A to Z Guide to Film Terms
Do you watch the credits for a film and wonder
what all those people do?
Do you want to learn the behind-the-scenes lingo used by the cast and crew?"Vancouver's Tim Moshansky can help you talk the talk."
In the early '90s I was working as a Locations PA (Production Assistant) on a film set in Vancouver, Canada, when I started compiling the strange terms I would hear on the walkie talkie: "check the gate," "second team," "window shot," "copy that,"
and many more. Having just graduated with a BA in English and Film Studies I thought I knew a lot about film theory and history but had very little actual film set experience.
I created and published this book with the intent to help people gain a better understanding of the language of filmmaking within a small format that could be kept in your pocket for quick viewing when needed.
Working on dozens of MOW's, TV series and Feature Films over the last two decades as a Location Manager and Scout as well as working on my own TV projects has enabled me to have a firm working knowledge of how a film set operates, from pre-production to the shoot and right through to the editing and final mix in post. This 5th edition of my book is the result of a commitment to giving my readers the most up-to-date, comprehensive guide to the terms and phrases used in modern filmmaking.
The book is now required reading at colleges and film schools across North America, and has helped thousands of people understand and speak the lingo.
With this book, you will learn strange sounding movie terms and phrases such as:
Apple Box A small wooden box that is used on set for raising equipment, cameras and (sometimes) actors.
Break the Bubble To tilt the camera off axis. Also called a Dutch Angle.
Gaffer The person in charge of the lighting and electrics crew.
Honeywagons The washroom trailers. You will need to know this if you need to go 10-100. Not to be confused with the catering truck.
Jack Lord Camera term for a 50mm lens. Five-O, get it?
Magic Hour That golden time just before the sun sets and everything is bathed in a orange glow.
Martini Shot The last shot of the day. Also called the Window Shot.
Pretties The name given to the hair, makeup and wardrobe departments. Also the name of the trucks that they use while on location or at a studio.
To view some of my short videos explaining film terminology and phrases, check out my YouTube channel: youtube.com/termsguy.