The extensive and superior role of a script supervisor requires immaculate focus and attention to detail, not to mention the ability to overcome high-stress situations when unexpected curveballs are thrown their way.
With a superpower-like range of skills to her name, leading script supervisor Tamara Hansen is undoubtedly the ultimate behind the scenes ninja when it comes to filmmaking.
A true master at multitasking, Hansen’s ability to go above and beyond her general job expectations made her an invaluable member behind the scenes of the recent 2020 conspiracy thriller film “18 ½”.
The dark comedy was produced by award-winning filmmaker Terry Keefe (“Slaves of Hollywood”) and directed by award-winning producer, author and screenwriter Dan Mirvish, who was recently named one of Variety‘s Top 50 Creatives to Watch.
The film, which stars two-time Primetime Award winner Jon Cryer (“Two and a Half Men,” “Pretty in Pink”) and award winning actor John Magaro (“The Big Short,” “Carol”), is a 1970s era Watergate scandal conspiracy thriller about a Whitehouse transcriber who obtains the only copy of the infamous 18 ½ minute gap in the Nixon tapes.
Hansen’s role on set was to ensure continuity and prepare the edit logs for all departments, including camera, lighting, sound, wardrobe, make-up and sets, helping to prevent any errors that could occur between takes.
Considering the size of each department, Hansen’s scrupulous organizational skills along with her ability to facilitate clear communication channels between all teams were integral to ensuring that production ran smoothly.
“For a director, having a strong script supervisor is essential. Tamara was a wonderful creative collaborative partner to work with, dedicated to the film, and loyal to a fault in helping protect my creative vision for the film,” says “18 ½” director Dan Mirvish.
He adds, “Tamara is easily the best script supervisor I’ve ever worked with, and she’s an invaluable member of the filmmaking creative community… We couldn’t have made this movie without her.”
Unfortunately, due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, the production of the film took an unexpected halt in March and only recently completed shooting in late September.
“Tamara’s calm but determined personality was exactly what our cast and crew needed,” says the film’s producer Terry Keefe. “Nerves were very frayed because of events happening in the outside world.”
Director Dan Mirvish adds, “She’s always got a welcoming smile on her face, whether it’s first thing in the early morning, or after a long night’s worth of filming. She’s incredibly even-keeled and supportive even when the rest of the crew is freaking out or panicking.”
“Dan always listened to my notes which was great,” says Hansen. “Now that we’re in the edit, Dan is sending me cuts of the movie to get my notes and thoughts on it, for a final edit, which is very exciting and I really appreciate his trust.”
The highly anticipated film is currently in post-production, and expected for international release in 2021.
Her exceptional work as the script supervisor on the 2020 horror “Dreamkatcher” had the film’s award-winning writer and director Kerry Harris (“Grip and Electric”) dubbing Hansen as the “Google” of filmmaking.
“Tamara is quite simply indispensable and I fear by singing her praises I may not find her available for my next film,” says Harris. “That said, the filmmaking world deserves to know.”
“Dreamkatcher” tells the chilling story of a young boy trapped in a nightmarish entity, and stars Radha Mitchell (“Man of Fire,” “Finding Neverland”), Henry Thomas (“E.T the Extra-Terrestrial,” “Legends of the Fall”) and Lin Shaye (“Insidious,” “There’s Something About Mary”).
After applying for the role via a job posting, it was her strong determination to follow up with the director after several weeks of silence that essentially landed her the job.
“I remember not hearing back from the line producer and thought I didn’t get the job,” she says.
“After two to three weeks I followed up and she let me have an interview with the director. I found out later that the director didn’t like any of the others who interviewed previously that’s why they were still looking. This is the best example for when persistence works out.”
Given that Hansen is extremely diligent when it comes to detail, it was her ability to maintain strong continuity between each department that ensured every shot remained unanimous in order to cut together for the final edit.
Her flawless edit logs became invaluable to the film’s editor, who thoroughly relied on her notes to effectively bring the whole film together.
She adds, “I made sure the editor had a record of what the director’s choices on set were, what takes he liked best, what worked out great and what didn’t. I made sure everything stayed cohesive and would cut together in the edit.”
The film, which was released in April 2020 by global entertainment corporation Lionsgate, is streaming across major digital entertainment giants such as Amazon Prime, Hulu and Netflix.
But it’s not just Hansen’s studious leadership and organizational skills that sets her apart from the rest.
Notorious Hollywood directors and producers often rely on her ability to make decisive verdicts on set, which inevitably improves the final result of the shoot.
Her ability to actively support the production team extends to include more than just full-length feature films, and over the years she’s applied her unwavering work ethic to the detailed world of documented television series.
The historic docuseries “The Food that Built America,” which was narrated by award-winning actor and producer Campbell Scott (“The Amazing Spider Man 1 & 2,” “Jurassic World: Dominion”), tells the unknown stories of the innovations and rivalries behind the American food industry’s best known tycoons.
“Working on a tv-show is more fast paced than filming a movie,” says Hansen. “It was a recreation show, which was very interesting, because we recreated the stories of how Heinz Ketchup was invented, how McDonalds became a franchise etc., It was interesting learning and recreating real life events.”
Coming off the run of an incredibly strong first season, which drew over 18.8 million viewers, the hit series has been renewed for a second season by leading documentary channel History, which will include 18 episodes.
Hansen was asked by the show’s line producer to return for season two, however due to her prior commitments on a soon to be announced independent film, she was unable to commit.
When a director or producer requires integral information, whether a slight detail in a costume change, or whichever lens was used in the film’s opening scene, it’s guaranteed that with Hansen’s precise memory and intricate edit logs, she’ll always have the answer.
“18 ½” producer Terry Keefe says, “Tamara has an almost photographic memory, or maybe she has an actual photographic memory that may be a superpower, she keeps that a secret.. that really comes in handy in her work.”
With a stellar repertoire of success to her name, and with consistent praise from honored Hollywood filmmakers, it’s no surprise that Tamara Hansen is renowned as the ultimate right-hand woman when it comes to filmmaking.