NBC Script Supervisor, Elisa Forni
TruthIsI: Thank you for taking time to speak with us! Interesting how we were brought together. Matt, the co-founder of HIV & Single befriended S.T.A.R. on MySpace. I read more about the organization and I felt it necessary to interview you. I informed Matt that we typically interview women within the entertainment industry (on and off the camera), and he advised me that I was in luck because you are a Script Supervisor :-)
TruthIsI: Please tell, what is a Script Supervisor?
Elisa: The glue that holds everything together. I sit next to the Director and take notes on everything that is being shot ... In keeping meticulous notes, I am able to assist the editor in cutting the film and piecing it together. It's very rare that scenes are shot in sequential order. I make sure that everything is in order and looks right, and that everything is still matching. I prep for every episode. I oversee all continuity and catch mistakes!
TruthIsI: How did you get a job as a Script Supervisor?
Elisa: A friend of mine advised me that I would be good at it; I'm very detail oriented. At that time, I read the one book that was available about Script Supervising and Film Continuity by Pat P. Miller. I also took a class conducted by Bob Gary. Bob held classes in his home on Saturdays; this was a long time ago. Bob has been around for years. He passed away in May of this year.
I then joined a union, Local 871, in an effort to find work and get placed. There is uniqueness to my job. I am a department of one. If I make a mistake, it's up to me to take full responsibility and accountability. I kind of like not having someone over me (laugh) ...
TruthIsI: As you know, we mentor to female youth. We're all about "girl power." A lot of our youth are interested in the entertainment industry, and they all want to be that actress, dancer, or singer. STAR likes to introduce them to other opportunities within the industry in an effort to not limit their possibilities ...
Elisa: Oh my goodness, there is so much opportunity in the industry behind the camera. You have your script supervisors, costume designers, make-up artist, etc. There is so much that goes on behind the scenes to make-up that television show or that film. There is an abundance of opportunity for women! And, the health insurance benefits in this industry are phenomenal!
For instance, no offense to men, but women primarily rule the role of script supervisor. Jennifer, you know as a single mother how much multi-tasking you do; men can't do that (laugh). Women are much better at multi-tasking. This job is all about multi-tasking and attention to detail.
TruthIsI: Now about the cause, how did you go about co-founding HIV and Single?
Elisa: I've known Matt for about 15 years. Matt started HIV and Single about seven years ago. His mom was diagnosed with HIV in 2001. Our mission is to help positive singles find friendship, love, and companionship without the fear of disclosure, stigmas, or judgment. It was one of the first HIV dating sites on the web.
Several years after his mom was diagnosed, he asked her about her dating life. Her words were, "dating with HIV is a nightmare and making or even keeping friends is difficult." She told him that once she disclosed her HIV status the other person wasn't interested. Some of her friends, she explained, wouldn't eat dinner or drink out of a glass at her house anymore. She felt like a pariah. This really upset Matt. He couldn't believe the ignorance, and that after all these years, still existed.
She also explained that meeting other positive singles was difficult because people are concerned about their privacy. And, it's not like the local bar or club has HIV singles night. She felt as if she was destined to a life of solitude and loneliness.
With HIV and Single, we want people to feel that they have a safe place to connect with and meet friends. HIV is not a death sentence anymore. There is great medical care now days. But, there's still such a stigma.
TruthIsI: We were very intrigued with this site. Many people do feel isolated and that their life is "over" because they have the disease. We've heard numerous stories of people intentionally passing on the disease because of their own bitterness and insecurities. This is great! This gives people an opportunity to embrace their "Truth." How has the response been regarding HIV and Single?
Elisa: It's been a very positive experience! Just recently, two people met on our site and had a commitment ceremony. It was great!
TruthIsI: Thank you for all that you do, and taking the time to support S.T.A.R.