If you were a doctor you would know medical lingo; if you were a lawyer you'd know "legalease"; if you were an accountant you'd know tax jargon; if you were a computer geek you'd know "tech-talk". Well, you are an actor and, like many professions, it has its very own terminology you need to know.



Above the title: In advertisements, when the performer's name appears before the title of the show or play. Reserved for the big stars!
Act Curtain: Curtain usually closest to the proscenium, which when opened reveals the scene of playing area to the audience. Also called Front Curtain, Main Curtain, Working Curtain, or Grand Curtain.
Acting Area: The area of the stage where the play is performed. Also called the Playing Area.
Action: What a character does, or does not, do or say or think or feel to achieve his/her objective in a unit of action.
Ad-Lib: To improvise lines or speeches that are not part of the script.
AEA: Actors' Equity Association; often referred to as "Equity".
AFI: The American Film Institute.
AFL-CIO: The American Federation of Labor/Congress of Industrial Organizations.
AFM: American Federation of Musicians.
AFTRA: The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
AGMA: The American Guild of Musical Artists.
AGVA: The American Guild of Variety Artists.
All-American Look: Middle-American appearance; a.k.a. "white bread", "P&G" look.
Amplifier: Sound term. A piece of equipment which amplifies or increases the sound captured by a microphone or replayed from record, CD or tape. Each loudspeaker needs a separate amplifier.
AMPTP: Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
Anchor: To secure a set piece to the stage floor.
Animation - The process of photographing drawings or objects a frame at a time; by changing a drawing or moving an object slightly before each frame is taken, the illusion of motion is realized.
Appropriate energy: The energy required to bring a part and a unit of action to life. Appropriateness relates to the size and style of the performance and may vary considerably.
Apron: In a traditional theatre, the part of the stage which projects in front of the curtain. In many theatres this can be extended, sometimes by building out over the pit.
Arbor: The metal frame that holds the counterweights.
Areas: In lighting design, the divided portions of the stage used to apportion the light.
Arena Stage: A stage in which the audience is seated on all four sides. Also called Theatre in the Round.
Art Director: Person who conceives and designs the sets, usually on a commercial.
ATA: The Association of Talent Agents.
Attitude: The habitual or occasional state of mind &/or emotion that a character brings to a situation, idea or person. It is expressed physically in body language usually through the relationship of the joints to each other.
Audition: A tryout for a film or TV role, usually in front of a casting director for which a reading is required.
Auditorium: The part of the theatre in which the audience sits. Also known as the House.
Auteur (French for "author"): literally the director, who is regarded as the "author" of a film because he/she has primary control and responsibility for the final product. The Auteur theory insists that a film be considered in terms of the entire canon of a director and that each Auteur earns that title by displaying a unique cinematic style.
Avail: A courtesy situation extended by an agent to a producer indicating that a performer is available to work a certain job. Avails have no legal or contractual status.

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