The film industry has a language of its own!! Here are some words and phrases you might hear while working!
Quiet on the set:
Please be quiet. They are usually talking to the EXTRAS when they say this! If one person is talking, it may sound like a whisper. If a group is talking, it sounds like a roar. The crew may be talking because they are setting up equipment . . . this doesn’t mean the extras are allowed to talk!
They are about to start filming. You should stand by for your cue.
There is film moving through the camera. Please do not move yet. Your cue is coming next.
It is time for you to perform. Please remember to never look directly into the camera. Remember exactly what you were doing in a scene, so you can repeat your actions each time. If you are supposed to pretend you are talking or clapping or cheering, remember to do it in pantomime!
When you hear the director call “Action,” it is time for the main actors to perform.
Back to one:
Return to your first position and standby to start your action again.
It’s a wrap:
The scene is finished!
Below is a more extensive list of terms and explanations that you might hear within the film industry.
(Provided courtesy of castingworkbook.com)
The Assistant Director.
Extemporaneous delivery without relying on a prepared script.
The American Film Institute
Person who conceives and designs the sets.
A tryout for a film, TV or stage role. Usually auditions involving reading from the script, but can also require improvisation.
The Extra performers. On 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.
The assistant to the Chief Electrician, or Head Gaffer.
The order of the names in the title of opening credits of a film or TV show.
The actual physical movements by performers in any scene. Also can refer to the movements of the camera.
A firm commitment to a performer to do a specific job.
An overhead microphone, usually on an extended pole. The Boom Operator is the member of the sound department responsible for holding the boom pole, with mic attached, over and sometimes under the actors. Also usually responsible for placing radio mics on actors.
Shooting in a studio against a large blue or green backdrop, which allows a background to be superimposed later on the final image. The actors must imagine the set they are on and be aware of the limitations of their movements. Casting Workbook’s Audition studio in their Vancouver location is a Blue Screen.
Specially designed prop or set piece that looks solid but shatters easily.
A summary description of a script prepared by or for the casting director often including the names of the director, producer, network or studio, together with audition location and times, storyline and roles available for casting in a production. These are, and have traditionally been, provided only to qualified talent agents. Breakdowns are posted on the Casting Workbook by the Casting Director and go out to as many as 1000 agents in 20 cities. See also Casting Notices.
The Australian equivalent to the Breakdown.
Any follow-up interview or audition.
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.
The actual time an actor is due on the set.
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 clap stick clapper) and the dolly grip.
The producer’s representative responsible for choosing performers for consideration by the producer or director.
Similar in format to a Breakdown, the casting notice is not restricted to agents only. They are distributed to actors, agents and the public, much the same as a posting in a newspaper.
Responsible for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a set. Different from Craft Services.
Outfits worn while performing.
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.
Heads the electrician crew; also called the Gaffer.
Director of Photography
Camera term for tight shot of shoulders and face.
Unrehearsed reading of a scene, usually at an audition.
Percentage of a performer’s earnings paid to agents or managers for services rendered.
A series of photos on one sheet representing an actor’s different looks.
The script for a commercial or voice over.
All camera shots other than the master shot; coverage might include two-shots and close-ups.
On-set beverage and snack table. Different from the Caterer
A camera shot raised over or above the set or the action.
Usually the end credits in a film or TV shot which “crawl” up the screen.
Opening names in a film or TV show; also refers to one’s performance experience listed on a resume or in a program.
Casting Society of America. Professional society of Theatrical (Film, TV, Stage) Casting Directors.
Hand signal by the Stage Manager
The verbal cue for the action of the scene to stop. At no time, may an actor call, “cut!”
A short scene between two shots of the same person, showing something other than that person.
Screening of footage before it is edited.
DAY PLAYER (DAY PERFORMER):
A principal performer hired on a daily basis, rather than on a longer:
An actor’s audio or video tape that agents use for audition purposes. These are now going digital and are being uploaded to the Casting Workbook saving duplication and shipping costs for agents and their actors.
A distinctly regional or linguistic speech pattern.
The scripted words exchanged by performers.
The coordinator of all artistic and technical aspects of any production.
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY (D.P. or D.O.P):
Supervises all decisions regarding lighting, camera lenses, color and filters, camera angle set-ups, camera crew and film processing.
A piece of equipment that the camera sits on to allow mobility of the camera.
The crew member who moves the dolly.
A performer who appears in place of another performer, i.e., as in a stunt.
Director of Photography or Cinematographer.
DRESS THE SET:
Add such items to the set as curtains, furniture, props, etc.
In film, crew members who place lighting instruments, focus, gel and maneuver the lights.
Person responsible for funding the production.
A scene shot outside.
Background performer, used only in non-principal roles.
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.
previous day. See TURNAROUND.
Action in a scene in which an Extra Performer passes between the camera and the principal actors; sometimes called a “wipe”.
The Chief Electrician.
Contractually called 16 Hour Rule Violation for Extra Performers, is overtime, after the 16th hour, paid in units of one full day per hour.
Members of the film crew who are responsible for moving set pieces, lighting equipment, dolly track and other physical movement of equipment.
A performer whose hands are used to double for others.
Time during which a TV series is not in production
The designated area to which the Extra Performers report and stay while waiting to go on set.
A towed vehicle containing one or more dressing rooms, as well as crew bathrooms.
Shots, usually close -ups of hands or close business, inserted into previously shot footage.
A scene shot indoors.
The producer responsible for keeping the director on time and budget; generally the most visible producer actually on the set.
LONG SHOT (LS):
A camera shot which captures the performer’s full body.
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.
A verbal cue that the take has been identified on camera both verbally and with the slate board.
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.
The requirement that the actor match the same physical movements in a scene from take to take in order to preserve the visual continuity.
A fee paid by the producer for the failure to provide meals or meal breaks as specified by the contract.
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. Also sometimes called S.O.C. , silent on-camera.
OFF-CAMERA (OC or OS):
Dialogue delivered without being on screen.
OUT OF FRAME:
An actor outside the camera range.
The actual time when you are released after you have changed out of wardrobe and make- up.
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.
Work extending beyond the contractual work day.
A camera shot which sweeps from side-to-side.
Fee paid by producer on location shoots to compensate performer for expenditures for meals not provided by the producer.
An actor cast to perform on camera in place of another.
Starting a scene from a place other than the beginning.
Warning that the sequence of cues to shoot a scene is about to begin.
Point-of-View shot; camera angle from the perspective of one actor.
The phase of filmmaking that begins after the film has been shot. Includes scoring, sound and picture editing, titling, dubbing, and releasing.
The phase of filmmaking before shooting begins; includes writing, scouting locations, budgeting, casting, hiring crews, ordering equipment and creating a shooting schedule.
A performer with lines.
A call from the director at the end of a take that that particular take is good enough to be printed.
Often called the Line Producer; the person responsible for the day-to-day decision making on a production.
The company actually making the film.
The fee paid to a performer for rebroadcast of a commercial, film or TV program
List of credits, usually attached to an 8×10 or composite.
Those states which do not honor certain union provisions.
The verbal cue for the camera film and audio tape to start rolling.
Screen Actors Guild.
The written form of a screenplay, teleplay, radio or stage play.
The crew member assigned to record all changes or actions as the production proceeds.
SECOND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR:
Often two or three on a set, they handle checking in the talent, insuring proper paperwork is filed, distribute script revisions. Actors check in with the 2nd A.D. upon arrival on the set.
The verbal cue for the stand-ins to come to the set and be ready to stand in.
In film or tape editing, a transition from one shot to another.
The immediate location where the scene is being filmed.
Each time the camera changes position.
Pages or scenes from a script, used in auditions or (if on a film set) those scenes being shot that day.
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!”).
A verbal cue that the audio tape is up to speed for recording.
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.
Extra Performers used as substitutes for featured players, for the purpose of setting lights and rehearsing camera moves; also known as the second team.
A building, recording room or sound stage which accommodates film or TV production.
The person in charge of designing and supervising the performance of stunts and hazardous activities.
A stunt person who performs stunts for a principal.
A specially trained performer who actually performs stunts.
An agent’s suggestion to a casting director for a role in a certain production.
A notation on a call sheet that an actor is starting on that day and working on that day.
A notation on a call sheet that an actor is starting, working, and finished on that day.
Selling TV programs to individual stations rather than to networks.
A federal statute which allows 30 days after first employment before being required to join a Union.
The clapboard indication of a shot “taken” or printed.
The announcement of periodic five minute breaks.
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.
The up and down movement of a camera.
Overtime payment of 1 1/2 times the hourly rate.
A shot taken while the camera is moving, either on a dolly or mounted on a moving vehicle.
The number of hours between dismissal one day and call time the next day or to shoot a scene from another direction.
A camera framing two persons.
The promotion of an extra performer in a scene to the category of principal performer.
Unit Production Manager: Oversees the crews and handles the scheduling and all the technical responsibilities of the production.
The area located at the back of the stage. Down Stage is the area in front of the performer. Or, to draw attention to oneself at the expense of a fellow performer.
Voice over. An off-camera voice coming either from an actor not in the frame, or from a secondary source such as a speakerphone
A notation on the call sheet indicating that an actor is working that day.
Union-approved permission for deviation from the terms of a contract.
The clothing a performer wears on camera.
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.
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.
The completion of a day’s filming or of the entire production.
The end of the production party.
A camera technique with a special lens to adjust the depth of a shot, accomplished without moving the camera.