Industry Terminology

ABOVE THE LINE - The term used by Producers and Accountants designating that portion of the budget which is accounted for separately from the normal production staff. In other words, the executive portion normally referring to the Producer, Director, Screen Writer and any other critical person, such as an important Actor.

ACTION! - The command from the director for the scene to begin. It also means 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. Also called "looping".

AEA - Actors' Equity Association; also called "Equity". SAG's sister union which represents stage actors. See also BAE, CAE and MEAA.

AFI - The American Film Institute.

A.C.C.T. - Association of Canadian Craftspeople

ACTRA - Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artist

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; recent Television & Film and Commercial Contracts have been jointly negotiated.

AGMA - American Guild of Musical Artists

AGVA - American Guild of Variety Artists

AMPTP - Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers

ART DIRECTOR - Person who conceives and designs the sets.

ATA - Association of Talent Agents

AUDITION - A tryout for a film, TV or stage role. Usually auditions involving 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.

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.

BAE - British Actors Equity

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

BELOW THE LINE - An accounting reference term in the film industry referring to all the normal production staff and costs involved in making the film – less those referred to as being “above the line” which costs form the Executive.

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

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

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

BLOCKING - The actual physical movements by performers in any scene. Also can refer to the movements of the camera.

BOOKING - A firm commitment to a performer to do a specific job.

BOOM - 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.

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 - 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.

BRIEF - The Australian equivalent to the Breakdown.

BROWSER - See Web Browser

CAEA - Canadian Actors Equity Association

CACHE - Your Web browser's cache, which contains the most recent Web files that you have downloaded and which is physically located on your hard disk.

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 clap stick 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, 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.

CASTING FACILITY - A 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 - The actual time you are due on the set

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 principle 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.

CDS - The Casting Delivery Service run by Casting Workbook in Toronto as a daily 5 point drop-off courier and package delivery augmenting the electronic service.

CFTPA - Canadian Film & Television Production Association. A non-profit, trade association representing almost 400 Canadian production companies involved in television, film and interactive media.

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.

COOKIE - A cookie is information that a Web site puts on your hard disk so that it can remember something about you at a later time.

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

CSA - Casting Society of America. Professional society of Theatrical (Film, TV, Stage) Casting Directors.

CUE - Hand signal by the Stage Manager

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.

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 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.

DGA - Directors Guild of America.

DGC - Directors Guild of Canada

DIALECT - A distinctly regional or linguistic speech pattern.

DIALOGUE - The scripted words exchanged by performers.

DIGITIZING - The process of converting something into a form for use in a computer

DIRECTOR - 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.

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, a "dub" 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.

E. I. C. - Entertainment Industry Coalition

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.

ENCODING - Converting a digital file, usually audio or video, into a specific format. Ie: MP3, AVI, MOV etc.

EQUITY - Actors Equity Association (see AEA, BAE , CAEA and MEAA) 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 performer, used only in non-principal roles.

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 Artistes 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".

FX (Effects - ) Special Effects.

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.

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.

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.

LINE PRODUCER - 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.

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

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.

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.

MEAA - Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (Australia)

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.

MODEM - A 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.

M.O.W - . Movie of the week

N.A.B.E.T - National Association of Broadcasting Employees & Technicians

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.

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

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

OPERATING SYSTEM - The group of programs that allows users to interact with a computer. Primarily Microsoft Windows, Mac OS or Linux.

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.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.

PERIPHERAL - Any device that is optionally attached to a computer. Mouse, keyboard, scanner, printer etc.

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 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.

RESIDUAL - The fee paid to a 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 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".

SAG - Screen Actors Guild.

SCALE - Minimum payment for services under union contracts.

SCENES - The Australian equivalent to Sides. See Sides below

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, 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. In Australia, Sides are called Scenes.

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 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 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 stunt person 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.

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.

T.A.M.A.C. - Talent Agents and Managers' Association of Canada

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.

TMA - Talent Managers Association (Los Angeles based)

TRACKING SHOT - 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 - (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.

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

U.B.C.P - . Union of B.C. Performers

U.D.A. - Union des Artistes

UPGRADE - The 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.

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.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 - 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.

WEB BROWSER - A browser is an application program that provides a way to look at and interact with all the information on the World Wide Web. Commonly: Internet Explorer (IE), Netscape, Opera, Lynx, Mozilla

WGA - Writers Guild of America

WGC - Writers Guild of Canada

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.

WRANGLER - Person in charge of horses and other animals.

WRAP - The 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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