“Can you send any further revisions on blue pages?” asked the First AD.
“Yeah, sure.” was my confident reply; and I hung up.
Which is fine. I know what blue pages are, I should think we all do: once a script is locked for production, the first lot of revisions come on blue pages so cast and crew can find them easily. By locking the script, it also means the page count doesn’t fluctuate wildly as you add extra stuff into the middle.
That’s fine, I know that.
I also know the colours change with each subsequent revision. I don’t know the order, but I know they’re different. There’s pink and green and even goldenrod – although I always thought that was Han Solo’s nickname for See-Threepio.
So, blue pages – yeah, sure.
Except, wait – exactly what does that mean?
I can lock the script, no problem. I can add in extra pages which come out as A, B, C … etc pages, and that’s fine.
But what do you actually send a production company?
Do you send them the entire script with the changes marked?
Do you just send them the pages you’ve changed?
Do you write something in the header, like: These are BLUE pages?
Or the revision date?
Because it occurs to me that unless I colour the pages blue myself, no one on the other end is going to know which ones are the blue pages; and since they want them in PDF format, if I colour the pages blue, then it will use blue ink to print the page – and I’m sure that’s not how you’re supposed to do it.
Especially since a lot of people use mono-laser printers.
So what do you actually do? What is a blue page? I’ve suddenly realised, I’ve never actually seen one and I can’t find any information about it on the Internet.
In fact, the proper response to “Can you send any further revisions on blue pages?” should have been “No, I don’t think I can.”
I needed some advice and asked several people who might know.
Which didn’t help, since everyone had a different opinion.
All very helpful opinions which absolutely made sense within the context of their experience, but didn’t help me too much. The basic gist is – everyone does it differently.
The best piece of advice I got was to ask the production company. Which is, of course, absolutely the best thing to do.
Except I usually feel enough of a twat on a daily basis without having to ring someone up and go “You know when you asked me to send you blue pages? And I said, “yeah, sure”? Well … what is a blue page?”
So I took the coward’s way out and just made up my own solution. I sent them the revisions as separate pages and then people can just do whatever the fuck they want with them.
Afterwards, I cursed myself for not writing the revision date on them.
Still, too late now, they’re away.
An hour later, I get an email from the director – he can’t open the PDF files as they’re just gobbledegook.
A word I’ve never typed before.
Oh, I spelt it wrong:
Now that looks wrong.
Sorry, where was I?
Oh yes, so the director can’t open it and wants me to sort it out. Then it turns out the First AD can open it and the fault possibly lies in the director owning a Mac.
Or knowing most Mac users, for everyone else not owning a Mac.
Macs never, ever do anything wrong. Ever.
And then, as if things weren’t complicated enough – I get a confused phone call from the First AD:
“You know those revisions you sent over?”
“Erm, the blue pages, yes.”
Always try brazen it out.
“I’m a bit confused.”
“The page numbers don’t seem to correspond to the script I have.”
As it turns out, there’s a tiny discrepancy between Final Draft on my laptop and Final Draft on my desktop … which, I know, is probably my fault for not owning a Mac. Leave me alone.
It’s a very small discrepancy, but over the course of a feature script it turns 102 pages into 104 pages.
Which means nothing quite fits.
Now I found this out recently, so I knew it was a problem. I even asked the director to clarify which script he was working from before I locked the pages – and he did, even sending me the script to double check.
Yet, somehow, not everyone involved is working from the same script.
It’s all the same draft, but some copies have an extra two pages.
Fucked if I know.
So now the First AD has to ring around and check with each department to find out which script everyone’s working from. Once we have a consensus, I can re-lock the script and re-send the blue pages.
Aha, here’s my chance.
I already look like a twat, there’s no more dignity to lose.
“You know when you asked me to send you blue pages?”
“And I said, ‘yeah, sure’?”
“Well … what is a blue page?”
There was a long pause.
The kind you imagine being filled with rolling of eyes, shaking of heads and general covering of the mouthpiece whilst filling the whole office in on the joke.
I thought I’d better clarify my position.
“I mean, I know what it is – I know it’s a revision printed on blue paper, but what does it actually look like? How do I actually send them to you? You see, I’ve never actually seen one.”
Another pause, this one slightly shorter – but distinctly uncomfortable.
And finally, the response:
“No, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one either.”