Breaking Down a Script

As a script supervisor part of my job is done in prep or pre-production.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon breaking down a script for a short film shooting next week. After I finished it I found out that I have a new scheduling conflict and had to replace myself on it sadly. So a friend of mine will actually be working the show. But either way I did the breakdown and I want to share the process with you!

Every script supervisor has a different order they do these things but here is my order.

1- Count your scenes. (So you know the totally scene count for the script.)

2- Breakdown your pages into eighths and figure out the page count for each scene. i.e.: Sc 4 = 1/8 or Sc 17 = 2 2/8.

3- Using this count up your total page count for the script. (I use the scriptE software so it does my scene and page counts for me, though I always double check the accuracy)

4- Now it’s time to go through the script scene by scene and enter a brief description of every scene. (This takes awhile)

5- Then i go through scene by scene again to notice any and all details.

What I’m looking for:

• what story day it is. (Very important)

• things that we need to see in evidence in a room, because it plays a part at some point.

• props, tracking them through the story line. (i.e.: the character has a flask at the house, hands it to another character in the car, then has it when they arrive at the next location.)

• Hair, make-up, & wardrobe notes: If there’s anything in the script pertaining to this, i.e.: the character falls and gets dirty, gets bloody, cries, etc. If things like this happen I need to note it so in the following scenes we make sure to match the dirt, blood, tears, etc.

• Anything contradictory so I can ask the writer or director for clarification.

Once we are shooting this breakdown is invaluable to me and other departments to help us keep everything in continuity since everything is filmed out of order!

Please comment below with and questions or comments!

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Also check out:

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Sister site: Craft Making and Drag Racing

Lindsey’s Jewelry: Hard Wear by Lindsey (Awesome stuff)

Rustified.com – Lifestyle Inspirations from a Renaissance Man (I love his blog- 365 page book for this year, recipes, & daily inspirations)

Rusty J’s Music Site

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4 responses

  1. Just looked at your post “breaking down a script” very cool and complete… also I took in the sad eyed look of the pup… he sure takes after his owner,,, Love ya G-pa.

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