T: +31(0)20 - 528 61 27   facebook   linkedin   instagram   youtube  
  uk   nl  


THE WHO IN ACTING- Glossary 101
30-08-2019 Posted by Ingrid Sanghee Edwards in Other

Ever been on a set and told to go find "so and so" but ended up wandering around the production grounds to seek someone... only to find they were right next to you the whole time? Like many of us, it may seem embarrassing to ask "who is that" so take a few minutes to study these glossary terms of "the who" on an acting set or production and try to pair the terms with names and faces during your time with them. Who knows they may remember you if you impress them with knowing their name.

THE WHO IN ACTING- Glossary 101


AGENT: A person responsible for the professional business dealings of an actor, director, or other artists. An agent typically negotiates the contracts on behalf of the actor or director and often has some part in selecting or recommending roles for their client.

BACKGROUND CASTING DIRECTOR: The person responsible for booking all of the background/extra performers, stand-ins, and photo doubles.

BOX OFFICE MANAGER (stage): A person in charge of ticketing and reservations

BEST BOY: The assistant to the Chief Electrician, or Head Gaffer.

CATERER: The person responsible for all the food on the set or stage

CAMERA CREW (screen): A team in charge of everything to do with the camera

CAST: All actors and performers in a production

CASTING AGENT: An artist's/performers representation in the business responsible for negotiations and other business deals.

CASTING DIRECTOR: The person responsible for Casting, in speech often referred to as C.D. and many times our client.

CHARACTER: The person who is going to be played by an actor during a production

CHARACTER ACTOR: An actor who specializes in playing well-defined, stereotypical, archetypal, off-beat, humorous, or highly-recognizable, fictional roles of a particular physical, emotional, or behavioral type, in a supporting role.

CHIEF ELECTRICIAN: A person in charge of an electrical team, sometimes referred to as Gaffer

CHOREOGRAPHER: A person responsible for arranging movements and creating dances for actors to perform

CHORUS: A company of singers and dancers, OR songs and dances performed by those people

CINEMATOGRAPHER (screen): Someone in charge of the Camera Crew, often referred to as Director of Photography (D.P.)

CHIEF ELECTRICIAN: A person in charge of an electrical team, sometimes referred to as Gaffer

CHOREOGRAPHER: A person responsible for arranging movements and creating dances for actors to perform

CINEMATOGRAPHER (screen): Someone in charge of the Camera Crew, often referred to as Director of Photography (D.P.)

COSTUMER: The person responsible for costumes

CREW: All people involved in the production except for the actors

DIRECTOR:  The coordinator of all artistic and technical aspects of any production.

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY (screen): The person responsible for Camera Crew and filming process, makes decisions with the Director

DRAMATURGE: A profession in theatre that deals mainly with the research and development of plays. The dramaturge often assists the director in the preparation of a production.

DAY PLAYER: A “Day Player” is a category that the Screen Actors Guild uses for an actor who is contracted to perform for a single day only, as opposed to a longer-term contract.

DOUBLE: A person who is used in a place of a principal actor; not to be confused with Stand-In

DRAMATIST: The person who writes plays, also known as Playwright

DRESSERS (stage): People responsible for helping performers to get in and out of their costumes during the show

EIGHTEEN TO PLAY YOUNGER (screen): Someone who is 18 years or older, but can played a younger role

ELECTRICIAN: The person usually responsible for all of the lighting part

ENSEMBLE: A group of performers in the production

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER – A producer who is not involved in any technical aspects of the filmmaking process, but who is still responsible for the overall production. Typically an executive producer handles business and legal issues.

EXTRA (screen): A non-speaking role in the production that is used in the background to create an atmosphere of the scene

FEATURED EXTRA: When an extra is clearly visible on camera and not just a blur in the background.

FIELD REPRESENTATIVE: A representative of the Union that is responsible for making sure that standards are upheld

FIRST A.D. (screen): Short for “First Assistant Director”, the person responsible for giving most of the directions on the set to the Cast and Crew

FIRST TEAM: Principal actors

GAFFER: The Chief Electrician.

GRIPS (screen): Crew that is responsible for moving the equipment around the set

HOUSE (stage): Means audience in the theatre, OR could be short for Front of House

PRODUCER: Often called the Line Producer; the person responsible for the day-to-day decision making on a production.

HAND MODEL: A performer whose hands are used to double for others.

LEAD ACTOR/ACTRESS: The main protagonist in the production. It is typically the largest role.

LIGHTING DESIGNER (stage): The person responsible for show's lighting

LINE PRODUCER: The person responsible for keeping the Director on the budget and on the schedule

MIXER (screen): The person in charge of the Sound Crew, responsible for the quality of the sound

PHOTO DOUBLE: An actor who resembles a principal actor who is used to perform on camera in place of that person.

PRODUCTION ASSISTANT (screen): The person responsible for a big variety of things during a film production, often abbreviated as P.A.

PRINCIPLE ACTOR: A performer with lines.

PRODUCTION COMPANY: The firm that is making the production happen.


SCRIPTY: The script supervisor.

SECOND ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Often two or three on a set, they handle checking in the talent, insuring proper paperwork is filed, distribute script revisions. Actors check in with the 2nd A.D. upon arrival on the set.

SET DESIGNER (stage): The person responsible for stage's set design

SCREENWRITER (screen): The person responsible for writing a Screenplay to film

SOUND DESIGNER (stage): The person responsible for designing sound directions during a staged show

SPEC (screen): People who arrived on the set when they're not booked, OR a Screenplay that has been written without arrangement

STAND-INS:  Extra Performers used as substitutes for featured players, for the purpose of setting lights and rehearsing camera moves; also known as the second

STAGE MANAGER: The person who will become your best friend. This is the person who runs the rehearsals, sets the rehearsal schedule and usually ‘calls' the show (prompts the light and sound cues from the booth during performances). He/she is in charge of the production after opening night.

SUPPORTING ACTOR/ACTRESS: A speaking role that is less than that of a lead actor, but larger than a bit part.

STUNT COORDINATOR: The person who's responsible for coordinating all Stunts performed by actors

STUNT DOUBLE: The person who performs all the Stunts instead of the principal actor

SWING (stage): A performer in a musical show who substitutes for the chorus that cannot perform; similar to Understudy.

TALENT MANAGER: is an individual or company who guides the professional career of artists in the entertainment industry. The responsibility of the talent manager is to oversee the day-to-day business affairs of an artist; to advise and counsel talent concerning professional matters, long-term plans and personal decisions which may affect their career

TECHNICAL DIRECTOR (stage): The person responsible for supervising the construction of a stage set

TROUPE (stage): A theatre company formed by a group of actors.

UNDERSTUDY – Actor hired to perform in a show if the actor originally cast in the role is sick or unable to perform that night. Often an understudy will never actually perform but must be ready to go on with as little as 10 minutes notice. It is very common for an understudy to cover more than one role.

UNIT PRODUCTION MANAGER (screen): The person responsible for managing production's costs, often abbreviated as UPM

UPSCALE (screen): The term refers to performers and Extras that come in nicely dressed; opposite of Downscale

WARDROBE DEPARTMENT: This department handles all of the costuming for the actors performing in the production. They hold fittings for performers to dress them specifically or give instructions as to what type of clothing and colors are acceptable for the actors to wear.

WRANGLER (stage): The person responsible for the younger cast members


Info from this post comes from a mix of these blog posts:







« back  |   print article  |  share this article: share this article on facebook share this article on linkedin share this article on twitter
All (15)
Developing your talent (2)
General (4)
Other (13)