Sunday, September 20, 2015

Karin Gleason's #GACrewCall: Script Supervisor [20150917]

* I do not own this logo. It is owned by ABC's Grey's Anatomy
Nicole Rubio aka Nicole Cummins: Script Supervisor
*Content written below is based on what was said directly from the periscope session in a mix of my words and his

Nicole Rubio is the script supervisor for Grey's Anatomy. She has been working on the show since the pilot re-shoots known to Karin Gleason as Season 1 episode 1.1. Nicole has also directed a few episodes (9.20, 10.18, 11.04, 12.04) and also plays Paramedic Nicole on the show. Karin Gleason and Nicole both state that they've been on the show for a long time. Nicole's daughter has grown up on Grey's, she was 3 when she started and is now 14.

According to Nicole the script supervisor "writes down everything that the camera shoots for the editor so that the editor can put it together later on." Nicole than proceeds to show a regular episode script (11.21) and then shows the script she does as script supervisor that consists of additional pages with copious amounts of notes. (Script notes consist of whether an actor didn't say this line, camera was out of focus there, ladder was in the shot here.) The completed script goes to the post department and music department so that they know exactly what lines were cut during shooting. Karin adds that "essentially she is the eyes and ears of post on set." Yes, she helps the directors and actors with lines and continuity, but because post can't be on set themselves, she is the one that is their on filming day that informs post of what decisions were made on set. She tells post what was good or bad of each take, or how the beginning of a take was good but not the end, etc.

Nicole states that in TV most editors can figure things out when it comes to events or changes on set, but with movies the script is almost twice as long as a TV script so the job of a script supervisor is the same but has a different rhythm and pace. With television even though the script is smaller than that of a film it is faster paced, all the shooting is completed in about 9 days. "TV is a condensed version of a feature." Also of all the other departments on set the script supervisor has almost no down time. For example, when actors are acting grips kind of sit around and when the lighting department is doing their thing actors have their down time, etc. However, script supervisor always has something to do, they don't get to sit around.

The script supervisor position is important because part of her job is to make sure all the shots needed for the day were done because they're not going back to pick it up. At the end of a day the set dresser and construction break down the set and prepare for the next scene. It's almost impossible to go back and fix, but sometimes re-shoots are needed. Nicole states that in 12 years that has only happened about 3 times.

How did you become a script supervisor?
She started in the business as an actor, she worked doing commercials and small parts. She was introduced to the position through a long time friend Dawn Gilliam who is the script supervisor for JJ Abrams. They met when Nicole was a Los Angeles Raiders cheerleader and Dawn was a Los Angeles Rams cheerleader. One day Nicole showed up for a job and Dawn was the script supervisor. After that Nicole thought "wow that is a really interesting job and I love all the responsibilities that you have and being able to sit, watch, and learn." Nicole then asked Dawn to show her the ropes and she learned on the set of Tales from the Hood (1995). After that producers got to know her and they hired her for their movie Sprung (1997) and she has been working ever since. Karin adds "it's an interesting job because you have to learn by doing, you have your task but you need to find your own rhythm to get things going." On Nicole's first solo job she didn't think she could do it but Dawn told her to give it time and that she just has to train her brain to be on all the time. She gave it time and formed her own system of doing the job. For example, while a camera lens is being changed you clean this up, tell that person a line, you come back you tell the sound department about a line change, go tell the property department that a cup in the shot was half full, and this and that until you get back to your chair and their rolling.

Having done acting, directing, and script supervising do you have a preference?
"They all excite me in different ways." Nicole then adds an anecdote of how she got the part as Paramedic Nicole. One day someone forgot to cast a paramedic and Executive Producer Rob Corn came into "video village" asking everyone to say the required line. Everyone was basically auditioning in video village and he even asked his 12 year old son he was so panicked and Nicole said the line and he was like "you're hired go do it." Even though she was working as an actor she was still running around doing her script supervisor duties once "cut" was called. It was also the day her catch phrase was birthed, whoa, whoa, whoa! (It was made clear that NO union violation were made)
*Photo Source
Do you find that being a script supervisor gives you another awareness of things?
Nicole states that she has been caught numerous times when directing giving lines to actors when they've forgotten it even though it's the script supervisor's job, that skill doesn't turn off. The attention to detail and communication skill that is required as a script supervisor is especially useful when dealing with someone who doesn't know their lines or needs guidance. She is trained to look at the lines, the action, and be aware of it all.

Do you think if you hadn't been script supervisor, if you had stayed being an actor, would you have segued into directing?
Being a script supervisor made her aware on set, but she was always interested in directing. Nicole describes that sometimes with being an actor you get pigeonholed. You get put into an "actor box," even though there are many actors who have directed successful productions. With all that said Nicole states that her answer is "I don't think I'd be directing if I was just still acting."
*Photo belongs to ABC & its affiliates
What are skills needed for the job?
In this job you have to be able to think for at least 18 hours a day, be organized, focused, be a people person, punctual, and jokingly have a strong bladder. Nicole states that your heart really has to be in it. She recommends that if you know anyone in the business that you shadow and intern not just her department, but all departments (hair & make-up, property, sound, etc)

How much did you like the flash mob episode (9.23)?
"It was the best!" It was long days with long rehearsals, but she was dancing alongside people who've danced with Michael Jackson. After it was done she was super sore, but she really liked it.

Best thing about your job?
Everything changes, the job is the same but everyday comes with a different situation and new way to deal with it. You never know what your going to get from guest actors, some are just amazing. The best part is the ever changing not knowing what you're going to get and being up for it.

Any advice for anyone trying to get into your profession?
Her advice is to learn it all, and keep it fresh. Learn all you can about all the working parts of a production. Also to explore all the different professions and people around you.

Where did you go to school?
Nicole did not go to film school. She learned all she knows while working on set. What you learn in film school she learned while on set as an actor and working with Dawn as a script supervisor.

At the end of the video Karin Gleason assures viewers that she will continue doing #GACrewCall sessions even after the premiere of the show and hopes to re-interview some of the crew to discuss things that couldn't be discussed before in order to prevent spoilers.

Thanks again to Karin Gleason and Nicole Rubio for their time today. Feel free to follow Karin Gleason on twitter at @karingleason for updates on future #GACrewCall sessions on periscope. You can also follow Nicole Rubio at @myfriendnicole or you can follow my random rants at @TheAmandaAponte! Feel free to leave comments below.

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