K.L.'s Film, Television, and Video Production Terms

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

If you have suggestions of terms that are missing from this glossary or for improvements to definitions that are already here, please feel free to drop me a line.
K.L. -- (KL_Storer@yahoo.com)
A
AD See ASSISTANT DIRECTOR or AD
ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
(AKA: PICKUPS)
Footage shot after the portion of a production relevant to the scene has wrapped, in some cases after all production has wrapped. Additional photography is shot either because something was inadvertently missed or a decision has been made to add or change something in a scene or sequence.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
ADR
(AKA: AUTOMATED DIALOGUE REPLACEMENT, DIALOGUE LOOPING, or LOOPING)
Also known as Dialogue Looping or simply Looping. The re-recording of dialogue by actors in a sound studio during post-production, most often with the actors speaking while watching playback of the scene to better accomodate lip synchronization. The most common reason to use ADR is due to bad audio from the production track (the audio recorded on the shoot site) or to change the delivery of a line. "Bad audio" may be anything from too much background noise, poor audio pick-up of the dialogue, or signal noise picked up and recorded. Sometimes new dialogue is written and ADR is used to add/insert such into a scene; though such added dialogue can only logically be placed in the footage where the actor who speaks it has his or her face away from the camera or is off screen.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
AP See ASSOCIATE PRODUCER and/or ASSISTANT PRODUCER
ASIDES See SIDES
ASSEMBLY EDIT
(AKA: ROUGH CUT)
An initial or early stage edit of part or all of a movie, video, or television episode done more for the purpose of seeing how the action of the story-telling works. Rarely will there be any special effects or post production, with the possible exception of making sure the production recording of the dialogue audio is synchronized if necessary.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR or AD
(AKA: FIRST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FIRST AD, SECOND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, or SECOND AD)
In general, AD's on a movie or TV set are in charge of production schedules, communication coordination between all production people and departments, oversee adherence to union rules (on a SAG/AFTRA production), labor rules, safety rules, monitor budgetary spending.

The first AD prepares the shooting schedules and the script breakdowns for principal photography. He or she is the Director's right-hand person in managing the production during the entire process of principal photography, coordinates details of production operations, and often communicates directions to extra talent. The first AD also monitors filming against the production schedule, and ensures that union rules are adhered to as well as that labor contracts and location agreements are followed. She or he also ensures that safety regulations are followed on set (be it in the studio or on location). The first AD works with the unit manager and the line producer to be sure expenditures stay within budget.

The second AD distributes information and reports, as well as cast notification. The second AD works with the first AD on production preparations during principal photography. He or she records all data relative to the working hours of the crew and cast, and is primary in actively managing the extras cast. Second ADs prepare cast and crew call sheets, production reports, and other documentation. Of course, in the absence of the first AD, the second AD will assume her or his duties and responsibilities.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
ASSISTANT PRODUCER
(AKA: JUNIOR PRODUCER)
(AKA: AP)
Assistant producers are literally assistants to a producer or producers, and assist with the running of day-to-day operations and may have duties and responsibilities related to the administrative, creative, or technical aspects of production, or any combination of these, depending on the particular assistant producers, the particular needs of the producers they answer to, or the particular productions for which they are working.

Sometimes the title "assistant producer" can be interchangeable with "associate producer," when the associate producer's work is the same as above. The differences being that assistant producers always take this sort of particular active, substantive role in the project and associate producers often do not take on such a role. "Assistant director" is never an empty title given to someone in the way that "associate producer" sometimes is.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
(AKA: AP)
The title associate producer, in the end, can mean a lot of things, with varying degrees of substance to the role and to the project,be it a movie, TV or video production.

Associate producers may be one of many types of people who are actively involved in a production or who initially contributed in some manner to the creation or pre-production of the project. In other words, sometimes an associate producer is a functioning part of the production who actively works on set or at least in administration for the project; others times he or she has some original involvement or made some passing contribution; or, especially in television, it may be functionally, an empty title that reflects no duties that can be associated with "producing" the project.

In all screen media, functioning associate producers are essentially junior producers with varying degrees of responsibility depending on the production or the specific experience level of a given associate producer. They assist the producer or producers with the running of day-to-day operations. People performing in such a manner may be titled "assistant producer" rather than "associate."

Associate producers may be in the project's offices, working the administrative side rather than the production side. It may also be that they work only on a particular segment or location, for instance they only contribute to scenes shot on location in a particular place, either on set or somehow administratively with the arrangements; they may even be local to the region of the shoot.

One who assisted or was involved but not the main force behind raising funds, making arrangements, organizing some portion of pre-production or production, may titled Associate Producer. Also, Someone who has read and given feedback or advised on the script, perhaps even helping with a revision, may be an associate producer.

Principal actors, especially in lead roles, may get an associate producers credit, which is usually in title only, and a way to bump the actor's wage without touching her or his actor's salary. This practice is more common in television than in movie productions.

Also in television, especially, studio live productions such as game shows or news programs, associate producers may be those who do some writing, editing, organizing scripts, running the teleprompter in news casts, or helping the editor by making beat calls.

It may also be the title given to a first-time, or newer, producer who is on a project in an apprentice sort of relationship with another type of producer who is up the food chain.

Writer as Producer
*see "Writer as 'producer'" at Wikipedia

Star as Producer *see "Star as 'Prodcuer'" at Wikipedia

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
AUDITION A trial event for actors (or other performers) where they usually perform a practical demonstration of their acting or other relative skills and talents in order to be cast in a production. Most professional acting training programs hold auditions for slots, as well. Talent agencies may also audition perspective performers before agreeing to represent them.

Actors are typically required to do a screentests of a short performances, most frequently from sides that the producers have provided before the audition appointment (often required to be memorized, sometimes not). Occasionally they are asked to bring in a prepared monologue. Sometimes they are asked to do cold readings from the script, on the spot. An in-person, live audition may also be required, especially as a callback audition.

Generally, the distinction between an "initial screentest" and a "callback live audition" is very gray as there will usually be audiences in the room for both, and both will be video recorded (or filmed). The big difference will be that the screentest live audience is usually the casting director and accompanying staff, and call backs will be viewed live by production staff.

Other performers will be perform appropriate music, choreography, or other routines.

Any auditioners may also be given pieces or challenges during the audition to demonstrate the breadth of their ranges within their disciplines.

Often, now days, DIY screentests are requested or allowed.

In some cases, an audition may be only an interview. In such cases it will typically be a situation where those conducting the audition are already familiar with the talent and skill level of the auditioner, thus only other variables are under question, such as availability or perhaps a sense of whether the performer will be a good match with the team and other performers involved in the project. The interview-only audition is most common in movie productions where the auditioner is a well-known actor.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
AUTEUR
(AKA: PRODUCER/DIRECTOR)
In general today, an auteur is a film maker who is heavily involved in all or most aspects of making a movie. He or she usually authors the screenplay, either solely or as at least an equal collaborator. The auteur also directs, produces, and controls the editing, if not being the actual editor. The preponderance of short films can be considered the work of auteurs. Such filmmaker is also as likely, if not more so, to be called the "producer/director."

Originally the term applied solely to film makers who created a canon of films that have a theme or unified sensibility with a commonality of artistic styles and movie specific themes that showed the auteur's personal worldview. The context of these movies in terms of the auteur's vision and worldview and the overall cumulative artistic statement of the body of work was considered more critically relevant than the technical proficiency of the auteur and of the production values of the films themselves.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

B

B-ROLL Footage that is a cut-away during an interview or documentary type movie, video, newscast or other TV program. It's not principal footage in the movie or video or segment. For example, a person is on screen describing an action or event and the b-roll is shown while we still hear the person's voice. The b-roll will usually be footage that correlates with what is being said, such as footage from a crime scene while the news anchor tells of the crime, or footage of his/her dance sequence while an actor tells us about his/her first time dancing in a Broadway show. Though not always illustrative of the voice-over content, b-roll usually is. There's rarely audio, and when there is, it's rarely not low in volume, to not compete with the principal audio.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
BEAT
(AKA: BEAT CHANGE)
1) Dramatically: the moment when a character's intent or emotional status changes, either slightly or altogether. Also, when a character's train of thought changes.

2) "Beat" as in timing: a brief pause before a character begins to speak or take an action, each beat is usually a one count. *The beats in a scene are often controlled or manipulated by the editor.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
BLUE SCREENING See CHROMA KEYING
BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL When an actor or his/her character acknowledges the existence of the veiwing audience (i.e.: the camera) thus ignoring the imaginary barrier (the fourth wall) between the viewers and the universe occurring on the screen. When "the actor" does it, it's usually an error, and will not likely happen except for in a live broadcast; often times the actor does not directly acknowledge the viewers or camera but instead breaks character, which in itself can destroy the illusion, or the suspension of disbelief, thus breaking the fourth wall. When "the character" does it, it is built into the script and magically does not destroy the suspension of disbelief -- it is the character speaking to the audience from the world on the screen. Crew members can break the fourth wall, as well, most commonly by dropping a piece of equioment off-screen. And cast or crew member's cell phone ringing will break the fourth wall.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

C

CALL SHEET A daily sheet that lists which cast and crew members need to be on set or location for listed scenes and what time each actor or crew member is to report to said place. Assistant directors (usually 2nd ADs or lower) or other PAs create and distribute call sheets. The call sheets may often be printed, but are also often sent in emails. They may also be posted in private groups on social media sites.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
CALL TIME
(AKA: CALL, CAST CALL, or CREW CALL)
The time the cast and/or crew members are schedule to arrive on set, on location, or for any preproduction or postproduction sessions.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
CALLBACK or CALLBACK AUDITION Any audition that occurs after an initial audition. Actors being called back are being narrowed down for a part or parts in a production (usually one specific role). In movies and television there may be multiple callbacks, usually each additional audition is likely being seen by increasingly more important members of the production team.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
CAST CALL See CALL TIME
CASTING DIRECTOR
(AKA: CD)
Casting directors (CDs) organize, manage and conduct screentests or other initial auditions and interviews for most (if not all) roles for a production, sending forward all candidates that are deemed good contenders for the roles. They may or may not further manage callback auditions, depending on the agreements for each project. CDs tend to be second-parties contracted in by the producers to provide this casting service. Usually CDs are owners or associates of a casting agency.

Casting directors do not make the decisions about who will be cast in a production, but they do act as filters, making available to the production only those auditioners that are deemed right for the roles being cast.

Casting directors also are the liaisons between the actors (or other performers,) or their agents/managers, and the the production team, dealing with wage negotiations and other contractual agreements.

See "Casting Director/Agent" at www.media-match.com for more detailed information.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
CATTLE CALL AUDITION
(or, simply CATTLE CALL)
An open audition for a movie, TV, video, or theatrical stage production, where a large group of performers (actors, dancers, etc.) are gathered together to audition for the production. Usually there was only some sort of general casting call announcement made and specific appointments are not made; each performer auditions in order of arrival or by means of some other on-scene method of order selection. Rarely are cattle calls for bigger, principal roles for actors. Usually they are for small, supporting roles, or for extra work.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
CHASE PRODUCER A chase producer works for talk shows and news programs as the one who finds and schedules guests for interviews, i.e.: "chases guests." On news programs the guests will be experts on relevant subjects, analysts, and other "talking heads" for commentary segments. For talk shows, the chase producer is responsible for all guest appearances, including musical guests, though the idea for a particular guest may come from other producers or the host.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
CHIEF LIGHTING TECHNICIAN See GAFFER
CHROMA KEYING
(AKA: CHROMA KEY COMPOSITING, KEY MATTING, COLOR KEYING, COLOR-SEPARATION OVERLAY, GREENSCREENING, or BLUE SCREENING)
Also known as . The technique of replacing a specific color ("chroma") with images that are not part of the shoot and do not include that specific color, which is usually green or blue, as in greenscreen or bluescreen.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
CINEMATOGRAPHER
(in most cases, the DP: DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY)
An expert in the art of filming or electronically recording images for a motion picture by use of the appropriate camera or other recording device, with aesthetic composition and selective lighting techniques.

The chief cinematographer for a movie is called the Director of Photography (or "DP" for short), and is sometimes referred to simply as "The Cinematographer,"

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
CLAPBOARD See SLATE
CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
(AKA: CO-EXEC)
The co-executive producer is second in rank to the executive producer in both movie and television productions.

In a movie productions the co-exec will be delegated to directly handle or to assist in responsibilities for production that are under the executive producer's umbrella -- which means pretty much all operations -- reporting back to the exec. There may be more than one co-exec, each taking on various parts under that umbrella. one may deal with business management and administrative things; another may handle creative aspects.

In a TV production the co-exec is very often a writer for the show, and may be the head writer. Co-execs otherwise will often have the responsibility to attend or monitor writing team meetings, if not a writer, and perhaps other production team meetings. Co-execs are usually heavily involved in the creative development of the show or series.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
CO-PRODUCER In both movie and television productions, the co-producer is a writer who wrote little or nothing in the screenplay or teleplay but made significant contributions at table reads, or during the revision or re-write process. In the United States, the co-producer credit usually requires Writers Guild of America approval.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
CODEC A computer program for encoding and decoding digital data streams or signals for transmission and storage. A codec is used for video editing, streaming media, and video conferencing.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
COLD READ
(AKA: SIGHT READ)
To read aloud from a script or other text, usually an actor during an audition for stage or screen, with little or no rehearsal, practice or study in advance. Cold reads are also common in acting and public address classes. In auditions, where they are most common, they allow the auditor (director, producers, casting director, or writers) to judge the actor's ability to quickly grasp at least the fundamentals the character and can help judge the actor's appropriateness for the role being considered. Casting auditors are often split on the merits of cold reads. Some find them very useful; others do not believe such audition method helps in successfully casting a project. Actors, too, are split on the merits of the cold read.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
COLOR KEYING See chroma keying
COLOR-SEPARATION OVERLAY See chroma keying
CONSULTING PRODUCER Consulting producers consult on screenplays or teleplays with the writers, often because of expertise or a specialization in a particular subject or concept. They frequently are former executive producers or co-executive producers who are no longer connected or no longer much involved with the production.

In some rarer cases, directors or cast members will be consulting producers; such cast members are more likely to be in a television series, and are very likely to be lead actors who have gained the clout to have input on the further development and story lines of their characters. Though, in film, major movie stars can be in this position, as well.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
CONTINUITY 1) The supervision of principal photography that keeps track of all properties, settings, costuming and actions for each shot to make it possible to seamlessly edit all shots in a movie together for correct and logical sequence of the movie events regardless of what order each scene or part of a scene was shot in. It provides continuous and clear movement of events and images in the final cut of a motion picture as if they occur continuously, as dictated by the story of the script.

2) Continuity is also the degree of which a film is self-consistent without errors, jump cuts, or mis-matched shots and details; Continuity shooting and editing moves the viewer seamlessly, unobtrusively, and logically from one sequence or scene to another, propelling the narrative. An example of a continuity error would be an actor holding an object in the left hand in one shot, but in the next shot -- representing the same action only an instant later -- the object is in the right hand.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
COORDINATING PRODUCER
(AKA: PRODUCTION COORDINATOR)
The coordinating producer (or production coordinator) manages and oversees the overarching production schedule and organizes the staff teamwork. In the production team hierarchy, coordinating producers/production coordinators are typically positioned just below co-producers.
COSTUME DESIGNER The person who designs costumes for a movie, television, video, or music video production. Based on the script and in collaboration with either the executive producer (or other producers) or the director, or both, the costume designer creates the look of the characters by designing clothes and accessories that fit each character and the era being depicted. As well they design to meet the intended mood and concept of the production, choosing appropriate shapes, colors and textures. The Costume designer also usually collaborates and cooperates with the director of photography, or the gaffer, and the producer and/or director to be sure the costume design fits the production as a whole in terms of thematic and visual correlation.

The designer may make or "build" costumes, use costumes in the production company's or studio's collection (often with augmentation and tailoring), or buy, rent, or lease costumes. The costume designer is also responsible for the accessories the actors will need for their characters, such as canes, hats, gloves, shoes, jewelry, etc., with such items often being key to helping define the perception of a particular character.

The costume designer usually is who creates the costume plot, which is the written chart of what particular costumes or pieces of clothing the actors need for each scene or segment of the movie, program or video.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
CREW CALL See CALL TIME
CURTAIN CALL In a movie production a "curtain call" is a sequence at the end of the film, of short clips, outtakes, or still photographs, usually before the closing credits, featuring each main principal actor with her or his name accompanying. It is tantamount to the recognition of each actor by the audience in a stage production curtain call. Though not a standard practice in films, when it does occur, it's likely in a comedy or other lighter movie, and usually when there are many principal actors, or a large amount of cameo appearances.

In a television production a "curtain call" will appear at the end of the series finale for a program (usually a situation comedy) that was filmed or taped in front of a studio audience. The cast will, after finishing the last scene of the series, take their bows in front of the studio audience in the exact fashion of a theatrical production. In many of these cases, the cast took bows in front of the audience as a standard practice after each episode was wrapped, but the difference here is that the finale curtain call is shown as part of that last episode.

Sketch comedy shows such as Saturday Night Live also have a curtain call as the last minute or so of each show, where the cast members and guest players gather on stage to thank and say goodnight to the studio audience and the viewing public. Late night talk shows and variety shows have a similar practice, but usually it is just the host.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
CUTAWAY An inserted shot, though usually related shot, to interrupt a continuous shot of action. Usually after the cutaway shot we return to the first shot. The cutaway almost always relates to the action of the continuos shot: some action or other visual that sets up or introduces a broader scope of action or illustrates the point of the main footage. In conjunction with these other purposes cutaways are often also used to cover obvious edits in the main action (jump cuts or deletions of portions of the main shot) or to allow the marriage of portions of two takes, versions, or shot setups of the main footage. In non-fiction work (such as news or documentaries) cutaways are similarly used. They are especially used in such work to cover jump cuts and to insert what are known as "noddies." Noddies are insertions of the interviewers being shot, after an interview, repeating their questions and nodding, since on location, there is usually just one camera to shoot an interview, and it's usually trained on the interviewees. These post-interview pick-ups are then inserted, in continuity, to break up the monotony of only seeing the interviewee, and to cover edits.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

D

DAILIES See RUSHES
DAY PLAYER Supporting actors with speaking roles in a movie or TV program who work on set on a daily basis without a long-term contract or agreement. In movies, day players may be in several scenes, in television productions they frequently are only in one scene.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
DIALOGUE LOOPING See ADR
DIRECTOR In general terms, the director on a film project can be considered the captain of the ship; in television she or he is best called the traffic cop.

Directors for the camera have a wide and varied scope of duties and authorities, depending on the medium in which they are working, and also depending on the particular projects they are working on.

In movie productions the director is the primary artistic leader who governs the creative content in all aspects from the performances by the cast members, principal photography, sound effects, Foley sound, special effects, and the editing all the way to the final cut.

Usually the director has a significant amount of creative control, if not total creative control, over the artistic elements of the production. Sometimes there will be restrictions on artistic freedom that is dictated by the producers or the studio, based on goals and visions set for the project during its development. Often a director's artistic decision is vetoed simply due to budgetary concerns.

Depending on the project, the film director will have authority, responsibility, or input over any and all of casting, script development, script editing, cinematography (any or all of shot composition, shot selection, and perhaps even lighting), and the film editing of the movie.

It's not uncommon for film directors and their directors of photography (DPs) to work in collaboration which each other, the DPs using their expertise to give the directors screen images and the visual feelings they want, while the directors relay on the DP's skills and are open to creative ideas and suggestions from the DPs.

On a production where the director can be called an auteur, he or she will have much tighter control over all creative, and probably many managerial, aspects of the movie. Quite often such directors will be primary or solely responsible for casting, and may be the director of photography, or will at least occasionally operate the camera. They'll probably also be the primary driving artistic force behind all other creative design aspects such as costuming and and set design. Auteurs' film productions are almost always independent films.

New film makers, just starting out, frequently shoot several short-subject films that are independent auteur productions, sometimes with that director performing almost all the production duties, or with a small crew, with each member wearing more than one production hat.

In large, big-budget movie productions, the directers might relinquish some director's duties by delegating the shooting of some scenes or sequences of less dramatic principality or complexity to the second unit. This is also true in episodic television productions, especially such programs as single-camera procedural dramas like CSI.

In television productions the director traditionally directs the activities involved in making a television program and is part of a television crew.

The duties of a television director vary depending on the type of production: multiple-camera or single-camera, and variants within those two categories, with directors generally having more overarching creative input in single-camera productions, which are shot and produced virtually like movies, with the caveat that the EXECUTIVE PRODUCER (the show runner) has ultimate creative control.

In multi-camera productions, especially such things as news, sports news, sporting events, talk shows and game shows, the director is responsible for "calling" the broadcast or video recording, supervising the placement of professional video cameras (camera blocking), lighting equipment, microphones, props, graphics, and the overall pacing and feel of the production. In a dramatic arts production, the television director's role can be similar to a film director's, giving cues to actors and directing the camera placement and movement. In a television show composed of individual episodes, the television director's role may differ from a film director's in that he or she will usually work only on some television episodes instead of being the auteur of the entire production. In an episodic television production, the major creative control will likely reside with the television producer(s) of the show. However, the director has input, whether it be how, if, and why something can or can't be done.

Other than quickly calling out commands, the television director is also expected to maintain order among the staff in the control room, on the set, and elsewhere.

A news studio might have multiple cameras and few camera movements. In a sports broadcast, the director might have 20 or 30 cameras and must continuously tell each of the camera operators what to focus on.

While the director is responsible for specific shots and other production elements, the producer (typically seated behind the director in the second row of chairs in the control room) coordinates the "big picture," including commercial breaks and the running length of the show.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
(AKA: DP, sometimes simply, "Cinematographer")
The Chief Cinematographer on a movie or TV production set, responsible for the design and processes of filming or digital video recording the movie or TV show to meet the specified vision of the director. The DP will directly or indirectly administrate all of the following duties: selection of film stock (if the project is shot on film), number and types of cameras, and what lenses will be employed; with digital video, the sort of movie types used or converted to, and adjacent DV equipment; the design of the lighting for each scene and selection of lights and paraphernalia to accomplish that design; and the composition of all shots in collaboration or consultation with the director; and any film developing and film printing or digital rendering. Some directors will take a more involved stance with some of these responsibilities, others will leave most or all of this entirely to the DP's discretion.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
DIY SCREENTEST
*as in "Do It Yourself"
(AKA: DIY AUDITION or DIY VIDEO AUDITION)
A self-made digital or analog video recorded audition by an actor or other performer for consideration of being cast in a screen or stage production project.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
DOLLY SHOT To dolly a shot means to move the camera into (toward) or out from (back away from) the subject of the shot. This is not a "zoom in" or a "zoom out" where the focal point of the lens is changed to make the subject image closer or farther away while the camera stays stationary. In a dolly shot the camera may or may not be mounted on a dolly truck, which may be mounted on tracks or have wheels. Now the term means any shot where the camera operator moves the camera toward ("dollies-in") or away from ("dollies-out") but with the same lens zoom for the whole shot, and regardless of the means of transport (walking, dolly truck, wheel chair, the latter made famous by Kevin Smith as a dolly method).
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
DRESS REHEARSAL
(AKA: DRESS)
The final rehearsal of an episode of a television production, generally sitcoms, entertainment talk shows, and sketch comedy shows, that is a full run with all actors in full costume & makeup, and that includes all the technical aspects of lights, sound, special effects that will not be incorporated during post. Usually it will be the only full-run rehearsal, and the only rehearsal done in continuity from first segment to last segment. For sitcoms and sketch comedies, the dress will almost always be run in front of a studio audience*; there will be no stops unless something goes far amiss. Since the camera work is rehearsed, dress rehearsals are recorded and the some footage may be used as coverage in case there is a problem during principal photography, which is the official production recording of the episode, and is shot later the same day as the dress. For instance, the dress rehearsal for Saturday Night Live begins at 8:00 pm on Saturday, with the live broadcast performance at 11:30 pm.

*Dress rehearsal and the actual production shooting have seperate audiences.

Sitcom and sketch comedy show dress rehearsals are performed in front of a studio audience so the producers and writers can gage the effectiveness of jokes and gags based on the audience response. Moments that fail will be revised, rewritten, or possibly cut, before the principal photography or live broadcast later that day.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

E

EDIT PRODUCER Edit producers are assistant producers who coordinate the editing process. They work directly with project editors and are liaisons between the editors and producers up the food chain. On some television productions, the editing producers may take part in conceiving stories or story ideas and/or be involved in the development or writing of scripts.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
EDITOR
(AKA: FILM EDITOR, MOVIE EDITOR or VIDEO EDITOR)
The editor of a movie, TV or video production literally assembles the scenes of the project in the correct order, either by means of a computer editing software or by attaching each piece of film or video tape in the correct sequence (though the latter two are not often practiced anymore, especially the physical assembly of tape, which was always rare). The editor also incorporates the specific shots used for each moment in each scene. Along with putting each scene in proper order, the editor also controls the timing and rhythm of each scene by how much of the pauses between action and dialogue are used or removed from the footage. The editor usually works in consultation with the project director. Some directors give the editors a lot of discretion to use their own judgement, others keep tight control over the decisions of both shots used and pacing.

Often, in independent productions, and in some case, studio productions, the director is the editor, especially if she or he is an auteur. Many short films have the director as editor.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
ESTABLISHING SHOT In both movie and television productions, it is the first shot of a scene, which introduces the audience to the location or the space where the scene is taking place. Occasionally there will be titles at the bottom of the screen to identify the location, such as "FBI Headquarters, Quantico, Virgina," or "The Office of Smith, Jones, and Doe, Esq." Sometimes an establishing shot is simply a still photograph, such as the establishing shot of the New York City apartment building used frequently on Friends.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
(*In television, often SHOW RUNNER and/or HEAD WRITER)
In the hierarchy, only top executives at the movie studio, television network, or streaming service have more authority over a project than the executive producer, and that is only because such entity is commissioning or has bought a franchise on the product to put out through their respective venues. But in terms of the direct hierarchy of the production, the executive producer is the top boss.

In movie productions executive producers are the masters of the finances, either putting up some -- perhaps all -- of the money themselves, or pitching to potential financial backers (for an independent film) or pitching the movie to a studio in hopes they will pick it up and back its production. In the case of independent films, they also are responsible to secure the distribution deals. Often executive producers are in some manner involved in the development of the project, beyond finances, from somewhat to heavily. In some cases the concept for the movie was their idea.

Once a movie gets the greenlight the executive producer may or may not be involved with any further production development, but they are very likely to be heavily involved with the financial and business aspects, such as budgets, contracts and executive operations.

In television productions (network, cable, & streaming) there are several types of executive producer, and a particular show may have more than one, and a particular executive producer may fit into more than one of these categories:

  1. Show Runner -- the highest ranked exec (the "chief executive") who is in charge of all aspects of the production, responsible for daily management of the show, and oversees, and probably takes the lead in, the creative development. In most cases the original show runner for a TV production is the, or one of the, show creators.
  2. Head Writer -- The head writer of the writing staff is one of the executive producers if not the only one, as she or he may also be the show runner, though sometimes the Co-executive producer is the head writer. As suggested, the head writer is most responisble for the teleplays generated
  3. The CEO or equivalent head of a production company that produces and distributes an original syndicated program is an executive producer.
  4. Some producers for a program may be promoted to the level of executive producer.
  5. The Show Creator -- even if such has diminished his or her active involvement in the production of the show, or has departed, altogether, he or she still has a credit as Executive Producer.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
EXT. A part of the slug line at the top of a scene in a script for a movie, TV show, or video production, that indicates that the scene will take place in an exterior location, i.e.: outdoors. The scene will not necessarily actually be shot outdoors, but, might be shot on sound stage simulating the outdoors.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
EXTERIOR SCENE
(AKA: "EXT.")
A scene from a screenplay, teleplay, or video script that happens in the outdoors. The term applies to where the scene takes place in the universe of the script, not where it is actually shot. The slug line may read, "EXT. THE TAYLOR BACK YARD...." but it may be shot on a sound stage made to look like the Taylor back yard, rather than an actual outdoor location.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
EXTERIOR SHOOT
(AKA: "EXT.")
A shoot for a movie, TV show, or video production that is done in the outdoors, rather than on a sound stage or inside any other building.

*Though an "EXT." slug line in a script only indicates that the scene takes place in an exterior location, within the universe of the story -- the scene may have actually been shot on a sound stage made to look like the outdoors.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

F

FEATURE FILM
(AKA: FEATURE-LENGTH, FEATURE-LENGTH FILM, FEATURE)
A movie that is at least forty minutes in length, but is usually over seventy minutes, with the standard being eighty to one-hundred-twenty minutes.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
FEATURED ROLE or FEATURED PLAYER Usually means a "supporting role," but sometimes is used to parse out supporting roles that are of more significance to the story arch, such as the lead character's best friend who acts as a sounding board throughout the movie, or the antagonist of the film, if such roles are not at lead role status.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
FIELD PRODUCER Field producers select or recommend shooting locations outside of a movie or TV studio set and coordinates the productions at those locations (or "in the field"). Along with managing and coordinating field production, field producers may also be the location scouts, if not having scouts report to them, they may operate cameras (for such things as news magazine or talk show productions), and they may be considered production assistants reporting to a producer up the food chain (possibly one of the segment producer, coordinating producer, or line producer). For TV productions such as Reality TV, news magazine, or TV talk shows, it's generally expected that field producers develop a good, strong report with the cast or the participant subjects, who will be on screen, to get smoother cooperation and/or better interviews from such people.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
FILM EDITOR See EDITOR
FINAL CUT The final edited version of a film, with all aspects of the production locked in place as "finished": scene edits, any and all special effects, post-production animations and CGI, all color correction, all sound mixing, sound effects, ADR, Foley sound, all music score and incidental music added in, and all titles imposed. The absolute finished version of the movie as approved by the director and producer. May also be called the "locked version" or "locked edit."
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
FIRST ASSISTANT DIRECTOR or FIRST AD See ASSISTANT DIRECTOR or AD
FOLEY Sound created and designed for a movie to be synchronized with action or to otherwise enhance the action of a scene. Most sound in a movie is actually Foley sound (created sound) that represents the sound associated with the action but often in reality is something else: twisting a rack of celery in front of a microphone to create the sound of cracking bones is a famous example. The term "Foley" may be used as a general term to mean all added sound and sound effects; purist will only refer to newly created sounds, done originally for the sequence in a movie, as Foley, and will call all other sound, brought in from the sound library as SFX (sound effects), or simply as "library sound." The term Foley is derived from the name of early sound effects artist Jack Foley, who pioneered the processes and artform of Foley work in motion pictures.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
FOLEY ARTIST The sound designer who creates sound effects and noises to the edit of the movie in post-production. Far more than half the sound heard is added by the Foley artist, including things as simple as footsteps, liquid poured into glasses, papers being shuffled, to more exotic and dramatic sounds as gunshots, punches, thunder, explosions, and much more. Traditionally Foley artists would watch a run of a film sequence as it was projected with props that mimic the sound of the action, and record the Foley sound in synchronization with the action on the screen. Today Foley is often added by computer synchronization; sometimes it is a mix of both methods.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
FOURTH WALL The imaginary barrier, or "wall," between the veiwing audience and the world on the screen. Poetically the Fourth Wall means the veiwers witness the action in the world of the movie or TV show, and the characters in that world are not aware of the veiwers' presence (i.e.: the camera). The veiwers are "eaves dropping" on the story being played out on the screen. When the actors or characters acknowledge the existence of the veiwers, that is known as "breaking the fourth wall."
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
FPS (Frames Per Second)
(AKA: FRAME RATE)
The number of frames (still images; pictures) per second in a video or movie. Usually lowercase: fps.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
FRAME RATE See FPS
FRANKENBITE
(OR: FRANKENBITING)
A frankenbite is an edit of two or more pieces of partially-to-completely unrelated events, moments, or dialog, to create the illusion that something has happened that did not. It is a staple editing technique on Reality TV productions. On occasion, some of these events, moments and dialog may be deliberately coached or manipulated out of the cast members of the show. The purpose of frankenbiting is to create or enhance dramatic tension and conflict to better appeal to the viewing audience.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
FULL SHOT See LONG SHOT
go to the alphabetical index for this page

G

GAFFER
(AKA: CHIEF LIGHTING TECHNICIAN)
Heads the electrical department on a movie or television production. The gaffer oversees the execution of the lighting design, supervising the setup of lights or other light sources for each shot in the production. Gaffers could be involved in creating the lighting design, either designing by themselves or in collaboration with their directors of photography, if the DPs are not the sole designers, which occasionally they are.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
GAFFER TAPE
(AKA: GAFF TAPE, GAFFER'S TAPE, CAMERA TAPE, or SPIKE TAPE)
A tape used in movie, TV, video, and theatrical productions, as well as still photography. It is a heavy cotton cloth pressure-sensitive tape that has strong adhesiveness. Gaffer tape is designed for temporary usage so when removed it does not harm what it is applied to and it leaves no residue, even if it has been applied to surface or object for an extended period of time. It is used to secure things together and is frequently used to tape cords to the floor or wall so they do not become a hazard to the artists and crew members who need to work in the areas where the cords are. Gaffer tape is most commonly matte black (or dark gray) but also comes in other colors, which are often used to "spike" where items on a set (movie, TV, or theatrical) are to be place, and used as "marks" (in movie or TV productions) where actors are to move to or to stand.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
GOFER A lower-rung production assistant, or a personal assistant who runs a variety of personal errands and tasks for production staff or talent.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
GREENLIGHT
To approve a movie or television project and allow it to go into production. The authoritative perogatives of executives and movie, television, streaming or independent production studios, or of executive producers for independent film productions.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
GREENSCREEN The technology of placing actors or objects in front of an evenly lit greenscreen background. Through computer programming, the green is then rendered invisible and other footage or images can be imposed as the background imagery. Greenscreen work now replaces the older bluescreen because it has been proven easier to separate key green from other foreground colors. The general technology, regardless of color, is known as chromakeying. Greenscreen work can also be completely computer graphic generated, rather then being shot on a set with a greenscreen backdrop, so long as the background is pure green. Computer generated characters that are blended with real life footage, are an example of such totally graphic generated greenscreen footage to superimpose over other footage.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
GREENROOM In both television and theatre productions (not so much movie productions) the greenroom is a room or designated space in a back stage or close by area that serves as a waiting room and lounge space for performers before, during (when they aren't "on") and sometimes after a performance, especially in theatre if there is another performance of the show later in the same day. The origin of the term is usually attributed to the account of the rooms historically being painted green, though greenrooms are rarely, if ever, green, today.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
GUEST ROLE, GUEST SPOT, or GUEST STAR Any supporting role on episodic television that is key to the plot of an episode or a story arch. Most guests roles are for one episode only, but some characters return in subsequent episodes (making them recurring). The character is usually in multiple scenes during the episode, but may only be in one if it is a key scene for the story, or especially because of the star-status of the actor. For instance, a cameo by a particularly famous and successful actor may be billed as a Guest-Star appearance (and with a hefty paycheck) when it would otherwise be considered Day Player work at, or only a little more than, SAG/AFTRA scale (the minimum allowable wage).
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

H

HEAD WRITER The top ranking writer for a television program, in charge of the writers room, who is virtually always either an executive producer or a co-executive producer, and if an executive producer, may also be the show runner. The head writer may be also be a supervising producer rather than exec or co-exec producer.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
HOLLYWOOD REVERSE See REVERSAL SHOT
go to the alphabetical index for this page

I

INDEPENDENT FILM
(AKA: INDY or INDY FILM)
Any movie not produced by a major studio. Indies may have a big budget, going into the millions, or may have a small budget to no-budget. The ones with a bigger budget may have well-known actors attached, even "stars," often why the producers were able to raise large liquid capital to make the film, because a distribution deal and a box-office return is more likely with a high-profile actor or two attached. Small or no-budget movies are less likely to have known actors and less likely to be SAG/AFTRA union productions. Small indies are produced for the film festivals or other non-commercial purposes including simply the love of the craft.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
INT. A part of the slug line at the top of a scene in a script for a movie, TV show, or video production, that indicates that the scene will take place in an interior location, i.e. inside a building or other enclosed structure, such as a car, airplane, etc.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
INTERIOR SCENE
(AKA: "INT.")
A scene from a screenplay, teleplay, or video script that happens inside a building or other enclosed structure, such as a car, airplane, etc.

Though the term applies to where the scene takes place in the universe of the script, not where it is actually shot, it is unlikely in modern productions for an interior scene to be shot outdoors. In early film making, sets were built outside with three walls and no ceiling or roof in order to utilize sunlight as the lighting for the shoot, often with portable side walls that could be removed to even further utilize sunlight. Such technique has long been antiquated and unnecessary with ever advancing studio lighting technology.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
INTERIOR SHOOT
(AKA: "INT.")
A shoot for a movie, TV show, or video production that is done on a sound stage, or inside any other building or human-made structure, rather than in the outdoors.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

K

KEN BURNS EFFECT A pan and/or zoom effect used in motion picture production from still photography or graphics. It is a technique to place still imagery in motion pictures but, due to the usually slow zooms and pans (as well as fade-ins, fade-outs and cross-dissolves), keeps the incorporation of the stills from being static. The effect can be achieved by actually physically moving a camera across an actual printed photo/graphic or zooming in/out of the image; however most digital movie editing software have applications to achieve the Ken Burns Effect.

The name of the effect comes from Documentary Director Ken Burns' extensive use of the effect in his documentaries, but the effect predates his work. He credits Documentary Filmmaker Jerome Liebling as teaching him, but the process goes back to the early 1960's, at least.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
KEY MATTING See CHROMA KEYING
go to the alphabetical index for this page

L

LEAD ROLE, LEAD CHARACTER, or LEAD ACTOR
(AKA: MALE LEAD, FEMALE LEAD, LEADING MAN, LEADING WOMAN, or simply "THE LEAD")
The most important role/character in a movie or TV program. In some cases there are more than one lead role, such as in a romance film or romantic comedy, where both "the guy" and "the girl" are equally important -- think Sleepless in Seattle. Also, some movies or TV shows feature an ensemble cast where several characters are considered as leads, such as in The Monuments Men or The West Wing.

The lead role, or roles, will be the character, or characters, the story is about or centered around, and the lead tends to be one of the, if not the, driving force behind the plot.

Of course, lead roles are always principal roles.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
LIGHT SOURCE 1) on screen, the direction and quality of light as it hits a scene and the subjects in the scene.

2) the actual source of illumination of light for a given scene or situation. It may be electrically generated, created by some sort of flame or other natural source, such as sun light, moon light, or star light. On a movie or TV set, it is electrically generated, with or without diffusion of other manipulations. At an exterior location, it is usually natural light, which is most likely to be sun light, somehow filtered, diffused or reflected; sometime this natural lighting is enhanced by an electronic source.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
LIGHTING CONTINUITY The degree in which lighting in a scene is consistent in terms of quality and perceived directionality from shot to shot. Also the degree in which the overall lighting in the film is consistant from scene to scene, wherever such continuity is necessary.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
LINE PRODUCER For both movies and televison, line producers are next in rank after the co-executive producer. They are the hands-on managers of production staff and daily production operations. Line producers hire (and usually fire) production staff. Usually they receive the credit: "produced by (....)."
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
LINE STUDY The process actors go through to learn their lines. It can be as simple as the act of memorizing the lines, but may also mean the actors work to interpret the characters emotional and mental motivations for the things they say *(see script analysis).
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
LOCATION SHOOT
(AKA: ON LOCATION)
Filming or DV recording that takes place in a location that isn't fabricated for the production (i.e.: not a soundstage or an exterior structure that was built by the art department), but is a real area or structure. Very often it is an outdoor location (Exterior shooting), it may be a famous or otherwise well-known location, or a real place such as a home, an office, a store, a hospital, etc.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
LONG SHOT
(AKA: WIDE SHOT or FULL SHOT)
A shot taken from a distance usually more than several feet to several hundred feet which shows a whole setting, or person or other subject in that setting. The purpose is to establish the subject of the shot in relationship to the surroundings. Often, but not always, the wide shot is the actual "establishing shot"; sometimes it's a reveal, at the end of a scene or a gag in a scene. Most Master Shots are long shots, with few exceptions.

To "go long" or to "go wide" means to shoot this sort of shot.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
LOOPING See ADR
LOW-BUDGET PRODUCTION/MOVIE
(AKA: LOW-PAY MOVIE PRODUCTION/MOVIE)
A non-union (i.e. non-SAG/AFTRA) independent movie production or video with a budget for the production in general is low. In accordance the pay for all or most participants, especially the actors, is at low wages, sometimes simply token stipends. There is no minimum salary required.

This is not to be confused with a SAG/AFTRA Ultra-low Pay contract production, which is sanctioned by the union, but has minimum wage requirements and various rules that the producers must follow.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

M

MAGIC LIGHT
(AKA: MAGIC HOUR, or GOLDEN HOUR)
Natural sunlight just before dusk and just after dawn that gives a movie scene a warm, soft look that is golden-orange in color. These times of day are known as the "Magic Hours"; again, they occur for that half hour before sunset and after sunrise. They're also known as the "Golden Hours."
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
MAKE THE DAY During the shoot of a video, motion picture or television production, "making the day" means to get all shots done that are on the schedule for the day.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
MASTER SHOT A shot with the camera positioned far enough away that all or most action in the scene, as well as all or most of the set for the scene, are in the frame of the shot. A good example of a master shot would be a scene of a family eating dinner, where all characters at the table are in the shot. Close-ups of individuals might be intercut into the scene in post production.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
MONOLOGUE or MONOLOG
(AKA: SOLILOQUY)
An extended delivery of spoken word, which can be considered at least a long paragraph in length, spoken by an actor who is often alone in a scene or shot. Even when other characters are in the scene and are shown, there may only be quick reaction-shot cutaways of them.

Monologues are much rarer in movies and television programs than they are in stage plays, but they do occur. Often they will be a narrative voice-over. Most frequently they will be key moments at a dramatic high spot in a movie, such as Jack Nicholson's speech from the witness stand as Col. Jessup in A Few Good Men or Tom Hanks' soliloquy, toward the end of Castaway, as his Chuck Nolan pines over the loss of his true love, Kelly (Hellen Hunt).

Auditions for screen productions, including screentest auditions, may require, or at least allow, actors to perform a monologue that would be considered relevant to the role or roles the actor seeks. There probably would be a time restriction in length (such as one minute) and there might be a request for contrasting dramatic intent (i.e.: dramatic and comic).

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
MOS To shoot a scene "mos" means to shoot without purposefully recording associated sound to the action. Audio may be recorded off a camera's on-board mic but will not be used. Omitting or not utilizing sound from a shot, when the subjects don't speak or create useful sound can save time and relieve the film crew of certain requirements, such as remaining silent during a take. In post-production, a mos take may have added to it one or more of miscellaneous sounds recorded on location, music, voice-overs, ADR (Additional Dialogue Recording), or sound effects. In production reports "MOS" is used to indicate that the shot has no synchronous audio track.

"MOS" stands for "motor only sync" or "motor only shot." Although legend purports that Director Erich Von Stroheim couldn't pronounce "without sound" correctly due to his accent so he said "Mit out sound."

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
MOVIE EDITOR See EDITOR
MULTIPLE-CAMERA PRODUCTION
(AKA: MULTI-CAM PRODUCTION, MULTI-CAM, MULTIPLE-CAMERA SHOOT, MULTI-CAM SHOOT, MULTIPLE-CAMERA PROGRAM, or MULTI-CAM PROGRAM,) *(historically "three-camera....")
A method of movie, television or video production where all or most scenes are shot using several cameras, all focusing on different elements of the scene, usually meaning different actors in the scene.

It is the standard for live studio television programming such as news programs, talk shows and game shows, with the first being a live broadcast or cablecast and the latter two video tape for later broadcast/cablecast. It is also the standard method to produce television situation comedies, which are also usually shot in front of studio audiences.

The typical method of multiple-camera shooting will have two cameras left and right in camera area (occasionally including portions of the scene area), which will angle in to shoot close-up shots ("crosses") of characters primary in the scene, keeping trained on these actors during the performance. Meanwhile or two cameras will shoot master shots.

Multiple-camera shoots facilitated a great expedience and continuity by capturing multiple images and actions during one performance take of the scene. It eliminates to do multiple shot set-ups, and greatly reduces the amount of takes necessary to capture the different action elements of a moment in the story line -- I.E.: there are much fewer starts and stops, and no waits as the crew re-sets everything for the next shot set-up of the same moment. And, as suggested above, it almost virtually eliminates the chance of continuity errors.

For live studio television productions, like game shows or talk shows, multiple-camera shooting simply creates a more interesting visual look, by being able to switch to different cameras to better capture interesting things happening on the sound stage. In these situations there may also be cameras, often shoulder mounted steady-cams, that will shoot images of the audience reacting to the action on stage. Think Ellen or A HREF="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120974/">Jerry Springer.

Such multiple-camera shoots do constrain choices for lighting and camera angles. The lighting has to be more general, and usually brighter, to assure good light for all the areas of the stage. Some camera angles are impossible, at least in scripted fictional shows, because of the risk that other cameras or portions of the studio that are not part of the set come into frame, thus breaking the fourth wall. There is more flexibility in terms of camera angles on the set of a game show or talk show, since the fact that it is on a sound stage is acknowledged by everyone, so there is no fourth wall to break.

In scripted multiple-camera television productions the directors will likely be on the floor; choices of shots from each of the cameras will be chosen during the editing process.

In live broadcast or live studio audience studio multiple-camera television productions (news, game shows and talk shows), the directors are usually in the control booth calling which camera (and its shot) will be the one going to the broadcast or the master recording, at any given moment. Though all camera shots are recorded throughout the take or the broadcast for shows that will be distributed later rather airing live, in case there is a need to re-edit the master recording, substituting one or more shots.

In dramatic TV series or TV movies productions may occasionally employ multiple camera shooting, usually at specific locations, or for particular sequences or scenes. This will be more likely a special circumstance, with such productions far more likely to shoot most of the episode and the production in general as single-camera.

Historically, multi-camera shoots were "three-camera shoots," as three cameras were traditionally used. Now at least four cameras are very frequently used. Though on a movie production set, multi-camera can simply mean two or more.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

N

NARRATIVE FILM A film that tells a story (usually, but not necessarily, fictional) with characters who act and usually speak to illustrated the story line. The characters are portrayed by actors, trained animals, or are animated representations of such, or even anthropomorphism of objects, with any voicing done by human voice actors. The story is presented as reality regardless of any fantastical elements of the supernatural, science fiction, fantasy, magic realism, etc.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
NO-BUDGET PRODUCTION/MOVIE
(AKA: NO-PAY PRODUCTION/MOVIE)
A non-union (i.e. non-SAG/AFTRA) independent movie production or video with no budget for the production. In accordance, all the participants, actors and crew are volunteering their time and efforts to the project with no financial compensation. Union members can only participate in such projects in the narrowest of circumstances that all involved official acts of charity or some political action situations.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
NON-UNION PRODUCTION A film, video or webcast production that is produced without the use of members of any of the professional union associated with movie or video production. None of the crew or cast members are in any of the associated unions. All such productions are independent productions (i.e.: not associated with any corporate movie studios, nor broadcast, cable and streaming networks). Typically such productions are either low-budget or no-budget productions. In some rare cases, the producers pay the cast and crew reasonably well.

"Non-union production" does not necessarily mean "non-commercial venture"; sometimes the producers do attempt to market the finish product, and are not always unsuccessful.

In some circumstances SAG/AFTRA actors can appear in a non-union production, but it must meet narrowly specific criteria as stipulated by SAG/AFTRA, and it cannot be a feature-length film.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

O

OFF-BOOK Actors are "off-book" when they have their lines committed to memory and do not need to refer to their scripts.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
ON LOCATION See LOCATION SHOOT
ONE-CAMERA TELEVISION PRODUCTION See SINGLE-CAMERA TELEVISION PRODUCTION
OPEN AUDITION Any audition being held (for actors or any other performers) that is open in general for anyone to audition, rather than for specific actors (etc.) being called in. Usually there are no appointments set, but even appointment based auditions can be considered "open" if anyone who calls can get a spot as long as one is available. Call backs will not be "open," as the production team is now being selective about whom they audition.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
OVER THE SHOULDER SHOTS See REVERSAL SHOT
go to the alphabetical index for this page

P

PA See PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
See PERSONAL ASSISTANT
PAN SHOT A movie shot taken where the camera is stationary (usually fixed on a tripod or jib) and turns on an axes from left to right or vise versa for a shot that spans a geographical area, such as the horizon, or a room. The shot motion may to some extent be diagonal, but going from left to right or right to left must be the main element of the movement. If the camera is not fixed in one spot but is literally moves from left to right (right to left), meaning if the camera is in side ways motion via the camera operator walking or otherwise moving from place to another, that is not a pan shot but rather a tracking shot.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PEDESTAL SHOT To moving the camera up or down while maintaining a stationary axis, i.e.: not tilting the camera up or down, but actually moving the entire camera up or down. The shot motion may to some extent be diagonal, but going up or down must be the main element of the movement.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PERSONAL ASSISTANT
(AKA: PA or GOFER)
Personal assistants in a production are usually assigned to a particular talent (actor or other performer) or one of various upper-echelon members of the production team, such as the director, the line producer, the assistant director, the director of photography, etc. to help meet that person's personal needs. These Pa's may run personal errands, drive the talent or production staff, get refreshments and food from craft service or restaurants, or help with many behind-the-scenes personal needs. Sometimes PA's may also be called "Gofers." Some of these duties may cross over into the territory of duties performed by production assistants, also called "PA's," but personal assistants, again, usually are specifically assigned to particular talent or production people, and their duties rarely if ever are directly involved in production.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PICKUPS See ADDITIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY
POST MORTEM
(AKA: POST MORTEM MEETING or POSTPRODUCTION MEETING)
More common in televeision productions than movie productions, a post mortem is a meeting of productin staff after a production has wrapped -- in TV it would be when the production of an episode has wrapped. The team discusses the successes and the failures of the production and how to make improvements.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
POST PRODUCER
(AKA: POSTPRODUCTION PRODUCER)
Typically employed at a postproduction house, the post producer manages the postproduction process, including editing, color correction, grading and enhancing, the dubbing of all sound and music, computer generated images, animation, other visual effects, and all opening and closing titles.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
POSTPRODUCTION
(AKA: POST)
The editing (choosing and assembling shots/scenes) and other work done on a movie, TV show, or video after the end of principal photography. Besides the basic editing to put the scenes and their chosen shots together in the correct sequence, it will consist of other work to get the project to its final cut, such as color correction, grading and enhancing or adding any and all of the following components: sound, Foley sound, ADR (Automatic Dialogue Replacement), music (themes, scores, & any sound-effect music such as music coming from a radio in a scene), computer generated images, animation, other visual effects, and opening & closing titles. Depending on the amount and complexity of the components to be incorporated, post-production can take months, and in some cases more than a year, to complete.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
POV I.E. "Point Of View"; A camera angle in which the camera shows the visual perspective as seen from any particular person's or object's position.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PREPRODUCTION The process of bringing the elements together to make a film, a TV show, or a video production. Preproduction includes any and all of developing the script, funding the project, recruiting the production team, auditioning and casting the actors, finding the studios and locations where the production will be shot, and the major organization and planning of shooting the movie, program, or video, once most or all these previous elements are in place. It's also not uncommon for some hefty portion of the promotional gameplan to be laid out in preproduction.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PRINCIPAL ACTOR An actor who is in a principal role.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PRINCIPAL PHOTOGRAPHY The major, significant filming or video recording of a movie or program, involving the lead and supporting actors or, in a documentary, the subjects. It can also mean the shooting of the major footage as opposed to supplemental b-roll.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PRINCIPAL ROLE A role for an actor in a movie, television program or video that is not an extra or a background role. Any speaking or singing role is principal. Certain types of non-speaking roles are also principal if the actions taken by the performer are somehow specialized or critical to the story, such as dancers or the non-speaking thug who kills the lead character's wife in Act I then leads the lead character on a ten-minute, on-screen chase through Queens. Certainly a lead character who is deaf, will be "non-speaking," but will meet the classification of a principal role, rather than being an extra or background.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PRODUCER As a generic, umbrella term, the producers in both film and television are those in charge of all operations, responsible for financial backing, budgets, the hiring of production and administrative staff, the casting of performers, and all technical, and logistic elements of the project. However, usually the director of a film has artistic autonomy over the project, subject to the budgetary or marketing prohibitions set by the producers.

As the specific term of "producer" as a level in the rank-and-file of producer categories the producer is just below the supervising producer on the totem pole and is further defined thusly:

In movie productions producers are responsible for physical facilities, including equipment. A writer who has contributed a small amount to a screenplay, in a U.S. production, and thus is not eligible by the Writers Guild of America rules to be credited as a writer will be titled as producer. In both cases the producer's credit will read: "produced by (....)."

In some smaller indepedent movie, video or webcast productions, whether they be low-budget, no-budget, well-paying, short-subject, or feature-length, the "producer" may be the project's auteur and essentially the cheif executive producer and may fill the roles of many of the varying classifications of producers as listed below.

In television productions, as well as governing physical facilities and equipment, like for a film, a TV producer may have written all or most of a series episode or of a stand-alone project. Former executive producers who have stepped out of that role but still write for the show are categorized as producers, as well. For episodic TV, producer credits are used for individual episodes and usually require approval from the Writers Guild of America if work on the teleplay is involved. Again, in all these cases, the producer's credit will read: "produced by (....)."


There are many classifications of producers, in both film and television, listed here in typical order of rank and authority:

  1. EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
  2. CO-EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
  3. LINE PRODUCER
  4. SUPERVISING PRODUCER
  5. PRODUCER *(see "As the specific term of 'producer,'" above)
  6. CO-PRODUCER
  7. COORDINATING PRODUCER/PRODUCTION COORDINATOR/LI>
  8. CONSULTING PRODUCER
  9. ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
  10. ASSISTANT PRODUCER
  11. CHASE PRODUCER
  12. SEGMENT PRODUCER
  13. FIELD PRODUCER
  14. EDIT PRODUCER
  15. POST PRODUCER
   Bear in mind that not all projects will employ all these categories of producers. The larger the project, the more likely the army of producers will be larger. Smaller productions will have fewer producers who take on more of the spectrum of responisibilities
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PRODUCER/DIRECTOR See AUTEUR
PRODUCTION The portion of the process of making a film, video, TV program, or documentary that consists of any rehearsal and all major or minor filming, video recording or shooting of live broadcast, of all action or performances involving all actors and other performers, or all subjects of a documentary. As well, the filming, video recording, shooting of live broadcast of all footage that does not include performers or other active subjects (people, animals, or animations) is part of the production phase.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT
(AKA: PA, or GOFER)
Production assistants may be responsible for one or more of many different duties to help with production, depending on who the PA works for or with, and depending on the size and scope of the production. In the production office environment personal assistants will do clerical work, handling phones, run errands, and other miscellaneous office work. On the set they may directly assist producers, directors, and other upper-echelon members of the production team, helping with many behind-the-scenes needs or they may do "gofer" work: driving production people or talent, making pick-ups and delivering things, or getting refreshments and food from craft service or restaurants. Some of these duties may cross over into the territory of personal assistants, also called "PA's," but the latter usually are specifically assigned to particular talent or production people.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PRODUCTION COORDINATOR See COORDINATING PRODUCER
PRODUCTION SOUND All sound that is actually recorded when a scene is shot, including all dialogue and any other sound, whether it is intended to be there or not.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PRODUCTION SOUND MIXER
(AKA: PRODUCTION SOUND ENGINEER, SOUND MIXER or SOUND ENGINEER)
The recording engineer who is responsible for the recording all actors' dialogue and other purposeful sound or sound effects as performed in a scene on set or on location. The Production Sound Mixer selects the microphones and recording equipment used on the set and in most cases operates them. He or she will also supervise the boom operator, and will oversee the mixing of sound from multiple microphones which are recording dialogue and effects. The Production Sound Mixer is also responsible for recording the sound ambiance and room tone for all scenes, and will document any wild tracks (scene shoot without sound). In bigger productions the Production Sound Mixer is the head of the sound department on the set.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PRODUCTION TRACK or PRODUCTION RECORDING The analog or digital audio recording track of all sound that was actually recorded when a scene was shot, including all dialogue and any other sound, whether intended to be on the track or not.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PROP or PROPERTY Any object in a production that is used by the actors as their characters, in other words any inanimate or mechanical object or devise an actor interacts with in a meaningful manner to tell the story. Examples of props: weapons, eating utensils, a pen & notepad, a computer keyboard, food or drink (that is consumed or handled).

Sometimes things that are otherwise considered set pieces will become props if the actors/characters use them in a significant manner. For instance a dinning room chair will still be considered a set piece if all the actor does is pull it out and sit on it as an act incidental to the scene. If it becomes a bone of contention between to characters in the story who argue over where it goes in the room, and each keeps moving it to make a point, or if pulling the chair out to sit on it is significant to the plot of the scene or overall story, it is now a prop.

Conversely, any item mentioned in the first paragraph above is not a prop, but rather a set piece if it is on the set but is not used by the actors/characters. These items may also be referred to as set dressing.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PROPERTY MASTER
(AKA: PROP or PROPS MASTER)
The props master is responsible for procuring or making, and overseeing any props needed for a movie, television, or video production. He or she will design a properties plot based on the dictates of the script and in consultation and cooperation with the director, the production designer, the director of photography, the script supervisor and the costume designer, all with the goal of a unified stylistic and aesthetic look and feel to the production.

In movie productions The property master comes on board during preproduction, where she or he develops the stylistic concept of the props, then remains during principal photography to oversee the management, integration and use of the props.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
PRORES A line of intermediate video codecs used in the video editing process, which has higher video quality than end-user codecs, but requires significantly less expensive disk systems compared to uncompressed video. ProRes supports up to 8K DV resolution. It was developed by Apple, Inc.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

R

RAIN DATE A type of pickup shoot that is prescheduled in case of a problem on the originally scheduled shoot day, such as undesirable conditions at a location (rain, unexpected traffic, etc.)
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
READ-THROUGH
(AKA: TABLE READ)
Traditionally the first rehearsal for a movie, TV show, or play. It is a read-through of the script with the actors and the director, and sometimes others from the creative team. As the name suggests, the actors, et al, sit around a table and the script is read from beginning to end. It allows for all to hear the show in continuity so all get familiar with the words and what each actor brings on board, though it is understood that the actors are giving a colder read and have done little or no development on their characters, therefore a performance level read is not expected.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
REALITY TV
(AKA: REALITY TELEVISION or REALITY PROGRAMMING)
A genre of television programing that ostensibly presents itself as showing a genuine account of the events and actions that are seen on the program. Typically, such programming features "real people," as opposed to professional actors, who are the focus and subjects of the series. The Reality is, however, that the events on Reality TV shows are highly manipulated to present a highly entertaining forty-two minutes of television each week. Though these programs are not scripted, there is a team of producers and writers who collaborate to conceive conflicts and plot twists, and either manipulate or out-and-out direct the participant cast members to take actions and say things to manifest these conflicts and plot twists. Beyond that, many occurrences are edited to create the illusion of conversations, conflicts, romances, and other events that never actually happened -- a practice known as frankenbiting. As the result of all these manipulations and maneuverings, many moments or particular aspects are partially or totally staged.

Reality TV, in the end, does not reflect the reality of what happens in the events it displays on its episodes. It is manufactured television just like any scripted TV show is. But Reality TV can be produced on a far smaller budget than scripted television and yield big advertising revenue due to the genre's great popularity and high ratings. For a few further insights into the veracity, or lack thereof, of Reality TV, see:

In one of the most common configurations of Reality TV, these "normal citizens" are theoretically continuously recorded on camera, virtually twenty-four hours a day, with what are considered the most choice, interesting, and entertaining moments culled for the edited version that makes it to the TV screen. Such programs are designed for entertainment value rather than informative merit. The most common presentation is one where these "normal people" are in isolation, in a house or building they cannot leave (as in Big Brother) or an alleged remote area of wilderness (as in Survivor). The participants compete against each other, often in teams, to meet challenges. Often the cast members vote at the end of each episode to eliminate one or a few fellow cast members from the show. The last cast member remaining wins the overall contest and usually takes home large cash prize, usually one million dollars.

Examples of other variations of this contest theme, but that eliminate the claimed isolation factor and that are focused far more as straight competitive games or contests are:

There is also the versions of the genre with the concept that the TV audience is eavesdropping into the personal or professional lives of the subjects. Popular examples of this are:

In some Reality programs, such as Being Bobby Brown, Dancing With the Stars, or Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List , people who are already celebrities when they start into the show -- rather than becoming celebrities as the result of the show -- are in the cast, often being the driving focus of the show.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
REHEARSE or TO REHEARSE The action of learning and practicing any or all elements of the final version of a movie, TV, or video production, or a scene or segment therein, with the goal of mastering such to prepare for production shooting.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
REHEARSAL
(AKA: REHEARSAL PERIOD, REHEARSAL PROCESS, IN REHEARSAL)
The time set aside, or in some cases the period, during the production or preproduction of a movie, TV, or video production when the production crew and the cast practice the dramatic and/or technical elements of the production or a scene or segment therein to evolve such to successful performances in front of the camera. Some specifics may include the director's and the actors' collaboration to find the portrayals of the characters that work best and best tell the story of the script through the interpretive eyes of the director, the producer, the show runner, or some variation of these. Aspects that may be rehearsed usually include the movement of the actors, the cameras, and any set pieces that might move during the shooting of the scene or scenes. In other words, the process and practice of bringing all the elements of what will be shot into a coherent whole that is ready to be shot by the camera.

For movie productions there usually is not a rehearsal period, rather usually each scene is rehearsed, if at all, on the day the scene is shot, and usually just prior, and tends to focus on technical issues rather than actor's emotional perfomances. Actors may rehearse their scenes with each other off set during the frequent "down time" on set (in TV and video shoots as well).

Some movie directors do schedule a rehearsal period to work with the actors on character and intent, but more often such rehearsal period, which always happens in a theatrical production, does not happen.

In television, most specifically in multi-camera narrative programs -- the standard for sit-com productions -- there is more likely to be more rehearsal, culminating with a dress rehearsal in front of a studio audience. The Dress will be shot both so crew can rehearse, and also footage shot at dress is needed as coverage to substitue for a moment or scene that had problems during principal photography shoot, that which generally happens later the same day as Dress, and usually in front of a different studio audience. In many ways, multi-camera rehearsals and productions are like such for a theatrical play or musical.

For television talk shows, which are also multi-camera productions, rehearsals are right before the episode is shot, and focus on technical aspects -- though the musical guests or any more elaborate perfomances and skits will also be rehearsed.

Single-camera TV productions and rehearsals are rarely not exactly like movie productions and rehearsals, save that, for episodic programs, because of the constraints of schedule -- one episode must be wrapped so the next can be started -- there will not be an extended "rehearsal period" before production, though such could happen for a made-for-TV or made-for-cable movie.

All different production types will start with a table-read rehearsal, however, with very few exceptions.

To be "in rehearsal" means the person or the production is in this stage of preproduction preparation and practice, whether that be the few moments before the shoot, or a period of weeks or days of a rehearsal period before production begins, though such period is not frequently part of movie or video productions, and longer rehearsal periods are rarely part of a television production.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
RESHOOT Just as the name suggests, to reshoot a scene at a later time due to some sort of problem with the original shoot or because of some revisioning of the scene or sequence. Sometime it will be to create a different version such as to reduce or eliminate "adult content" and create a more "family friendly" version for a market that demands it.

Sometimes referred to as a pickup, though pickups usually refer to shooting additional material.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
REVERSAL EDIT The editing of reversal shots.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
REVERSAL SHOT
(AKA: REVERSALS, REVERSE SHOT, REVERSE ANGLES, OVER THE SHOULDER SHOTS, or HOLLYWOOD REVERSE)
Camera shots taken of the same action from two different angles, usually within a 120-180 degree parameter of angles from each other. Most frequently, but not exclusively, used in dialogue scenes, so that the two reversal shots can be edited together using each in alternate moments of the action to get perspectives that favor one of the two subjects more than the other. The most common reversals for dialogue are "over-the-shoulder" shots that show each character speaking. Reversals are also used in other sorts of sequences, usually to help heighten drama between two subjects that are about to clash (physically or emotionally); sometimes reversals are simply used to keep a sequence interesting visually.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
ROOM TONE A recording, usually between one to two minutes long, of the natural ambient, atmospheric background noise -- or "silence" -- on a set or at a location. The purpose is serve as background noise when the original production sound has to be eliminated for some reason; it will keep the ambient sound consistant throughout the scene, by matching the ambient sound from shots that still use original production recording.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
ROUGH CUT See ASSEMBLY EDIT
RUSHES
(AKA: DAILIES)
The first processed footage from what was shot the same day or in the recent past, made available for viewing by the director, actors and other production crew for scrutiny of any and all aspects of the performance, look and feel of said footage. In today's film world, where much footage is digital and readily available, the terms "rushes" or "dailies" may be used to label instant playback viewing of footage, on set, right after it is shot.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

S

SAG/AFTRA The Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the combined union for professional performers who work in the movie, television and radio industries in the U.S. market. After years of failed attempts, SAG and AFTRA finally merged into one union in 2012.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SAG/AFTRA SCALE
(AKA: SCALE)
The minimum wage a SAG/AFTRA union member can be paid for work on a set. The scale depends on type or medium of the work and the type or medium of the set.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SCALE See SAG/AFTRA SCALE
SCRATCH TRACK A temporary sound recording intended to be replaced later. This most commonly will be the dialogue recorded during a shoot at an exterior location where the production team is aware that there will be too much extraneous noise and the dialogue will need to be re-recorded in the studio, via ADR, and, as well, Foley sound or other sound effects will be added to highlight other action and the sense of of location, such as footsteps, nature sounds, street noise, etc.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SCREENTEST An audition for a movie or television program where the actor is recorded on video or film performing for the camera but usually without correct wardrobe or even any sort of set suggestive of the project. The idea is for casting directors, the producers and/or the director to see how the actor looks and feels on screen in relation to the role he or she is auditioning for.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SCRIPT ANALYSIS
(AKA: SCRIPT STUDY, TEXT ANALYSIS, or TEXT STUDY)
The examination of a script to understand and interpret its elements. Thorough analysis will look in detail at the structure of the story, to motivations of the characters, whatever symbolism is present, what theme or themes are inherent in the text, subtext and subplots, and any other aspects that are present in the script.

To some extent or another most of those involved with the production will analyse the script. Directors will need to have as broad and as complete an understanding of their interpretations of their scripts as possible. The designers likewise need to have a firm understanding and interpretation, though they will work in close consultation with their directors, whose visions of the script take precedence.

Actors need, at a bare minimum, to analyse their characters' mental and emotional goals and motivations, and what part they play in telling the story. But it is better if they have more of an understanding that simply just that which concerns their characters.

Often during table work for a production the group as a whole works on script analysis.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SCRIPT SUPERVISOR The person who follows the script as each shot, scene and sequence is underway and tracks how closely the script is being adhered to, then advises the director of any deviations. Script supervisors are also in charge of tracking continuity as well as what has and has not yet been shot.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SECOND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR or SECOND AD See ASSISTANT DIRECTOR or AD
SECOND UNIT A secondary film crew in a movie production, usually small, with the task to shoot sequences or shots of lesser importants, such as establishing shots, or such as cutaways in an action sequence.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SECOND UNIT DIRECTOR A subordinate director in a movie or television production who is responsible for the footage shot by the second unit. She or he may be an AD or a producer, especially on a smaller independent film, but more often is hired specifically as the second unit director. Often, of course, these are newer directors, earning their wings, so to speak.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SEGMENT PRODUCER A segment producer writes and/or produces one segment of a movie or a TV program.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SET DRESSING 1) as a noun: items, which the actors/characters do not use or interact with, on the set of a movie, TV, video, or theatre production, that represent or enhance one or more of the sense of location, time (usually as in era), personality of a character or characters, or events in the universe of the script.

Though set dressing items are set pieces they can usually be considered more as garnishes: both a sofa and the knitted throw that covers its back are set pieces, but the knitted throw is also set dressing, while the sofa generally is not considered such.

Other set pieces that are also set dressing include, but are not exclusive to, such things as tchotchkes, refrigerator magnets, items on shelves, pictures or paintings on walls, so long as these things are not used by or interacted with by the actors/characters (which would make them props) or are not somehow a focal point of plot for the scene or overall story line. A painting that hangs on the wall of a set and is not attended to by the characters, is set dressing; one that is a topic of conversation or is somehow a relevant item in the story is a prop, even if not physically used by the actors/characters.

2) as a verb: the act of placing items, which the actors/characters do not use or interact with, on the set of a movie, TV, video, or theatre production, that represent or enhance one or more of the sense of location, time (usually as in era), personality of a character or characters, or events in the universe of the script. Can include the design decisions of such set dressing.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SET PIECE Any piece of stage scenery that stands by itself: furniture items, photos or paintings that hang on the walls, rugs, hanging chandeliers, etc., so long as these things are not used by or interacted with by the actors/characters, which would make them props.

Some set pieces may also be considered set dressing, usually smaller items such as tchotchkes, househild items, decorations, etc., again, so long as these things are not used by or interacted with by the actors/characters, making them props.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SFX See SOUND EFFECTS
SHORT-SUBJECT FILM
(AKA: SHORT FILM or SHORT-SUBJECT)
A movie that is under forty minutes in length.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SHOWCASE A special sort of theatrical performance produced especially to highlight the abilities of performers -- usually actors. Industry professionals, such as agents, managers, producers, directors and casting directors are invited, rarely without a free ticket, to attend the showcase; they often do attend on the search for new talent. A showcase may feature only one performing artist or it may be a program to feature several. Often showcases highlight the work of actors from a recent graduating class in acting or musical theatre from a university. Talent agents and managers will also set up showcases for a member or members of their talent pools; some industrious actors will themselves produce showcases, often in collaboration with peers. Short-term professional acting classes often close with a showcase. Though in the practical sense showcases best feature an actor's stage performance chops, screen actors may do showcases, especially in smaller venues where they can bring down their performances closer to the subtler acting that is required for the camera.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SHOW RUNNER See EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
SIDES
(AKA: ASIDES)
A portion of a script, usually one or two pages at the most, used in auditions. Sides usually are pulled to focus on one character (for whom the actor is auditioning), and is usually only a portion of one scene, a section that gives the casting person a good idea if the actor is a good fit for the role. For movie, TV, and video auditions, whether live or as screentests, the other character or characters will be read, usually by a production assistant, who will be off to the side; only the auditioning actor will be on screen or up infront of the casting people.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SINGLE-CAMERA TELEVISION PRODUCTION
(AKA: SINGLE-CAMERA PROGRAM, SINGLE-CAMERA PRODUCTION, SINGLE-CAMERA or "ONE"-CAMERA....)
A television production that is shot in the same manner as a movie production, employing many or all of the aspects and methods, including shooting much of the episode or TV movie on location and shooting scenes out of sequence, to better budget production time and expenses, by minimizing shot set-ups and any location renting. As the term spells out, the program or TV movie is shot completely or primarily with one camera. Single-camera productions tend to be drama series or TV movies, though more and more SITCOMS are adopting the production format.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SITCOM
(I.E.: SITUATION COMEDY)
A comedic television series about a fixed set of characters, often set in one location, such as a home, a bar, or office, that typically runs thirty minutes in length with the commercial breaks included. Sitcoms originated on radio where they were often fifteen minutes in length.

Though more and more sitcoms are being shot single-camera, the norm over the history of television has been multi-cam productions, shot in front of a studio audience with the scenes generally shot in sequence as they appear in the script, just as a live theatrical play is performed.

Examples of single-camera sitcoms are: Arrested Development, The Office, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock.

Examples of multi-camera sitcoms: Cheers, Everybody Loves Raymond, Friends, and I Love Lucy.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SLATE, SLATING, or CLAPBOARD 1) For Camera auditions -- At the top of the audition performance actors give their names, usually the roles being auditioned for, and in many cases the agency that represents them (especially for a video recorded audition), also in many cases the actors must state SAG/AFTRA union affiliation, or lack of such. Sometimes they have a number on a sheet of paper or board that they hold on their chest during the slate, which identifies their spot on an audition list.

2) For theatre auditions -- The slate is usually as simple as the actors' names and what songs and/or monologues will be in their audition programs, and sometimes they are expected to name the role they are auditioning for, but more often not. *usually, in community theatres, actors do not slate.

3) For movie, TV, or video productions -- The board with information on it that identifies the title of the production, the names of the director, the director of photography, the scene and take numbers, the date, and the time. It is filmed or video recorded at the top of each take, with the latest take number, date and time. The clapboard has a hinged stick on the top that an AD or PA snaps at the top of the scene to facilitate the synchronization of the sound and visual of the clap snap to ensure the audio and visual information is in sync in the clip of the scene. "Slating" in this context would be the act of shooting the clapboard and snapping the top at the start of the scene.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SLUG or SLUG LINE A header appearing at the top of a scene or shot in a script for a movie, TV show, or video production, that indicates the scene/shot location, time of day, and often the relative passage of time from the previous scene. A slug may include specific dates or eras, especially for the first scene of a script.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SOLILOQUY See MONOLOGUE
SOUND DESIGN The act of identifying and/or conceiving, then securing, manipulating, and/or producing the audio elements (soundtrack) of a movie, television, or video production, those elements being all of Foley sound, other sound effects, music, and the general sound engineering. All this based on the dictates and needs of the script as well as in consultation or collaboration with the director or producer(s). The chief sound designer may oversee most of this, but frequently delegates to others, especially to Foley artists. As well, producers often will be mildly to heavily involved in what music is used, both score and as incidental music (both commissioned original and pre-recorded). Sometimes producers will be completely in charge of the pre-recorded music used. The original scores by commissioned composers are also a factor that fall outside of the direct oversight of the sound designer.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SOUND DESIGNER The chief designer who designs and oversees the soundtrack of a movie or television production. She or he is responsible for the design and creation of the audio element of the movie or program. Though the chief designer, he or she may delegate out many particular duties such as to Foley artists, production sound engineers, and sound editors, all who report to the sound designer.

The sound designer designs the sound plot for the production, noting all the sounds called for in the script, whether it be a sound that is a direct part of the action (a car honking "outside" because the wife is impatient) or ambient sound (birds "in the trees" to help set place and mood), and may determine that sounds not specifically mentioned in the script may also be appropriate -- especially ambient sounds such as office backgrounds or traffic.

The sound designer also will likely work to greater or lesser extent with the composer who is writing the music score for the soundtrack, perhaps or perhaps not giving input on the dynamics of the score, but always coordinating the lengths of pieces of music to synchronize with moments and scenes in the final cut.

The sound designer may also be invloved to a greater or lesser extent in the curating of music from outside sources, i.e.: music by recording artists. Such task often is done by producers, but the sound designer may have input. In all cases the sound designer will coordinate the length of the recordings to synchronize with moments and scenes in the final cut.

The sound designers will usually have a large library of sound effects and may create sounds specifically for a production through new recordings or through mixing two or more sound from their libraries together, or otherwise altering a pre-existing sound file to make it work (slow it down, add reverb, change the treble-bass equalization, etc.) As alluded to above, some sound designers will delegate Foley work to Foley artists while others are Foley artists, themselves, and will do all or some of the Foley work for the project.

Sound designers work in close collaboration with directors, who have final approval over all sound design.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SOUND EDITOR
(AKA: DIALOG EDITOR)
Responsible for editing a movie or television program soundtrack.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SOUND EFFECTS
(AKA: SFX)
Any sound added to a production, or any dramatic enhancement/alteration of sound in a production. Any such sound especially created as new for the specific production is also known as Foley sound; and any sound pulled from a library of sound files is simply a sound effect.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SOUND EFEECTS EDITOR Responsible for specialized editing of sound effects for a movie or television program soundtrack.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SOUND ENGINEER See PRODUCTION SOUND MIXER
SOUND MIXER See PRODUCTION SOUND MIXER
SOUNDTRACK 1) The audio portion of a movie or television program. The term is routed in the physical attribute of film stock, where the audio tracks run down one side of the film strip. It now means all aspects of the audio portion of the movie or TV program, including all dialog, sound effects and music.

2) A collection of music heard in a movie or TV program, often marketed as an album of such.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SPECIAL EFFECTS
(AKA: SPFX)
The artificial practical visual effects that create illusions in a movie or TV production that are executed in real time on the set or on location by use of physical engineering rather than those created in post-production, such as those created by computer, as with CGI work.

A car rigged to flip then actually explode via engineered pyrotechnics is a special effect; a computer graphic enhancement that make it appear that the car has exploded is not called a "special effect," but rather CGI. In today's movie and television production worlds many visual illusions are the product of a blend of special effects and CGI.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SPFX See SPECIAL EFFECTS
SUPERVISING PRODUCER In movie productions the supervising producer supervises the creative process of screenplay development and may be involved in re-writes. Frequently supervising producers work closely with less experienced story editors and writers, if there is a writing team. If the head writer is also co-executive producer the supervising producer will work in collaboration with him or her, with the co-exec having more rank.

In television productions they play a role in supervising the creative process in the writers room, and, as in movie productions, may be involved in re-writes. Sometimes the supervising producer may be the head writer, though usually the head writer is a co-exec. They may mentor or guide newer writers, though if they are head writer they will delegate that to a senior writer on the team. They likely also work closely with less experienced story editors.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
SUPPORTING ROLE A role on stage or on screen that is below the lead roles, but above any bit parts. Supporting roles run the spectrum from minor roles to major characters who are often pivotal or vital to the story. In television, the term "Day Player" is used to refer to most performers with supporting speaking roles hired on a daily basis without long-term contracts. Also in episodic television, there may be several levels of "Supporting" roles and different productions may make different distinctions between "Guest Star," "Featured," "Recurring," simply "Supporting," or "Day Player" -- though the latter is fairly universally defined, regardless of the production. The only thing that will always be true is that Supporting Roles will be considered "Principal Roles," in that they have at least one line, or otherwise action that is vital to the story line or perform some special skill, if they don't speak.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

T

TABLE WORK One or more further table reads of a script after the initial table read, where now the focus is on development of the characters and deeper understandings of the script and its story as a whole. Reads for table work usually go at a much slower pace with many stops and restarts of various moments in the script as the director and the actors work together to discuss and hone the development of character and script understanding. Some directors control all stops for discussion during table work, some invite the actors to also stop the read through at any time.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
TABLE READ See READ-THROUGH
TAFT/HARTLEY or TAFT/HARTLY ACT The Labor Management Relations Act of 1947 (29 U.S.C. ยง 401-531) which restricts the activities and power of labor unions. For American actors the import is that non-union actor can work a limited amount of time on a movie, TV or video set without being required to join the SAG/AFTRA union.

See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Management_Relations_Act_of_1947.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
TECH REHEARSAL For a film or video, a rehearsal on set, whether the set is on a sound stage or is on location (inside or out doors) where all production elements (lighting, sound, costuming, and special effects) are in play and practiced during the rehearsal. Almost always, a film or video tech rehearsal will happen on the day of the actual principal photography, most often just before.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
TILT SHOT Moving the camera up or down while maintaining its horizontal axis; usually done from a tripod or jib, but can also be done as a handheld shot.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
TRANSCODING In terms of digital video movies, transcoding is the direct digital-to-digital conversion of a movie file from one encoding (movie computer file format) to another.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

V

VIDEO EDITOR See EDITOR
VIEWPOINTS A technique of movement exercises and games (often wholly or partially improvisational) that provides a physical vocabulary for actors, involving movement and gesture. The basic precept is to engage an ensemble, or even a dou, of actors in becoming in tune to their surroundings (the space) on the stage or set and their connectivity to each other in that space. It's a method of helping the actors use their bodies in time and space to create, reach, and communicate more meaning in the universe of the story they are telling on the stage or screen.

See "A Brief History of Viewpoints."

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
VOICE-OVER
(AKA: VO)
1) In a movie, TV, or video production: In general terms. a voice-over is any voice heard where the actor or spokesman is not on screen. Usually it means that the person is not intended to be considered physically present in the action being seen on screen. It is a voice from a TV, radio, phone, or an answering machine. It may also be a voice in an on-screen character's mind, such as the voice of the person who has written the letter we see the character reading, or it's a poignant remembrance. Lastly, it is narration or informational speaking by someone not on camera and not suggested as in the scene but out of frame.

2) In a theatre production: any recorded voice that is played during a live performance.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

W

WIDE SHOT See LONG SHOT
WILD SOUND
(AKA: WILD AUDIO, WILD TRACK, WILD LINES, or WILD DIALOGUE)
Audio, usually recorded during shooting, but not on camera, intended to be synchronized with film or video footage which has been shot separately. In most cases wild sound is recorded on location. Wild sound may be sound effects or extra takes of lines that are recorded when the cameras are not rolling or not focused on the action. Room tone is also wild sound. Wild sound should not be confused with Foley sound or ADR, the latter two being recorded in sound studios and thus under much more controlled circumstances.

Sometimes an excerpt of audio from an unused take is used in the take chosen for the final cut, to add in, or to replace something, and sometimes such is referred to as "wild sound."

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
WRITERS ROOM
(AKA: WRITING ROOM)
The office area, almost always set up conference style, where the writing team for a television series or other type of TV program meet to collaboratively work on writing episodes or TV movies, though many or all of the writers may have their own offices to write in, as well. The writing room is where the writers will pitch ideas to the head writer and where the head writer will mete out writing assignments.

Movie productions may also have a writing room if there is a writing team of screenwriters on the project.

           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

Z

ZOOM SHOT
(AKA: ZOOM)
A zoom changes the focal length of the lens to alter the magnification of the subject to increase ("zoom in") or decrease ("zoom out") the subject's size on screen. In other words to make the shot move into or away from the subject while keeping the camera stationary. This is different from a dolly shot, where the camera itself physically moves toward or away from the subject. Zooms keep the relative positions and sizes of objects around the subject constant; in dolly shots such relationships change as the perspective changes by the movement of the camera in or out.
           *Hit your browser's back button to return to your original page
go to the alphabetical index for this page

K.L.'s Theatre Production Terms

email me at KL_Storer@yahoo.com. And visit www.facebook.com/klstorer



For the index of K.L.'s creative writing and essays at this site, click here.