Acting lingo is something that all actors need to know when they are on set and in auditions. All of the different words and codes can seem daunting if you don’t have a dictionary or someone helping you out with what everything means. Being on set is very fast paced and you do not want to look unprofessional or lost while you are up there. Here is some acting lingo you should know to prepare you:

  • Back To One – This phrase means to return back to your original or first position of a scene.
  • Big Eyes – When the camera man is focusing for a close up, they will ask you for “big eyes” and you will need to stare at the camera without blinking or looking away.
  • Groucho – This is a phrase that means an actor needs to crouch a little while approaching the camera because a camera man is unable to tilt the camera and still be in focus.
  • Room tone – Room tone refers to the silence that is recorded when no dialogue is being spoken. You must stand completely still and not make a sound at this time.
  • Banana – a term that means to do a slight curve when walking rather than a straight line, is referred to as a banana.
  • Cattle Call – An open audition to many actors
  • Upstage vs. Downstage – Upstage refers to the rear of the stage, away from the audience and downstage refers to the front of the stage, closest to the audience.

As an actor, you will most likely learn these phrases and many more as you gain more experience or take classes. It is important to know these terms when on set because directors will see that you are an easy actor to work with and know your stuff and don’t take up too much of their time trying to direct you and explain proper procedure to you. They will see you are experienced and definitely consider working with you again.