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Tony
Your site is so great, it makes researching the business sooo much easier having all the info in one place! thankyou thankyou thankyou.
Amada, aspiring actress, Sydney, Australia

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Hi Tony!
Most people don’t even take the time to tell a person how to reach their goal. I want to thank you for everything and for responding to my messages. Sometimes I just test people to see if they really care about my career and you do. You can continue to send me some tips on how I can accomplish my goals, because you inspire me a lot. Thank you for caring.
Jeffrey, Dallas, TX

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Hi Tony!
Just wanted to say that this site is FANTASTIC! It's helped me quite a bit and it's now my #1 bookmarked item, which means I'm going to be visiting here regularly :) Thanks again,
Rob, aspiring actor, Canada

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Hi!
I absolutely love your site - it's SOOOO helpful and very impressive!
I am a frequent visitor and have signed up for the newsletter, plus I think it's so good I have recommended it to all my acting friends! Thank you for creating such a wonderful website!
Mischa, UK

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Wow Tony! I would just like to comment on how much you have affected my life.
First of all, any questions I have are answered extremely fast, and not only that, you give me a very helpful answer every time. Also, by reading your newsletters, I obtain just the right information that I need to succeed in the acting business. I am so happy I discovered your site, and I hope you know how much we actors appreciate you. Thanks again, and I can't wait to read your next newsletter!
Laura Doukas, Actress

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Tony,
I did what you said and…I got two interviews with two agents! Thank you! Sorry but can I ask you…how do I prepare to go meet the agent? What do I have to do?
Marsha P., New York, NY, USA

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This site has taught me a lot that I needed to know without dragging me all over the place.
Lauren, actress, Atlanta, GA

The Acting Dictionary A-C

    The Acting Dictionary A - C

    It could be an unpleasant experience if you found yourself working on the set of a film and the director or someone on his staff gives you directions and you don't understand what they are saying! Embarassing. This page, which is just the first part of our glossary of acting terms is once again part of the ongoing mission of ActingCareerStartUp.com to be the biggest and the best resource for new and aspiring actors all over the world.

    Have a look at the list here below and, as part of your studies to prepare for your acting career, familiarize yourself with terms you will inevitably be confronted with.

    ACTING PROCESS
    (Sometimes just ‘process’) The specific techniques, methods and tools that an actor uses to be able to live truthfully in an imaginary circumstance. 

    ACTION
    What the director says when they would like for the scene to start. 

    AD LIB
    Improvised dialogue in a scene (see also IMPROVISATION)

    ADR
    Automated Dialogue Replacement. Dialogue added to a scene in postproduction.

    ADVANCE
    A sum of money paid to an actor or performer to secure their services.

    Acting Dictionary cont.

    AGENT
     A person whose responsibility it is to represent an actor, performer, model or author and negotiates contracts for them. The agent is paid by taking a cut of what the artist they are representing makes.

    ART DIRECTOR
    In charge of designing and creating the set (usually in film) in theater this person would be known as a Set Designer.

    ASIDE
    A line said to the audience that is not meant to be heard by any other characters onstage.

    ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
    As the name implies, this person assists the director. Also referred to sometimes as the ‘A.D’.

    AUDITION
    A tryout for a role in film, TV or stage. Auditions may require actors to read from a script that they have never read before (also known as a ‘cold side’) or they may be required to perform a monologue or they may even be asked to improvise.

    Acting Dictionary cont.

    BACKGROUND
    This term refers to the extras (people who work in the ‘background’). If the director calls the word ‘background’ as a command then that is an indication that the extras should start their actions.

    BACK TO ONE
    This means the actors should return to the point where they started the scene. In other words, their starting positions.

    BEAT
    A pause of varying length during a scene that is being played out. This beat is usually taken to emphasize emotion or thought or action.

    BEAUTY SHOT
    The last shot in a TV show over which the credits are run.

    BEST BOY
    The assistant to the Head Gaffer.

    Acting Dictionary cont.

    BILLING
    The order of the names and title in the opening credits of a film or TV show.

    BIO
    An abbreviation of the word ‘biography’. Biography refers to a short blurb about the actors or crewmembers that are involved in a production, TV show or film. It is usually displayed in the program or in a press release for a particular project.

    BLOCKING
    The physical actions that an actor takes during a scene including- where they enter and exit from, any props they might use- every physical thing that they do. The stage manager usually records this during the rehearsal process.

    BOOKING
    Simply scheduling a specific actor for a role. Booking them means the producer is committed to employing them and the actor is committing to fulfilling the demands of the role.

    BOOM
    A microphone used by the boom operator is a microphone on the end of a long pole that can be moved around with ease so as to stay out of shot whilst filming. 

    Acting Dictionary cont.

    BLUE SCREEN /GREEN SCREEN
    Filming that is done in front of a large blue or green screen- so that a character or background can be added in later on in post-production. The reason it is blue or green is because this color is the opposite of human skin color and stands out against the screen.

    BREAKDOWN  (scene breakdown or character breakdown, also sometimes called ‘Brief’)
    A description of a production provided by the casting director and passed on to talent agents so that they may put up appropriate actors to audition.

    BREAKING CHARACTER

    Stepping outside of the imaginary circumstance.

    BUY OUT
    A flat fee for a production that will not provide residuals.

    Acting Dictionary cont.

    CALLBACK
     A second audition for the same role that an actor initially applied for. The callback round is with fewer actors as only ones selected as possible candidates go through. 

    CALL SHEET
    A document listing the call times for all cast and crew for a day’s shooting. It also includes the shooting locations, what scenes will be shot, the weather and any other specific needs that the production requires.

    CALL TIME
    The time someone is due on set.

    CAMERA CREW
    The team who is in charge of everything to do with the camera operations for a film or TV project, this includes- the DOP (director of photographer), Camera operators, first assistant, second assistant and the dolly grip.

    CAMERA LEFT/RIGHT
    Performers are kept to the left of the shot. ‘Left’ is taken from the operator’s perspective. 
    Performers are kept to the right of the shot. ‘Right’ is taken from the operator’s perspective.
    Film direction is different from Stage direction; see STAGE LEFT/RIGHT for more information about stage direction.

    Acting Dictionary cont.

    CAMERA OPERATOR
    The person who looks through the lens of the camera during a take. 

    CAP
    Refers to an actor completing their section of a scene. Different to a ‘wrap’.

    CAST
    All of the actors performing in a film, theater or TV production.

    CASTING DIRECTOR
    The person in charge of choosing performers or actors to go for consideration by the producer or director.

    CASTING NOTICE
    Very much like the ‘Breakdown’ or ‘Brief’ except that this information is available to everyone in the public.

    CATTLE CALL
    An audition open to all actors- union, non-union, professional or amateur.

    CATERER
    The person who is in charge of providing all the food to cast and crew on set.

    CHANGES
     Different outfits worn by actors during filming or a production.

    CHARACTER
    The person that an actor is going to play in a TV, film or theatrical project.

    CHEAT
    The angle that an actor positions themselves in to accommodate the camera.  It may mean moving to a position or being on an angle that is obtuse from the way someone normally may position themselves.

    Acting Dictionary cont.

    CHECKING THE GATE
    A cue for someone to check the lens on the camera

    CHIEF ELECTRICIAN
    Also called the Gaffer, in charge of the Electrical team.

    CINEMATOGRAPHER
    Also called Director of Photographer. In charge of the camera crew.

    CLOSING OFF
    When an actor turns away from the audience.

    CLOSE-UP (CU)
    Term that refers to a shot taking in the actors head from forehead to chin.

    Acting Dictionary cont.

    COLD READING
    Usually takes place at an audition, this piece of text usually has never been read by the actor before.

    COMMISSION
     A percentage (usually 10 or 15 percent) taken by an actor’s agent for their services.

    COMPOSITE (or Comp card)
    Three to five different photos of an actor or model, showcasing their different ‘looks’.

    COPY
    Script for a TV production, usually a commercial or a radio voice over.

    COVER SHOT
    An extra shot, that may be different in angle or lighting from the master shot. This shot provides more options when it comes to the editing of the film in post-production.

    CRANE SHOT
    A camera shot that is over or above where the action of the scene is taking place.

    Acting Dictionary cont.

    CRAWL
    The end credits of a film or T show that scroll up the screen.

    CREDITS
     The appearance of the names of a director/actors at the beginning of a Television show or film. OR can refer to the experience of an actor as listed on their resume.

    CUE/CUE LINE
    The physical or aural signal for an actor to begin

    CURTAIN CALL
    When all of the actors come out onto the stage at the end of a stage performance to take their bow as the audience applauds.

    CUT
    The cue for the action of a scene to cease that can be called only by crewmembers never an actor!

    CUTAWAY
    A short scene separated by two shots of the same person, showing something else- other than the person, e.g. the pages of a book they are reading.

Additional terms in our acting dictionary D - M.

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