What enthused any of us to become Script Supervisors?  It's a question we're always being asked. Read about some people's experiences.
If you'd care to share your journey to becoming a Script Supervisor - email us with your story in about 200 words, including a 'working' photo, at mail@scriptsupervisors.co.uk


Below you'll find many & varied Script Supervisors' 'beginnings' in no particular order. Hopefully this list will be added to as time goes on...




MARJORIE LAVELLY


Marjorie Lavelly - the 'self-confessed queen of continuity' on sixties and seventies British TV action series.   She came out of the forces as an accountant and joined documentary company, GB Instructional Films at Shepherds Bush, then Elstree.   An editor she knew offered to train her in the cutting rooms, but due to an eye injury she had to abandon that path.   She took a shorthand/typing course and got work as a production secretary.   She studied continuity sheets, then got work on 2nd Units.   Her husband, a gaffer at Shepperton was offered a picture in India, on which she also managed to get employed.   It was a long feature called "Queen of Jhansi", in English and Hindi and the first colour picture to be made by an Indian with Indian finance.   She said:  "quite an experience, I worried like crazy but managed to get through it without any cockups".
 

Her first English feature was "Robbery Under Arms" (1957), she worked on many Hammer films, four Carry On films, TV series such as "The Avengers", "The Sweeney" and "The Professionals".   The last film she worked on was "The Girl in a Swing" (1988). for a Danish company, shot in Copenhagen.   She then retired and died in September 2006.



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ELAINE SCHREYECK

Elaine Schreyeck - known as "the Duchess", entered the film industry in 1941 at Paramount Pictures in Wardour Street.   In February 1942, she joined Ealing Studios under Michael Balcon, to work in the script department, before becoming secretary to director Basil Dearden.

In July 1943 she worked on her first film as script supervisor and continued until her retirement in 1986.

First credit on IMDb is listed as "For Those in Peril", directed by Charles Crichton, an Ealing Films production - she is uncredited.   There are 74 films listed on her IMDb page, amongst which are "The Prince and the Showgirl", directed by Laurence Olivier, also "Battle of Britain", "Diamonds are Forever", "Live and Let Die", "The Man with the Golden Gun", "Moonraker", "For Your Eyes Only", "Octopussy", the first two "Superman" films and finally "Hope and Glory".







 

 

Elaine Schreyeck, on the back of the props truck, working on "The Sundowners".  The photo captain was: 'her majesty'.

 
Elaine Schreyeck, working on "The Sundowners" (1960), director Fred Zinnemann

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GLADYS GOLDSMITH

Gladys Goldsmith started out at Denham Studios.  She was a production secretary during WW2 and worked in an adjacent office to Renee Glynne, to whom she was "a humorous friend and colleague".    After the war she turned to continuity at Denham, working as assistant continuity on "Escape" and "Hamlet" in 1948.   Her first recorded work 'going solo' was on "Let's have a Murder" in 1950.   From "Checkpoint" in 1956 she began a long association with the Rank Organisation and Pinewood Studios.   She worked there on the 'Doctor' series of films, took over from Marjorie Lavelly for the location work on "One Million Years BC", and continued on a 'mixed bag' of films: "The Avengers" (series), "Carry on Up The Khyber", "Kelly's Heroes", "The Day of the Jackal", "The Return of the Saint" (series), and her last film was "Moonraker" in 1979.


Gladys Goldsmith working on "Countess Dracula" (1970). Peter Sasdy, the Director with loud hailer.
 

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LORNA SELWYN

Lorna Selwyn's first known credit is on the television series "The Bucaneers" (1956).   She worked on other tv series:  "The Saint", "The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre", "The Avengers", films such as "Rasputin:  The Mad Monk", "The Plank", "Ulysses", "Witchfinder General" and an infamous style of film of the '70s "Come Play with Me".   Her last film on IMDb is "Queen of the Blues" (1979).











 

 

Lorna Selwyn on "Dracula Prince of Darkness" (1965), directed by Terry Fisher


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DOREEN DEARNALEY

Doreen Dearnaley started as a production secretary for Two Cities Films at Denham Studios.   Her first recorded film as continuity girl was "House of Blackmail" in 1953.   She worked at Hammer on various films, including "Dracula" in 1957.   Among other films, she worked on "The Jokers" and "Charlie Bubbles" in 1967, "Up The Junction" (1968), "Get Carter" (1971) and her final film on IMDb is "Something to Hide" in 1976.







 

Doreen Dearnaley on location, in Alassio, Italy on "The Snorkel" (1957).  Hugh Harlow centre.


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JUNE RANDALL

June Randall first got a job as studio manager's secretary at Gainsborough Studios, Poole Street, Islington.   After a year she went onto the floor as an assistant and learned the trade that way.   Her first recorded credit as assistant continuity is at Gainsborough on "Dear Murderer" in 1947, and then as continuity girl on "The Blind Goddess" in 1948.   She worked at Hammer and on tv series - "The Avengers" and "The Saint".    She worked on several films with Stanley Kubrick, starting with "A Clockwork Orange" in 1971, and again with him on "Barry Lyndon" and "The Shining".   She worked on 5 "Bond" films, plus "Ghandi", "Alien 3", and her last film was "Back to the Secret Garden" in 2001.
 

Brian Donlevy and June Randall on "Quatermass 2" (1956)

 
June Randall showing the script to John Carson on
 "Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter" (1972)

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PAULINE HARLOW

Pauline Harlow started as a receptionist at Bray Studios and then worked as Arthur Kelly's secretary, moving on to work for Anthony Nelson Keys.   She was offered a year's training with continuity girl Tilly Day, and was also seconded to the cutting rooms.  The first film she did solo as continuity girl was "Sword of Sherwood Forest", taking over from Dot Foreman.   She continued her training under Tilly and then worked on various Hammer films.  After a break from the job, while her children were growing up, she returned to work on many tv series, "Monsignor Renard", "Kavanagh QC" and particularly "Inspector Morse", with John Thaw.   Pauline has continued working on the sequel, "Lewis".


 

Pauline Harlow working on "Nightmare" (1962) for Hammer at Oakley Court.

 
Pauline Harlow on "The Secret of Blood Island" (1964)

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PENNY EYLES

My beginnings as a Script Supervisor




At the BBC we were known as Producer's Assistants working for a Director along with his PA (a 1st AD) and an Assistant Floor Manager.  The three of us organised whole productions, series, serials, Wednesday plays.  I typed memos, typed scripts, booked actors, booked lunches, got coffee, arranged meetings for people with strange titles like TM2 or FOMs, added up the budget and occasionally went out filming - I thought this would be the ultimate in glamour, put on my most fetching short dress and tights and froze. 

 
 I carried a script and a pad marked CONTINUITY and filled the sheets with copious notes and illustrated them with little drawings of vaguely what was being recorded - no luxurious monitors and a brief peer through the lens was not looked on with favour.  I drew wobbly lines down scripts to indicate what might have been covered and had no idea what was meant by an eyeline but somehow survived.  To give the BBC its due, the Producer's Assistants did do a few days training on Continuity.  One day I was sent wandering round the Television Centre at White City where we were based - in a very tiny ofice was a thin young man, with sellotape wound round his spectacles, called Ken Loach. He went on to make features like "Kes" and so did I as Continuity/Script Supervisor - a mixed bag of good and sometimes bad experiences and I have often wondered why I find myself watching and recording, in the minutest detail, people pretending to be other people.   Penny Eyles 2.6.12

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CATHY DOUBLEDAY

My route to Script Supervising

  • Degree in Developmental Psychology at Sussex University
  • Uncertain what career to pursue - Film & TV industry seemed impossible to the likes of me - so bought some time by doing a course to learn typing and shorthand
  • Worked for several years in different areas including Education and Publishing
  • First job in the Television Industry working for the Managing Director of Channel 4 in its early years
  • Soon realised I wanted to be closer to the programme/film making process

 
  • Worked as Producer's Assistant for several Independent Production Companies eventually working with Ann Skinner who had been a Script Supervisor before becoming a Producer
  • 2 Week Continuity course at the short course unit of Beaconsfield NFTV School. (Pretty good course in those days.  We were teamed up with the Director's course to work on their short film.)
  • Approximately 16 months training (odd days/weeks here & there) with established Script Supervisors largely unpaid & student films/freebies interspersed with temping to pay the mortgage
  • Spent valuable time with Mary Holdsworth & Pauline Harlow who were both generous with their time and knowledge
  • Annie Penn let me do 2nd unit on Henry V - up to my knees in mud recreating the Battle of Agincourt on the fields opposite Shepperton Studios
  • Asked to do a Channel 4 job (4 short plays shot on video), I didn't think I was ready, they said I was and so I did it
  • My training has continued ever since


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DIANA DILL

I was working for a paint manufacturing company in the City of London, a Film Editor friend, enthused me with his description of the film industry, about which I knew very little. I applied for several Producer's Assistant jobs. Got hired by Paramount Pictures to work for Steve Previn, who was overseeing the post-production of some Paramount films at Shepperton Studios.  I couldn't believe my luck to be working there - it was so exciting. Paramount then sent me on location with another Producer on a Blake Edwards/Julie Andrews film, shooting in Ireland, Brussels and Paris. It was my good fortune when 2nd & 3rd Units were set up and I was told to join them, to take care of the 'continuity' on the pick up shots - this after a brief spell with the USA 1st Unit 'Continuity Girl' to "see how its done". Back in the UK I realised that was the job I really wanted to do. Harlech TV trained me in every area of Production Assistant/Continuity for a whole year and, consequently, I was entitled to my ACTT Union ticket without which, in those days, you couldn't get a job.  At Thames TV I gained drama & filming experience.  I went freelance beginning on TV series; got lucky when asked to work as the Script Supervisor on a Westward TV film, which had a 1st AD from features, he recommended me for an independent short film and from there I began work in that captivating world of the film industry.

 

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ANGELA ALLEN

Angela Allen's entry into the film world

Way back then, the forties to be exact, I had heard about Continuity and decided to see if I could get a job as a trainee.  I had been to Denham Studios once and knew then I wanted to work on set.  I had tried being a secretary but realised a secretarial role was not for me.  I was not subservient enough.  I found the address of all the feature film companies and then hawked my wares around town.  Fortunately a company, Peak Films, said there might be a job at Worton Hall Studios on a film about to start.  I found my way to Isleworth from London by public transport and one of the first people I encountered was Guy Hamilton who was a First Assistant.  He sent me to the office and my good fortune started from then when I was introduced to Betty Forster who had been in the Army Film Unit and was about to start on a film called "Nightbeat".  She agreed to take me on and we

 
became firm friends.  About 3 weeks into the production they needed some second unit shots and I was dispatched to the 2nd unit in Wapping.  It was a true baptism:  Nightwork on a barge on the Thames.  We went through the warehouse to get to the boat but when the tide changed and dawn arrived one had to climb up a very long ladder.  I remember freezing on the ladder and saying I couldn't do it, but the boys were wonderful and made me do it, and from then on nothing fazed me. - My salary - fifteen shillings a week.

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SHARON MANSFIELD

How I became a Script Supervisor

Having left school at 16 I started in Video on a Youth Training Scheme at Southampton University and, having learnt every aspect from wiring cables, putting up lights, operating the camera, production office duties and editing, I applied to JOBFIT (a Government funded scheme to train people in the film industry) to specialise in Continuity/Script Supervision.  During the subsequent 2 years most of my placement were in editing, assistant directing or continuity.  The sound department already had its quota of 3, so my placement there gave me more time to observe the Script Supervisor.  I was very fortunate to work on some wonderful productions my first being "Greek Myth's The Storyteller", made by Jime Henson Productions.

 
I was a massive Muppet fan but alas did not get a chance to meet Jim Henson as he had very tragically died early that same year, 1989.  I worked with Mary Holdsworth and Hilary Fagg, who alternated between episodes.  I then worked on "Inspector Morse" in the editorial department, with Bob Dearberg and Andrew Nelson, sound department with Tony Dawe and Continuity department with Pauline Harlow.  The only film I trained on in the two years was "Alien III" and this under the guidance of June Randall.  That film was an eye opener.  I was very green of course, but took it all in and hopefully helped June rather than hindered her.  Once I had completed my two year training, I went freelance and with the contacts that I had made whilst training I managed to get the odd job here and there in television and film.  My biggest achievement, only a year into my freelancing, was to work on the 2nd Unit of "The Muppet Christmas Carol" for David Barron, who I had met on my first job.  He was the production manager, so I wrote to see if he needed anyone for the Muppet film, his reply was instant, he invited me in for an interview and, half an hour later I was sat at a desk with a pile of paperwork and tapes in front of me!  Daunting was an understatement!  After this film, though, I decided that 2nd Unit was my forte and have specialised in this field ever since.  It took me over 8 years to get established in the Industry having started my freelancing in 1991.  Between Jobs I had to work as a secretarial temp until 1999 when I worked on my first James Bond film, "The World Is Not Enough".  That was when I felt that I hade made it officially into the Film Industry.

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BRENDA LOADER

My early career..... it was all about timing!

I joined the BBC in the late 60's where I worked as Verity Lambert's secretary in the Drama, Plays Department.  The ethics of the BBC, at the time, allowed all employees the opportunity to apply for jobs advertised within the organisation, and very soon I was being trained as a Producer's Assistant, with responsibilities described by Penny Eyles earlier.  It was an exciting time;  BBC2 had just started and as the all-film-drama became more common I was allocated to shoot in the South of France on a thriller called "The Man Who Was Hunting Himself".



 
 An opportunity to move to an expanding Drama Department at Yorkshire Television, headed by Peter Willes, led me to work on a 5-week shoot in Hong Kong with director Jim Goddard on "Hadleigh".  I was in my element and, although somewhat overwhelmed and terrified at the start of the production, by the end I felt that 'Continuity' was something I could do full time and, therefore, ditch the unrewarding production co-ordinating aspect of being a PA!  So I made the momentous decision to become freelance in the hope that I would get work on films made by independent companies.

Verity, by then head of Euston Films, kindly introduced me to Johnny Goodman, Executive Producer on "Danger UXB", and I was offered two episodes.  As luck would have it towards the end of the shooting, Peter Cotton, the 1st AD, had been asked if he could recommend a Continuity Girl to work with director Terry Jones on "Monty Python's Life of Brian", which was due to start shooting in Tunisia, in the September.

And that was it - I never looked back - I had arrived in the film industry and have loved (well, nearly!) every moment ever since.

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DEAN DODDS-RAMSEY

I first started a few years ago.  I was taking a gap year in France, studying at a film school there.  I was interested in the production side of things.  One day a lecturer told us that there would be a class on script supervision, that it rarely occurred and we should come.  I had never heard of the role, but decided to go. The class was fascinating, I thought the role was a good fit for me as I always noticed continuity errors in films and I enjoyed organising/filing.  Most of the class agreed, during the lunch break a few people asked if I would be able to work on their short films.  I returned to the UK and I focused on script supervising through University.  A strange thing happened on the day I finished.

 
I was on my way to hand in my final assignment and I received a phone call, it was a woman I knew from the art department of a short film.  She was working on a low budget film which needed a cover SS.  I said yes and a few days later I was on my first feature.  After that I did a low budget film and training under other Script Supervisors who I got in touch with.  My two biggest breaks came recently.  I was at home one night when I received a call from "Kick-Ass 2", they needed a SS for the splinter unit and my name had come up (I imagine because the list was in alphabetical order).  The other break came through the yahoo group.  A DoP (Stefan Lange, who was a really nice person to work with) was looking for a SS on a children's educational series.  I applied and ended up working on "Tales From The Old Baily) (which recently aired on the BBC).  That's my story to date.







Photographs reprinted here with kind permission of Tomahawk Press, the publishers of Wayne Kinsey's book "Hammer Films - The Unsung Heroes": ISBN 13: 978-0-9557670-2-9 and Bloomsbury Publishing Limited, the publishers of "Fred Zinnemann An Autobiography" ISBN 0 - 7475-1131-4