Friday, June 20, 2014

Casting NOW: Chubby pre-teen boy

NOW CASTING: We are looking for a chubby boy, 10-12 years old or appearing to be, who would be able to use foul language and eat during each scene.

amount of days TBD but will be less than 11 days and will be shot this Fall

If this fits you/yourchild, please submit an image and contact info to  with subject: CHUBBY BOY

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Casting asap


the Gymnastics feature film

If you are interested in being B/G for "The Bronze" please send an email to your picture, phone number, and days available between July 7-July 26.

These are PAID positions!! This film is shooting in Amherst, Ohio.

Children and minors must have parents submit their information.

Casting: Newborn Babies and their Parents Needed for TV commercial

Newborn Babies and their Parents Needed for TV commercial filming in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, June 24th or Wednesday June 25th. Babies must be less than 1 month old on the shoot date. Must be available both days, but you will shoot one day.
Non-Speaking Part, no experience necessary!
Pay will be $500 plus per person if chosen and filmed for the commercial.
Looking for Newborn Caucasian and African American babies less than one month old by June 24th and also will need the babies' parents in the commercial. The parents should be 27-35 years old.
If interested please email a recent snapshot of baby and parents to: as soon as possible. Please include: Names, phone numbers, age of parents and age and date of birth of the infant. If the client is interested in you for the commercial, we will call you for a videotaped interview for this Monday, June 16th.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

CASTING SPEAKING ROLES ONLY: THE BRONZE", starring The Big Bang Theory's Melissa Rauch

There will be 2 OPEN CALLS for the feature film, "THE BRONZE", starring The Big Bang Theory's Melissa Rauch. 

This film will be shot in Amherst, Ohio. 


We will only audition experienced and established actors for speaking roles, and will be very selective. Please bring a headshot and resume--we will not audition anyone without it. Again, experienced actors ONLY!! 

You will not be selected to audition if you are not experienced so please have discretion before coming if you are not experienced and can prove it with an extensive resume. 

Novice actors will have their opportunity later to sign up to be BackGround Actors (or Featured Extras if needed).

EXPERIENCED ACTORS ONLY: We'll be very selective in audition process!!
There will be one audition this 
Saturday June 14 from 11am-6pm in Chagrin Falls at The Chagrin Valley Little Theatre (in the Red Barn)
The second audition will be 
Tuesday, June 17 at Tri-C West (Health & Technology Center) from 11am-6pm. 

Must bring professional headshot and extensive or you will not be considered.

No phone calls please! Please visit (news) for details.

Friday, June 6, 2014

CASTING: HOUSE OF CARDS - Open Call in Maryland - June 7th


Please Print and Fill out the form Below and Bring it with you to the Open Call

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

So you think you can write? - Literary Agents, and what they do

What is a literary agent?
The key that you need to unlock the mysterious world of publishing.
That’s because most publishing houses no longer accept book submissions or book ideas directly from authors. Publishers will only consider your book or manuscript if it’s submitted to them by a literary agent.
So, what is a literary agent?
What is a book agent but a gatekeeper?
A gatekeeper.
* * *

What Is a Literary Agent for Authors?

Literary agents (also known as book agents or publishing agents) act primarily as authors’ representatives for the sale and/or licensing of their books with large domestic publishers like Random House and Simon & Schuster, and sometimes small- or medium-sized domestic publishers like Peachtree Publishing.
Book agents also sometimes act as authors’ representatives for the sale and/or licensing of books with foreign publishing houses, theatrical producers, film and TV producers, and magazine publishers (interested in publishing an excerpt from an author’s book).
What is a book agent but a salesperson?
What is a literary agent in just one word?
A salesperson.
Many book agents do more than simply find the best publisher for your book and negotiate the best contract. But, having the desire and ability to sell your book to a publisher is the only thing that all publishing agents have in common.
* * *
What is a literary agent?
To some authors, book agents are a necessary evil.
That’s because it can sometimes seem harder to get a literary agent than a publisher. It can also be difficult to find a book agent interested in representing you, one that’s also competent and a pleasure to work with. You might think of finding the perfect book agent as something akin to finding your soul mate.
What is a book agent but a soul mate?
Does it matter what genre your book is?
Book agents represent authors of fiction, nonfiction, children’s book, graphic novels, short story collections, screenplays, etc.
* * *
What else does a literary agent do?
What is a book agent and job responsibilities
A lot…
Like I said a moment ago, most agents do more than just find the best publisher for your book and negotiate the best contract.

What Does a Literary Agent
Do for Authors?

That depends. That’s because there are just as many types of book agents in the world, as there are books. Okay, not exactly. But it’s true that the only thing all agents have in common is their desire, and ability, to sell your book and negotiate the best contract. That’s just the tip of the iceberg…
What does a book agent do for authors?
Most agents bring a lot more to the table.
Let’s take a closer look…
* * *

What Does a Literary Agent Do for Authors?

Book agents can be involved in every stage of the book development, publication, and publicity process. Here are some of the things that I helped my authors with during my time as a publishing agent.
* * *
What does a book agent do for book development?
Book Development - What Does a Literary Agent Do? A book agent can help you find the perfect title/subtitle or even the best style/structure for your book to give it the most bestseller or commercial potential. Some book agents (especially those who are former editors) will even help you edit your book.
* * *
What does a book agent do for your platform?
Book Development - What Does a Literary Agent Do? A book agent can help you find the perfect title/subtitle or even the best style/structure for your book to give it the most bestseller or commercial potential. Some book agents (especially those who are former editors) will even help you edit your book.
* * *
What does a book agent do for your pitch?
Pitch Development - What Does a Literary Agent Do? A book agent can help you edit your book synopsis and proposal (if you’re pitching a nonfiction book). He can even help you research and better understand your competition, and differentiate your book from “similar” titles.
* * *
What does a book agent do to get a deal?
Get a Book Deal - What Does a Literary Agent Do?
Of course a book agent will also “shop” your book to publishers. He might do this by email, phone, courier, postal mail, and/or face-to-face (or using a combination of all these methods). Then he will negotiate the best terms for your contract.
* * *
What does a book agent do during publication?
The Publication Process - What Does a Literary Agent Do?After your book is sold to a traditional publisher, your book agent will monitor your book’s progress through the editing, cover design, and production processes. If you have any difficulties, your agent will help you solve them.
* * *
What does a book agent do for publicity?
Book Promotion - What Does a Literary Agent Do? Your book agent might also help you strategize (and implement) promotion strategies with your publisher: website and/or blog development, social media, working with publicists, securing blurbs and reviews, distributing press releases, book tours, etc.
* * *
What does a book agent do for subsidiary rights?
Subsidiary Rights - What Does a Literary Agent Do? Some book agents take a primary role in exploring (and negotiating) the sale of subsidiary rights for books such as: foreign editions, translations, book clubs, licensing, merchandising, stage, TV, feature film, serial rights for magazines, etc.
* * *
What does a book agent do for your career?
Writing Career Development - What Does a Literary Agent Do? If you’re interested in writing and publishing more than one manuscript, your book agent can help you determine which manuscripts have the most bestseller or commercial potential… and tell you which one you should try to sell first.
* * *
What does a book agent do for your brand?
Brand Development - What Does a Literary Agent Do? If you and/or your book have enough potential, your publishing agent might help you turn your book (or series of books) into a brand. This basically means building a business around your book(s) with multiple streams of income.
* * *
What does a book agent do for support?
Emotional Support - What Does a Literary Agent Do? Although book agents aren’t therapists, many agents are highly skilled at telling their authors what they need to hear (when they need to hear it) to keep them focused, positive, and productive.
* * *
Conclusion – What Does a Literary Agent Do? Maybe I should answer that question by asking… what doesn’t a literary agent do for his or her authors? You can be sure of one thing. Good literary agents do a lot more than just get book deals and negotiate book contracts!

Literary Agents Pros and Cons for Authors

If you want to get a traditional publisher, you really
only have two choices:
  1. You can get a literary agent who will approach publishers for you
  2. You can attempt to approach publishers yourself
To help you decide which option is best for you and your book,
let’s take a look at some literary agents pros and cons.
Starting with…
* * *

The Pros

Literary agents pros and cons target
Agents Know Exactly Who to Send Your Book To
Book agents are familiar with individual publishers and their lists. Agents are also intimate with the preferences, strengths, and weaknesses of individual editors at publishing houses. That knowledge will allow your agent to submit your book to the perfect editors at the best publishers for you.
* * *
Literary agents pros and cons publishers
More Publishers Will Review Your Book
Most publishers don’t accept unsolicited submissions from authors. That means you’re not allowed to submit your query or manuscript directly to publishers. You need a literary agent to submit your work on your behalf. Although some publishers accept submissions directly from authors, most don’t.
* * *
Book agents pros and cons urgent
Publishers Will Take Your Work More Seriously
Top agents have access to senior editors and executives, due to the agent’s track record of success. This allows agents to pitch books face-to-face (sometimes with the author present), submit books to publishers simultaneously, hold auctions, and get deals done faster.
* * *
Book agents pros and cons contract
You’ll Get Better Contract Terms
Book agents are skilled negotiators who can get you larger advances and higher royalty rates, multi-book deals, bonuses for any awards or special recognition that your book gets, a bigger promotional budget, hardcover and paperback edition commitments, an earlier publication date, etc.
* * *
Book agents pros and cons problems
Your Agent Will Troubleshoot Any Problems
Agents handle any challenges that come up during the publication or post-publication process, so you don’t have to. For example: editors that are difficult, fired, laid-off, or retire; title changes or bad book cover design; bad reviews or publicity; poor book sales; changes in the industry or marketplace; etc.
* * *
Book agents pros and cons deal
Your Agent Might Bring You Extra Book Ideas & Book Deals
You might not be aware of this, but top book agents often bring their authors ideas for new books. Sometimes those book ideas are something the agent came up with. Other times, those book ideas are something that an editor with a publishing house came up with. There’s never been an easier way to get a book deal.
* * *
And now…
* * *

The Cons

Book agents pros and cons control
Sharing Control
You might not be comfortable having someone (like an agent) speaking on your behalf. But your book agent can serve as a buffer, and deal with challenging situations (see above). That will allow you to maintain a positive and productive relationship with everyone at your publishing house.
* * *
Literary agents pros and cons commission
Book agents earn every bit of their 15% agent commission. Most agents will get you at least that much more of an advance, but they’ll also get you better royalties. That means you’ll make more money than you would representing yourself. Plus your agent will manage any crises (see above).
* * *
Literary agents pros and cons waiting
One of the most difficult things to do as an author is wait, but you better get used to it. Once you have a literary agency representing you, you’ll have to wait for him to get you a publisher. Then you’ll have to wait for your publisher to publish your book. But I promise you the wait will be worth it.
* * *

Conclusion – Literary Agents Pros and Cons

These literary agents pros and cons should make it easy for you to decide on the best way to approach publishers. Take advantage of all the resources on this website to help you get the best book agent possible… so you get a major publisher and a major book deal.
Conclusion literary agents pros and cons

Sunday, June 1, 2014

On-Set Terminology & FAQ

What is a Background Actor?

A "Background Actor" or "Extra" is a performer in a film, television show, stage, musical, opera or ballet production, who appears in a nonspeaking, non-singing or non-dancing capacity, usually in the background.

War films and epic films often employ background actors in large numbers. Some films have featured hundreds or even thousands of paid background actors. Likewise, grand opera can involve many background actors appearing in spectacular productions.

On a film or television set, background actors are usually referred to as "Background Performers", "Background Artists", "BG", "Dayplayer" or simply "Background," while the term "Extra" is rarely used.

In a stage production, background actors are commonly referred to as "Supernumeraries". In opera and ballet, they are called either 'Extras' or 'Supers'.


The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is an American labor union representing over 150,000 film and television principal and background performers worldwide. The current organization is the result of the March 30, 2012 merger of the Screen Actor's Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

According to the SAG-AFTRA Mission Statement, the union seeks to: negotiate and enforce collective bargaining agreements that establish equitable levels of compensation, benefits, and working conditions for its performers; collect compensation for exploitation of recorded performances by its members, and provide protection against unauthorized use of those performances; and preserve and expand work opportunities for its members.

The Screen Actors Guild was founded in 1933 in an effort to eliminate exploitation of actors in Hollywood who were being forced into oppressive multi-year contracts with the major movie studios that did not include restrictions on work hours or minimum rest periods, and often had clauses that automatically renewed at the studios' discretion. These contracts were notorious for allowing the studios to dictate the public and private lives of the performers who signed them, and most did not have provisions to allow the performer to end the deal.

SAG-AFTRA is the primary performer's union in the United States. The union is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. SAG-AFTRA claims exclusive jurisdiction over motion picture as well as radio, television, Internet, and other new media. Internationally, SAG-AFTRA is affiliated with the International Federation of Actors.

How To Qualify For SAG-AFTRA Membership

A performer becomes eligible for SAG-AFTRA membership under one of the following two conditions:

1) Proof of Employment.

SAG-AFTRA membership is available to those who work in a position covered by a SAG-AFTRA (or AFTRA or SAG) collective bargaining agreement. Any person qualifying through work as a background actor must have completed three days of work as a background actor under a SAG-AFTRA (or AFTRA or SAG) collective bargaining agreement.

2) Employment Under an Affiliated Performers Union.

Performers may join SAG-AFTRA if the applicant is a paid-up member of an affiliated performers union (ACTRA, AEA, AGMA or AGVA) for a period of one year and has worked and been paid for at least once as a principal performer in that union’s jurisdiction.

All new members pay a one-time-only initiation fee, plus the first semiannual dues at the time of joining. The national initiation fee rate is currently $3000.00 (initiation fees may be lower in some states). Annual Base dues are $198.00. In addition, work dues are calculated at 1.575 percent of covered earnings up to $500,000.

Once you are a member, you must abide by the rules of membership, starting with Global Rule One and the No Contract/No Work Rule. And, whether you are a SAG-AFTRA member or not - NEVER accept work during a Union strike!

Becoming a SAG-AFTRA member is a very important milestone for every working professional talent in the entertainment industry. But you should not be in a rush to join unless you are absolutely certain that you are ready to compete for professional performing jobs. For actors, you should prepare yourself by studying acting and improv, doing live theatre, and perform in non-union on-camera productions in order to build your resume and gain extremely valuable experience.

How do I get three SAG-AFTRA background vouchers?

Excellent question; there truly isn’t a simple answer. The best way is to work as a non-union background actor as often as possible and do a great job, showing up on time and bringing the proper wardrobe.

Occasionally there will be an immediate need for a certain look or ability on the set and if you are in the right place at the right time you will be offered a SAG-AFTRA voucher. Sporadically a casting director will offer you a SAG-AFTRA voucher if they are unable to locate a SAG member who fits the requirements of the production company.

Can I get an agent if I'm not yet a SAG-AFTRA member?

Yes. Agents represent talent at all stages. Being non-union won't deter an agent from representing you if they are really interested.

Demo Reel Information

An actors demo reel (or "demo tape") is a short compilation of clips from professional acting work on films, commercials, and television shows. It is usually no more than a few minutes in length.

A demo reel IS NOT the same as an "Audition Video". An Audition Video IS a homemade video that you make when casting directors are accepting audition video submissions.

It is NOT necessary to send in a demo reel when submitting for extra roles. Only submit a demo reel if the casting directors request it, or through an agent.

Extras Calling Services

There are companies that are termed "Calling Services" or "Booking Services" that charge fee(s) to obtain extra work for you. These Calling Services are not contracted by production companies as Casting Directors are, rather they are independent services that work for the individual extras that sign up for their service. The fee is usually on a monthly basis, however some use a per-job-booked fee structure also.

Most Extras Casting Directors use these calling services often, especially when they are casting large amounts of extras for a specific production. It is much easier and less time consuming to make one call to a Calling Service and tell them what they need than it is to call each and every extra individually.

Once an extra signs up for a Calling Service, they provide them with photos, clothing size forms, and contact information. Then it is simply a matter of letting the Calling Service know your availability. The booking service will submit their clients based on their availability to all of the extras Casting Directors, and the Casting Directors can book as many or as few of these extras and give the booking service the call times, wardrobe requirements, shooting location, etc., to forward along to their clients. It is then the responsibility of the Calling Service to provide the details to their extras and confirm the booking.

Extras who do not use a Calling Service must constantly call recorded casting lines that the extras casting directors set up, and then call a separate number if they fit exactly what is on the recorded line. The competition to get work this way is extremely fierce. It is a generally accepted reality that extras who use respected and legitimate Calling Services are booked far more frequently than those who try to do their own booking.

The fees that Calling Services charge range from around $45 - $75 per month depending on your union status, age, and the number of days that you are booked during the month. There also may be an initial registration fee that can be as low as $20 to over $100 if they require a first month fee and last month fee in addition to the registration fee.

What time do I have to be there?

Not everyone has the same call time, arrive when you were told, and
always check to see if you got your time changed in an email or an online blog is sometimes used to notify you of last minute changes.

Can I be in it if under 18?

This varies from movie to movie.

Can I meet the main actors?

...Seriously? Do I even need to answer why this shouldn't even be

Am I paid as an extra?


Can I just come down if I didn't get a confirmation email?

Sometimes you may get information about a scenes time and location.  If you have not been confirmed, DO NOT just show up.  If you believe you are supposed to be there, and there may have been a lost email etc. contact the casting office to check.

How many hours will I be on set?

As many as needed, typically a minimum of 12hrs.

Is the main star going to be there?

Does it matter if they are or not? You signed up to be in the movie
and that's what is needed, so come & "smile for the camera" its your
time to shine!

Can I get peoples autographs?

You may sign your own autographs all you want, but its not proper to ask others for theirs.

Is it fun to be an extra?

Its always fun when around fun people! The experience is what you
make of it, and just remember that you're there to do a it, and
you'll have tons of fun!


It is of the utmost importance that you have a good cell phone in order for you to reliably receive your call times. I also recommend giving out a secondary number such as a voice mail service that you check frequently. This is a good backup in case your cell battery dies or connection drops. Casting Directors will go directly to the next person if they cannot easily reach you.

There are many good voice mail services. I highly recommend the following:

Google Voice

Should I Do Extra Work For Acting Experience?

I personally feel that if a person does not have experience, doing extra work is a fantastic way to get used to being on a film or TV set. It gives you an idea of how things work and allows you to become comfortable on a set without risking "burning bridges" if you get nervous and a little stage fright.

I myself did extra work in the beginning of my career and it helped me tremendously.

So the answer is yes, doing extra work will help you. It doesn't pay a whole lot, but the experience you get is valuable.

Acting is like any other job, the more training and experience a person has, the better chance of getting the job. But at the same time, we all have to start somewhere!

Types of Background Actors

General Background: Person of atmospheric business which includes the normal actions, gestures and facial expressions of the Background Actor’s assignment.

Featured Extra: Background Actor specifically called and assigned to perform work requiring special skills such as tennis, golf, choreographed social dancing (including square dancing), swimming, skating, riding animals, driving livestock, non-professional singing (in groups of 16 or less), mouthing to playback in groups of 16 or less, professional or organized athletic sports (including officiating and running), amputees, driving which requires a special skill and a special license (such as truck driving but not cab driving), motorcycle driving, insert work, and practical card dealing.

Stand-In: Background Actor used as a substitute for another actor for purposes of focusing shots, setting lights, etc., but is not actually photographed. Stand-Ins may also be used as general background.

Photographic Double: Background Actor who is actually photographed as a substitute for another actor. A General Background Actor who is required to do photographic doubling shall receive the Special Ability rate.

Day Performer: A Performer who delivers a speech or a line of dialogue. A Background Actor must be upgraded to a Day Performer if directed to speak, except in the case of “omnies”.

Omnies: Any speech sounds used as general background noise rather than for its meaning. Atmospheric words such as indistinguishable background chatter in a party or restaurant scene.

Advice for Child Actors

1. Have fun and enjoy every performance.

2. Learn as much as possible from the professionals you work with.

3. Get your rest, and drink plenty of water!

4. Be respectful and do what you are asked to do to make the child wrangler's job easy.

5. Remember you are there to do a job.

6. Share the experience with your friends and family.

7. Visit as many places as you can.

8. Be thankful for the opportunity.

9. Use your down time to keep up with schoolwork.

10. Laugh, Laugh, Laugh.

Rules to Surviving Extra Work

Everyone needs a place to start their acting career. One of the best places to practice acting and still get paid for it is doing background extra work. But, extra work is not all that it is cracked up to be. Expect long hours, long days, and the unability to talk to the cast and crew whenever you would like. After working several cold long days as a Production Assistant here are 10 rules you should follow to survive as an extra.

1) Don’t Stick Out:

Many people believe that if they are an extra it will be the place they will get noticed and discovered. Unless, they are extremely lucky, they could not be more wrong, the point of being background is to be background. Consider yourself as movable furniture. So, a good rule of thumb is just not be noticed. Be quiet and unobtrusive; Besides, if you stick out in one scene as an extra, it will most likely hurt your chances for auditioning for a role in that project in the future. So, simply DONT STICK OUT!

2) Eat when you can:

There will always be food on set but that food may or may not be for the extras and most likely it will not be that filling. So, it is best to get as much food as you can when catering comes around. Even if you are not hungry, grab a snack between scenes. Because, you may never know how long the next scene may take to finish.

3) Pee when you can:

Your bathroom breaks are short and probably non-existent. So pee as much as you can when you have breaks. Keep in mind, that every minute that a production spends waiting is money wasted; something that any producer and network hates. It would help the production and prevent you from looking so bad if you use the bathroom between scenes and not in between takes. Bottom line, only use the bathroom when they say you can.

4) Don’t talk to anyone who isn’t directly extra related:

Most actors are extremely focused and by asking an actor a question you may throw their concentration off. More importantly, everyone has a job to do. When it comes to the crew do not strike up conversations unless you have an important question and a Production Assistant is not around to help you. Sometimes crew will be bored and talk to you but assume they are doing something important at all times.
Cast should not be talked to unless they talk to you first. Never approach an actor on or off set, you are not there as a fan you are a working professional. No autographs, photos, etc and assume they are always busy even if they don’t look it.

5) Pay attention:

There is nothing worse than a production being held up because an extra did something wrong, nobody on set has the time or patience to deal with it. So keep your eyes and ears open and make sure you are always in the spot you are supposed to be.

6) Be positive:

You will face long hours, not very good food at times, and even extreme weather conditions but sometimes its better to be positive and keep an upbeat mood in the room. Never talk bad about anything either on or off set, you never know who may be listening and you don’t want to get caught bad mouthing someone important... It could hurt your chances in the long run.

7) Don’t make a mess:

Everyone hates a messy person. Clothing, food and garbage are your responsibilities make sure they are cleaned up and out of the way don’t be that person.

8) Don’t be pushy for screen time:

As an extra you are not there to be the center of attention, don’t make yourself look like a joke by throwing yourself towards the camera or stars at every opportunity. Pay attention to what is happening and work hard. Essentially, the best way to make the most of your experience is to connect with other actors and producers on set.

9) Be gracious if you do get a lucky break on set:

If you are lucky enough to get a bump on set or snag a line be good about it and don’t act like you’re better than your fellow extras, you may have to come back down off your mountain sometimes and people remember the jerks. Use this line to boost your career, get an agent and or manager to take your career to the next level. You just landed what thousands of people hope for every day.

10) Help people out

If you see another extra is cold or lost or confused or whatever make an effort to help them out. Extras are treated badly enough on set the least we can do is make an effort to help each other.


It's important to know your honeywagons from your dope sheets…

ADR: (Additional Dialogue Recording) The process of re-recording lines after shooting to replace poor-quality sound or slightly alter line delivery. Often used to eliminate naughty swear words to gain that audience-friendly PG-13. Occasionally used to re-dub one actor’s voice with another: see, for example, Darth Vader, where James Earl Jones replaced David Prowse. Otherwise known as “looping”.

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. After the ironic calamity that was Burn Hollywood Burn, a film about the practice that was itself eventually credited to one Alan Smithee, it’s been retired.

Back projection: An age-old technique where pre-recorded footage appears behind the actors being filmed, often used for driving scenes (think Airplane! or any classic 1950s movie). Nowadays, it’s largely been replaced with greenscreen, but is occasionally used for nostalgia’s sake in films like Kill Bill.

Blacklist: Once a source of shame for the movie industry, this originally referred to actors and directors shunned by Hollywood during the heights of McCarthyism in the 1950s for alleged ties to Communism. Now, however, it refers to the annual “blacklist”, an insider survey that compiles the year’s (allegedly) best unproduced screenplays. It’s resulted in The King’s Speech, Argo, and… Cop Out.

Blocking: The process of running through a scene prior to filming to decide where the actors will move and where lighting and cameras should be placed.

Boom: The large fuzzy microphone on the end of a pole that looks a bit like an old dog. It floats above the actors, close enough to pick up dialogue but, ideally, far enough up or down that it doesn’t appear in the shot.

Call sheet: A list, usually created by the first assistant director, of actors who will be required on set for each day’s shooting, what scenes are scheduled and which locations will be used.

Champagne Roll: Usually at 100 film rolls, or sometimes 100 hard-drive downloads on a digital shoot, into a shoot, the cast and crew get a celebratory glass of champagne. Hooray!

Change pages: If a script is altered while filming is underway, any changes are handed out onset in the form of “change pages”. These are normally a different colour to the original script. A script with a lot of changes during filming can look like a beautiful rainbow.
Clapper: A board displaying key information about the scene being filmed (scene number, take number, film name), filmed by the camera before each take. On top (or bottom) is a piece of wood on a hinge (traditionally painted in black and white stripes), which claps down to the board, allowing for audio-visual synchronisation. Also known as “clapboard”.

Clean speech: A take in which there were no errors with dialogue recording.

Continuity report: A list specifying everything that happened when a scene was filmed, including weather conditions and camera settings. This is meant to prevent continuity errors creeping in between takes or during reshoots. Also known as the “continuity script”.

Craft service: The catering unit. Typically serves apple crumble and chips with everything. A film with “clean” catering, like many Zack Snyder efforts, generally ditches the chocolate bars and has lots of dried fruit and nuts on offer instead.

Dailies: The prints of footage shot the previous day, often viewed by the director and producers at the end of each day to monitor progress. Also known as “rushes”. Can cause side-effects ranging from nervous breakdowns to over-confidence back at the studio.

Dolly: A small platform for the camera, designed to roll along special tracks. Although Steadicams have reduced their use, dollies have certain unique strengths. In particular, they’re still used for the so-called Vertigo shot, where the camera zooms in while the dolly moves backwards, severely altering the perspective.

Dope sheet: A list of scenes that have already been filmed, usually compiled by the assistant cameraman.

Foley: Named after Jack Foley, this is the art of simulating certain noises in post-production to enhance particular moments. Foley artists might smack a piece of leather to get a good punching sound, or snap a carrot when a bone is broken. For scenes of disembowelment, the squelching of pasta is a favourite.

Gate: When shooting on film, you’ll often hear the assistant director shout, “Cut! Check the gate!” This is to ensure that the camera and film is free of any impurities or blockages (a hair in the way, for instance) that would render what’s been filmed unusable or call for another take. The phrase is sometimes still heard on a digital set, but only for auld lang syne since there’s no film gate.
Alice In Wonderland
Greenscreen: A technique where actors perform in front of a stark, monochromatic background, usually bright green or blue. This is then replaced with a background image, often with CGI. Also known as “bluescreen” or “chromakeying”.

Honeywagons: Portaloos to you and me.

Insert: A close-up, often filmed by the second unit, usually of an object.

Magic hour: The short time just before sunset when light levels change dramatically and very quickly, enabling golden shots that will look “very Terrence Malick”. See the opening shot of Hot Fuzz or virtually any Michael Bay movie.

Matte shot: A shooting technique where painted artwork (ordinarily on glass) is combined in-shot with live action, to create the illusion of a grand backdrop. It’s old-fashioned, but still used by Peter Jackson and others for those invaluable epic visuals.

Overcranking: The act of speeding up the frame rate on a film camera, so that more frames are captured. Enables the footage to be played in slow motion. Undercranking has the opposite effect. Dates back to when cameras were hand-cranked.
Pick-ups: Footage filmed after shooting wraps, usually of minor shots. In the case of something like The Lord Of The Rings, however, pick-ups were major and essential. Jackson even went so far as to film a few pick-ups for the extended edition of Return Of The King, after the film won eleven Oscars.

Print: Along with “Check the gate!”; “Print it!” is a fun but antiquated catchphrase on film sets. It means that the latest take of a scene was good, that everyone’s happy they have the shot needed and that it should be developed.

Re-shoots: Footage filmed after shooting wraps, re-doing scenes from the film rather than adding additional scenes or minor reaction shots etc. The existence of re-shoots is often seen as evidence that a film is in trouble, so filmmakers will go out of their way to describe re-shoots as pick-ups.

Shot list: A planned list of the scenes and angles to be shot that day, including details such as location, and which actors and departments are involved.

Shutter speed: The length of time a frame of film is left exposed in the camera, or that the shutter is open on a digital camera. Varying this means that you vary the amount of light that enters the camera. If the speed is slower, this allows more light but also more motion blur.
The Godfather
Squib: A small explosive device that simulates a bullet hit or very small explosion. Used to memorably excessive effect to kill Sonny Corleone in The Godfather (above).

Steadicam: A specially designed harness attached to the camera operator, which stabilises the camera as they move it. Invented by Garrett Brown, the Steadicam eliminates the need for dolly tracks, and was used most famously to film The Shining.

Stills photographer: An official photographer who will snap on-set pics while scenes are being rehearsed or shot, for use in promoting the film.

Rhubarb: Background conversation by extras. So-called because extras were often asked to mutter the word “rhubarb” to produce the effect of genuine conversation, with their mouths moving convincingly. Also known as “walla”.

Rotoscoping: Little used nowadays, this was once an invaluable technique for producing high quality animation and was a favourite method in Soviet cartoons. It refers to the time-consuming process of shooting scenes with actors in live-action, and then tracing over those images to produce an animation. Used in a wide range of films, from Ralph Bakshi’s Lord Of The Rings to Richard Linklater’s A Scanner Darkly.

Unit publicist: The poor soul who sets up press visits to a film set and handles all press matters relating to the film during shooting. It will be their job to, say, squelch reports of a developing affair between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor on Cleopatra, and hide it from the press, as well as getting out positive buzz about the film.

Whip-pan: When the camera pans particularly quickly, resulting in motion blur. This is often used to sneak in a hidden cut, as in the lengthy opening shot of Serenity. See: The 30 Camera Shots Every Film Fan Needs To Know.

Winnebago: The giant trailers that stars occupy when not required on set.

Wrap: End of shooting. As in, “That’s a…”