DGA Quarterly | Paper Trail that Saves Trees

This article was originally published in the Directors Guild magazine.

THE BASICS: Available since 2016, Scriptation was designed to solve the problems encountered by Steven Vitolo, an experienced script coordinator who works on the series Black-ish. The idea came to him when he realized how much time and paper he wasted every time he had to get a new draft out to the cast and crew. He wanted something that would update everyone with script changes while also keep track of previous drafts for reference. He also wanted users to be able to make notes and search words, characters or anything they needed to double check for reference. Vitolo went to an app developer and then sought out feedback as he launched Scriptation.

THE EXTRAS: Users can annotate their scripts with everything from notes to photos, as well as highlight different sections for everyone from production de- signers to actors. All previous versions of a script are also easily accessible and searchable. It’s possible to email, text or Airdrop script changes in an instant. Scriptation can also connect to Dropbox. iCloud integration is in the works. The app is available on phones and tablets; the company is also working on a desk- top version.

“It’s a total gamechanger because it’s not unusual to get 8 or 9 drafts on a script. And then you’re worried about losing information from previous drafts. That doesn’t happen anymore.”
Emmy-winning Director, Michael Spiller

IN PRACTICE: Many productions have already incorporated the app, including The Mindy Project, Stranger Things, Modern Family, The Walking Dead, Scandal, Star Trek: Discovery, Silicon Valley and Superstore.

TAKEAWAY: “It’s a total game changer as far as I’m concerned, because it’s not unusual to get eight or nine drafts of a script on a project, and I’m someone who takes notes, takes photographs for reference, and when I was using paper, it was so laborious to transfer all of that over every time,” says Michael Spiller, a director of The Mindy Project and Superstore. “And then you were worried about losing information from previous drafts. That doesn’t hap- pen anymore.”

Adds Daniella Eisman, 1st AD for Alone Together, “I love the tabs that make it possible for me to jump between different versions of scripts. I’ve been able to get script changes at 2 a.m. and then incorporate them and walk onto a set at 7 a.m. with a script that has everything in it. I never thought I’d use something digital but this makes everything so much easier and saves me so much time.”