Saturday, December 7, 2013

B: Glossary (2009 draft)




This site is a work in progress, and will be a part of an expanded web site under the home address of www:// Any additions, corrections, ideas, guest material are greatly appreciated. Please also review the material located along the right hand column, then contact me at No funds are collected or directly solicited by this site. Google Ads are used to expand Google search and tools reach. Web assistance and a web master are also being sought. Thank you in advance. -Art Lynch


BACKERS AUDITION - In theater a small run-thru of proposed production held for investors is called a backers audition. Usually these auditions are abbreviated versions of shows highlighting specific music or dialogue.

BACKGROUND - The Extra performers. On the set, "Background!" is a verbal cue for the Extras to start their action. Extras are often referred to as “Background Actors”, “Background Artists” and “Background Extras.”

BACKROUND ACTION – The cue for background talent or extras to begin their predetermined movements. This precedes the call of Action for talent, but is after “rolling” or “speed”.

BACK STORY - Relating to how characters in a story get to where they are today. This may be written, implied or created by various creative individuals including the writers, directors, producers, actors and in some cases consultants. Back-story should be developed at every level for a story to be believable and have continuity.

BACK TO ONE - The verbal cue for performers to return to the mark where they started the scene.

Click on "Read More" below for additional Glossary and Vocabulary Industry Terms.

BEAUTY SHOT - On TV soaps, the shot over which the credits are rolled.

BELOW THE LINE - Production expenses related to the physical production of a movie or television program, including but not limited to sets, crew, equipment, location, transportation and business services. Above the line refers to the cost for the creative elements such as producers, directors, writers and actors.

BEST BOY  - Usually used to refer to the assistant to the Chief Electrician, or Head Gaffer, the term has been extended to include others including the key grips assistant.

BETA - Beta is a professional broadcast video recording standard, also available in Beta Digital. It is tape based and provides both over scan and monitor quality recording scans. While high definition and other forms of tape based digital standards are available, Beta remains the most common form of broadcast recording at the local and regional levels. Sony developed beta.

BILLBOARD MAGAZINE - a weekly trade publication primarily for the music and music distribution industry, with additional subject matter covering the entire entertainment in information industries.

BILLBOARD TOP 100 - A chart of the most played songs in the music industry for each week of the year, as collected and interpreted by Billboard Magazine, a music industry trade publication.

BILLING - The order of the names in the title of opening credits of a play “card”, a film or TV show credits. Billing also applies to where, how big, and the overall presentation of the names of the actors, authors, producers, directors and others appears on advertising, particularly print or on theater marquees.

BIO - Short for "biography" - A resume in narrative form, usually for a printed program or press release.

BLOCKING - The actual physical movements by performers in any scene. Also can refer to the movements of the camera. It is important that actors are able to recreate exact movements for purposes of camera angles, editing and continuity.

BLOCKING REHEARSAL - Setting the movement and locations of actors for a scene. Used in all forms of media, for television this is done to set camera angles, in film to plan location schedules and for state to provide a pallet on which to develop the plays actions.

BLUES - Blues are a draft revision of the script, usually the first revised draft used in the actual shooting of the project. As revisions are made, new pages of differing colors are substituted for the sections changed. Various drafts may be “pinks”, “teal” and so forth.

BLUE SCREEN - Shooting in a studio against a large blue or greenish backdrop, which allows a background to be superimposed later on the final image. The actors must imagine the set they are on and be aware of the limitations of their movements. Blue Screen shooting is often used to create CD-ROM video games using actors.

BMI- Broadcast Music Inc. – a music industry trade organization concerned with performers rights and licenses. See also a related but separate organization: ASCAP.

BOOKING - A firm commitment to a performer to do a specific job.

BOOM - An overhead microphone, usually on an extended pole. The Boom Operator is the member of the sound department responsible for holding the boom pole, with mic attached, over and sometimes under the actors. Also usually responsible for placing radio mics on actors. The member of the sound crew who control the microphone by holding it in the air or working the mechanicals may also be referred to as the “boom”, short for “boom operator.”

BRANCH – A union local organization or charter for the Screen Actors Guild. SAG branches bring government, committee participation and identity closer to the geography of the membership. AFTRA has Locals, which carry much greater autonomy and governmental responsibility than SAG Branches. Either can exist without an actual physical office, as both are member driven and supported.

BREAKAWAY - Specially designed prop or set piece that looks solid by shatters easily. Breakaways props are often glass items.

BREAKDOWN - A detailed listing and description of roles available for casting in a production. A list provided to agents and managers by casting professionals through the Breakdown Service, indicating the specific types of talent needed for upcoming productions. The list is often specific in its needs for height, weight, age, skills and other elements for talent screening. It also includes a plot synopsis. Agents use this list to send in photographs and in other ways submit their talent for consideration, the first step in the casting process. Founded in 1971 this service has expanded to include Showfax (a source of audition scripts and entertainment news), the Link (the on-line version of the Academy Players directory) and other services. While most are for agents and other industry professionals, some are accessible free or for a fee for talent. From the web site of the Breakdown Services “Breakdown Services, Ltd., is the communications network and casting system that provides integrated tools for casting directors and talent representatives.  With offices in Los Angeles, New York and Vancouver, Breakdown Services maintains affiliate relationships with sister companies in Toronto and London. Breakdowns are complete synopses of the characters contained within scripts…Talent representatives…download 50 to 60 pages of casting information.  They use the resulting Breakdowns to understand what roles are available and then submit their actors and actresses for these roles. The Breakdowns that are released to talent representatives include episodic, pilots, feature films, and movies for television, theater, student films, industrials and Internet projects.  A separate division called Commercial Express delivers commercials instantly to talent agents via e-mail. Use The Link and your Link code to submit Breakdowns for Commercial release (

BREAKDOWN WRITER - In soap opera or daytime drama, the person responsible for coordinating work on day-to-day plot development (as opposed to developing overall plot line or character development).

BREAK-EVEN - A schedule projected for the number of tickets needed to be sold, and at what cost, to cover weekly operating expenses in a theater production.

BROADBAND- is a technology for transmitting large amounts of data at a simultaneous rate, resulting in the ability to process massive amounts of date rapidly. For actors, the significance of broadband is the transmission of their moving image and their work in real time or faster over phone lines, cable, satellite, broadcast sub-bands and other methods ranging all the way up to and including high definition quality. Broadband transmission has made most union contracts less than effective, by redefining how actor work is viewed or even used by the consumers. The digital nature of broadband also opens the door to the re-use or manipulation of actor’s images or work without out additional compensation.

B-ROLL - Extra footage shot for possible use in the project, or for use in a future project. This may be planned as second unit work, or simply on the whim of the director, first assistant director or director of cinematography (camera operator with video).

BUSINESS - Action, usually small or subtle, given to an actor by the director to assist in portraying a character trait or advancing the plot. Sometimes the actor develops his or her own business. See also Blocking.

BUSINESS MANGER - Someone artist hire to look after their financial arrangements. While this can be limited, the most common form is a manger who takes over most business accounting and contracts. In California a Business Manager may take up to 25% if they also provide other managerial services, or 15% if they handle only monetary business.

BUZZER - A sound, not always a buzz, used on the set to send specific signals. For example, a single long blast means to be” quiet on the set” and two short blasts mean “all clear” and it is once again permissible to make noise.


This site is a work in progress, and will be a part of an expanded web site under the home address of www:// Any additions, corrections, ideas, guest material are greatly appreciated. Please also review the material located along the right hand column, then contact me at No funds are collected or directly solicited by this site. Google Ads are used to expand Google search and tools reach. Web assistance and a web master are also being sought. Thank you in advance. -Art Lynch

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