If, like me, you’re one of those people who has to watch until the very final moments of a film – or, even more geekily, thumb through the pages of a gremese while watching Italian productions – you’ll be very familiar with a number of exotic sounding job titles, most of which are actually far more prosaic than their name implies. As well as the big boys – director, writers, editor, cinematographer -there are production assistants, production secretaries, 2nd unit directors and blah-di-blah. What, you may ask, did all these people do exactly? Well, let’s start off with…
The segretaria di edizione (script supervisor)
The segretaria di edizione is the person on the set who is primarily responsible for continuity. They manage the bollettino di edizione (script bulletin), which is the document in which all the details of the shoot are recorded. This includes such things as the order in which sequences are shot and the director’s comments on all shots (i.e. whether they think it works, whether there was a particular technical issue). This document is then provided to the editor, who uses it as a guide during the early stages of the editing process.
In addition, the segretaria di edizione also has responsibility for narrative continuity and managing any script changes that occurr… which makes it an extremely important job in the world of low budget Italian cinema. They oversee the continuity of props, costumes and make up, ensuring that none of those comical glitches occur in which actors suddenly disappear of vases move from one place to another inbetween shots. To do this, they often tke photos on set, in the old days using a polaroid camera, now digitally.
The bollettino di edizione is also used to make note of all timekeeping for the production: crew calls, daily start and finishing times etc etc.
Curiously, the segretaria di edizione tended to be a female role. Examples include: Patrizia Zulini (Django, Bay of Blood) and Nyrta Corbucci (Divorzio all’Italiana). Curiously, not a lot of segretaria di edizioni worked a huge number of films, they tended to do a dozen or so and then move on, either to another job in the industry or elsewhere.