Film and Television Terminology for Child Actors

The cue that is shouted when the camera starts rolling

A.D.: Assistant Director

Ad Lib: made up dialogue that is not scripted; a form of improvisation

Art Director: Person who creates and designs sets

Avail: a courtesy situation extended by an agent to a producer indicating that a performer is available to work a certain job. Avails have no legal or contractual status

Background Talent: Also known as extras

Best Boy: In films, the assistant to the electrician

Billing: The order of the names in the titles or opening credits of a film or television show

Bio: (or biography) A resume in narrative form usually for a printed program or press release

Blocking: The physical movements used by actors in a scene

Booking: A firm commitment to a performer to do a specific job

Boom: An overhead microphone, often used on-set, usually mounted on an extended pole

Breakdown: A detailed listing and description of roles available for casting in a production

Buyout: An offer of full payment in lieu of residuals, when the contract permits

Callback: A follow-up audition

Call sheet: Production term for daily listing of shooting schedule, scenes and cast involved

Call time: The time you are due on a set

Cattle call: often known as an “open call”, a large open audition

Close-up (CU): Camera term for a tight shot of the shoulders and face

Cold reading: An unrehearsed reading of a scene, usually at auditions

Commissions: Percentage of a performer’s earnings paid to an agent’s managers for their services

Composite: A one-sheet of photos representing an actor’s different “looks”

Conflict: Status of being paid for services in a commercial for one advertiser, thereby contractually preventing performing services in a commercial for a competitor

Copy: The script for a commercial or voice-over

Craft services: On-set catering

Dailies: Screening of footage before it is edited

Day-player: A performer hired on a day-to-day basis, rather than under a long term contract

Downgrade: Reduction of a performer’s on-camera role from principal to extra

D.P.: Director of Photography of Cinematographer

Dress the set: To add items/props to the set

Drive-on pass: A pass to drive on and park at a studio

Emancipated minor: A minor under 18 who has been given the status of a legal adult by a judge

Employer of Record (EOR): The company responsible for employment taxes and unemployment benefits

Executive Producer: The person responsible for funding a production

EXT. (Exterior): A scene shot outside

Field rep: SAG or AFTRA staff member who ensures contractual compliance on a set

Forced call: A call to work less than 12 hours after dismissal of the previous day

FX (Effects): Special Effects

Gaffer: A crew member who places lighting instruments

GED: General Equivalency Diploma

Gofer: An errand runner

Golden time: Overtime after the 16th hour

Grip: A crew member who moves set pieces or props

Hiatus: Time when a TV series is in between production

Hold: A contractual obligation for a performer to be available for work

Holding fee: Set payment by an advertiser to retain the right to use a performer’s services, images or likeness on an exclusive basis

Industrial: Non-broadcast, often educational films

INT. (Interior): A scene shot indoors

In time: The actual call time or start time; also refers to return time from a break

Looping: An in-studio technique matching voice to picture (Also known as ADR)

Meal Penalty: A set fee paid by the producer for failure to provide meals as set by the contract

Monologue: A solo performance by an actor

Out time: The actual time after which you have changed out of wardrobe and are released

Overtime (OT): Work extending beyond the contractual workday

P.A.: Production Assistant

Pan: A camera shot which sweeps from side to side

Pick-up: an added take because of a problem with a shot

Pilot: The first show introducing the characters and situations for a potential series

Popping: A vocal term used to describe the sudden release of blocked air into a microphone causing a popping sound

POV shot: A point of view shot; camera angle from the perspective of one actor

Principal: A performer with lines or special business which advances the storyline

Producer: (or Line Producer) The person responsible for the day-to-day decision making on a production

Re-write: Changes in the scripts; often made using color-coded pages

Scale: Minimum payment for services under Union contracts

Scale+ 10: Minimum payment + 10% to cover agent’s commission

Script Supervisor: The crew member assigned to record all changes or actions as the production proceeds

Sides: Pages or scenes from a script used for auditions

Sight-and-sound: Parent’s right’s under Union contracts to be within the sight of the child performer at all times

Signatory: An employer who has agreed to produce under the terms of a union contract

Slate: A small chalkboard and clapper device, used to mark and identify shots for editing; also the verbal identification by a performer in a taped audition (i.e. “Slate your name.”)

Stage Manager: The person who oversees the technical aspects of an in-studio production

Stand-In: A stand-in for film and television is a person who substitutes for the actor before filming, for technical purposes such as lighting.

Station 12: At SAG, the office responsible for clearing SAG members to work

Studio Teacher: Set teacher or tutor, hired to provide education to working with young performers; also responsible for enforcing Child Labor Law

Stunt Coordinator: The persons in charge of designing and supervising the performance of stunts and hazardous activities

Submission: An agent’s suggestion to a casting director for a role in a certain production

Taft-Hartley: A federal statute which allows 30 days after first employment before being required to join a Union

Take: The clapboard indication of a shot “taken” or printed

Take 5: The announcement of a periodic five minute breaks

Waivers: Board-approved permission for deviation from the terms of a contract

Walk-on: A very brief role

Wardrobe: The clothing a performer wears on camera

Work Permit: A legal document required to allow a child to work, issued by various state or local agencies

Wrap: finishing a production