Accent coach: A professional who specializes in coaching actors to accurately replicate specific accents.
Actors union: An organization that represents actors and works to protect their rights and interests in the entertainment industry.
Action: This is the Principal Actors cue to start.
Actor notes: Directions or instructions given by the director to the actors regarding their character’s emotions and actions in a scene.
Assistant Director (1st): Easily mistaken for the director since they are normally the person doing all the shouting and giving everyone their cues. They are the person in charge when you are on set. Listen very carefully to what they say.
Agent: A representative who promotes and negotiates contracts on behalf of actors, helping them find auditions, secure roles, and navigate their careers.
Assistant Director (2nd): Normally your first point of contact, but not always on the set as they are often at the Unit Base planning ahead. The 2nd AD is responsible for making sure all members of the Cast and Crew are in the right place at the right time. They liaise with the Agency about background requirements.
Assistant Director (3rd): On set, the 3rd AD is the person who will be looking after you. He/she liaises with the 1st and will be the person giving you instructions on where you should go.
Assistant Director (Crowd): On bigger productions there may be a separate AD to look after the Supporting Artistes.
Auditions: The process of showcasing one’s acting abilities to casting directors or production teams in order to be considered for a role.
Background Action: This is your cue to start.
Backlot: Americanism. An open-air part of the studio where sets can be constructed.
BECTU: Union that represents Supporting Artistes. Stands for the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematographic and Theatre Union.
Best Boy: The first assistant electrician, assisting the Gaffer.
Blonde: Type of light.
Blocking: Gives the movement for the scene.
Bluescreen: Sometimes called Greenscreen or chroma-key. Filming takes place against a blue or green background. The background can then be replaced by a different location.
Body Cast: You may be asked to go to a body cast. A cast will be made of part of your body or even your whole body.
Body shot: A photograph that captures the actor’s entire body, usually taken in addition to headshots to provide a full picture of the actor’s physical appearance.
Boom: The pole that the boom operator holds attached to an overhead microphone.
Box office: Refers to the commercial success of a film, measured by the revenue generated from ticket sales.
Breakout role: A significant acting opportunity that brings recognition and launches an actor’s career.
Broken Lunch: Under the Pink Book agreement it is an additional payment if you are not given a meal break within a set time.
Buy out: On certain jobs, you may be offered a Buy Out of rights, instead of repeat fees.
Callback: A second audition or interview where selected actors are asked to return to further demonstrate their skills and suitability for a role.
Call Sheet: A daily report normally produced by the 2nd AD. Given to the crew so they know what is being filmed that day.
Call Time: The time you must report to your given location. You must be on time.
Camera Right and Camera Left: Describes the view from the camera’s point of view. If you are told to move camera left and you are facing the camera you would move to your right, and visa versa.
Casting Director: Responsible for casting the Actors.
Check the Gate: Checking a part of the camera to ensure no unwanted objects such as hairs have gone across the lens.
Checking: Waiting on response from the control room
Chit/Voucher: The paperwork given to you when you arrive. You must get it signed before you leave to ensure you get paid.
Cinematography: The art and technique of capturing images on film or digital media, including camera work, lighting, composition, and visual storytelling.
Clapper Loader: The person who loads the film into the camera.
Clapperboard: Also called the slate. Used to mark each take by number and help the editor synchronize sound and vision.
Close Up: Shot of a person, the camera would be only on their head.
Closed set: A set where only essential crew members are allowed during sensitive scenes, such as nudity or sex scenes.
Cold Reading: An audition where actors are given a script to read with little or no time to prepare in advance.
Confirmed Booking: This is a firm commitment to work on this day. Do not take another job on that day.
Continuity: A sequence filming over more than one day, or more than shot. It is therefore essential that nothing changes to upset the continuity of the scene.
Continuous working day / night: A filming day or night where you will not be given a meal break, but a running buffet is provided while filming continues.
Corpsing: When an actor succumbs to uncontrollable laughter during a serious scene, disrupting the filming process.
Costume Fitting: You may need to have a costume fitted before filming. You may also be asked to go to a wig or prosthetics fitting if they are going to change your appearance.
Craft Services also known as Unit: Tea, Coffee and water station
Crane Shot: The camera may pan up at great height. A crane is used to lift the camera into the air.
Credit: Acknowledgment of an actor’s contribution in the form of credits on screen or in print.
Crowd Base: On bigger calls this is where you will be asked to report.
Cue: A signal, line, or action that indicates it is time for another actor to speak or perform a specific action.
Cut: This is your cue to stop. You will then often be asked to return to your first positions.
Day players: Actors hired for a specific day or short period of time for a particular scene or role.
De-roling: A technique used by actors to mentally and physically detach themselves from the character after a performance
Dining Bus: A place to eat, but could also be used as a Holding Area
Director: The person responsible for overseeing and guiding the artistic and creative aspects of a theatrical production.
DOOD (Day Out Of Days): A document that lists specific dates an actor is scheduled to work on a project.
DOP: Director of Photography (or Cinematographer). Works with the Director supervising the Camera and lighting department to set up the shot. They are responsible for determining the look of the film, in terms of style, rather than just the process of recording it.
Double: A person used when the Actor is not available. Usually from long distance or from behind, or for a part of the body such as hands and feet.
Edge of Frame: Frame of film where the camera sees
Equity: Union that represents Supporting Artistes.
Establisher Shot: A general view of any location or building.
Exclusivity: A clause in a contract that limits actors from taking part in other work during a specific period.
Eye line: The direction you are required to look in shot.
FAA: Film Artistes Association. Part of BECTU
Fat suit: A costume or prop designed to simulate being overweight.
Featured Artiste: Another name for an actor.
Fight choreography: The planned and coordinated movements and actions in fight scenes, ensuring the safety of the actors involved.
Fight directors: On-set combat choreographers who oversee and guide the actors in performing fight scenes.
Film noir: A genre of film characterised by its dark and moody visual style, often featuring crime, mystery, and suspense.
Finals/Final Checks: Hair and make-ups last chance to get everything right before filming starts.
First Positions: Sometimes referred to as Number Ones. You will be given a starting position for each take of a scene.
Focus Puller: The person in charge of the lens on the camera.
Foley stage: A room or studio where sound effects for films are created and recorded.
From The Top: To start the scene from the beginning
Gaffer: Head electrician.
Gel: Something that covers a light to create different effects.
Going again: We are going to do it again (the scene)
Grips: Crew members involved in building platforms, laying tracks or helping out blacking out for night shoots.
Green room: A designated area on set where actors can relax and wait between scenes.
Hair and Make up ready: To arrive with your hair and make up done ready to go as per instruction
Headshot: Professional photographs of an actor’s face, typically used for casting purposes and to give casting directors an idea of an actor’s appearance.
Hold the Red: Another take is about to happen.
Holding Area: Similar to Crowd Base, a place where a group of you will be waiting before being called onto set.
Honey Wagon: The toilet.
House: Refers to the audience seating area in a theater.
Insert: Close-Ups of importance. e.g. a hand picking up a gun.
Intimacy coaches: Professionals who assist actors in scenes involving intimacy and ensure a safe and comfortable environment.
Italian run: A technique in which lines are rehearsed with a partner or reader as quickly as possible to identify weak spots and areas of difficulty in memorization.
It’s a buy: The scene is acceptable, therefore complete
Lead role: The main or central character in a play, movie, or TV show.
Location: Not filming at a studio? Filming will take place here.
Long Shot: Full length shot with some of the background.
Look-alike Double: An artiste who is used because they have a strong physical resemblance to an Actor.
Lookbook: A collection of photos used by directors to communicate the desired look, feel, and vision of a film or project, sometimes used by casting directors to find actors with specific appearance characteristics.
Mark: Marks a position, so you can move to it
Masking: Obscuring the vision for the camera
Master Shot: Wide shot that covers the main action throughout.
Method Acting: A technique emphasising emotional authenticity by immersing oneself in the character’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences.
Mid Shot: Shot of the top half of the body.
Monologue: A solo performance where an actor delivers a speech or dialogue from a play, film, or other source.
Montage: A sequence of quick shots or clips combined together, often accompanied by music, to create a specific effect or convey a story.
More Level: Speak up or be louder
Moving on: Going on the to the next scene
Multi-episodic: An additional payment paid under some Equity agreements if more than one episode of a production are recorded in one day.
Nightshoot: Filming through the night. No set hours but could start as early as 4pm and finish as late as 7am.
Off-book: The state in which an actor has memorized their lines and no longer needs to rely on a script.
Open Castings: Auditions or casting calls that are open to anyone, usually posted online or circulated on social media.
Pan: The camera moves from left to right, or right to left.
‘Pay or Play’: A term in contracts ensuring actors are paid their negotiated fee regardless of whether they are used in the final production.
Pencilled Booking: A provisional booking, yet to be confirmed. Sometimes you may be given a heavy pencil. This is more likely to happen but still not confirmed.
Perpetuity clause: A contractual provision granting the advertiser the right to use an actor’s image indefinitely.
Pick Up: A small part of a scene which has been missed or needs to be reshot that the crew will go back to complete.
Plot: The sequence of events and storyline in a movie or television show.
Post-production: The stage of filmmaking that involves editing, sound design, visual effects, and other processes performed after the footage has been capture
Pre-production: The phase of filmmaking or theater production where tasks are scheduled and completed before filming or opening night.
Premiere: The first public screening or presentation of a film, often held at a film festival, theater, or online platform.
Production Office: The headquarters behind the set, usually headed by the
Production Manager: Person responsible for the day-to-day logistics.
Prompter: An individual positioned offstage who helps actors with their lines if they forget them during a performance.
Prop: Any object you may be given in addition to your costume that is movable, such as a sword or rifle.
Prosthetic: An artificial body part, applied in the make-up dept.
Read Through: Deliver the words of the scene and not the action
Reader: A person who assists during auditions by reading lines with actors.
Realism: The portrayal of events, characters, and settings in a way that appears true to life.
Recording: Filming is taking place and red light goes on above doors of studio when recording – don’t go in until the red light goes off
Red Light and Bell: A red light and bell will be sounded (usually in a studio) before filming is about to happen. Also, Save the Red, marked by two bells, means filming has stopped.
Redhead: Another type of light.
Rehearsal: This is when you rehearse a scene before filming.
Repeat Fee: Featured artistes sometimes receive a fee every time something is shown.
Reset: Moving the camera to a different position.
Residual payment: Additional compensation actors receive for reruns or repeat showings of movies or television shows.
Reverse Shot: A 180-degree angle from the last position of the camera.
Roll it/ Rolling/Roll Camera: Said to the sound and film crew to start machines rolling
‘Run of Play’: A term in theater contracts guaranteeing actors payment for the entire length or run of a production.
Runner or PA: Can be instructed do anything at all to support the ADs and Production Office. From collecting people to and from the set to taking lunch orders or picking up faxes.
Running lines: The act of rehearsing lines with a partner or reader to practice delivery, timing, and understanding of the scene.
Rushes: A first look at what has been filmed on a given day.
Safe: If an AD tells you you’re not “safe” it usually means that you could be in shot (in the background of the filming taking place)
Scene: A sequence of events or actions that take place in a play, movie, or television show, typically in a specific location.
Screen Credit: Acknowledgment of an actor’s name in the credits of a film or television show.
Second Unit: A completely separate crew, filming different scenes to the Main Unit, often Insert or Pick-Up shots.
SEO: Abbreviation for Search Engine Optimization, the practice of optimizing a website to improve its visibility and ranking in search engine results.
Self-tape: Refers to an audition where actors record themselves performing a scene and submit it electronically.
Set: Where filming is taking place.
Shift Call: Not a full days work. Only used under the FAA agreement it is a maximum of four hours work.
Sides: Selected scenes from a script that are given to actors for auditions.
Shoot: Filming or Film
Showcase: A performance or presentation, usually held by drama schools, to showcase the talents of graduating students to agents or industry professionals.
Showreel: A compilation of an actor’s best performances or scenes, often presented in video format, used to showcase their abilities to casting directors and agents.
Sides: The call sheet and script for the day -condensed.
Sign In / Out: Sign your name on a form with the AD to prove that you turned up, did the work and finished – this is used to work out your wages.
Signed Off: You have your chit/Voucher signed by an AD and you are free to leave
Slate: This is a term that references a clapper board and the clapper is prior to the commencement of shooting.
Slating: Introducing oneself on camera by stating name, height, agency, and any other required information.
Soundstage: At the studios an enclosed space where the set is constructed.
Spark: Another name for an electrician.
Special FX: Special effects can be anything used in shot such as fire, wind, rain or snow.
Special skills: Abilities and talents that an actor possesses, which are not directly related to acting but can enhance their performances and increase their chances of landing roles.
Speed: The Camera has reached its required speed.
Splicing: Cutting and joining different parts of footage together during the editing process.
Split Day: A shifted day in hours. For example a mid morning start and a late evening finish. Pay is still a standard day.
Squib: An explosive charge to create the effect of a bullet or small explosion.
Stand By: This is a warning that filming is about to commence.
Stand In: A person used in place of an Actor to set up initial lighting and camera. Usually of a similar height age and skin tone to the Actor.
Steadicam: A harness that allows the camera to be attached to a camera operator. This reduces or eliminates the unsteadiness of the motion by the operator.
Storyboard: A visual representation of a film or video project, consisting of a sequence of drawings or images that outline the planned shots and camera angles.
Table reads: A rehearsal where the cast gathers to read the script aloud, often used to refine dialogue and assess character interactions.
Take: Filming of a particular sequence. This will be repeated until the director is happy.
Tilt: The camera moves either up or down.
Title card: A screen or graphic displayed at the beginning of a showreel, containing the actor’s name and other relevant information.
Tracking Shot or Dolly: The camera moves smoothly forwards or backwards by running on tracks.
Tripod: A three-legged stand used to stabilize the camera during filming.
Turnaround: The required period of rest between shooting times for actors.
Turning Over/Turning: This means the camera is about to roll.
Two Beats: Count to two before speaking – used to edit shot
Unit Base: This is where the production team will base itself on any given day when on location.
Walk On: A step up from a supporting artiste, someone the viewer is more likely to identify as an individual, who may have a few words to say.
Wild Track: A recording of atmospheric sound.
World-wide usage clause: A contractual provision allowing the advertiser to use an actor’s advertisement globally without additional compensation.
Wrap: This indicates the end of the filming day.