Show Business Terms for Your First Acting Job

Have you had an embarrassing incident with showbiz lingo yet?  If you haven’t, count yourself lucky. Whether it’s mistaking a “fixed cycle” for a mountain bike or assuming the “best boy” is the director’s son- misunderstanding showbiz lingo is easy to do whether you’re new or experienced. For people new to the business, the crazy number of acronyms thrown around can seem absolutely overwhelming.  It’s not! The Tools of the Trade bonus material included with the Smart Stage Mom DVD contains hundreds of industry terms and definitions, but for today- let’s focus on some big ones you might hear at your first audition.  We’re going to assume you know what “Action!” means:

Blocking:  This is the actual physical movements the actors go through in a given scene.  This will usually be laid out in your script and briefly practiced before filming.

Boom Operator: A boom operator assists the production sound mixer. They’re in charge of ensuring clear dialogue and sound.  This is the guy (or gal!) holding a microphone on a long pole recording the actors dialogue- yet hopefully remaining out of site of the cameras.

Copy: Another word for the script. Pieces of the script may also be referred to as sides.

Craft Services: These are the wonderful people who are tasked with the job of keeping cast and crew well fed. Sometimes there is more than one craft services station- with one being for cast and crew and another for non-union background actors- so make sure you’re eating in the right place.

Stage Manager: This is the person responsible for overseeing the technical aspects of in studio production.

Fixed Cycle: As mentioned above, this is not a mountain bike but an established 1 week period for which the advertiser pays a holding fee to retain the right to use the performer’s services, likeness, and image in a previously produced advertisement.

This is only the beginning, but learning these terms is a great place to begin in your quest to look like you know what you’re doing at your first gig.

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