A CCSL -- which stands for Combined Continuity and Spotting List -- is a key thing to have for many reasons.  Combined Continuity formats also come in many varieties depending on how much information needs to be captured.  Documentary filmmakers will require a very different type of CCSL than an action thriller will.  The primary reasons to get a CCSL include:  Translation, Subtitling, Closed Captioning, Music rights clearance and perhaps most of all, a plain old time coded English transcript for the legal department, especially for end credits. 

Filmmakers often forget about the end of the filmmaking process when they have to honor their DELIVERY REQUIREMENTS set forth in their contracts with their distributors.  It's a mistake.  The reason it can be a mistake is that often the film could be headed for many different territories and overseas markets. 

But a CCSL is much more than a regular transcript.  When you make a trailer it's critical to know where every sound byte is in your own picture, where every actor says every line and where music enters and ends.  A CCSL can come in many different formats according to how much detail you wish to capture.  They are not all the same and one size does not fit all.  To take a look at all of the different types of styles and variations, click on our most popular FORMATS HERE.  

The primary thing to know is which elements you must include in your final CCSL because some of those elements are more expensive than others.  It's much easier to include scene description than it is to include "Footage and Frames" for example.  Every Combined Continuity script will contain the basics:  Time coding, Speaker ID and Dialogue but, beyond that, they vary greatly.  Some producers insist MUSIC CUES must be included and for others, it's not so critical, they would rather have CAMERA MOVEMENTS described. 

Either way, know your requirements and get a CCSL locked down BEFORE you go into production.  It will make everything much smoother at the end because you don't want the CCSL company such as ours, under the gun.  It's much easier to do a better job with more time primarily due to having more time to proof. 

Jeff Zedlar

Triathlete, Father, Sci-Fi Writer