Erin Grumley ’05 plays important role in the film industry
A favorite pastime for many film buffs is to point out gaffes by producers and directors that made it onscreen. For Erin Grumley ’05, though, keeping an eye out for movie mistakes is more than a hobby: it’s a career.
“My job title is script supervisor,” Grumley says. “That means that it’s my job to follow the script and make sure every line is being said, and that we are capturing each line in coverage — meaning that, if we catch half of a conversation in a close-up, I need to make sure we have a matching close-up for the other half of a conversation.”
Grumley originally moved to California to pursue a master’s in divinity when the opportunity to work in the film business presented itself.
“I kind of fell into my first gig. I had been hired to be a non-paid production assistant on my first movie set ever,” she says. “I was there during pre-production and a producer told me my personality seemed to be a good fit for the position and asked if I wanted to give it a shot. It sounded like a job with some responsibility, so I, of course, said yes.”
Watching for continuity between takes is a large part of what Grumley does, and that job makes her a very important part of the film crew.
“If there is a door open in the background of a scene, it needs to be that way every take, and it’s my job to make sure it is,” she says. “I am every department’s safety net — hair, make-up, art, everybody.
“I work very closely with the director of the film and take lots of notes,” Grumley continues. “At the end of the day, it is my job to make sure the film is editable.”
Each film project Grumley has worked on has provided unique experiences. Recently, she was on set for a particularly memorable moment.
“On my last set, we used a helicam — a camera in a remote control helicopter — to get some overhead views of choreography. We were on the roof of a warehouse and the sun was setting behind the Los Angeles skyline. It was an amazing shot,” Grumley says. “I get really excited about doing new and different shots like that.”
Grumley has found that the people behind the scenes are what make her job exciting.
“For me, the most interesting part about working in the entertainment industry is that every set is a new experience. I meet new people with every new gig,” she says. “Every story is different, and there is something new to learn from each of them.”
Though she never could have envisioned working in the movie business as a Centre student, Grumley has enjoyed where life has taken her.
“There is no way I would have guessed I’d be doing what I am now,” she says. “This has all just been a really perfect accident.”