Getting Started In Craft Services Pt. 6: Production Terminology

Production terminology


If you’re just starting out in craft services and have never been on a production set, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the common production terminology and expressions that you’ll hear frequently.

While this is not an exhaustive list of production terminology you may encounter, I believe these are the most important ones you should know from day one.

Abby — When you hear the phrase, “The Abby is up” you know it’s the second to last shot of the day. Unless otherwise told it’s generally safe to start breaking down the craft services area.

Action — This is the word the Director calls out when he wants the actors to begin acting.

Background — Actors used to fill out the ‘background’ of a scene. For example, all the people you see in the background of a bar or restaurant scene.

It’s important for craft service to know how many background actors will be on set each day so you can prepare accordingly.

Below-the-line – All the members of a production crew who are not actors, producers, writers, or directors.

Call Sheet — Given out daily, this sheet lists all the information you need for the day including number of actors both primary and background, scenes to be shot, location, call time, lunch time, etc.

Always read the call sheet carefully. You don’t want to get caught without enough snacks and beverages for cast, crew, and background. That’s like the Cardinal Sin of production!

Call Time — The time that the workday begins.

You may also be interested in: 6 Tips For Rocking Your First Craft Service Job

Copy – Walkie-talkie language to let a person know you heard and understood their message to you.

Crafts/Crew – Everyone hired to produce a film, video, or television program.

Cut — What the director calls out when he wants the actors and camera to stop.

First Team — The principal actors in the movie or television show.

Hold the work — This means a scene is about to be shot and you must stop whatever you are doing and be QUIET!

Martini — When you hear this, you know it’s the last shot of the day and you can complete the break down of craft service unless you are asked to keep some snacks out.

Principal Photography — The phase of filmmaking when the movie is being filmed.

Roll Camera (Rolling) — Lets everyone on set know the camera is about to roll to shoot a scene.

Second Team — The stand-ins for the first team actors.

Speed — Lets everyone on set know the sound recorder is ready to record sound.

Wrap — Called out at the end of each workday, at the end of a principal cast members role in the film, and at the end of principal photography.

And that’s a wrap on this week’s lesson on getting started in craft services!

What’s next?

In the next part of this series I’ll share with you where to find craft service jobs.

See you soon!

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