Quiet on the Set: Film Jargon
What is a take? If you're asked to cheat, what are you being
asked to do? As an actor on a film set, you'll need to know the
following words and phrases.
The word the director uses when he wants the actors
to begin performing.
Your call to the set. You will be called at least an hour before the
assistant director thinks you will be neededbe sure to show up at
least a half hour before that. This will help you become accustomed
to the set, the props, and the atmosphere. Never be late; the cost of
a crew waiting for you is enormous.
When an actor takes on a physical position
that would not be natural in real life, such as looking at something other
than the person or object on which she is supposedly focused. This
is often necessary to get the right effect or perspective on film.
Positioning the camera close to an actor's face
(or any object that is significant in the scene) so that the person or object
fills the frame.
The director's instruction to stop a scene. The director is the only person on the set allowed to "cut," or stop, a scene. If the assistant director, sound mixer, or camera operator needs to stop the scene for any reason, they call out "break it."
hit your mark
The ability to find your predetermined
location in the scene without looking at the marks that have been placed on the floor.
A camera angle used to stress the environment or setting; the camera
is at a distance from the subject of the shot.
A camera position that results in full- to half-figure
shots of performers.
The director uses this term to indicate that he or she
wants to redo a small part of the scene. For example, if a scene is going well
until someone forgets a line, the director might want to pick up the scene
near that point to avoid reshooting the entire scene.
What the director says when the take completed is
good enough to use. A film print is made of the take.
The camera position or the composition
of a shot. Each time one of these is changed, there is a new setup.
A term used to let the production crew know that the
camera is rolling or the sound is being recorded.
A scene that is being (or has been) filmed.
It is not a rehearsal and there will be a film record of it.
that's a wrap
A phrase that means, "We're done. Shooting is
over for today."