Of all the artistic industries, acting is one of the most prolific when it comes to inventing terms to describe oddities only found on the stage. This is hardly surprising, however, since so much of their livelihood revolves around playing with language.
Agent – Most professional actors have an agent. This handler is the person responsible for getting the actor in contact with film or theater companies for auditions. Should the actor be hired, the agent negotiates the financial aspect of the contract.
Blocking – On stage or film, actors are told where to stand, what to do at certain moments and when to enter and exit. All of these directions are called blocking.
Booking – In short, a booking is a job. When an actor is booked, they are hired.
Cold Reading – When an actor is asked to read from a script with little to no preparation, as is common in film, they are asked to do a cold read.
Downstage/Upstage/Stage Right/Stage Left – In theater, stage directions are reversed. Downstage means closer to the front of the stage. Upstage means further to the back. Stage right means the left of the stage from the audience’s perspective. Stage left means the right.
Headshot – An actor’s business card, the headshot is typically an 8×10 close up of their face that should always be a current reflection of how they look. Sometimes their resume is printed on the back.
Off Book – This refers to having all of the performance’s lines memorized so that the actor can recite everything without holding the book of the script.
Projection – When asked to project more, an actor is being told to speak louder.
Strike – The strike is what happens following the final performance or final scene when everything is dismantled and packed away.