Safety Curtain: A curtain of fireproofed material (once upon a time it was asbestos), usually with a metal frame, which is covers the entire proscenium opening and acts as a firebreak between the stage and the auditorium. Known as the "iron", when it is raised or lowered, the theatrical term is "Iron going in (or out)".
SAG: Screen Actors Guild. Merged with AFTRA in April 2012 to becom SAG-AFTRA.
Scale +10: Minimum payment plus 10% to cover the agent's commission, required in some jurisdictions for agents to receive commissions.
Scale: Minimum payment for services under Union contracts.
Scenario or Scene: A series of shots taken at one basic time and place. A scene is one of the basic structural units of film, with each scene contributing to the next largest unit of film, the sequence.
Scene Breakdown: Careful annotations of each scene in a play, with all necessary actors listed and some indication of the action and setting.
Scene Dock: Backstage area for storing scenery (and loads of other things too!).
Scene Shift: The process of moving from one setting into another during a play. Also to move (shift) a prop or piece of furniture.
Screen Test: A filmed performance of a short scene to confirm how an actor performs on camera; increasingly applied to tape tests.
Scrim: Loosely-woven material that is used as a drop. When lit from the front scrim is opaque, when lit from behind it is transparent.
Script (scenario, shooting script): A written description of the action, dialogue, and camera placements for a screenplay, radio or stage play.
Script Supervisor: A crew member assigned to record all changes or actions as a production proceeds.
Segue: In film or tape editing, a transition from one shot to another.
Sense Memory: Sometimes the same as emotion memory, but here taken to be the physical knowledge/memories that an actor/character draws on eg wearing a bustle or crinoline, the smell of rain, below freezing temperatures etc.
Sequence: A structural unit of a film using time, location, or some pattern to link together a number of scenes.
Session Fee: Payment for initial performance in a commercial.
Set Dressing: Items on a set which are not actually used by anyone but which make it look more realistic (e.g. curtains over a window, a bowl of flowers on a table, and so on).
Set: The setting for a particular show or individual scene. Usually an indoor location, often constructed on a sound stage.
SFX: Sound Effects.
Shooting: Ratio The ratio in a finished film of the amount of film shot to the length of the final footage. Shot A single uninterrupted action of a camera as seen by a viewer (see Take). Shots are labeled according to the apparent distance of the subject from the camera: extreme long-shot (ELS) also called an establishing shot; long-shot (LS); medium long-shot (MLS); medium or mid-shot (MS); medium close-up (MCU); close-up (CU); and extreme close-up (ECU). Although distinctions among shots must be defined in terms of the subject, the human body furnishes the usual standard of definition: ELS,
a person is visible but setting dominates; LS, person fills vertical line of the frame; MLS, knees to head; MS, waist up; MCU, shoulders up; CU, head only; ECU, an eye.
Side: An excerpt from a script that generally focuses on one character's lines (often used for auditions).
Sight-And-Sound: Parent's right under Union contracts to be within sight of their child performer at all times.
Sightlines: Imaginary lines of sight that determine what is visible to the audience on stage and what is not. In some (badly designed) theatres, a member of the audience sitting at the ends of certain rows, can only see two thirds of the stage!
Single Card: A credit in a film or television show in which only one performer's name appears.
Sit Com: Situation comedy; a comedy television series produced on a soundstage.
Skycloth: Alternative name for a cyclorama .
Slate: A small chalkboard and clapper device, used to mark and identify shots on film for editing' also the process of verbal identification by a performer in a taped audition (i.e. slate your name).
Slip Stage: A Platform on wheels or casters that moves on and off stage during the course of a play to facilitate rapid scene changes. Also called Wagon and Jackknife Stage.
Slow Motion: Movements on the screen appearing slower than they would in actual life. For example, a diver will seem to float to the water gently rather than fall at the speed dictated by gravity. A filmmaker achieves slow motion by running film through his camera at a speed faster than the standard 24 frames per second; subsequent projection at 24 frames per second slows down the action.
Soap: Soap opera or daytime drama.
Soft Focus: A slightly blurred effect achieved by using a special filter or lens, or by shooting with a normal lens slightly out of focus.
Soundtrack: The audio portion of a television or film production.
Special: Lighting term: a lantern usually a spotlight not used for general illumination but for a special effect, such a lighting a single actor in one place.
Spike Mark: A mark on the stage or rehearsal floor, usually a piece of tape, that denotes the specific placement of a piece of scenery or a prop.
Spike: To mark on the stage or rehearsal floor the placement of set pieces.
Spill: Extraneous light that can be cut off with a shutter.
Spot: A commercial message, usually booked at random.
Spotlight: (Or, simply, "spot") A type of lantern whose beam is focused through a lens or series of lenses to make it more controllable.
Stage Brace: An adjustable piece of stage equipment that fits into a brace cleat to support scenery.
Stage Directions: Instructions indicating the movement, blocking, or stage business of the performers or other descriptions of the physical setting or atmosphere of the play.
Stage Left: When facing the audience, the area of the stage on the actor's left.
Stage Manager: (SM) The person who oversees the technical aspects of an in-studio production. In theatre, the stage manager is responsible for everything that happens backstage: all other backstage personnel, including heads of departments, report to him. In the professional theatre, once the show starts its run, he takes complete control (including taking any rehearsals for understudies etc.), as the Director's job is finished once he has given his notes after the final dress rehearsal.
Stage Right: When facing the audience, the area of the stage on the actor's right.
Stage Screw: A screw used to fasten the bottom portion of a stage brace to the floor.
Stand-In / Second Team: The actors who substitute for the principal actor when they are not needed, such as when lighting or camera blocking is being done by the production crew.
State: A lighting term, referring to the lanterns and their dimmer settings, used in a particular cue. We talk of a "full-up state" when all lanterns are used at full brightness, or a "red state", when only lanterns with red filters are on. During the plotting of the lighting, the operator may be told to "go back to a state of 2", which means to set the dimmers as they were in cue 2.
Sticks: Slang for Slate or Clapboard.
Still: A photograph taken with a still (versus motion) camera.
Stock Shot: (See Library Shot.)
Storyboard: A series of sketches (resembling a cartoon strip) depicting the sequential dialogue and action in a production.
Strike: The removal of all stage equipment, scenery, props, lights, and costumes from the stage area. (See also "Take Down")
Striplights: A long, narrow lighting instrument used for a general wash of light. This trough-like instrument may be sunk in the floor permanently or may be mobile.
Strobe: A lantern which emits a regular, controllable series of high power flashes rather than continuous light. NOTE: strobes can induce fits in epileptics and so warning about their use should always be given in the program and verbally before the show starts.
Studio Teacher: Set teacher or tutor, hired to provide education to working young performers. Also responsible for enforcing Child Labor Laws and minors' provisions in the Union contracts.
Studio: A building, recording room or soundstage which accommodates film or television production.
Stunt Coordinator: The person in charge of designing and supervising the performance of stunts and hazardous activities.
Stunt Double: A specially trained performer who actually performs stunts in place of a principal player.
Subjective Camera: Shots simulating what a character actually sees; audience, character, and camera all "see" the same thing. Much subjective camera involves distortion, indicating abnormal mental states. Shots suggesting how a viewer should respond are also called "subjective" (for example, a high-angle shot used to make a boy look small and helpless).
Submission: An agent's suggestion to a casting director for a role in a certain production for the agents client.
Super Objective: The overall objective of the play. The playwright's intention/objective in writing the play. This must be expressed as a simple active sentence, and all actors must be agreed on it.
Superimposition: (See Double Exposure.)
Swatch: A small piece of fabric or paint used to demonstrate the color and/or texture of the material being used.
Sweetening: In singing/recording, the process of adding additional voices to previously recorded work.
Swish Pan: A quick pan from one position to another caused by spinning the camera on its vertical axis and resulting in a blurring of details between the two points. Sometimes a swish pan is used as a transition by creating a blur and then ending the blur at an action in an entirely different place or time.
Synchronous Sound: Sound coordinated with and derived from a film's visuals. (See Non-synchronous Sound.)
Syndication: Selling television programs to individual stations rather than to network.

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