Explore Talent Industry Insider

Glossary of Industry Terms
A

ABBY SINGER

The shot before the last shot of the day. Named in honor of former first A.D., Abby Singer, who used to call the last shot of the day one shot too early.

ACTION!

The command from the director for the scene to begin. It indicates that the camera is rolling.

A.D.

The Assistant Director.

AD LIB

Extemporaneous delivery without relying on a prepared script.

ADR

Automated Dialogue Replacement. Dialogue added to a scene in post production. Sometimes erroneously called "looping/p>

AEA

Actors' Equity Association; often called simply "Equity". SAG's sister union which represents stage actors.

AFI

The American Film Institute

AFTRA

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Represents radio artists and news broadcasters, and, in earlier times, television performers. In more recent times, however, television performers may be represented by either AFTRA or SAG, depending on the producer's contract. Discussions about merging the two organizations have been ongoing for several decades; recently the Television & Film and Commercial Contracts have been jointly negotiated.

AGMA

American Guild of Musical Artists

AGVA

American Guild of Variety Artists

ART DIRECTOR

Person who conceives and designs the sets.

AUDITION

A tryout for a film, TV or stage role. Usually auditions involve reading from the script, but can also require improvisation.

AVAIL

A courtesy situation extended by performer or agent to a producer indicating availability to work a certain job. Avails have no legal or contractual status.

B

BACKGROUND

The Extra performers. On the set, "Background!" is a verbal cue for the Extras to start their action.

BACK TO ONE!

The verbal cue for performers to return to the mark where they started the scene.

BEAUTY SHOT

The Assistant Director.

BEST BOY

Extemporaneous delivery without relying on a prepared script.

BILLING

Automated Dialogue Replacement. Dialogue added to a scene in post production. Sometimes erroneously called "looping/p>

BIO

Actors' Equity Association; often called simply "Equity". SAG's sister union which represents stage actors.

BLOCKING

The American Film Institute

BOOKING

American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. Represents radio artists and news broadcasters, and, in earlier times, television performers. In more recent times, however, television performers may be represented by either AFTRA or SAG, depending on the producer's contract. Discussions about merging the two organizations have been ongoing for several decades; recently the Television & Film and Commercial Contracts have been jointly negotiated.

BOOM

American Guild of Musical Artists

BLUE SCREEN

American Guild of Variety Artists

BREAKAWAY

Person who conceives and designs the sets.

BREAKDOWN

A tryout for a film, TV or stage role. Usually auditions involve reading from the script, but can also require improvisation.

C

CALLBACK

Any follow-up interview or audition.

CALL SHEET

A sheet containing the cast and crew call times for a specific day's shooting. Scene numbers, the expected day's total pages, locations, and production needs are also included.

CALL TIME

The actual time an actor is due on the set.

CAMERA CREW

With the D.P. (Director of Photography) as its chief, this team consists of the camera operator, the first assistant camera operator (focus puller), the second assistant camera operator (film loader and clapstick clapper) and the dolly grip.

CAMERA OPERATOR

The member of the camera crew who actually looks through the lens during a take. Responsible for panning and tilting and keeping the action within the frame.

CASTING DIRECTOR

The producer's representative responsible for choosing performers for consideration by the producer or director.

CATTLE CALL

A call for large groups of people.

CATERER

Responsible for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a set. Different from Craft Services.

CD-ROM

A compact disk that holds text, music and images. One of the principal new venues for interactive video games as well as for full motion video films. Acting for CD-ROM's is a new arena for actors. SAG 's Interactive Media Contract covers salaries and working conditions for this new medium.

CHANGES

Outfits worn while performing.

CHEAT

The actor's adjustment of body position away from what might be absolutely "natural" in order to accommodate the camera; can also mean looking in a different place from where the other actor actually is.

CHECKING THE GATE!

A verbal command to check the lens on the camera; if the lens is - OK - the cast & crew will move on to the next scene or shot.

CHIEF ELECTRICIAN

Heads the electrician crew; also called the Gaffer.

CINEMATOGRAPHER

Director of Photography

CLOSE-UP (CU)

Camera term for tight shot of shoulders and face.

COLD READING

Unrehearsed reading of a scene, usually at an audition.

COMMISSION

Percentage of a performer's earnings paid to agents or managers for services rendered.

COMPOSITE

A series of photos on one sheet representing an actor's different looks.

CONFLICT

Status of being paid for services in a commercial for one advertiser, thereby contractually preventing performing services in a commercial for a competitor.

COPY

The script for a commercial or voice over.

COVERAGE

All camera shots other than the master shot; coverage might include two-shots and close-ups.

CRAFT SERVICES

On-set beverage and snack table. Different from the Caterer.

CRANE SHOT

A camera shot raised over or above the set or the action.

CRAWL

Usually the end credits in a film or TV shot which "crawl" up the screen.

CREDITS

Opening names in a film or TV show; also refers to one's performance experience listed on a resume or in a program.

CUE

Signal, often an off-stage light or hand signal, by the assistant director to indicate an actor's entrance or action.

CUT!

The verbal cue for the action of the scene to stop. At no time, may an actor call, "cut!"

CUTAWAY

A short scene between two shots of the same person, showing something other than that person.

D

DAILIES

Screening of footage before it is edited.

DAY PLAYER (DAY PERFORMER)

A principal performer hired on a daily basis, rather than on a longer-term contract.

DAYTIME DRAMA

Soap opera.

DEMO TAPE

An audio or video tape that agents use for audition purposes.

DGA

Directors Guild of America.

DIALECT

A distinctly regional or linguistic speech pattern.

DIALOGUE

The scripted words exchanged by performers.

DIRECTOR

The coordinator of all artistic and technical aspects of any production.

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY (D.P.)

Supervises all decisions regarding lighting, camera lenses, color and filters, camera angle set-ups, camera crew and film processing.

DOLLY

A piece of equipment that the camera sits on to allow mobility of the camera.

DOLLY GRIP

The crew member who moves the dolly.

DOUBLE

A performer who appears in place of another performer, i.e., as in a stunt.

D.P.

Director of Photography or Cinematographer.

DRESS THE SET

Add such items to the set as curtains, furniture, props, etc.

DRIVE-ON PASS

In Los Angeles, a pass to drive onto and park on a studio lot.

DUPE

A duplicate copy of a film or tape; also, called a "dub"

E

8x10

Commonly used size of a performer's photos, usually in black and white.

18-TO-PLAY-YOUNGER

A performer legally 18 years old, who can convincingly be cast as a younger age.

ELECTRICIAN

In film, crew members who place lighting instruments, focus, gel and maneuver the lights.

EMPLOYER OF RECORD (EOR)

The company responsible for employment taxes, unemployment benefits and workers compensation coverage.

EQUITY

Actors Equity Association (AEA) Union representing stage actors.

EQUITY WAIVER

In Los Angeles, 99-seat (or less) theatres, which were otherwise professional, over which Equity waived contract provisions under certain circumstances. Now officially called "Showcase code", the term "Equity waiver" is still used informally.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

Person responsible for funding the production.

EXT. (Exterior)

A scene shot outside.

EXTRA

Background talent, used only in non-principal roles.

F

FICA

Social Security taxes (Federal Insurance Corporation of America).

FIELD REP.

Union staff member who ensures contractual compliance on sets.

FIRST A.D.

First Assistant Director; person responsible for the running of the set. Gives instructions to crew and talent, including calling for "first team," "quiet," "rehearsal," and "take five."

FIRST ASS'T. CAMERA OP.

First Assistant Camera Operator is responsible for focusing the camera lens during the shooting of a scene; also known as the Focus Puller.

FIRST TEAM

The production term for the principal actors in a scene.

4-A's

Associated Actors and Artist's of America; umbrella organization for SAG, AFTRA, Equity and other performers' Unions.

FORCED CALL

A call to work less than 12 hours after dismissal on the previous day. See TURNAROUND.

FOREGROUND CROSS

Action in a scene in which an Extra Performer passes between the camera and the principal actors; sometimes called a "wipe/p>

FX (Effects)

Special Effects.

G

GAFFER

The Chief Electrician.

GOLDEN TIME

Contractually called 16 Hour Rule Violation for Extra Performers, is overtime, after the 16th hour, paid in units of one full day per hour.

GRIPS

Members of the film crew who are responsible for moving set pieces, lighting equipment, dolly track and other physical movement of equipment.

H

HAND MODEL

A performer whose hands are used to double for others.

HIATUS

Time during which a TV series is not in production.

HOLDING

The designated area to which the Extra Performers report and stay while waiting to go on set.

HONEY WAGON

A towed vehicle containing one or more dressing rooms, as well as crew bathrooms.

I

IATSE

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees; the union which represents most off-camera crew members.

INDUSTRIAL

Non-broadcast film or video, usually of an educational nature.

INSERTS

Shots, usually close-ups of hands or close business, inserted into previously shot footage.

INT. (Interior)

A scene shot indoors.

"IN" TIME

The actual call time or start time; also, return time from a break.

J
K
L

LINE PRODUCER

The producer responsible for keeping the director on time and budget; generally the most visable producer on the set.

LONG SHOT (LS)

A camera shot which captures the performer's full body.

LOOPING

An in-studio technique used to fix dialogue already performed during principal photography by matching voice to picture.

M

MARK

The exact position(s) given to an actor on a set to insure that he/she is in the proper light and camera angle; generally marked on the ground with tape or chalk.

MARKER!

A verbal cue that the take has been identified on camera both verbally and with the slate board.

MARTINI SHOT

The last shot of the day.

MASTER SHOT

A camera shot that includes the principal actors and relevant background activity; generally used as a reference shot to record the scene from beginning to end before shooting close-ups, over-the-shoulders, etc.

MATCHING ACTIONS

The requirement that the actor match the same physical movements in a scene from take to take in order to preserve the visual continuity.

MEAL PENALTY

A fee paid by the producer for the failure to provide meals or meal breaks as specified by the contract.

MIXER

Chief of the sound crew; responsible for the quality of the sound recording on a shoot.

MOS (Mit Out Sound/Motion Only Shot)

Any shot without dialogue or sound recording.

M.O.W.

Movie of the week

N

ND MEAL (NON DEDUCTABLE MEAL)

A 15 minute meal break provided to actors by the production company to bring actors in sync with crew break time. It must be completed within 2 hours of performers call time.

NIGHT PREMIUM

A surcharge for certain work performed after 8 p.m.

O

OFF-CAMERA (OC or OS)

Dialogue delivered without being on screen.

OUT OF FRAME

An actor outside the camera range.

"OUT" TIME

The actual time when you are released after you have changed out of wardrobe and make-up.

OVER-THE-SHOULDER

A shot over the shoulder of one actor, focusing entirely on the face and upper torso of the other actor in a scene; generally shot in pairs so both actors expressions can later be edited together.

OVERDUBBING

In studio singing or voice work, the process of laying one soundtrack over another.

OVERTIME (OT)

Work extending beyond the contractual work day.

P

P.A.

Production Assistant.

PAN

A camera shot which sweeps from side-to-side.

PAYMASTER

An independent talent payment service acting as the employer of record.

PENSION & HEALTH PAYMENT

An additional amount of money paid by the employer to cover employee benefits under union contract.

PER DIEM

Fee paid by producer on location shoots to compensate performer for expenditures for meals not provided by the producer.

PHOTO DOUBLE

An actor cast to perform on camera in place of another.

PICK UP

Starting a scene from a place other than the beginning.

PICTURE'S UP!

Warning that the sequence of cues to shoot a scene is about to begin.

POV SHOT

Point-of-View shot; camera angle from the perspective of one actor.

POST-PRODUCTION

The phase of filmmaking that begins after the film has been shot. Includes scoring, sound and picture editing, titling, dubbing, and releasing.

PRE-PRODUCTION

The phase of filmmaking before shooting begins; includes writing, scouting locations, budgeting, casting, hiring crews, ordering equipment and creating a shooting schedule.

PRINCIPAL

A performer with lines.

"PRINT!"

A call from the director at the end of a take that that particular take is good enough to be printed.

PRODUCER

Often called the Line Producer; the person responsible for the day-to-day decision-making on a production.

PRODUCTION COMPANY

The company actually making the film or television show.

PROPS

Any objects used by actors in a scene.

PSA

Public Service Announcement.

Q
R

RESIDUAL

The fee paid to performers for rebroadcast of a commercial, film or TV program.

RESUME

List of credits, usually attached to an 8x10 or composite.

REWRITE

Changes in the script, often using color-coded pages to indicate the most current version.

RIGHT-TO-WORK-STATES

Those states which do not honor certain union provisions.

ROLLING!

The verbal cue for the camera film and audio tape to start rolling.

ROOM TONE

A sound recording (sometimes made upon completion of a scene) to record existing noise at the location. Also called "wild track".

S

SAG

Screen Actors Guild.

SCALE

Minimum payment for services under union contracts.

SCRIPT

The written form of a screenplay, teleplay, radio or stage play.

SCRIPT SUPERVISOR

The crew member assigned to record all changes or actions as the production proceeds.

SDI

State Disability Insurance.

SECOND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Often two or three on a set, they handle checking in the talent, insuring proper paperwork is filed, and distribute script revisions. Actors check in with the 2nd A.D. upon arrival on the set.

SECOND TEAM!

The verbal cue for the stand-ins to come to the set and be ready to stand in.

SEGUE

In film or tape editing, a transition from one shot to another.

SET

The immediate location where the scene is being filmed.

SET-UP

Each time the camera changes position.

SFX

Sound effects.

SIDES

Pages or scenes from a script, used in auditions or (if on a film set) those scenes being shot that day.

SIGNATORY

An employer who has agreed to produce under the terms of a union contract.

SLATE

A small chalkboard and clapper device, often electronic, used to mark and identify shots on film for editing; also the process of verbal identification by a performer in a taped audition (e.g., "Slate your name!").

SPEED!

A verbal cue that the audio tape is up to speed for recording.

SPIKING THE LENS

Looking directly into the lens during a scene; since it destroys the illusion of realism, actors should never spike the lens unless specifically directed to do so for specific effect.

STAGE RIGHT

To the performer's right side, to the audience's left side. Likewise, STAGE LEFT is to the performer's left, the audience's right. Stage directions are for actors, not audiences, therefore they are always given from the actor's point of view to the audience.

STANDARD UNION CONTRACT

The standard format/contract approved by the Unions and offered to performers prior to the job.

STANDARDS & PRACTICES

The network TV censorship departments.

STAND-INS

Extra Performers used as substitutes for featured players, for the purpose of setting lights and rehearsing camera moves; also known as the second team.

"STICKS"

Slate or clapboard.

STUDIO

A building, recording room or sound stage which accommodates film or TV production.

STUNT COORDINATOR

The person in charge of designing and supervising the performance of stunts and hazardous activities.

STUNT DOUBLE

A stuntperson who performs stunts for a principal.

STUNTPERSON

A specially trained performer who actually performs stunts.

SUBMISSION

An agent's suggestion to a casting director for a role in a certain production.

SW

A notation on a call sheet that an actor is starting on that day and working on that day.

SWF

A notation on a call sheet that an actor is starting, working, and finished on that day.

SWEETENING

In singing/recording, the process of adding additional voices to previously recorded work.

SYNDICATION

Selling TV programs to individual stations rather than to networks.

T

TAFT-HARTLEY

A federal statute which allows 30 days after first employment before being required to join a Union.

TAKE

The clapboard indication of a shot "taken" or printed.

"TAKE 5"

The announcement of periodic five minute breaks.

TELEPROMPTER

The brand name of a device which enables a broadcaster to read a script while looking into the camera lens.

THEATRICAL

TV shows or feature film work, as opposed to commercials.

THREE BELLS!

An audible warning for QUIET because a scene is about to be filmed.

TIGHT SHOT (Go in Tight)

Framing of a shot with little or no space around the central figure(s) of feature(s); usually a close-up.

TILT

The up and down movement of a camera.

TIME-AND-A-HALF

Overtime payment of 1 1/2 times the hourly rate.

TRACKING SHOT

A shot taken while the camera is moving, either on a dolly or mounted on a moving vehicle.

TRADES

Short for "trade papers" - The newspapers and periodicals such as the Hollywood Reporter and Variety that specifically feature information on the entertainment industry.

TURNAROUND

(a) The number of hours between dismissal one day and call time the next day. (b) To shoot a scene from another direction.

TWO-SHOT

A camera framing two persons.

U

UNDERSTUDY

A performer hired to do a role only if the featured player is unable to perform; used primarily in live theatre.

UPGRADE

The promotion of an extra performer in a scene to the category of principal performer.

UPM

Unit Production Manager - Oversees the crews and handles the scheduling of all the technical responsibilities of the production.

UP STAGE

(a) The area located at the back of the stage. Down Stage is the area in front of the performer. (b) To draw attention to oneself at the expense of a fellow performer.

V

V.O.

Voice over. An off-camera voice coming either from an actor not in the frame, or from a secondary source such as a speakerphone or answering machine.

VOUCHER

Time slip with all pertinent information needed for getting paid properly.

W

W

A notation on the call sheet indicating that an actor is working that day.

WAIVERS

Union-approved permission for deviation from the terms of a contract.

WALKAWAY

A meal break in which all cast and crew are on their own to get lunch.

WARDROBE

The clothing a performer wears on camera.

WARDROBE ALLOWANCE

A maintenance fee paid to on-camera talent for the use (and dry cleaning) of talent's own clothing.

WARDROBE FITTING

A session held prior to production to prepare a performer's costumes.

WEATHER PERMIT CALL

Due to weather conditions, the production company has the option to release an actor four hours after the call time (if the camera has not started to roll) with a reduced rate of pay for the day.

WILD TRACK

A recording of dialog or sound effects on the set of a film but without the camera running.

W/N

Will Notify. A notation on a call sheet that tells the actor that he/she will probably work that day but the specific time has not yet been decided.

WRAP

The completion of a day's filming or of an entire production.

X
Y
Z

ZOOM

A camera technique with a special lens to adjust the depth of a shot, accomplished without moving the camera.

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