Becoming a Continuity Director (Photo Essay)

The crime scene where the body of Kenneth Newman (Rilley Merrill) lies is filmed to the west of Sparks Hall on USAO’s campus.

Paul Tointigh, Managing Editor

“The Forgotten Child” is a horror movie produced almost entirely with USAO students and faculty, as well as with members of the Chickasha community, which will premiere in the fall.

Working on the production of this movie was something I never thought I would do. If you had asked me if I would ever work on the set of a movie, I would have told you that you were crazy.

However, after filling the role of the continuity director for “The Forgotten Child,” I gained valuable experience in movie production as well as making new friends.

As continuity director, it was my job to make sure that every detail of every scene was the exact same in sequence; that is, to make sure everything is the same from scene-to-scene. I also was in charge of making sure that lines were the same in the script as they were in the actual shooting of those scenes, as well as making sure each character had on the same clothes in each scene.

My duties did not stop there, however. I was tasked with many other things that required me to think fast or adapt to certain situations. I was put in charge of managing the golf carts for the latter half of production, a task that would become extremely important.

Not only did we use the carts for transporting equipment across campus, but we used one to film a walking scene where I had to drive VERY slow and steady while David Duncan, instructor of Digital Media Technology, held the camera that filmed a walking scene of the main characters. Such an experience proved stressful in the moment, but it was fun doing it, and it allowed us to do something that would be very hard (or even impossible) to film otherwise.

I was also tasked in shuttling people back and forth from A to B when my continuity duties were not needed yet for the day. I even had the privilege of giving President Feaver his very first ride on the golf carts on the campus.

I also filled other roles such as being the guy who ran and got things from the Daily Grind to make sure that everyone was happy and hydrated, as well as taking hundreds of photos to make sure continuity was correct, as well as for the eventual promotion of the movie.

The continuity director even found himself in front of the camera at one point, as I played the role of the witness to the murder that was the catalyst for the film. Albeit a brief scene, I put on my most shocked and surprised face as I saw the student get “murdered” right in front of me. I have to give credits to the makeup department; they really knocked it out of the park on that one.

We even had two professionals on set who gave us extremely valuable advice and gave us a glimpse into how a Hollywood movie is produced. I learned a lot from them, and I know the other crew members did as well.

All in all, working on the set of “The Forgotten Child” was a great experience. I learned so much new information, and I can definitely say that I had fun. We managed to complete the filming in three weeks, but if the class lasted longer than that, I would not complain one bit.

I would highly recommend taking this independent study class next summer, as you can learn a lot about the film industry just by partaking in this short project.

With all of this said, I certainly look forward to the official trailer release, which will be coming soon, as the movie is currently in post-production. I will be even more excited to see the release of this film in October, as you will be able to see the fruits of our hard labor.


Paul Tointigh is a fourth-year Communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.