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Script Supervising in Foreign Language

June 8, 2017

 

Pitfall is the project I've Script Supervised this May. Produced by Henriette Mercedes Spiering and Directed by Ben Desmond, this period World War II short film spoken in both German and Russian has already a promising future in the Festival circuit.

 

The location of this film was quite particular and demanded an adaptation to it from every department in order for us to do our jobs properly: we shot inside of a cave without immediate access to natural light.

 

Head torches were provided mainly for you to be able to walk around, but as a script supervisor, if your main form of note taking is pen and paper, you will need light to guarantee you do your job properly.

 

Now, this gets tricky when you need to respect other departments as Camera needs to do their lighting tests before shooting and for that, the Director of Photography needs a clear view of how the shot is going to play out when everyone turns their torches out. Tania Freimuth was excellent at operating and visualizing the film, adapting the shots and the light to the story in an eximious way with really intelligent choices, giving the film its best production value.

 

In the end of the day, the interesting thing about every different project is how well a crew adapts and compromises and, in this case, we danced between who can have the light and when. If the turn over is really quick, notes can be lost in several takes, which might become quite confusing and make you feel lost, but as long as you can communicate this, you should be fine.

 

The other new experience was the fact that none of the dialogue was spoken in a language I could understand. Even if you know the meaning of what is being said by having a translated script, you can't teach yourself the correct tone and pronunciation in a short period of time. Although, this is pivotal for a film's coherence and credibility, in case the audience speaks the language being spoken in the story. 

 

 

In this case, you'll need a native speaker on set and a cast that knows the language or is able to really learn it. Radina Drandova's Bulgarian background was perfect for her Russian and Ross Tomlinson is able to master languages like no one, which made my job so much easier and brought life to the characters.

 

As for the companionship of cast and crew, this was an amazing one and I sure hope I see this bunch soon, along with the end product of these three days together.

 

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