Commercial Terms

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A Shot

A piece of action recorded by the camera.

Action

Start talking or move according to direction.

Agency

A person or company that offers to represent you and negotiates employment for you, as a professional, in the production of TV commercials, TV programs, or motion pictures.

Agent

A person who is called by a casting director, a production house, or an advertising agency to get actors for an audition.

Audition

Personal interview by casting director to determine if you are right for a particular TV role. You need to know when, where, what time, product and how to dress prior to the audition.

C.U.

Close up. Most often this shot takes the top of the shoulders to the top of the head.

Call Time

The time you are to arrive on the set. Please be 15 minutes early.

Call Back

The client has narrowed down his choices and would like to see you again at a specific time. Please wear the same wardrobe.

Casting Director

Someone who casts commercials for an advertising agency, a film company or a production house. He/she either works directly for them or is in their own business and is called by the ad agency to cast the commercial. Agents are called to send actors for an audition.

Cheating

A term which refers to the actor's ability to angle the commercial product and his body to create the illusion that he is relating directly to the product when he is actually relating more towards the camera lens.

Clap Stick

Stick used before each shot to synchronize sound with picture.

Copy (or Script)

The words used in a commercial. This is available to you before the audition.

Cut

Stop the action or indicates the scene has ended.

D.V.

Direct voice (on camera).

Dissolve

Action fades out of one scene to another.

Dubbing to Dub

To insert your words in the soundtrack against the action or lips.

E.C.U.

Extreme close-ups. Full face shot.

Favoring Shot

A term that is applied to a camera view which has one actor dominant over the other.

First Refusal

The client would like to keep specific dates available. They have not booked you, nor are they responsible to pay you at this time. If another job conflicts with the first refusal date, let them know immediately!!

Gaffer

Head electrician.

Go-See/Interview

An appointment (set up by the agency) to see you in general.

Grips

Stage hands.

Headshot

A photograph of your head/upper body with your name on it. Photos should have a flat finish, and you should have several on file at an agency. Check often to make sure they have enough headshots or updated ones

Headshots

Photographs submitted by your agent to casting directors for jobs.

Improv

The dictionary translation of improvisation is "To invent, to compose or recite without preparation." Given a certain situation, you act in a very real and natural way.

In the Frame

Staying in the frame refers to the actor's ability to position the body so that it is kept within the boundaries of the television screen regardless of what camera shots are being used.

"It's a wrap"

The commercial is finished shooting.

Location

Where the commercial will be shot other than a studio.

M.C.U.

Medium close-up.

On Bells

Silence on the set. Sound is recording.

Pan (Right or Left)

Camera is directed to follow the action to the right or left.

Print it

A good take, for possible use.

Props

Any item used in the shot.

Running/Following Shot

This refers to the camera moving with the action at all times.

Screentest

An audition that is recorded by camera on tape. Some auditions are taped and some are not.

Sign-in Sheet

A piece of paper at the front desk at an audition where you write in your name and the name of your agency.

Slate

To slate is to address the camera and introduce oneself on tape to the auditioners.

Speed

Spoken by the sound man, to indicate film and tape are ready for recording.

Storyboard

A large board on which a series of sketches are arranged in the sequence that a scene or story is to be shot. It is used as a guide for the talent, the director, the script person and anyone else involved with the shooting of the commercial.

Strike it

Remove it.

Take

One scene which has been photographed.

Talent

The actors.

Unions

An organization (usually S.A.G.) that most commercial actors belong to. Most commercials come under union jurisdiction.

Voice-over

An off-screen voice (or narrator).

Voucher

Your job agreement with the client that mentions all specific terms of the assignment. Give a signed copy to the client, keep one for your files and mail the remaining copy to the agent within 48 hours of your job.

Weather Day

An additional day that is kept open in case of rain or other weather conditions that would prohibit shooting. It is the responsibility of the producers to cancel you if a weather day occurs, so unless you are told otherwise...show up!

Work Permits

In California and other states children must obtain work permits from their schools. No Grade D's can be on a report card if you want to do commercials.

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