Day Job: Script Coordinator

While I’ve been busy writing, I also continue to maintain my day job as a…

Script Coordinator 

Previously, I talked about working in animation as a production assistant. I was fortunate enough to move from that position up the ladder. That’s right, somebody decided to promote me. Why? I didn’t ask; I just said, “Thank you!”

It’s better to ask what a script coordinator does, and the answer is a bit obvious: You coordinate the scripts. Speaking specifically to my experience working on an animated TV series, there are a few more things involved.

Script coordinating means keeping all the various drafts of the script organized. You have to track things, and once again spreadsheets can become your friend. In addition to helping track drafts with the writing staff, you also have to track drafts through the production process. This means wrangling a draft for the voice over recording sessions.

The recording sessions for an animated TV show can be hilarious and fun events. As script coordinator, you must make sure every actor has a current script, including any last-minute changes, and you must make sure every single line of dialogue is recorded. While this can be a tedious and detailed task, it’s also incredibly fun to see people yell in funny voices at microphones while crammed into a confined, sound proofed room. Perhaps it’s the lack of fresh air, but the recording booth produces fascinating results. It’s hard to beat hearing the villain of your show go off script and angrily order a latte. Did I mention all the actors I’ve worked with are amazing people with great stories?

After the voices are recorded, the script coordinator must track all the audio and adjust the script drafts as things change. Sometimes lines are altered, sometimes cut, and sometimes new lines are added later. Ultimately, you must make sure that each draft is as accurate as possible to that step in the process. Believe me when I say that people can become upset when you misspell a minor word like ‘dam’. Who knew one little ‘n’ could cause so many problems?

The key thing to note: you work with both the production team and the writers. When you want to become a writer, working with professional writers is clearly a good thing. There is plenty to learn from observing writers produce episode after episode on a regular basis. Unfortunately, you cannot absorb talent by proximity, that’s a much more complicated process involving a bit of black magic and scotch.

Which reminds me, I have to go see a magician about some booze.

-Zac

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