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I've been reading up a bunch of Screenplays from movies that I liked and came across a couple of them with a curious watermark on them, saying "RNG-109". I noticed this on a version of the Script for "Catch me if you can", "The Ring (2002)" and "The Shining".

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Google didn't spit out anything that would help me, which is why I'm asking here.

  • Welcome to Writing.SE Florian Claaßen, glad you found us. We have a tour and help center you might wish to check out. – Cyn says make Monica whole Sep 24 '19 at 15:01
  • Do you perhaps have a picture? I have a librarian here who would like to help identify it. – Weckar E. Sep 25 '19 at 17:28
  • @WeckarE. good idea! I have a screenshot right here: imgur.com/a/Tz62i66 – Florian Claaßen Sep 26 '19 at 6:14
  • Right. Just to check, have you been getting these from scribd? – Weckar E. Sep 27 '19 at 3:35
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    Other than The Ring, we have been unable to find copies of scripts of the other films you named that actually have this watermark. Considering industry practice, it would not make sense for all of them to have the same code. I can therefore not make a proper answer, but the short XXX-NNN explanation is to indicate WHICH copy of the script you are holding, in case of leaks. Because of this, they are only generally applied to shooting scripts, with "109" generally being reserved for master copies. – Weckar E. Oct 2 '19 at 4:41
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Your samples are watermarks originally added to printed and (more recently) electronically distributed scripts.

The code is designed to identify who received that particular copy of the script. Their use as a security feature is grossly overrated in the industry.

It is normally added by the production office or the script coordinator.

It is a feature of Final Draft, WriterDuet, Highland 2, Fade In (and other screenwriting) software. It can also be added by Studio Binder, Scenechronize and other production management software.

Most implementations of the watermark are now trivially easy to remove on pdf files. But they were difficult to defeat back in the days of printed scripts that were then scanned.

The watermark also incidentally allows production staff to return pages (or sides) found lying around on-set to their owner if the watermark is the Actor's name.

The watermark is never used for revision control. The title page and page header is used to identify revised pages of the script.

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