had more than non paid, hand held camera, filmed in the director's friend's apartments films. Where I did more of AD work than script supervision work.
She sent me her script, a beautiful little number, Scar, at the same time someone else sent me a script asking me to just time it. Her call to me came when I'd read his script, and was in a hurry to catch the train.
"Hi, Quin, this is K...so, did you time the script?"
"Yeah.. it's a good piece of work. I was surprised, considering the title. I love where you went with it."
"What's our timing? The AD is worried on the action sequences."
Without adjusting my mental files, I grabbed the number of the last figure I wrote down in my book,
"I got 90 minutes."
Dead silence. Crickets chirping.
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. I timed it twice. I think you can shave some time off in the action, but, you've got a lot of..."
She broke in, her voice high and breathless, "For a short???"
I realised my error and started to laugh, standing in the middle of the sidewalk.
"Oh, K! I gave you R's timing! Your script is just at 20 minutes."
That sealed our friendship and working relationship on this project, that we now call the 90 Minute Short.
Today, we met up, went over the script in it's 8th revision, and covered the times one more, well, time. I'm going to work with FX, which is going to be a first..hell, who am I kidding, all of this will be a first. It was funny, her editor asked her if I was looking at this from a stage point of view before he knew that was my background, and was pleased when she told him how I started.
I'm scared to death, I can't wait for filming to begin at the end of June. We shoot in Brooklyn...two nights, two day turnaround, two days. I am not giving up my day job, so, I'll be dead. Two more films that have SAG actors, as this does, and I'm union qualified. Then, I can give up my day job...maybe.
I didn't think I'd get the break. The class is short, because this is a learn as you go kind of thing... there are the basics, then, you find your own way what you have to do. I watch films along the lines of LOTR with it's multiple cameras, where you still usually have only one script supervisor or Company of Men, where the camera stayed steady for pretty much the entire film, and I'm wondering if I can do this... it's so different from stage management work. There, you block, you set it up, and that's that. No continuity problems, no meshing of film.
Here, I'm responsible for making sure that the film editor has what he needs to put it together as one seamless flow.
I heard an actor, a rising to big places actor, say in a class for film acting that you should get along with crews on film sets...but, if you don't, it's okay. They will always make sure you look good, that you are lit well, that your scenes stay in if you shine in them. That it is the actor who is out there putting themselves in front, making the effort.
I remember thinking, "Don't tell them that. Piss off a cinematographer, and you aren't lit perfectly. Make the film editor feel like a schmuck, and your good scene is on the floor. Treat the script supervisor like she is nothing, and she decides what scene is printed. And the sound guy hears everything. If anyone knows who is and who isn't, it's a crew."
I'm meandering here...my script is coffee stained, covered with pencil markings. I've walked the paces of the actors, know the lines by heart, have jumped over the sofa to time them jumping a fence, heard a police car on the way home from the train racing with lights on, and hit my stopwatch because I needed that kind of a time. My coloured pens are ready, so is my Polaroid.
My only stipulation to K was, I get half the swag at Sundance...she agreed. Works for me.