Evan Luzi gets down and dirty with 25 terms used on film sets between big sweaty guys humping heavy gear.

Well, not that kind of dirty. I’m talking more about getting on your knees in a tight place and doing whatever it takes to pop off a shot… Hmm. Nevermind. This isn’t going well.

But as long as your mind is in the gutter anyway, let’s take the conversation to a place it normally doesn’t go until your 10 whiskey shots deep with a key grip in the back of a shady bar.

Here’s a list of filmmaking terms I’ve compiled that, in a twisted world, would be spoken only in a hotel room with a hooker and a $100 bill. Instead we shout them on set. And in an attempt to make this posttasteful useful, I’ve gone ahead and defined what the actual meaning of the word is…


(Feel free while reading this list to let your mind wander — just not your hands!)

1. Background action – Movement that takes place behind the subject of a scene. Usually refers togroups of extras (i.e. crowds or restaurant patrons). Can also be used as a command to signal extras to begin their actions before shouting “action!” for the main talent.

2. Butterfly – A piece of netting, silk, or material stretched around a frame to control lighting.

3. Choker – An extreme close-up; as if the camera is close enough to “choke” the talent.

4. Crab – A lateral movement usually parallel to a subject. For instance, a “crab dolly” would mean to move left or right with the subject in front.

5. Dingle – An artistic shadow or lighting effect such as putting tree branches in front of a light to make a pattern.

6. Dutch Tilt – A camera angle where the horizontal part of the frame is not parallel with the horizon.

7. Fire in the hole – A phrase shouted on set when a gun, explosion, or similar dangerous effect is about to take place

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Lynne Gordon

Hi, interesting article, but… overwhelmingly the BEST part of it is your writing style. I am very impressed. Seems you truly have a gift for writing. Best wishes!

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