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Do Not Disturb

Starting a flame war with wannabetvwriter got me thinking about script coordinators. (Turns out, she’s not a script coordinator, but a writer’s assistant. Oh, well. Just another reason to not read her blog.)

While everyone’s job requires a certain amount of concentration, there are certain people who you definitely shouldn’t interrupt– the loader, the script coordinator, Christian Bale.

A script coordinator does more than just check the writers’ spelling, grammar, and formatting. They’re the last line of defense for ensuring that a given episode fits within the continuity of the series as a whole (especially important with today’s serials, like Lost and 24). On some shows, they even share research duties with writing assistants.

They also deal with legal issues, like name clearances (making sure a character’s name doesn’t belong to a real person), and the network’s standards and practices.

Plus, their work can affect how others get paid. If they leave an actor off the cast list, or leave him on where he doesn’t belong, that alters the way their SAG residuals are determined.

And all of this must be done while the crew is demanding new pages now, now, now! It’s a job that demands a lot of focus and attention to detail. When the script coordinator has a writer’s draft in his hands, you do not want to just wander into his office.

Like I did.

See, our script coordinator and our producer’s assistant have the same name. My boss gave me something to take to J____ and, because we were expecting pages soon, my mind automatically leapt to J____, the script coordinator.

I walked into his office (despite the closed door), and only realized my mistake when I glanced down at the memo.

Not wanting to embarrass myself, I quickly became super-casual, like I was just stopping by to say hi. “Hey, J____ So, uh… how are those pages coming along? Think we’ll have them soon?”

He looked at me kinda sideways, then said, “I think it’ll be another hour.”

Having saved face, I nodded and excused myself.

A few minutes later, my boss got a call from J____: “Will you please stop sending people over to ask when the pages will be done? I’m going as fast as I can! You’ll get them when I finish them!”

Oops.

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