Dictionary

New to the industry? No worries. Below is a Media 101 crash course on the jargon you need to know.

Animation Layout Artist: In animation, a layout artist is responsible for the camera angles, shading, and lighting of each scene. Just like in traditional filmmaking, this is determined before the shoot, when they translate the storyboard into specific shots.

Associate Producer: A step up from the production assistant, the associate producer usually has a more hands-on role in the creation of content.

Avid: Avid is a non-linear digital video editing software, often used in post production for film and TV.

Background Designer: Also known as a BG Designer or BG Stylist, this person is responsible for drawing the setting and location of an animation. They work closely with the Background Coordinator or Background Supervisor to determine what needs to be created.

Blocking: This refers to the precise positioning of actors or cameras during a production. Blocking is decided upon in advance of a production, so everyone knows where they’re supposed to be. In TV, camera blocking refers to the positioning of the camera.

Call Sheet: This is a piece of paper that’s handed out to the cast and crew, informing them where they should be for the day of shooting.

Camera Operator: Also called a cameraman/camerawoman, this is the person behind the camera… literally! Camera operators are skilled at framing shots and maintaining camera angles.

Clean-Up Artist: In animation, most initial drawings are done in a rough fashion, so a Clean-Up Artist is responsible for cleaning up the lines and producing a finished product to be used in the shot. They create the final line and look of an image.

CMS: This stands for Content Management System, which is the program that allows you to create, edit, and manage content on a website. Popular CMS’s include Drupal and WordPress.

Codec: A portmanteau of “coder-decoder” or “compressor-decompressor,” a codec is an application that codes files and videos for storage or decodes them for playback and editing.

Computer-Generated Imagery: Also known simply as CGI, this method uses computer images to create scenes or special effects in films and television. Examples of CGI are the film Toy Story and the character Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Control Room: Also called the Production Control Room or Studio Control Room, this is essentially the operations hub of a particular broadcast. Usually containing multiple television screens and a sound board, it allows the director to see all of the camera angles and keep track of sounds and graphic cues.

Copywriter: This person is responsible for ensuring grammatical accuracy in written content and shaping the voice of a written piece.

Development: For television, this is also called Series Development. This department is in charge of developing new TV series. They hear pitches, come up with ideas, and support shows already in production.

Director: The Director is in charge of guiding talent to carry out the work’s vision. In addition to directing talent, a Director interacts with many departments, such as graphics, audio, and post production, to give overall artistic guidance. In TV, a Director’s responsibilities can vary depending on whether the production is live (e.g. news, sports) or taped (e.g. sitcoms).

Dreamweaver: Officially called Adobe Dreamweaver , it is a web development application used by web designers.

Executive Producer: Sometimes called Executive in Charge of Production, this role often does not include the day-to-day functions needed to produce a show or movie. Their responsibilities could include shaping the larger picture and/or raising funds. In TV, there are often multiple Executive Producers, which could refer to an executive in charge of production, a head writer, a financier, or a person affiliated with the project.

Final Cut: A non-linear editing system that allows you to edit and log digital video footage. The latest version is Final Cut Pro X and runs on Mac.

Gaffer: Essentially the electrician on set, responsible for getting power to the grips for lighting. The term originated from the days when overhead lighting equipment was controlled using a gaff.

Grip: This is a technician that specializes in lighting and rigging for a TV or film production. They provide technical support to the camera and lighting crews. Some grips specialize in rigging in dollies for cameras. The lead grip is called a Key Grip.

Interstitial Program: A short program that is used to fill gaps in programming or as an extra bonus. For example, an interview with the cast at the end of a movie or blooper reel would be considered an interstitial program.

Lighting Director: Also known as the lighting designer (LD), they’re responsible for the lighting, atmosphere, and time-of-day feel on set. The LD works closely with other departments.

Literary Manager: Works with writers to develop scripts, manage writers’ careers, and produce films.

Line Producer: A Line Producer is responsible for the day-to-day aspects of production. It is their responsibility to carry out the vision of the Director and Executive Producer.

Page Program: This refers to a training program, usually for recent grads, within a major TV network. NBC offers a page program on the East Coast and West Coast, CBS offers a news-oriented page program, and The Late Show with David Letterman offers a page program. At NBC and CBS, these are great pipeline programs into entry-level jobs within the network.

Photoshop: An Adobe program that allows you to edit, organize, and store photos. It is often used to re-touch images for the web and create graphics for shows.

Post Production: This refers to the part of the production process after the actual shooting/recording. This could include adding sound effects, editing video, or computer-generated special effects.

Preditor: Often used in reality TV, a preditor is a combination of an editor and producer. They have to cut video based on an outline rather than a script.

Producer: TV this refers to a person who is responsible for specific content, which could include a segment or an entire episode. They are generally manage the APs and PAs and work with other departments, including post production, to make sure that all of the pieces come together. They are responsible for the project from start to finish. In film, a producer has a financial responsibility to the project.

Production Assistant: Often referred to simply as a PA, the production assistant is responsible for many aspects of production. Responsibilities vary, but this person is generally a go-to for errands, administrative work, and an extra set of hands on set.

Production Manager: This person is responsible for the logistical aspects of a production, which could include travel arrangements, hiring staff, venue booking, and scheduling.

Production Meeting:  This is when all of the departments meet to make sure everyone is on the same page for the upcoming production. Depending on the nature of the production, this meeting could be as often as daily or weekly.

Sizzle Reel: A sizzle reel is a short video, no more than a few minutes in length, whose sole purpose is to get your message across. Also called promo reels, they can be used in advertising for business-to-business, as part of a press kit, or to attract customers.

Showrunner: This person is responsible for the day-to-day operation of a TV show. They could also be called an Executive Producer or Supervising Producer. They are usually among the most senior people on a project.

Spec Script: Short for “speculative” script, it’s a non-commissioned screenplay. Sometimes a spec script is written by an aspiring writer for a show currently on air in the hopes of being hired as a staff writer. Writers can also sell spec scripts to producers for TV show and films.

Stage Manager: This person is responsible for making sure the production runs smoothly. They communicate with various departments and entities, including wardrobe, makeup, lighting, crew, and talent.

Storyboard Artist: This person creates a visual representation of the project using pictures and sketches to help the director and designers convey their vision to the production team.

Supervising Producer: A Supervising Producer oversees the work of the Producers. On a high level, they are also involved in setting budgets, casting, writing process, and working with the Director.

Table Read: Also known as a read-through, this is when the actors sit around a table read through the lines of the script for the producers, heads of departments and/or executives.

Tape Delay: Also known as a seven-second delay, it refers to the delay in broadcasting television to allow time to catch mis-steps or profanity before it airs. When referring to the delay in airing live broadcasts in different time zones, a tape delay is also called a broadcast delay. News and sports often run on shorter or no delay.

Talent: Talent refers to front-of-the-lens roles. This could refer to news anchors, hosts, actors, etc.

Tear Sheet: A tear sheet is proof that your work was published. Before the days of digital, these used to be literally torn out pages from magazines that had your ad/work. Tear sheets are often added to portfolios.

Tease Shot: In TV, this refers to a shot that gives you a glimpse into the upcoming segment. Also called a “tease,” it lets the viewer know what’s coming up next.

Webisode: This refers to a short clip, usually of a TV show, that is intended for the Internet and not usually shown on TV. Oftentimes, a webisode is part of a larger web series.

Web Production: This could be an Online Producer, Web Producer, or Online Editor. These digital-space producers are responsible for creating and arranging content on a website. This could involve video production, writing, and editing images. They usually communicate with web designers, who are the ones responsible for the technical support and design of the site.

Writer: Writers write and prepare the script. In TV, many writers can involved in crafting a single script.

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