From Jurassic World to Marvel & Disney: An Interview with Script Supervisor Kelly Krieg

Wednesday 20 February 2019

Into The Script is very excited to be able to welcome this week's guest, Script Supervisor - Kelly Krieg - whose list of credits reads longer than your arm, and includes some of the biggest blockbuster titles released in recent years. These include; Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Marvel's Doctor Strange, Disney's Christopher Robin and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, The Mummy, The Huntsman: Winter's War, In The Heart of The Sea and the upcoming Fast and Furious Spinoff - Hobbs and Shaw (to name a FEW!) -  click here for a FULL list of Kelly's credits. 

Kelly's experience working on such mega blockbusters and with some of the biggest acting and directing talent, means she knows EXACTLY what it takes to deliver under pressure, and she has been kind enough to share a very in-depth look at her role, with a TON of helpful insights for us. 

SO, grab a notebook and pen - you're going to want to make notes! Let's hand over to Kelly...

Photo Credit to Kelly Krieg @offically_kelly

1) You have worked on some incredible projects such as Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Marvel’s Doctor Strange, and with studios such as Disney, Universal Studios and Warner Brothers. What first inspired you to begin your career in this industry, and can you share with us how your first ‘break in’ the industry came to be?

When I was 16 I started re-enacting music videos with my friends.

I fell in love with editing process, understanding which shots are needed to make a sequence work. From that age I knew I wanted to be involved in the making of films. Initially I thought I wanted to direct because I wasn’t aware of the many other roles on a film set.

My first film job was 3rdAD on a famous German TV show. I was given the opportunity to learn about Script/Continuity as I was asked to cover the script supervisor for a day. That’s when I realised that Script/Continuity ticks all the boxes: you have to be organised, have an overview of the entire production, make a sequence work in several aspects – in summary, you are holding it all together. 

Soon after, I needed a bigger challenge and I left Germany the following year to move to New Zealand where I worked on short films, TV and are-enactment segments for a documentary directed by Leanne Pooley. 

During this time a 3rd AD from London walked into the office and convinced me to move to the UK. Completely na├»ve and without any leads for work I packed my things and moved to England putting myself out there. 

Two years of working “normal” part time jobs as well as the occasional short film, dailies and TV pilot (mostly unpaid work) went by until I decided to move back to NZ and leave it all behind. 

As luck would have it, in that same week a script supervisor I had been hounding every month for two years called and asked if I wanted to assist on Ron Howard’s “In the Heart of the Sea”. I picked up the towel before it hit the ground and started my next chapter. 

I never looked back.

2) From your own experiences on set, can you share your top 4 tips that you feel are essential for becoming a professional and successful Script Assistant/Supervisor? 

1. Own it. 

The more you make yourself familiar with the script, and previously shot footage, the easier your life during the shoot will be. 

My experience is that my gut feeling is always right. I let myself be talked into doubting my own continuity only to find out that I was right in the first place. 

You don’t want to hesitate in front of a director or actor - that is how you lose their trust for the rest of the shoot. Stay strong in your opinion and admit if you make a mistake. Prep is everything.

2. Listen. 

Listen to the director, to the 1stAD, to everyone around you and gather as much information as you can to piece together your part of the moment. 

Script Supervisors are the ninjas of filmmaking. The quiet fixers in the background. 

Your director doesn’t want to know every single minor problem you see. Go and rearrange the continuity quietly to make the edit work - without stepping on the director’s and actor’s toes.

Don’t look for gratitude or affirmation for the things you do right: it’s your job. 

3. Be Self Efficient. 

When you work as an assistant script supervisor it is expected that you are handling the back office, notice when cameras splinter off. 

Don’t wait until your HOD tells you what to do. They rely on your efficiency to be able to fully focus on the floor. Be two steps ahead. 

When you work a Unit under Main Unit, don’t disturb the Script Supervisor for information. Go to Editorial, watch dailies, do whatever it takes to get it done.

4. Take A Step Back.

Sometimes, even when knowing the truth, it is better to take a step back. At the end of the day, it isn’t worth your inner peace. Karma. Sadly, the industry thrives on playing games.

3) What would you consider to be the most important elements of a script when reading through it for the first time? Can you elaborate on the importance of these elements?

Photo Credit to Kelly Krieg @offically_kelly

Read it again. And again. And again.  

You’d be surprised how much you miss. The first read is to get an idea of the story. Other aspects (characters, timeline, details, …) follow with every read through following the initial one. Don’t rush it. 

Fill in your continuity story breakdown scene by scene, step by step with every read while focusing on different areas.

4) Would you agree that being a good communicator is an essential part of your job? What advice do you have for other filmmakers and writers when It comes to networking and building professional relationships in the industry?

It is not essential. You have a great mix of people working in the industry. 

You could be working a Unit under a script supervisor who gives you all the information you need without asking, to script supervisors who don’t help you at all. 

People skills help, but that’s with everything in life. At the end of the day it is about etiquette and to be aware that not everyone you’ll work with will be on the same wavelength as you.

 Stay professional, do your side of the job to your full potential. Life is a two-way-street. If it’s not meant to be, don’t take it to heart and move on. Kill ‘em with kindness. 

What does help is knowing about the world and audiences. Knowing what different audiences like. For example: humour. When you are faced with an actor/actress who likes to present a variety of performances of the same scene it helps to support their creativity by logging their improvisations. 

Different performances can be chosen during editorial for releases in other countries to accommodate the target audience. 

For example, back when we shot “The Huntsman” we recorded dialled down “airplane versions” of jokes to allow the film to be offered up restriction free as on-flight entertainment.

5) As a Script Supervisor, you have a very important role to the director and set of responsibilities – for example, regarding continuity and dialogue. How do you manage to balance such a busy schedule of work? For instance, how do you plan, schedule and prioritise these tasks?

In prep you break down the script and create your bible with everything you need to quickly refer to anything that could be questioned during the shoot: scene summary, cast, props, sfx, vfx, continuity, time of scene, time of day, page count and estimated timings.

Having all this information on hand saves you a lot of time when you shoot the scene because instead of registering all these details from scratch, you cross reference your pre-written list and adjust as required. 

You find your own system that works best for you. 

I am fully digital, always have five windows open on my laptop to work simultaneously on all sheets: progress report, editor log, marked up script, facing page and the overall projected timings and page count breakdown. 

Photo Credit to Kelly Krieg @offically_kelly

My habit is to write the shot description during camera rehearsals, refine them between takes when we shoot with cast/stunts. When we shoot on cast I focus on the script and their continuity while keeping track of the takes. 

Being close to the director allows you to listen into his/her feedback instead of asking which was the preferred at the end of the setup.  

You have your eyes and ears everywhere because you must remember that you are the communication between set and editorial. 

The more information you can give the better for everyone involved in post or other units who are potentially picking up additional shots. Thanks to modern technology I use my iPad to stream live camera pictures with QTake to capture real time references and whenever I can between takes or after a setup I gather the camera information from the focus puller. 

I aim to get that before a setup is completed to be fully available again to help set up the next shot with the DP and director instead of falling behind and having to catch up again. 

You have a million questions fired at you from all sides you need to be prepared for and the last thing you want is to worry about completing your previous slate. When you work with an assistant you are freer because they will manage all those documents while you can fully focus on cast, director, continuity, questions fired at you and setting up the next shot.

6) What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given for working in this industry, and would you mind sharing with us?

Never assume. It makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me”.

7) Can you share with us any exciting and personal projects you are working on? I know that you are currently working on a documentary about Marine Conservation & Plastic Awareness – I’d love to know more!

Photo Credit to Kelly Krieg @offically_kelly

I am currently assembling my first documentary. It is my passion project to spread awareness about the importance of sharks in our life as well as underlining the critical stage of their extinction and the domino effect it has on us humans. 

It all started in Summer 2017 when I was working in Hawaii and got introduced to freediving with sharks where I saw the impact first hand. Once I was back in the UK I watched Rob Stewart’s documentary “Sharkwater” which changed my life. My eyes were opened to the reasons why sharks are killed off: shark fin soup. Fishermen catch sharks, cut off their fins and throw the harmed animal back in the water where they bleed out and suffocate at the bottom of the ocean. 

In “Sharkwater”, there is a scene where young children play with a cut off Hammerhead Sharks head while laughing. The image made me cry. I knew I had to do something. I finally felt I had a greater purpose in life. 

From there I volunteered as a citizen scientist on board the Sharkwater on a trip to Guadalupe Island to support the Great White Shark research of Dr. Mauricio Hoyos. 

Not only was I in the water with these magnificent giants but I also learned a lot about their behaviours. I learned not to fear but to respect them. After that expedition I volunteered for Reef Conservation in Bali. 

The plastic pollution in Indonesia is on a whole new level. It was frustrating to watch the disrespect to nature and I realised that you will never change a culture, but you can try and educate the younger generations. 

With the footage I captured from all these experiences I decided to make an educational documentary to spread awareness why we need to save sharks to save ourselves. People don’t realise that without sharks we kill the sources of our very own air to breathe. We are killing ourselves. 

I teamed up with a German NGO called Bracenet to launch a Kickstarter project as I need support financing the Post Production of this project.

In February 2017 I started a petition targeted the Aquarium in Atlanta to free the whale sharks they keep captive for 10 years now.  

Besides those passion projects I am also putting together a “Save the Sharks” class for a school in Tianyar, North Bali - with the artificial coral reefs we built and are continuously being built then sharks may be attracted. 

I am hoping to help guide and educate the children living in the area not to fear the predator but to respect and treat it well. 

Thankfully the dismissible media available to us is not part of their culture and there is a unique chance for them to avoid growing up with the beliefs that sharks are monsters.

And That's A Wrap!

If you would like to find out more about Kelly's projects, please feel free to checkout the links below!

Link to Kickstarter 
Link to Petition 

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