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Film Set Lingo: General Production Slang – Part 1

Working on a film set can be a daunting, albeit exciting, opportunity. There are tons of hurdles to jump including experience, pace and, of course, language. This week, I will focus on general production slang. That is, lingo that isn't focused on a single department.

This “dictionary” of sorts is far from cumulative and in no part definitive as crews in different regions have their own set of terms.

It is, however, what I know to be common and can help you speak like a pro on set.

General Production Slang

Abby Singer – Second-to-last shot of the day. Named for a crew member who would always alert his crew of the second-to-last shot of a setup, scene, or the day.

Apple or Apple Box – a solid wooden box that comes in standardized sizes (from largest to smallest): full, half, quarter, pancake

Back In – phrase meaning lunch and/or any break is over and work has begun again

C47 – a clothespin

Crafty – craft services area and/or person

Day Player – a crew member hired for only one day or a handful of days worth of work

Furnie Blanket – a furniture blanket or sound blanket

Gary Coleman – a small C-stand

Hot Points – yelled when carrying something with the potential to hit somebody like dolly track or a C-stand. Usually said when going through a narrow hallway, doorway or around a corner

Juicer – an electrician

Last Looks – phrase to call in hair/make-up to give a final touch-up to actors before a scene is filmed

Last Man – phrase that refers to the last person to get their food at lunch; usually used because lunch should not officially start until the last man has gone through

Magic Hour – the time right before sunrise/after sunset in which the sky is somewhat dark but still illuminated. Often lasts only 20 minutes despite its name

Martini – the last shot of the day

Pancake – a size of apple box; see “apple”

Picture’s Up – phrase to alert all on set that cameras are almost set to start rolling

Scripty – the script supervisor

Sides – a half-sized script that contains only the scenes being shot that day

Sparks – an electrician; see “juicer”

Stinger – an extension cord

Talent – actor(s) or actress(es)

Video Village – the area in which viewing monitors are placed for the director and other production personnel. Referred to by this name because of the propensity to fill with people, chairs, and overall “too many cooks in the kitchen”

Speak the Language

Like any job, there is short-hand and slang thrown about on sets, but the difference in this profession is how prevalent it truly is. The idea behind it is speed and efficiency.

Knowing the write term or slang for something can be the difference between someone who’s respected on set and someone who is snickered at during lunch.

More From this Series

Film Set Lingo is a three-part series focusing on defining and clarifying the most commonly used slang and lingo on movie sets.

Part 1 – General Production Slang
Part 2 – The Camera Department
Part 3 – Walkie-Talkie and Radios

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  • Vonseidl

    You missed one.  “Running Naked”, a term used to describe an indie or guerrilla production shooting in a public space without permits, reservations, and/or insurance.

    • Evan

      Love it!

  • WrapParty

    Want to learn the lingo be on set for a week youll get it

    • Evan

      True story. You kind a have to or you end up lost.

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  • Dan

    Here’s one I heard: “Dolly moves…” announced when the cam/dolly is required to move to allow other personell through without toppling anyone still standing on the platform.

    • Evan

      Ah yes, thanks for bringing that up. Don’t know how I left it out!

  • Shiddywok

    I always hear “finals” rather than last looks and “the window” instead of martini

    • Evan

      Interesting. Where do you work?

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  • Alan

    Soap on a rope – or just soap – rolls of tape on a bit of rope :)

  • Andrew Redd

    Instead of using “Hot Points” I prefer the term “Free Dental (Work)”.

    • Evan

      Or rhinoplasty?

  • Chris Melito

    In the can meand the shoot is done

  • Chris Melito

    Cold or romm means the temperature of water you want.I learned that from Hot Tub Time Machine 2

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  • Pat Malone

    what is a dogie bag?

  • MrBootles

    I am reasonably familiar with the production terms, but I am trying to find out why a stinger is called a stinger. One response was, “have you ever grabbed the end of exposed electrical wire?” That, too, is easy to understand. However, I think it is odd to names something that serves a very important purpose after the worst possible result. Anyway, I like to know why things are called what they are called, and this one eludes me still. Any thoughts?