Entertainment Industry Terms - Showbiz Ltd
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Commonly Used Entertainment Industry Terms

ACTION - Command from the director for the scene to begin. It also means that the camera is rolling.

A.D. - Assistant Director.

AD LIB – The extemporaneous delivery without relying on a prepared script.

ADR - Automated Dialogue Replacement. Dialogue added to a scene in post production.

A. C. C. T. - Association of Canadian Crafts people

ACTRA - Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists

AFTRA - American Federation Radio & Television Artists

ART DIRECTOR - Person who conceives and designs the sets.

ACTING AUDITIONS - Tryout for a film, TV or stage role. Acting Auditions usually involve reading from the script, but can also require improvisation.

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


BACKGROUND & BACKGROUND PERFORMER - Background performers also known as Extra performers. On the set, "Background!" is a verbal cue for the Extras to start their action.

BACK TO ONE - Verbal cue for performers to return to the mark where they started the scene.

BEAUTY SHOT - On TV soaps, the shot over which the credits are rolled.

BEST BOY - Assistant to the Chief Electrician, or Head Gaffer.

BILLING - Order of the names in the title of opening credits of a film or TV show.

BIO - Short for "biography". Resume in narrative form, usually for a printed program or press release.

BLOCKING - Actual physical movements by performers in any scene.

- Firm commitment to a performer to do a specific job.

BOOM - 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.

BLUE SCREEN - 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.

BREAKAWAY - Specially designed prop or set piece that looks solid but shatters easily.

BREAKDOWN - 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.

CALLBACK – Second audition or follow-up interview or audition.

CALL SHEET - 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 - 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 clap stick clapper) and the dolly grip.

CAMERA OPERATOR - Member of the camera crew who actually looks through the lens during a take. Responsible for panning, tilting and keeping the action within the frame.

CASTING CALLS - Tryout for a film, TV or stage role. Auditions involve reading from the script, but can also require improvisation.

CASTING DIRECTOR – Hired by the producer and responsible for choosing performers for consideration by the producer or director.

CASTING FACILITY - Studio or space used by one or more casting directors for holding audition taping sessions. Many casting directors have their own casting facility and others rent facilities for their auditions as required.

CASTING NOTICE - 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.

CATTLE CALL - Actual time you are due on the set

CATERER - Responsible for breakfast, lunch and dinner on a set.

CHEAT - 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 - 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 - Script for a commercial or voice over.

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

CRAFT SERVICES - On-set beverage and snack table.

CRANE SHOT - 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 a one's performance experience listed on a resume or in a program.

CSA- Casting Society of America

CUE - Hand signal by the Stage Manager

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

CUTAWAY - Short scene between two shots of the same person, showing something other than that person.

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.

DEMO TAPE - 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.


DIALECT - Distinctly regional or linguistic speech pattern.

DIALOGUE - Scripted words exchanged by performers.

DIRECTOR - 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.

DOLLY - Piece of equipment that the camera sits on to allow mobility of the camera.

– The crew member who moves the dolly.

DOUBLE - 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.

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

8x10 - Commonly used size of a performer's photos, usually in black and white.

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

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.

EXTRA - Background performer, used only in non-principal roles.

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 ASST. 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.

FORCED CALL - 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".

FX (Effects) - Special Effects.

GAFFER - Chief Electrician.

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

HAND MODEL - Performer whose hands are used to double for others.

HIATUS - Time during which a TV series is not in production

HOLDING - 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.

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) - Scene shot indoors.

IN TIME - Actual call time or start time; also, return time from a break.

LINE PRODUCER - Producer responsible for keeping the director on time and budget; generally the most visible producer actually on the set.

LONG SHOT (LS) - Camera shot which captures the performer's full body.

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

MARK - 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 - Verbal cue that the take has been identified on camera both verbally and with the slate board.

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 - 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 - 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.

MODEM - Device that converts digital signals from a computer or other digital device, into a form that can be transmitted across copper wires. It also re-converts them when received from another device.

MOS & MIT Out Sound/Motion Only Shot - Any shot without dialogue or sound recording. Also sometimes called S. O. C., silent on-camera.

MOVIES EXTRAS - Background actors. Atmosphere players. Extra actors. Has no lines.

NETWORK - In the most generic sense, a group of computers connected to each other allowing communication and a sharing of information. Also may refer to a Television Network such as Fox, ABC etc…

NIGHT PREMIUM - Surcharge for certain work performed after 8 p.m.

OFF-CAMERA (OC or OS) - Dialogue delivered without being on screen.

OUT OF FRAME - Actor outside the camera range.

OUT TIME - Actual time when you are released after you have changed out of wardrobe and make- up.

OVER-THE-SHOULDER - 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. A. - Production Assistant.

PAN - Camera shot which sweeps from side-to-side.

PARTS MODEL - Performer whose specializes in a specific body part

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 - Phase of filmmaking that begins after the film has been shot.

PRE-PRODUCTION - Phase of filmmaking before shooting begins; includes writing, scouting locations, budgeting, casting, hiring crews, ordering equipment and creating a shooting schedule.

PRINCIPAL - Performer with lines.

PRINT - Call from the director at the end of a take that that particular take is good enough be printed.

PRODUCER - Person responsible for the day-to-day decision making on a production.

PRODUCTION COMPANY - Company actually making the film or television show.

PROPS - Objects used by actors in a scene.

RESIDUAL - Fee paid to a performers for rebroadcast of a commercial, film or TV program

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

ROLLING - Verbal cue for the camera film and audio tape to start rolling. ".

SCALE - Minimum payment for services under union contracts.

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD, SAG - Professional actors union.

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

SCRIPT SUPERVISOR - 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.

SECOND TEAM - 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 those scenes being shot that day.

SIGNATORY - Employer who has agreed to produce under the terms of a union contract.

SLATE - 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 - Verbal cue that the audio tape is up to speed for recording.

- Looking directing 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 the audience, therefore they are always given from the actor's point of view to the audience.

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.

STUDIO - Building, recording room or sound stage which accommodates film or TV production.

STUNT COORDINATOR - Person in charge of designing and supervising the performance of stunts and hazardous activities.

STUNT DOUBLE - Stunt person who performs stunts for a principal.

STUNTPERSON - Specially trained performer who actually performs stunts.

SW - Notation on a call sheet that an actor is starting on that day and working on that day.

SWF - 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.

TAFT-HARTLEY - 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 - Announcement of periodic five minute breaks.

TELEPROMPTER - 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 - 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 - Up and down movement of a camera.

TIME-AND-A-HALF - Overtime payment of 1 1/2 times the hourly rate.

- A shot taken while the camera is moving, either on a dolly or a 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 – 1.Number of hours between dismissal one day and call time the next day. 2. To shoot a scene from another direction.

TWO-SHOT - A camera framing two persons.

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

UNIONS – Writers Guild of America, WGA, Screen Actors Guild, SAG, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, AFTRA, Directors Guild of America, DGA,

UPGRADE - Promotion of an extra performer in a scene to the category of principal performer.

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

- 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. O. - Voice over. 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 - 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 - Meal break in which all cast and crew are on their own to get lunch.

- Clothing a performer wears on camera.

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

WARDROBE FITTING - 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.

WGA - Writers Guild of America

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 - Completion of a day's filming or of the entire production.

WRAP PARTY - The end of the production party.

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


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