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Production Vocabulary


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#1 David Calson

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Posted 19 June 2006 - 08:20 PM

Hi, I was wondering if some of the more experienced filmmakers could list/define some slang/jargon that's used in everyday production environments that you don't seem to find in textbooks/manuals or ones that people confuse easily. Thanks in advance
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#2 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 04:53 PM

My favorite has always been 'Run DMC', which is more commonly known as black wrap.
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#3 Matt Workman

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 09:17 PM

There are some pretty run of the mill ones in the UVA Grip book. A few I hadn't heard of.
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#4 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 01:56 PM

A Mickey Rooney = little creep with a dolly = named after Mickey Rooney because he apparently is a
'little creep'.. :D
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#5 Nathan Milford

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 02:20 PM

My Favorite:

Gary Coleman = 20" C-Stand
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 04:23 PM

"Kill the midget, hang the baby, and have a couple of blondes ready for the martini."

I know we've discussed this before...
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#7 Michael Nash

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 04:39 PM

I think the hardest ones for a newcomer to get to know are not the technical terms, but the production terms that don't seem to be listed anywhere.

company move - when the entire company (all the trucks) move from one location to another (we've got two company moves today)
die - the last set or location used that day (we die in the living room)
walkaway - you can leave all the gear in place at the end of the day (we're back here tomorrow. It's a walkaway)
shoot out - to finish all the coverage of a subject; location or actor (we need to shoot out Bob by noon so he can catch his plane)
broom out - to move all the gear out of the way so it won't be on the set (moving on to the bedroom. Camera needs to broom out their stuff and find somewhere else to stage)
split day - a schedule that's half day half night.
"keying" - keying your walkie, which prevents any other walkie transmissions (somebody's keying!)

Let's not forget all the safety protocols, like saying "gate goes up," "dolly moves," and "hot points."
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#8 David Calson

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 04:50 PM

great responses guys, keep um coming
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#9 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 06:42 PM

I got some crew mad a few years ago, my first time on set, because I was taking some stills using a flash without saying "flashing." You've got to say it before you take the shot so the grips don't think they've blown a bulb.

I always liked "Barney," a blanket or jacket, sometimes specially fitted, that you use to cover a camera to muffle the sound. It's short for "Barney Google Horse Blanket," in reference to a comic strip character from the 20's.
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#10 Stephen Whitehead

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Posted 22 June 2006 - 10:07 PM

Then there are the old school hollywood expressions like "the Abby" meaning the last shot of the film, and "the Window" meaning the second last shot. I might have those two mixed up.
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#11 Michael Most

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 12:18 AM

Then there are the old school hollywood expressions like "the Abby" meaning the last shot of the film, and "the Window" meaning the second last shot. I might have those two mixed up.


The "Abby Singer" is the next to last shot of the day, not the entire picture. The last shot of the day is the Martini.
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#12 Rik Andino

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 01:32 AM

My Favorite: Gary Coleman = 20" C-Stand


What about the Webster?
The 20' C-stand with the narrow base.

I always find dolly jargon silly
Like Can-openers or Pork-chops --add-on items for The Fisher
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#13 Michael Nash

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 03:37 AM

I always find dolly jargon silly
Like Can-openers or Pork-chops --add-on items for The Fisher


Yeah, but have you seen those things? They look exactly like the name. About as intuitive as "buttplug." :P
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#14 David Calson

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 11:43 AM

Butt plugs my fav. What about words you're supposed to say as you're doing something. I know 'striking, repatching, flashing, auditioning half cto (etc), possible hot stab' missing other vital ones?
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#15 Joseph Pytcher

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 03:26 PM

Butt plugs my fav. What about words you're supposed to say as you're doing something. I know 'striking, repatching, flashing, auditioning half cto (etc), possible hot stab' missing other vital ones?

Eyes, Striking, Restriking.
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#16 Michael Nash

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 03:38 PM

I know 'striking, repatching, flashing, auditioning half cto (etc), possible hot stab' missing other vital ones?


"Line out" when tossing a rope or cable down from an elevated position (roof, balcony, greenbed, whatever). It's more specific than "heads up."

Some of these are specific to the job you're doing, although it's good for everyone on a set to be familiar with many of them. For example, grips don't really need to concern themselves with a "choir boy," nor does the camera team need to worry about a "ring of fire."

I had an electrician change "eyes" to "eyeballs" and then simply "balls" when turning on a lamp. It doesn't really help anybody else on set when they're not in on the joke, but it was funny at the time. Another shoot spawned the imfamous "watch your face" instead of "hot points" (often just said as "points"). I always liked "camera explodes" (for camera reloads).

On my first "real" feature it took me awhile to figure out who this "first team" was that the 1st AD kept talking about (the main cast of a scene, instead of stand-ins). "First team's walkin'" means the actors are literally walking from their trailers to the set, so you'd better be ready to roll and not waste their time.
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#17 Tim Tyler

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 08:01 PM

Flying in: When something is on its way to set fast. "1k is flying in!"
Walk away: Leave now and resist participating in whatever's happening here.
C-47: Clothes pin, usually for attaching gel to barndoors.
I've heard 'Peter Lorre' used for the little creep dolly move.
'Second Team' is often the stand-ins.
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#18 Stuart McCammon

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 09:36 PM

My personal favorites:

"Hubbell" - another term for a cube tap, after the company that used to manufacture them
"Dad be up da butt, Bob" - a term that means the same as snafu, taken from an old story that supposedly happened on the Newlywed Show
"Teeny Weeny, Inky Dink, Itsy Bitsy and a thousand other terms" - for some reason grips are really interested in dreaming up names for the smallest light on the set

And the story from the Newlywed Show:
A bunch of couples were asked the strangest place they had ever made whoopie, and the answers were along the lines of "In the kitchen while Mom & Dad were home," until one guy answered, "Dad be up da butt, Bob." Supposedly Bob Barker laughed so much he couldn't recover, and the term passed into infamy.

Edited by Stuart McCammon, 23 June 2006 - 09:37 PM.

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#19 Scott Fritzshall

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Posted 23 June 2006 - 09:37 PM

C-47: Clothes pin, usually for attaching gel to barndoors.

Aargh, how could I have forgotten that one!
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#20 Michael Nash

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Posted 24 June 2006 - 01:47 AM

And the story from the Newlywed Show:
A bunch of couples were asked the strangest place they had ever made whoopie, and the answers were along the lines of "In the kitchen while Mom & Dad were home," until one guy answered, "Dad be up da butt, Bob." Supposedly Bob Barker laughed so much he couldn't recover, and the term passed into infamy.


That would be Bob Eubanks, not Bob Barker (Price is Right), and I believe it was a woman not a man who responded, "In da butt Bob." ;) Hey, I live shouting distance from Orange Grove and Colorado where Bob does the Rose Parade each year.

Maybe this gets O.T. but other walkie chatter/slang sometimes follows themes. One show it was all "Office Space" as in, "Uh, *yeah*. About those Kino Flo's? Were those supposed to be two bank or four bank. *yeah*."

"'Round these parts" a Hubbel is the Edison assembly at the end of a stinger or lamp power cord. As in, "I fixed that melted stinger by replacing the Hubbel." It just illustrates some of the regionalism you'll encounter in this biz, especially West Coast vs. East Coast.

Walk away: Leave now and resist participating in whatever's happening here.


Also used to describe when a light or flag is set correctly. As in, "up, up, up, Woof. Walk away."

Which deserves an explanation for "woof." I have no idea where it originated, but it's a sort of softer way of saying, "stop" or "ho" or something when giving direction to grip/tricians. Unless you're Jack Conroy (who I'm about to work with again), and then it's "HAIGHTINGNTITT." Sounds like you're running over his foot with the dolly.
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