Word on Set (Part 1: A-G)
By Oz Online | Published on July 26, 2016

Not an all inclusive list, but some of the basic terminology that one would hear on set. Often, crews from different parts of the country or world have slightly different jargon.



Apple Box: A box built of a strong wood or plywood which is capable of supporting weight. These may be of various sizes, the smallest of which is also known as a ‘pancake’ because it is nearly flat.

Action: A term used to initiate a take.

Anamorphic: An optical system used to magnify vertically and horizontally in a picture.

Answer Print: The first graded print that is a combination of sound and picture. Used to show the client the final product before final copies of the film are printed.

Artifact: A visual defect found in the image because of a malfunction in the imaging equipment.

Alan Smithee: A notorious pseudonym used by directors unwilling to have their own name slapped on a film when they weren’t happy with the final cut.

Abby Singer: The shot taken before the last shot of the day. Named after an American production manager and assistant director.

Above the Line: Individuals associated with the creation and artistic development of a project, including writers, directors, producers, and actors.

Above the Line Expenses: Expenses that occur during pre-production such as story rights, payrolls and expenses related to the above-the-line participants.

Agent: A person or agency that works to promote and represent the interests of their clients, including the obtainment of employment and negotiation of contracts. People who employ agents include actors, writers, directors, directors of photography, production designers, and camera operators.

Anime: A style of animation originated in Japan.

Auteur: A filmmaker, usually a writer/director, but refers to any filmmaker who plays a part in all aspects of the moviemaking process.



B-Movie: A film considered to be less successful due to factors like low budget, bad writing, unknown cast, bad acting.

Back to one: Actors return to beginning or 1st positions in the scene.

Backlot: A large, empty space on studio property used as a location for construction of exterior sets or outdoor scenes in the film.

Background Artist: A euphemistic term used by the crew to refer to extras.

Below the Line: All physical production costs not included in the above-the-line expenses, such as equipment, labor, food, transportation, locations, etc.

Best Boy: 2nd in command under the Key Grip or Gaffer, in charge of equipment and labor, and can be male or female.

Bit Part: A small role, often lasting only one scene.

Black Wrap: Black Aluminum foil which is used for wrapping lights, to control light spill, and for making small flags.

Blockbuster: A film that succeeds at the box office, measured by ticket sales.

Blocking: The process of determining the best placement and movement of actors and camera during the rehearsal of a scene.

Blooper: A scene not used in the film because of a cast or crew mistake.

Body Double: A person whose physical features resemble an actor sufficiently enough to be used for scenes in which the actors face will not be seen. Examples include scenes in which the character is in the background, nude scenes, and insert shots.

Bomb: A movie that fails at the box office, measured by ticket sales.

Boom: A long pole with a microphone on the end. Controlled by the “Boom Operator.”

Box Rental: A fee or allowance paid to a crewmember for providing his/her own equipment or other specialized apparatus for use in a production.

Burrito: Rolled up sound blanket.



Call Sheet: A sheet of paper distributed to the crew every night at wrap, with the next day’s scheduled scenes printed on the front and the list of required crew printed on the back, listed by department. Additional information includes the work schedule of actors, required special equipment for the day, weather notes and contact information for production.

Call Time: The time individual cast and crew members must report to set.

Camera Report: The list of the scenes already filmed including camera notes for future use & for edit.

Cameo: A famous actor appearing in a small role.

Cast: The group of actors appearing in the production.

Cel: A hand-painted depiction of a single frame in an animation film, traditionally made on acetate or similar transparent material.

Character Actor: An actor known for their prolific body of film work, typically playing smaller supporting roles. Often sought due to their unique appearance and acting style.

Cold Open: An editorial technique for jumping straight into a storyline without exposition, often before opening credits.

Completion Bond: An insurance guarantee that principal photography on a given film will be completed. It indemnifies a production against the unforeseen costs of any type, whether or not they result from problems

which are covered by other types of insurance.

Cookie: A perforated material which is used to break up light or create a shadow pattern. Also known as a cucoloris.


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