Film Set Terminology

Film Set Terminology

There’s lots of words and phrases used in the film industry that sound bizarre to anyone else. Each department (Camera, Lighting, Props, Costume, Special Effects etc) have their own vocabulary, but it is as an Actor or Extra the words you will hear most often will be…

Action / Background Action

Action - This will be the main actors cue to start.

Background Action – This will be the Supporting Artistes que to start.

1st Assistant Director / 1st AD

This person is the Directors right hand man and a very important member of the film crew. They initially create a Shooting Schedule based on the script and the number of days the Line Producer allocates for filming. They carefully work to make sure the director has enough time to shoot everything they need to.

Once filming starts the First Assistant Director is the General of the Film Set barking out instructions to the cast & crew while making sure the film is shot on schedule.

Listen carefully to their instructions.

2nd Assistant Director / 2nd AD

This person supports the First AD and is the link between the Film Set and the Production Office.

The 2nd AD often casts the SAs, creates the Daily Call Sheets and ensures the Unit Base (costume & make up, & trucks etc) work according to plan and everyone is in place at the right time. Normally your first point of contact, but not always on the set as they are often at the Unit Base/Production planning ahead.

3rd Assistant Director / 3rd AD

This person works closely with the 1st AD.

They often work closely with the Actors and SAs and are on set making sure everyone is where the Director and 1st AD want them to be.

The 3rd AD is supported by “Floor Runners” who assist with marshalling Actors and Extras and make sure everyone on the set knows what is happening.

Floor Runner

An entry position into the industry, the Floor Runners work under the Third Assistant Director. They are the life blood of any film set and many of them end up working as 1st and 2nd ADs – so be nice to them!

Broken Lunch

Under the PACT FAA agreement, it is an additional payment if you are not given a meal break 6 hours from call time.

Check in

The full details of your jobs will be emailed to you the business day before your job. You must reply to the email to confirm all details have been received.

Call Time

The time you must report to your given location. Please ensure you are on time.

Chit/Salary Voucher

The paperwork showing your earnings for the day. This may be given to you at the start or end of the day depending on production.

You must check that everything on the chit looks correct and it must be signed by someone from production (the 2nd or 3rd AD) before you leave set to ensure you’re paid.

You will be given a copy to keep, production keeps a copy and they’ll send one to us so we can invoice on your behalf.

Confirmed Booking

This is a firm booking to work on a certain day.

Continuity

Filming that takes place over more than one day. You will be asked to bring with the same clothes as the previous day as it’s essential that nothing changes to upset the continuity of the scene.

Continuous working day / night

A filming day or night where you will not be given a meal break but a running buffet is provided while filming continues.

On continuous working days/nights on the PACT FAA rate overtime starts after 7 hours. On continuous working days/nights on commercials overtime starts after 9 hours.

Costume Fitting

Sometimes you may be required to attend a costume fitting in advance. You may also be asked to go to a wig or prosthetics fitting if they are going to change your appearance.

Crowd Base

On bigger calls this is where you will be asked to report.

Dining Bus

The place to eat. Is sometimes used as a ‘holding area’.

Double

Someone who resembles the Actor from a distance is and used when the Actor is unavailable.

FAA

Film Artistes Association.

Final Checks

Checks completed by the hair and make-ups team to ensure the Actors and SAs look perfect.

First Positions/Back to Ones/Reset

On Set, once you have rehearsed your shot you assemble on set and film what was planned. Everyone stands at correct place (as per the rehearsal) at the start of the shot and you film a take. Quite often the Director will ask to do it again. If so, the First Assistant Director will call out First Positions, Back to Ones or Reset which means the Actors and Extras go back to their positions at the start of the shot.

From the Top

To start the scene from the beginning

Hair & Make Up

They work under the direction of the Hair & Make Up Designer. They look after the Actors and Extras to ensure they are camera ready

Honey Wagon

The toilets.

Location

If you’re not filming at a studio, you will be filming here (location).

Multi-episodic

An additional payment paid under some Equity agreements if more than one episode of a production are recorded in one day.

Night Shoot

Filming through the night.

Pencil / Pencilled Booking

A provisional booking, yet to be confirmed. We will always let you know either way.

Rehearsal

Rehearsing a scene before filming.

Set

Where filming is taking place.

Shift Call

Only used under the PACT FAA agreement. It is a maximum of 4 hours work.

Signing Off/Signed Off

To have your chit/salary voucher signed by an AD at the end of the filming day then you are free to leave.

Split Day

A shifted day in hours. For example, a mid morning start and a late evening finish. Pay is still a standard day.

Stand By

This is a warning that filming is about to commence.

Stand In

A person used in place of an Actor to set up initial lighting and camera. Usually of a similar height age and skin tone to the Actor.

Take

Each filming of a shot is called a “Take.” You may need to repeat this many times before the director is happy.

Travelling

This is said by a Crew Member (normally a Runner or AD) when they are walking to set (or anyone else) They are normally referring to an actor or group of extras heading to set, or costume, or make up, or catering… This question is normally asked by the First Assistant Director who wants to know where everyone is and how long it will take to get there.

Turning Over/Turning

This means the camera is about to roll.

Unit Base

This is where the production team will base itself on any given day when on location.

Walk On

A step up from an SA. Someone who may have a few words to say or some reaction shots.

Wrap / Wrap time

End of the filming day. Anticipated end of filming day.