Actor's Dictionary
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Actor's Dictionary

ADJUSTMENT: An adjustment is when your pay is increased above your Base Payment Rate.

BOOKING: The practice where you confirm and commit to a position on a particular show when contacted by a casting director or agency.

BUMP: Added money, but different from an adjusted pay rate. A bump is a one time payment for additional services or items. If for example you are asked to change clothing you may receive a bump. This additional money is meant to compensate for your additional wardrobe or dry-cleaning costs. Another common example is when extras receive a bump for the use of their vehicle. If your car appears in a shot you may receive a bump.

CALL TIME: The time you are to report to the set or location for work. It is always good practice to arrive 15 to 30 minutes before your actual call time.

CALL SHEET: This printed form lists the day's filming schedule along with the cast, crew, and props needed.

CAMERA READY: Definition for anyone who is ready to appear in front of the camera. Extras are usually instructed to arrive on set "Camera Ready." This means you should arrive completely dressed, with your hair and makeup done, and ready to begin for the day.

CHANGES: Costume or clothing changes actors or extras endure throughout the day are simply known as "Changes." Changes should be noted on your voucher as you may receive a Bump if you are asked to change into other clothing you provided yourself. You only receive additional payment if you provide the clothing and not if you are asked to change into something provided by the Wardrobe Department.

COLD READING: An audition or unrehearsed reading of a script. When actors are requested to spontaneously read and/or perform part of a script for a casting director it may be a Cold Reading where they have not previously seen the script.

COLOR COVER: The process of wearing the same color as the principal actor when standing in for the actor. During a lighting or camera setup a stand in is called upon to fill in for the principal actor. It helps the crew set up or adjust lighting and lens/filter properties if the stand in wears the same color clothing the principal actor is wearing.

COMMISSION: Percentage of money paid to managers, casting agencies or agents for booking or arranging your acting services.

CRAFT SERVICES: Your all purpose snacking table. Usually consists of junk food and your basic munchies. Sometimes known simply as "Crafty."

DIALOGUE: Spoken words by principal actors.

DOWNSCALE: Term for actors and extras who appear dressed in regular nondescript or casual clothing. The opposite of Downscale is Upscale.

DRESSING: Items positioned in front of the camera or on the set to make the scene look more realistic. Also called Set Dressing.

EIGHTEEN TO PLAY YOUNGER: The term for someone who is actually 18 years or older but looks young enough to play a teen-ager.

ETHNIC TYPES: Referring to the race, nationality, or creed of the talent or extras. Most often describes individuals that are not Caucasian.

ESTABLISHED: When an individual or object is clearly visible on camera in a specific position or location. Because filmmakers require many takes often from several different angles, individuals who are established and are thus clearly seen in the shot, must be able to either maintain their positions or perform the same action again and again throughout the many different shots as to maintain the scene's continuity.

FEATURED: When an extra is clearly visible on camera and not just a blur in the background.

FIRST TEAM: The main or principal actors. The stars of the show.

FORCED CALL: Having to return to the set less than 12 hours after you left the set the previous day.

GOLDEN TIME: Refers to the 16th hour of a shooting day. When Golden Time begins, extras receive their base pay for each additional hour until released for the day.

HOLDING: A room or area where extras are usually sent when not working on the set. It is important for extras to stay in the holding area when not working so they can easily be located when they are needed.

HONEYWAGON: The name of the big truck trailer with the many individual doors on the side. This truck houses the bathrooms, changing rooms, and sometimes doubles as offices for crew members.

HOT SET: Any set or location that is being used for filming or taping. Even if the cameras are not rolling, a location can be considered "Hot" if all the props, lights, and camera arrangements are set up and ready. It is important to not disturb anything on a Hot Set as to maintain Continuity.

LOCATION: The set, stage, or area where filming is being done.

MEAL PENALTY: All film productions should break at least once every six hours to allow for cast and crew meals. If production does not halt for meals at least once every six hours then actors and extras are entitled to a "meal penalty" payment for every half hour over the six hours you are not fed.

M.O.S.: This is the term used for a scene filmed without sound.

OPEN CALL: Known as a "Cattle Call," this is general audition for anyone seeking a role in a particular shoot. Open Calls are almost always long tiresome days.

OVERTIME: Overtime begins after 8 hours of work. This applies to union and non union talent alike.

PANTOMIME: The term for pretending to speak in conversation when in fact you are only mouthing the word. Most Extras will be asked to act as though they are speaking but they really are not. This is so the audio recording can pick up the principal talent without all the background noise. The sound editors will then add the background noise in post production.

RUSH CALL: The last minute booking of an actor or extra. This usually occurs when another actor or extra cancels at the last minute.

SECOND UNIT: A smaller crew of filmmakers who film many of the additional shots not involving the principal talent or critical action. Usually a Second Unit will film insert shots of locations, scenery, crowd shots.

SELECTIONS: Referring to an actor or extra's wardrobe. Selections are several different clothing items of the same type. Extras are often asked to bring a few selections to work such as bringing three jogging suits for an exercise scene.

SKINS: A form that lists the names of everyone booked for the day. Includes call times. Using the Skins, a crew member may call roll before starting shooting for the day.

SIDES: A physically smaller size set of script pages that actors and filmmakers can easily carry around with them on the set. The Sides only include the pages that will be filmed that day. Actors use the pages to read and rehearse their scenes as the crew sets up the shot.

SPEC: Anyone who arrives on location when not officially booked. Often individuals show up just hoping to be added to the call list.

SQUIB: A small explosive device that can simulate the effect of a bullet or other wound when worn by actors. The device usually pops a small container of stage blood to give a realistic visual impression. Extras need be upgraded to Principal Talent before being permitted to wear a Squib.

STUNT: Any action that is considered dangerous and thus requires a Stunt Double.

SUBMISSION: To be suggested for a particular part or role. The act of submitting your photo for a position on the set by a casting agent or manager.

TAKE: The single continuous action recorded for a scene. Each assembled scene usually consists of many different takes comprising several different camera angles.

UPGRADE: Like getting a raise or promotion, an upgrade is when an individual is moved from being an Extra to a Stand In, Photo Double, or Principal Player. Upgrades also provide higher pay rates.

UPSCALE: Term for actors and extras who appear clean and nicely dressed. Upscale often means Extras will appear wearing expensive and/or fancy looking clothing. The exact opposite of Downscale.


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