Unsung Heroes: Why Script Coordinators Deserve Appreciation

January 19th, 2022  |  by maria

Unsung Heroes: Why Script Coordinators Deserve Appreciation -

A movie or television series is not just the actors and directors. There are countless people working behind the scenes to give the audience the best viewing experience!

When people walk out of the cinema after watching a life-changing movie, they often praise the actors who made them feel the emotions of the characters like no one else. Or perhaps the direction that made the film stand out, or even the cinematography that enhanced their experience.

But it is no secret that no one even knows the name of the people who worked on the post-production special effects, audio, and the writing and script of the film tirelessly. Most of us don’t even know who a script coordinator is or what they do!

Working as a script coordinator on a film or television project is not an easy task. These supervisors have to keep an eye on all the details of the script and streamline all the events from start to finish. Compiling the script is always a challenge, and script coordinators must be up for it.

What Do Script Coordinators Do?

Now that we are finally talking about script coordination, it is time we shed some light on who they are and what they do. We are aware that the script is quite possibly the most crucial element of any film or television series. Without the script, there is no story and no execution. 

Script coordinators ensure that everything about the script is in order. They are also known as the keepers of the script. They have to ensure that they proofread and check the script, have a look at the compilation and order of the scenes, and ensure the right people get the script at the correct time.

The role of a script coordinator is even more crucial for television series. There are typically three types of television gigs for script coordinators. Let’s have a detailed look at what these are and the duties they come with. 

1.    Single-Writer Shows

Single-writer shows are television series that have episodes that are written by one screenwriter only. There arent multiple writers working on the same script and writing for the same episode. Shows like Grimm are an example of single-writer shows.

For a single-writer television series, the writer comes up with an idea for the script and pitches it to the showrunners. The showrunners review the idea and approve it for the writer to start working on it. Once the showrunners approve it, the writer gets somewhere around a week or two to write it all down.

The script coordinator comes into the picture once the writer finishes writing the script. They are given the script to proofread it and make any edits that are necessary. Another role of the script coordinator in shows like Grimm is to make notes of all mythological creatures that have been introduced and the languages that are used.

A script coordinator has to keep track of all the events that have unfolded in the universe of the television series and ensure that there are no mistakes. Shows like Lost of The Event require extra attention because they have multiple complicated timelines. In this case, the coordinators have to keep a check on all the fictional information.

2.    Multiple Writers In The Room

There are countless shows on television that have multiple writers involved in the process and present in the writer’s room. For example, shows like New Amsterdam have various writers working on the script. Some of the most notable names include: Erika Green Swafford, David Foster, Aaron Ginsburg, Cami Delavigne, Laura Valdivia, David Schulner, Josh Carlebach, Jiréh Breon Holder, Shaun Cassidy and Graham Norris. 

Once the writers are done with the script, they send the written material to the script coordinator. It can be a challenge to work on such shows as the script coordinator has to receive written material from numerous people and compile it all to make a cohesive episode from start to finish.

It can also be said that the script coordinators that work on multiple-writer shows have more editorial power than usual. This is because they have to compile the scenes, their orders and make any edits that have to be made. However, shows like New Amsterdam don’t have any complicated timelines. This makes the role of the script coordinator a little easier.

3.    Shows That Shoot All-At-Once

We have all noticed how miniseries or shows that have 8-10 episodes per season have gained more popularity over recent years. People enjoy watching shows that don’t drag on and on for an extended period of time. These television series are primarily for cable or online streaming platforms instead of networks. 

For example, people everywhere watched and appreciated HBO’s Mare Of Easttown. This is a show about a detective in a small town in Pennsylvania. The show was a crime thriller, and people enjoyed it thoroughly. The role of a script coordinator working on shows like Mare Of Easttown is drastically different.

These shows are filmed all-at-once, which is why the writers and showrunners work on the script and develop it at once. There are no weekly script compilations or editing. When shooting all-at-once, the showrunners are also provided with the opportunity to cross-board and film at the same location for different scenes, saving a lot of money and production costs.

The script coordinator working on such shows becomes the showrunner’s right-hand person. The writer’s assistant leaves once the production begins, whereas the script coordinator stays till the very end. They have to ensure that everything is going according to the script and handle all the changes that have to be made due to any unforeseen circumstances.

What Makes Script Coordinators Crucial For Films And Television?

Script coordinators are truly the unsung heroes of the industry. They contribute so much by ensuring that the audience gets to see the best version of the project. Most of the time, they go above and beyond to do things that are not even included in the script coordinator job description. 

The reason they are considered the right-hand person for filmmakers and television showrunners is because they are in charge of keeping the script. They read and edit the script, making improvements. They also take notes regarding the tiniest plot points to ensure the final product looks as cohesive as possible. Not only that, script coordinators are often in charge of the contract for all writers.

Script coordinator jobs are not easy to fulfill. They have to be extremely flexible and understanding. Most of the time, there are some unforeseen circumstances that call for a change to the script. Here, the coordinators have to make these changes on short notice. Having a good attitude can help you get more script coordinator jobs and gigs, and you can excel in the industry. 

Final Takeaway

From writer’s assistants to script coordinators, there are numerous unsung heroes in the industry involved with the filmmaking process. Movies and television shows would be incomplete and all over the place without script coordinators.

The script supervisors help with the compilation of all the scenes and ensure that the final product is flowing together seamlessly. It is time that we start appreciating all the hard work these professionals put into every project, enhancing our experience as the audience.

If you liked this article, you should also check out Screenwriting Tools and Tips.

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