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The Raising A Child Star


Glossary-Terms You Should Know Off Set

A-listers - A high ranking celebrity. 

Audition - A formally arranged session (usually by appointment through an agent) for an actor to display his or her talents when seeking a role in an upcoming production of a play, film or television project, usually to a casting director, director or producers.

Billing - The size of an actor’s role such as starring or guest starring. Also, where the actor’s name will be placed in the credits and if the name will be shown on the screen alone or with others.

Book Out - A call to all of your agents to let them know you are working, traveling or are unavailable for auditions or a job.

Booked - When you are hired for a role in a production.

“I booked the lead role in the film!”

Breakdowns - Role listings on Actors Access (a popular casting site). Some will refer to role listings on other casting sites as breakdowns as well, but the term “breakdowns” comes from the agency version of Actors Access, which is called Breakdown Express.

Buyout - A one-time payment for shooting and airing a commercial.

Callback -You are called in to audition again for the same project. Sometimes the audition is for a different role with the same project.

Casting - When a casting director puts out the news that he needs to fill a certain role that requires an approximate age range and appearance such as a certain ethnicity, height, build or look.

CD - A Casting Director. Their responsibility is to find qualified talent and audition them for roles in a production. They work with directors, producers, network executives, showrunners, and more to find them the right actors according to their requests. Sometimes casting directors can reach out to specific actors they know and offer them the roles, or they hold auditions/open calls to find the right actor for the role. The casting director can also be responsible for making the deals for the actor to appear in the project

Cold Reading - Delivering a monologue or acting a scene at an audition without being given the script ahead of time. This usually results from casting giving an actor different lines, a new scene, or another part to read at the audition. 

Conflicts - Being under contract for two conflicting products. This is prohibited for union commercials. An advertiser would never want one

Day-Player - Someone who is hired at SAG scale (minimum) for the day.

Direct booking - Booked for a gig by your headshot, demo clip or demo reel.

18tly or 18tpy (eighteen to look younger or 18 to play younger) - A person who is eighteen years old or older who can convincingly portray someone younger. 

Featured Role - A co-starring role where you may have played a large role but weren’t necessarily the main character.

Gig - A role in a production. “I booked my first gig!”

Holding Fee - If an actor shoots a commercial and the company would like the option to run the commercial again and wants to hold a performer exclusive to the product, they will pay the actor a holding fee. During this period, a performer cannot accept work in a commercial for a competitive product. For example, if a performer has received a holding fee for a Nike commercial, he/she may not accept work for a commercial advertising Adidas during that period of time.

Lead Role - Considered a starring role in a production.

Multi-cam - When a show is shot with multiple cameras, catching several angles at the same time. Many of these shows are shot with a live audience. 

Example: “Bob Hearts Abishola “and “Friends”

Must Join - A situation in which an actor has used up the 30-day grace period to join a union and upon hiring for the next job must join that union as mandated by the Taft-Hartley law.

On Avail - A courtesy extended by a performer or agent to a producer indicating availability to work a certain job. Avails have no legal or contractual status.

Per Diem - Money given to actors and crew when on location to cover the expense of food and other personal incidentals.

Pitch - The action an agent or manager takes in trying to convince a casting director to audition their client for a role that was not originally chosen for an audition.

Plus Ten or Twenty. The 10% or 20% commission negotiated by an agent, specifically referring to the 10% or 20% added to the base pay negotiated for the actor. You may still be responsible to pay your agent their commission from your pay as well. Read your contract with the agency.

Publicist -  A person hired to create awareness of an actor or project.

Recurring Role - Typically found on television shows where your character pops up from time to time in a few episodes of a regular show.

Residuals - Also known as royalties, these are additional monies to actors (but not extras) for film, TV or commercial work airing on local television or international television stations.

Rush Call - A last minute call by an agency to an actor for an audition or a job.

SAG-eligible - A non-union actor who is eligible to join SAG by being cast in a principal role, being a member of an affiliated union and having had a principal role under that union’s jurisdiction or performing three days of union extra work. Also Known as “Sag-e”

SAG-franchised - Status of an agent or agency that has signed papers with SAG (a union) and agrees to operate within SAG guidelines.

Session Fee - Your payment for the day you work

Scale - Minimum SAG daily wage for principal actors.

Score - Music added to a project during post-production.

Screen Test – A type of audition during which an actor will be filmed performing a particular role, often not on the set or in proper wardrobe or makeup. Sometimes other actors who are being considered for the opposite roles will perform with you. This is a way for the producers to see who has chemistry.

Single-Cam – Single-camera television shows are still shot with multiple cameras, so the name of this term doesn’t apply to its definition. The difference between single-cam vs. multi-cam is that single-cam is shot more like a film and never has a live audience. Single-cam shows don’t have laugh tracks and the feel of them imitate the vibe of a feature film where a multi-cam show feels more like a stage play.



Glossary -Terms You Should Know on Set

Back to One - When the Director wants everyone to return to their starting locations for that scene to begin another take.

Background - Another term for extras or atmosphere.

Basecamp - Is the area designated by production as the main check-in and crew communication hub.

Blocking or Blocking a shot - Is where actors or stand-ins go through the scene with the Director with all the department keys watching. This allows the crew to determine where to set the camera, lights, props and any other needed equipment. Blocking. In rehearsals, actors practice the required movements, in a pattern or along a path, for a given scene that allows them to avoid any awkward positions, such as one actor walking in front of another actor or standing with his or her back to the camera.

Bump- A bump is money added to your base wage for doing something beyond basic background in a scene. You could receive a bump if you are booked with a vehicle or pet or if the Assistant Director gives you a more featured role.

Call sheet - Sheet with everyone’s names and call times.

Call time - The time you are to be on set, ready to work. Not everyone will have the same call time. 

Cast - As a noun, generally refers to the group of actors performing in a particular production. As a verb, refers to the final status of an actor that has won a role or part in a production over other competing performer.

Crew Call - The call time for most crew, used to determine when lunch will be.

Call back - Where you’re called in to audition a 2nd, 3rd, 4th time.

Continuity - Is where the actors, wardrobe, props, and the set stays the same from shot to shot so it can be easily cut together. Sometimes the scene can be shot over multiple days and you’ll want to remember which hand was doing what and how much tea was in you glass. Many people are watching for this but mostly Script Supervisor, Props, Set, Wardrobe, and Hair 

Crafty - Craft service, provides snacks between meals, gum, breath mints, vitamins, and sometimes aspirin and sunscreen.

Cut - (Film) The director’s cue to stop filming


Dialogue - Refers to spoken lines

Hitting the mark - The positions an actor needs to stop at during a scene. This is critical for camera focus, eye-lines, and continuity. The positions are normally marked by colored tape on the floor

Holding- When you’re not filming, you’ll be taken to a holding area. You can bring items to Holding, like a book, to keep you busy when you’re not on set.

Inserts - Parts of scenes that are shot from different angles or different focal lengths, often times doubles are used instead of principal actors. Inserts can be used to show a character performing a special skill like playing an instrument or performing everyday tasks like using a phone.

Off Book - being familiar with your script or sides for an audition. If you are required to be off book, then you should make sure you have your lines memorized. You can hold them in your hand for reference if needed. 


Pantomime - When filming, Background Actors will silently mouth conversations, so they don’t interfere with the sound being recorded by the principal actors.

Pick-up Shot - Small parts of a scene that are re-shot, usually because all angles were not captured satisfactorily during the first shooting. Pick-ups are (often minor) shots filmed after production on a project has wrapped. While in post-production, the director and editors will determine if there are clarity or continuity issues and will then film pick-ups to supplement the original footage.

Pre-pro - Short for pre-production, this is the time needed to set up the shoot such as getting actors, permits, crew, locations ...etc. 

Production - This is the time need to shoot the scenes. 

Postproduction - This is where the completed footage is processed, edited, and effects added to produce the final product. 

Producer - Oversees the money side of shooting. May have optioned the idea & created the entire shoot.

Promo - A shoot designed to promote another project, usually for TV shows or events. 

Props - Short for properties. Objects used by the talent. (Glasses, briefcase, cell phone) Not a structural part of the set. 

Pushed call - When the call time has been pushed to a later time. Example: Instead of 7 am, they say the call times have been pushed 1/2 hour. So you’d come in at 7:30 am. 

Reaction Shot - This is a close shot of an actor’s face while they are pretending to respond to the other actor’s dialogue or some event that would be happening in the scene. 

Reverse Shot - This is where the camera is now shooting in the opposite direction. This is a major move as everything has to be moved. Anything that was behind the camera will now be in the shot. All the lights and set dressing will need to be reset.

Rolling - Camera is rolling! 

Room Tone - Sound that is recorded at the end of a take with no one moving or talking. Usually lasts about 30 seconds and is used for the sound editor to match background noises. 

Safety Meeting - Meeting held by 1st AD at beginning of shoot to notify everyone of or to highlight any safety concerns peculiar to the shot or locations. 

Second Unit - A separate small crew for crowd shots, stunts, insert shots that do not require the main actors. 

Second Team - A group who takes the place of the principal actors during rehearsals, camera blocking, and lighting setups. The second team is comprised of Stand-Ins, body doubles, stunt doubles, and various other roles. Members of the second team often work closely with the principal actors. After rehearsals they may instruct the actors on the movements they need to make in the scene.

Shot list - List of shots planned to be filmed for the day. Shot meaning parts of a scene. 

Sides - Scripts of what will be shot that day 

Slate - Also known as the Marker, Sticks, or the Clapper. Has the scene and take numbers written on it and shows the time code, so the film can be synched with the sound equipment

Stand-in - An actor, (most times an actor who has a similar height, build and look of the principal actor) is used where the principal is going to stand while the crew makes sure that lighting and camera angles are okay. Instead of using the time of the principal character.

Supporting Role - Usually a small role where you had some acting and speaking parts. 

Table Read- Is when actors sit around tables in a large room and read through the script aloud. Each person plays a different role, and sometimes they play several roles if a role isn’t cast yet or if one of the actors aren’t in attendance.

Taft-Hartley Law - A law that allows non-union actors to work under a union contract for their first role. After that, they must join the union.

Take - The attempted shooting of a scene.

Upgrade - A pay-rate increase, usually from “extra” status to “principal” status.

Wardrobe - Clothes that are chosen for you to wear during a scene.

Wardrobe Change -Wardrobe that is for a different scene in the same project.

Wrap - Is when the shoot is finished for the day, when a project is finished its last shoot day or when one or more of the actors are finished shooting their scenes for the entire project. Ex. That’s a wrap! or It’s a wrap for Janice!

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