When the hell are the pages going to come?!!
A very valid question. The answer is, as always, they’ll get here when they get here.
If you’ve never been the late shift PA, it’s hard to appreciate the agony of waiting for scripts to come out. This may come as a shock to those of you who only work in movies, but on television, scripts and/or revisions are printed nearly every day.
Obviously, there’s an entirely new script for each episode, which is every five to eight days, depending on the show’s schedule. But one draft isn’t enough. There’s a draft for the studio, there’s a draft for the network, there’s a draft for department heads only, there’s a production draft that everybody gets.
And then there are pages.
The writers are continually tweaking the work; combining scenes, cutting scenes, rewording this, trimming that, whatever. These changes are released on colored paper, reflecting whatever draft we’re on. Every network has their own standard, but a fairly common order for draft colors is:
If the writers go beyond six drafts, we cycle back through the colors, called either, for example, “second white” or “double white.” Occassionally you’ll get into triple colors, but that usually ends with the writing staff stabbed to death with an inordinate number of brads.
This isn’t that big of a deal when the script comes out in the day time, and you have an office full of PAs to copy and distribute the scripts. But when you’re on the night shift and all alone, man, it sucks.
The worst of the worst is when the crew wraps, but the pages haven’t yet come in. Now you don’t even have the option of walking over to the stage and pigging out at the crafty table. You just have to sit at your desk, alone, with nothing to do but write angry, semi-literate emails to anonymous bloggers.