Friday, August 7, 2009

S: Glossary 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


SAG - Screen Actors Guild. The primary union for performers in motion picture and television productions. Shares jurisdiction with the American Federation of Radio and Television Artist on in joint contracts including ‘theatrical” and  “commercial”. SAG is a national union, with a structure that centers on elected officers and a national board of directors. Local branches assist in providing services to local members and recommending any local contracts or variations from national contracts to the national board. All funds are distributed through the national office, with general budgets and appropriate specific request administered by the elected treasurer and voted on by the National Board of Directors. Today the Guild represents a wide range of “on camera” and “voice over” talent (on film, on video and digital media), including actors, background extras, dancers, singers, stunt performers, puppeteers, “foley” and sound effects workers.   Formed as a performers union for the motion picture industry, as video evolved as a production format, organization of the video media extended Guild contracts jointly with sister union AFTRA to actors and performers on video and in interactive projects.

SAG ELIGIBLE - means an actor has fulfilled the requirements to join the Screen Actors Guild. This term, while in regular use, is considered to be a violation of copywriter and trademark by SAG, and therefore discouraged from use on résumé’s or with agents.

SCALE - Minimum payment for services under union contracts. Representing the negotiated minimum fair compensation for professional labor, “scale” is a floor and not a ceiling. Agents and talent are free to negotiate for additional compensation.

SCANNING - scanning refers to capturing or presenting an image with horizontal and/or vertical movement of light or electronic capture. Scan resolution determines the detail and qualities of an image.

SCENIC DESIGNER – Creates the physical look of a show.

SCRIPT - The written form of a screenplay, teleplay, radio or stage play.

SCRIPT SUPERVISOR - The crewmember assigned to record all changes or actions as the production proceeds. The Script Supervisor is part secretary, part clerk, part artist and part craftsperson. Keeping shots coordinated for continuity, or the logical uninterrupted positioning of props, costumes and other items in shot order, is an important part of the job for the Script Supervisor. The Script Notes are used during the filming and editing process to keep track of takes, camera lenses and other technical usage, reel or spool numbers and everything else needed for the Director and Editor to assemble the completed motion picture. Outside the US this position may also be referred to as Continuity Supervisor.

SDI - State Disability Insurance.

SECOND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR - Often two or three on a set, they handle checking in the talent, insuring proper paperwork is filed, distribute script revisions. Actors check in with the 2nd A.D. upon arrival on the set. The Assistant Directors carry the implied authority of the director in all areas of production, depending on specific production protocols. On larger productions there may be multiple second assistant directors, one of whom will be responsible for supervising PA’s or directly instructing background talent before, during and after the shot.

SECOND TEAM! - The verbal cue for the stand-ins to come to the set and be ready to stand in.

SECOND UNIT – A complete second production unit, including Second Unit Director, Cinematographer and crew, often used to capture exteriors or to assist in keeping the overall production on schedule by allowing the filming of two scenes or shots at the same time in differing geographic locations.

SEGUE - In film or tape editing, a transition from one shot to another. Also used in music and in music scoring.

SELF MANAGEMENT- Artists handle all aspects of their own career.

SERVICE MARK - Denotes origin of service.

SESAC - The Society of European Stage Authors and Composers, a performing arts organization-representing artist internationally. A second organization has formed in America using the same name, but applying to American Music as well as music around the world. It describes itself, as “Performing rights organizations, such as SESAC, are businesses designed to represent songwriters and publishers and their right to be compensated for having their music performed in public By securing a license from SESAC, for example, music users (i.e., television and radio stations, auditoriums, restaurants, hotels, theme parks, malls, funeral homes, etc.) can legally play any song in the SESAC repertory. Without a license from a performing rights organization, music users are in danger of copyright infringement." The same organization has an interactive site at .net.

SET - The immediate location where the scene is being filmed.

SET-UP - Each time the camera changes position.

SFX - Sound effects.

SHOWFAX- a talent paid service for delivery of scripts and portions of scripts used for audition (sides) originally over fax lines, but not primarily by computer. Prior to Showfax talent had to go to their agent’s office or to the casting directors office to pick up scripts in advance of the audition. From the Breakdown Service web site, the service “provides actors with Sides, which are the portion of a script that an actor will need to prepare to read for a part at an audition.” If the casting director or agents office is convenient, sides are still available free of cost for most projects from the agent or casting director. (

SHOW RUNNER – Same as an executive producer, referring to the producer who is actively involved in the project from beginning to end. Usually the SR Executive Producer is creatively responsible, with writers, directors and others reporting to them. It is a high-level “middle management” position in that the network, stars and financial backers also have a say in production decisions. In many ways, given current high budget lines for television, the SR produces the equivalent of ten to fourteen “movies” a year and is responsible for their success or failure. The term will not show up in credits, but with the long list of producers know that one of them is the Show Runner.

SIDES - Pages or scenes from a script, used in auditions or (if on a film set) those scenes being shot that day.

SIGNATORY - An employer who has agreed to produce under the terms of a union contract.

SINGLE CARD- indicates production talent who are established enough to have an agent negotiate having their name on the screen on it’s own, with no other name listed at the same time. In the Opening Credits the list is usually limited to the producers, director, stars and perhaps author or casting director. In the final credits a “single card credit” would have the actor or production professionals name on screen prior to the SCROLL.

SIMULCAST- Simulcast refers to transmission of an enhanced audio or video at the same time as it is transmitted on a lower or lesser standard. For talent radio simulcast may mean additional compensation, and in some cases if an image is transmitted at the same time over multiple networks or transmitters, additional compensation may be possible.

SIT-COM – Situation comedy format on TV, usually in a half hour format, often filmed before an audience, with rehearsal to filming taking place once a week.

SLATE - A small chalkboard and clapper device, often electronic, used to mark and identify shots on film for editing; also the process of verbal identification by a performer in a taped audition (e.g., "Slate your name!").

SOAP OPERA- A continuing storyline dramatic form in which both story and complications of the story are exaggerated and expanded to cover a long period of weeks or years. Differs from Novella’s in that soap operas have not specific beginning, middle or end to the ongoing drama. The term comes from the days of radio drama and later the early days of television, when this predominantly female-targeted commercial programming was sponsored exclusively by the manufacturers of soap and household cleaning products.

SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP- A form of business where the owner is the boss and open to unlimited liability. The most common form of business organization, implied for artist who do not select another form of self-business structure, this is also the most vulnerable, because all assets, personal and business, are subject to collections or legal ramifications.

SPEED! - A verbal cue that the audiotape is up to speed for recording.

SPIKING THE LENS - Looking directing into the lens during a scene; since it destroys the illusion of realism, actors should never spike the lens unless specifically directed to do so for specific effect.

SSDC – Society for Stage Directors & Choreographers.

STEP SHEET – Skeletal list of scenes.

STAFF WRITER – An entry level writing position on a sit-com.

STAGE MANAGER (TV) – Onstage manager f the actors and their performance cues, liaison between cast and crew.

STAGE RIGHT - To the performer's right side, to the audience's left side. Likewise, STAGE LEFT is to the performer's left, the audience's right. Stage directions are for actors, not audiences; therefore they are always given from the actor's point of view to the audience.

STANDARD UNION CONTRACT - The standard format/contract approved by the Unions and offered to performers prior to the job.

STANDARDS & PRACTICES - The network TV censorship departments.

STAND-INS - Extra Performers used as substitutes for featured players, for the purpose of setting lights and rehearsing camera moves; also known as the second team. Stand-ins are often but should not to be confused with body doubles, stunt doubles or camera doubles, all of which appear in some way or another on film or tape.

"STICKS" - Slate or clapboard. The board itself, the writing and sometimes digital visual images on the slates are used to mark the shot and scene designation for later use in editing, to track film or video tape location and allow for organization in an industry where content is often shot out of chronological order. The clap or “stick” is used to produce a noise to synchronize sound to the visual image. A second definition would include any tripod or method of mountain and keeping a camera stable while filming.

STOP DATE- the date a production promised to be the final date for which an actor is on hold for a production, and therefore the date after when the actor can book other work.

STORY BOARD- a method of planning out camera angles and shots, usually represented in drawings, photographs or clipping presented with the dialogue or script scene description below each “frame”, comic book style. Video story boarding has also become popular, in conjunction with laptop computers and portable video or DVD playback. The classic examples of story boarding for film can be found in the works of Alfred Hitchcock.

STORY OUTLINE – A scene-by-scene narrative.

STUDIO FLOOR – Performance area.

STUNT PERSON – Doubles for the actors in situations beyond the actor’s physical ability or reasonable level of risk.

STRIKE- To take down or take apart a set and leave an area as it was prior to filming or a stage clean and ready for the next set. Another meaning of the word ‘strike’ is a job action whereby members of a union withhold their services in an organized working conditions and benefits dispute.

STUDIO - A building, recording room or sound stage that accommodates film or TV production.

STUNT COORDINATOR - The person in charge of designing and supervising the performance of stunts and hazardous activities.

STUNT DOUBLE - A stunt person who performs stunts for a principal.

STUNTPERSON - A specially trained performer who actually performs stunts. Also STUNT MAN, STUNT WOMAN, STUNT PLAYER and STUNT PROFESSIONAL.

SUBMISSION - An agent's suggestion to a casting director for a role in a certain production.

SUBSIDIARY RIGHTS – A share of an author’s profits from film, TV, and fees paid for amateur productions.

SW - A notation on a call sheet that an actor is starting on that day and working on that day.

SWF - A notation on a call sheet that an actor is starting, working, and finished on that day.

SWEETENING - In singing/recording, the process of adding additional voices to previously recorded work.

SYNC LICENSE - A license required when music is used to accompany film, video, on-screen images or in commercial settings.

SYNDICATION - Selling TV programs to individual stations rather than to networks.

SYNTHESPIANS – Computer generated actors used to replace live action, create life like animation or allow for major physical morphing and alterations. See also Motion Capture, Performance Capture and Special Effects. Synthespians may involve the use of live actors or voice artist or, in the very near future, may be done by computer artist using existing databases. Synthespian technology will make possible the creation of new works using artist who have passed away, or the merging of characteristics of two separate actors or artists.


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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