Glossary I-M

Here you will find my ‘plain English’ definitions for some of the terms used every day around a production.

You can navigate to alphabetical sections of the Definitions or scroll through the list of terms. Generally site references to any terms are linked to their Glossary entry on this page. I also link to more “official” sites for any of the truly technical terms.

And return to the Glossary Home page for more helpful External Links.


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If you’ve come across a term or an acronym that you aren’t familiar with please let me know by submitting it below. I’ll do my best to get you a definition and an explanation.



Idea List
Idle Days
In Kind Contributions
Independent Contract
Independent Contractor
Injunctive Relief
Insurance Adjuster
Insurance Broker
Insurance Claim
Invaded Hours
Investment Waterfall



Joint Venture
Jump Cut



Key Art
Key Grip
Key Scenes
Kit Rental


Labor Days
Last Looks
Letter of Credit
Letter of Intent
Limited Liability Company(LLC)
Limited Partnership
Limits Per Occurrence
Linded Script
Living Allowance
Loan Out Corporation
Local Payroll Tax
Local Vendor
Locked Picture
Look Book
Loss & Damage
Low Budget Agreement


Majors Agreement
Man Days
Managing Member(s)
Mark It
Master Use
Meal Breaks
Meal Money
Memorandum of Understanding(MOU)
Minimum Guarantee(MG)
Minimum Spend
Minimum Wage
Monetary Damages



A Federal form required by anyone being employed to verify US citizenship and/or proper legal status.
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The main craft union for movie and television workers, the International Alliance of Stage and Theatrical Employees
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The union representing drivers of vehicles, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters
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Idea List:
A list of ideas for a specific aspect of a production – generally used to refer to casting ideas for actors to play various roles.
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Idle Days:
In a standard IATSE contract, these are days that a member is required to spend on distant location but that are not work days. Members receive four hours of straight time plus benefits for these days.
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In Kind Contributions:
Generally, a donation of goods or services instead of a cash investment, as in post production services are provided for free in exchange for a percentage of ownership.
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Independent Contract:
With respect to the IATSE contracts, the Independent Contract is for all non-studio producers working with either the Holywood Basic or the New York Production Locals and not qualifying for the National Low Budget Agreement
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Independent Contractor:
A person who provides services for a production but is not under the full direction and control of the production and who is paid a fee based on completion of various job phases, not a regular weekly wage. See Department of Labor website.
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Injunctive Relief:
A legal term meaning that aggreived party can seek an injunction against the other.
Generally, a producer does not want the party they are contracting with to have such relief – it may result in an injunction prohibiting the release of the picture.
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The general term for a company providing compensation for losses and or injuries in exchange for a fee or “Premium”. All forms of production require specialized entertainment insurance coverages.
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Insurance Adjuster:
A representative of an insurance underwriter who evaluates and settles insurance claims.
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Insurance Broker:
The person or company that sells insurance policies back by large underwriters; this is a highly specialized and regulated role.
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Insurance Claim:
A claim for compensation based on a covered loss or damage to property or due to a covered injury or illness.
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Insurance Premium:
The amount paid to purchase a specific type of insurance coverage.
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Intellectual Property:
Property that derives from the work of the mind or intellect to which the creator has ownership rights.
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In scheduling, defined as being indoors.
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In scheduling, defined as being indoors or under cover, but with a wide exposure to the daylight conditions outside; eg. “Int/Ext Car”.
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A 35mm film delivery element created from an Interpositive, essentially this is fully color timed duplicate of your negative; the element from which screening prints are struck.
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A 35mm film interim delivery element created from the original negative; a duplicate or Internegative is created from this element.
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Invaded Hours:
Increments of time that a cast or crew member is required to work which should be Rest or Meal time; eg a Forced Call requiring someone to work with only eight hours rest results in two Invaded Hours.
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Investment Waterfall:
see “Waterfall” and learn more by taking the free Business Basics Online Course.
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Joint Venture:
A contractual arrangement between two or more companies for the purpose of executing a specific task or project.
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Jump cut:
An abrupt edit from one action to another without matching action.
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see Department Head; Also the rate at which a Department Head is paid
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Key Art:
The poster image for a film or television show used to consistently promote the show.
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Key Grip:
The Department Head for the grips, aka the Set Operations category
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Key Scenes:
A term used througout the site to indicate important scenes that require time and/or special attention; eg may be a scene with nudity or a dramatic turning point
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Still photos that are rejected by an actor or other person with approval rights
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Kit Rental:
See “Box Rental”
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Labor Days:
See “Man Days”
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Last Looks:
Term used on set for a final check of actor’s make-up, hair and wardrobe just prior to shooting a take; generally called for after actors have been on set rehearsing and require a touch up.
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A lavalier mic – a small, hidden microphone worn by an actor, generally operated wirelessly.
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Letter of Credit:
A bank instrument that allows the holder to draw down funds as necessary; generally, the issuer must have funds on deposit and pay a fee for this instrument to be issued.
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Letter of Intent (LOI):
A gerneral term for a letter evidencing a high profile person’s intention to work on or endorsement of a project; generally used to show evidence that actors or other talent are interested in a project and has no binding effect.
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Core piece of the Accounting Equation; may be defined as Liabilities = Assets – Equity; generally defined as any claim or potential claim against an entity’s Assets.
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Limited Liability Company (LLC):
A legal structure which is owned by Members, managed by one or more Managing Members and wherein income and loss are allowed to flow through to those Members in proportion to their ownership percentage; may also be taxed as a separate entity (same as corporation) but this requires an application and IRS approval.
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Limited Partnership:
A type of Partnership arrangement where one class of partners, Limited Partners, are limited as to both their liability and their management control.
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Limits- Aggregate:
In insurance, these are policy limits for a specific type of coverage which represent the total an underwriter will pay out for all claims.
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Limits Per Occurrence:
In insurance, these are policy limits for a specific type of coverage which represent the total an underwriter will pay out for each claim.
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Lined Script:
Generally refers to a marked up hard copy of a script used in the Breakdown process; the term “lined” originates from the vertical lines drawn on the right side of the page to gauge page length.
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Living Allowance:
A set dollar amount provided to a cast or crew member intended to cover their living expenses while on Distant Location; differs from amounts reimbursed for specific expenses (with receipts provided) in that an “allowance” is generally taxable.
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Loan Out Corporation:
A personal service company that a production contracts with for the services of an individual, usually a high earner.
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Generic term referring to any element – labor, materials, vendors, services, etc. – that is native to the geographic area of shooting; usually has implications for tax incentive calculatons (see Local Vendors, Resident Labor).
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Local Payroll Tax:
A tax paid by an employer as a cost of hiring labor that is not a Federal or State charge; may be county or city tax.
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Local Vendor:
Term used in Incentives to indicate a vendor that is a resident of the tax incentive jurisdiction or defined as qualified for the purpose of the incentive.
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Locked Picture:
The final edited picture cut of a show; does not include all sound or music elements.
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Look Book:
A financing tool created to introduce a project to prospective financiers; generally contains a synopsis, financial plan, biographies of key attachments and photographs or related visuals.
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Loss & Damage:
In budgeting, a reference to losses or damage to equipment and other rental items; generally good practice to budget an amount equal to the insurance deductible for applicable category.
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Low Budget Agreements:
A catch-all term for various agreements designated for low budget productions offered by unions or guilds, also known as “sideletters” These agreements may be stand alone or may refer back to a Basic Agreement to cover items not mentioned therein.
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A reference to an IATSE contract available only to studios, networks and large suppliers of content.
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Majors (The):
The name given to the Six Major Hollywood Film Studios- currently, Warner Bros., Columbia, Disney, Universal, Paramount and Fox. Over time some of these have changed as company profiles and success have changed. MGM, for example was one of the five original Majors in the Golden Age of Hollywood while in that same era, Disney was an independent studio.
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Also known as “Labor Days”; the term in budgeting is used to denote one day of work for one person; commonly used for Background Actor and/ or Additional Labor categories.
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Managing Member(s):
In a Limited Liability Company, comprised of Members, this is the position that is responsible for managing the company.
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Mark it:
When shooting a take, this is the indication from the Camera Operator that camera is running and the Second Assistant can provide audio identification for the scene and clap the slate, thus providing and visual and an audio reference for synchronizing picture and sound
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On set, these are generally pieces of tape put down on the floor to guide actors in their movement through the scene. At each mark focus is noted as is lighting, thus allowing the actor to stay properly lit and in focus as they move.
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Master Use:
In music licensing, this refers to the license for the recording of a song.
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Meal Breaks:
Scheduled time for meals, generally not less than half and hour nor more than one hour.
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Meal money:
An Allowance to cover meals that does not require specific detailed accounting.
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Meal Penalty:
A financial penalty paid for violating the rule of breaking for a meal every six hours; the amount can be a fixed amount per unit of time or may be tied to Prevailing Rate – wages being paid at the time the penalty is incurred.
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A Federal program providing health care to those age 65 and over; in payroll terms, a tax charged to both employees and employers to pay for this coverage.
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The designated owners of a Limited Liabilty Company.
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Memorandum of Understanding (MOU):
An agreement that sets out the specific deal terms; similar to a “Letter of Agreement.
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A name given collectively to some of the large Hollywood production/ distribution companies that don’t quite make it to the “Majors” level. As economics shift companies may fall in and out of this list. Currently, the list would include MGM (a former Major), Lionsgate, Dreamworks and The Weinstein Company among others.
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Minimum Guarantee (MG):
In a sale of a territory, the minimum amount of money the distributor agrees to pay ffor distribution rights.
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Minimum Spend:
In tax incentives, this is generally the minimum amount a production can spend in order to qualify for a tax credit.
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Minimum Wage:
The minimum hourly wage as determined by Statute; note: there is a Federal minimum wage as well as individual State minimums. Whenever they differ, the higher one shall prevail.
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Monetary Damages:
Term used to denote financial damages awarded as a result of a lawsuite or legal action.
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The act of turning something of value into direct financial benefit; “monetizing a tax credit” means being able to convert a credit to actual hard currency.
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