In the captivating world of Hollywood and the performing arts, mastering industry jargon is more than just an exercise in vocabulary; it’s a key to understanding and thriving in a dynamic and fast-paced environment.

As The Playground, a renowned acting school in Los Angeles, we recognize the importance of familiarizing aspiring actors with the common terminology in the acting business. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through the essential industry jargon, providing you with the tools to navigate auditions, rehearsals, and sets with confidence. Whether you’re new to the industry or looking to expand your knowledge, this guide will demystify the language of the entertainment world.

Acting Lingo: Key Terms and Phrases

1. Callback: A follow-up audition where actors are selected for a second round of consideration after initial auditions.

2. Cold Reading: Performing a scene or script without prior preparation or rehearsal. It often occurs during auditions to test an actor’s ability to adapt quickly.

3. Mark: A specific spot on the stage or set where an actor is required to stand or move during a scene. Marks ensure consistency in blocking and camera angles.

4. Beat: A pause or moment of silence in a scene, often used for dramatic effect or to allow for reactions.

5. Close-Up (CU): A camera shot that frames an actor’s face, typically from the shoulders up. Close-ups emphasize facial expressions and emotions.

6. Cut: The director’s command to stop filming or performing a scene. It indicates the end of a particular take.

7. Dailies: The raw footage or unedited footage shot during the day. Dailies are reviewed by the director and production team for evaluation.

8. Dialogue: The spoken lines and conversations between characters in a script or scene.

9. Director’s Chair: A specialized folding chair used by the director on set. It’s often placed near the camera for a clear view of the action.

10. Master Shot: An initial, wide-angle shot that covers an entire scene and includes all actors and elements. It serves as a reference for subsequent shots.

11. Callback: A follow-up audition where actors are selected for a second round of consideration after initial auditions.

12. Cutaway: A brief shot that focuses on an object or detail, usually used to emphasize a specific element of the scene.

13. Blocking: The process of planning and rehearsing the physical movements and positions of actors on the stage or set.

14. Green Room: A waiting area for actors before or between scenes. It is often equipped with amenities and refreshments.

15. Script Supervisor: The professional responsible for ensuring continuity in dialogue, props, and actor actions during filming.

16. Stand-In: A performer who takes the place of an actor to assist with camera and lighting setups. Stand-ins help preserve the actors’ energy for actual scenes.

17. Gaffer: The head of the lighting department, responsible for implementing the director of photography’s lighting plan.

18. Boom Mic: A microphone mounted on a long pole (the boom) to capture actors’ dialogue while remaining out of the camera frame.

19. Wardrobe Fitting: The process of trying on costumes and outfits to ensure proper fit and appearance for a character.

20. Slate: A small board or digital display with information about the scene, take, and production details. It’s clapped together to sync audio and video during filming.

Terms for Theater and Stage Acting

1. House: The area of the theater where the audience sits during a performance.

2. Upstage: The area of the stage farthest from the audience.

3. Downstage: The area of the stage closest to the audience.

4. Stage Left and Stage Right: References to the left and right sides of the stage from the actor’s perspective, facing the audience.

5. Blocking: The planned movement and positions of actors on the stage during a scene.

6. Monologue: A solo speech or performance by one character, often used to convey thoughts or emotions.

7. Prop: An object or item used on stage to enhance the performance, such as a book, phone, or umbrella.

8. Prompter: An individual responsible for providing actors with their lines if they forget during a live performance.

9. Backstage: The areas behind the stage where actors prepare, change costumes, and store props and equipment.

10. Curtain Call: The final bow or appearance of actors at the end of a live performance to acknowledge the audience’s applause.

Audition-Related Terms

1. Sides: Excerpts from a script provided to actors for auditions, typically containing the lines and scenes relevant to their character.

2. Slate: A brief introduction by the actor at the beginning of an audition, including their name, height, and agency (if applicable).

3. Cold Reading: Performing a scene or script without prior preparation during an audition.

4. Typecasting: The practice of casting actors in roles that align with their physical appearance or previous performances.

5. Residuals: Payments actors receive when their work is rebroadcast or distributed beyond its original release.

6. Headshot: A professional photograph of an actor’s face, used for auditions and promotional materials.

7. Casting Director: The individual responsible for organizing and conducting auditions, selecting actors for roles, and collaborating with producers and directors.

8. Call Sheet: A document distributed to actors and crew members detailing the schedule and logistics for a specific day of filming or rehearsal.

Mastery of industry jargon is not only a linguistic feat but a crucial tool for actors to navigate auditions, rehearsals, and productions effectively. At The Playground, we emphasize the importance of understanding and applying these terms to enhance the skills and professionalism of aspiring actors. With a comprehensive understanding of industry jargon, actors can confidently communicate with colleagues, directors, and casting professionals, ensuring they are always ready to shine in the spotlight. Contact us to learn more.