Glossary N-Q

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.


National Low Budget Agreement
Negative Pickup (Agreement)
Night Premium
Non-Deductible Breakfast (NDB)



Offline Edit
One Sheet
One Liner
Online Edit
Operating Agreement
Option Agreeemnt
Option Period
Out-of-State Vendor
Overnight Location
Overtime Pay



P.O. Commitments
Page Count
Pay Hours
Payroll Taxes
Pension, Health & Welfare (PH&W)
Per Diem
Per Occurrence Limit
Per Unit of Time Fringes
Percentage Fringes
Petty Cash
Petty Cash Advance
Petty Cash Reimbursement
Picture’s Up
Picture Car
Picture Car Coordinator
Playback Scenes
Policy Term
Post 60s
Post Benchmarks
Post Schedule
Pre-production (Prep)
Prep Schedule
Press Junket
Press Kit
Prime Lens
Principal Actors
Principal Photography
Prints & Ad Expense (P&A)
Procurement Company
Production Designer
Production Legal
Production Manager (UPM)
Production Meeting
Production Package
Production Report
Production Services Company
Professional Team
Proprietary Credit
Purchase Order
Purchasing Service


Qualifications List
Qualified Spend
Qualifying Productions


This is another type of contract offered by the IATSE (at their discretion) which has lower rates and better terms for lower budgeted pictures organized by Tiers – Tier 1 being the lowest (currently under $5 million) to Tier 3 being the higher (currently from $8.5-12 million)
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Negative Pick (Agreement):
An agreement whereby a distibutor agrees to “pick up” a project for the agreed upon price once it is completed. The “negative” is a reference to “film negative”; This agreement can be used as collateral to obtain a loan to finance production.
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Defined in scheduling as after sun has set.
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Night Premium:
Additional compensation paid for working night hours.
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Non-Deductible Breakfast (NDB):
Term used to indicate that a meal is being provided but the time taken to eat that meal is not being deducted from work (i.e., paid) time.
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A person not having the status of a legal resident in a given jurisdiction; residency requirements vary.
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A right or credit that cannot be transferred, i.e., sold or assigned to another; with regard to Tax Incentives, a non-transferrable credit cannot be sold it must be used by the entity it is issued to.
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Literally means “On Call” – generally appears on a Call Sheet for Key Creative personnel; means that they are available to the production on an “as needed basis” but not less than for regular crew call.
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Offline Edit:
Generally refers to the editing footage at a lower resolution until picture is locked. Once locked, an EDL (Edit Decision List) is created for purposes of an online which uses the higher resolution raw footage to conform the cut to.
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One Sheet:
The Key Art or poster for a film or show includes Art Work Title, Billing Block.
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A version of the shooting schedule providing only key elements for each scene.
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Term often used to refer to a scene taken in one full shot without interruption and without Cut Aways.
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Online Edit:
Term used for the final picture edit wherein the original, high quality source material is used and conformed to the Offline Edit Decision List (EDL). At this point the color is corrected and titles are added.
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Operating Agreement:
The agreement under which an LLC operates defining ownership, management, share of profit and loss as well as liability.
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Option Period:
The specified period of time for which an option on a property is held; generally one year; during this time, the option holder can exercise their option to purchase the property.
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Out-of-State Vendor:
In incentives, vendors who are outside of the jurisdiction which is providing the tax incentive; purchases may or may not qualify depending on the legislation in that jurisdiction.
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In Development process, this is a paid writing step; not required but may be requested by producer.
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Overnight Location:
See “Distant Location”
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Generally, work after eight hours per day or forty hours per week. Overtime is a hallmark of all Collective Bargaining Agreements and is also the law at both the Federal and State level.
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Overtime Pay:
Premium payment for overtime hours, by law this is one and a half times the regular hourly rate; union and guild agreements require different levels of overtime pay, beginning at time and one half and increasing to double, double time and a half and triple time for extremely long days
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P.O. Commitments:
These are commitments to pay for services and/ or materials; requires a Purchase Order or P.O. with UPM approval; recorded separately in Cost Report
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Generally the term for the group consisting of the following key creative elements in a production: Cast, Script and Director
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The act of assembling the “Package” or key creative elements of a production.
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In reference to a budget, adding amounts to the budget in excess of what is needed
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Page Count:
In scheduling, the length of a scripted scene based on eighths of a page.
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Participation (Profit Participation):
Generally in financing or deal terms, this is the amount and order of the distribution of profits
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A legal entity in which two or more persons or entities come together and share management and earnings of their activity. In a simple partnership, all partners have personal liability for the actions of the entitiy.
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In incentives, one of several terms used for companies which serve as Local Vendors for purposes of qualifying expenditures; For example, a piece of equipment is not available from a Local Vendor so the Local “Pass Through” vendor acquires the equipment and rents is back to the production; See also “Procurement company” and/or “Purchasiing Service”;
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Pay Hours:
The straight time equivalent of hours worked factoring in overtime calculation; for example, one hour of straight time = one pay hour; one hour of double time = two pay hours; one hour of time and one half = one and a half pay hours; Standard to budget 12 work hours for shooting which equals 14 pay hours
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The payment of wages to employees of a company with taxes deducted and remitted in accordance with federal, state and local requirements.
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Payroll Taxes:
Statutory charges that an employer pays when engaging labor services, these are charges over and above the gross wages of the employee.
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With respect to Fringe benefits, this is the portion allocated to retirement accounts
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Pension, Health & Welfare (PH&W):
Generally, the major categories of union fringe benefits.
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Per Diem:
A daily living allowance paid to workers when they are required to stay overnight on Distant Location; Generally, defined by union agreements for Below-the-Line workers and by contract for Above-the-Line workers; IRS has defined tax free limits on this type of payment
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Per Occurrence Limit:
In insurance coverage, the limit for payouts for a specific type of coverage per individual occurrence
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Per Unit of Time Fringes:
Generally, in union benefits, health and welfare charges based on a flat rate per day or per hour worked.
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Percentage Fringes:
Generally, in union benefits, health and welfare charges based on a percentage of gross wages; usually has some dollar limit of compensation per employee.
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Generally a reference to the historical time or time period in which a story is set, as in a “1950s period”; generally “Period Movies” are more expensive due to the fact that they must employ sets, costumes and hairstyles that are accurate to the time the story is set in.
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Petty Cash:
Method of recording costs made by cash expenditures
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Petty Cash Advance:
The initial amount of cash given to a crew member that is to be used for production expenditures; must be accounted for and the amounts not spent be returned
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Petty Cash Reimbursement:
The reimbursement for petty cash expenditures which have been documented by receipts
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Picture’s Up:
On set, the term used to indicate that rehearsal has ended and shooting will begin.
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Picture Car:
Any vehicle that appears on camera.
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Picture Car Coordinator:
The crew member who is responsible for handling all aspects of coordinating the vehicles appearing on camera. Usually a function of the Prop Department but may be a separate position if there area lot of Picture Cars required.
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Playback Scenes:
Generic term that may refer to video or audio playback; can mean 1) playback of video that appears on camera, 2) playback of audio for recording as part of a scene or 3) playback of audio for atmosphere as in the case of music to establish tempo for actors to dance to.
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Policy Term:
In insurance, the length of time the production is insured for; generally one year but may be shorter term – in the case of “event coverage” may be as short as one day.
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A paid writing step that means a reasonably brief touch up of a script.
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Post 60s:
With respect to residuals, these are residuals due to IATSE members who are part of the Hollywood Basic Agreement.
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Post Benchmarks:
In post production, the major events that occur, generally tied to some form of compensation for Producers and/or Director; for example, Picture Lock, Sound Mix, Delivery.
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Post Schedule:
In post production, the full schedule of all events beginning with completion of photography through Delivery of all elements.
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Pre-Production (Prep):
The formal period prior to photography during which every department prepares for shooting.
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The process of setting up as much lighting and grip equipment in advance of the Shooting Crew arriving. This is usually done to save the Shooting Crew’s time. The work is done by Grips and Electricians who are known as the “Pre-Rig Crew”.
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See Insurance Premium.
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Prep Schedule:
The weekly schedule of events for pre-production.
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Press Junket:
An event where journalists are invited to meet and interview the key cast members of a show, both in groups and individually; generally organized by the show’s publicist and lasting a full day or longer.
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Press Kit:
The formal press document of a show including a synopsis, key cast and crew bios, production notes, still photo set.
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Prime lens:
A lens with a single specified focal length; ie, not a zoom lens.
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Principal Actors:
Generally the main actors on a production – the lead actors plus the major supporting roles.
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Principal Photography:
The core shooting period for a film or television show as distinguished from Reshoots done in Post Production or “Pre-shoots” done during pre-production when certain elements are required to be shot and prepared for the main shooting period.
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Generally refers to a finshed screening version of a show- term derived from the 35mm print but it has come to refer to any screening format – HDcam. DVD, etc.
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Prints & Ad Expense (P&A):
Monies required to strike prints and advertise a show for theatrical release; generally this money is the first money returned from Film Rentals.
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Procurement Company:
See “Pass Thru”
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Production Designer:
Crew position that is in charge of the overall look of the all sets;
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Production Legal:
The production attorney or outside counsel in charge of all legal work
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Production Manager:
The person in charge of managing the entire production including the hiring and firing of crew members, the purchases of goods and services and all related decisions; the keeper of the budget; also known as Unit Production Manager.
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Production Meetings:
Regularly scheduled meetings, generally weekly, attended by representatives of each department to discuss issues and report on progress
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Production Package:
In insurance, refers to the group of coverages unique to film and television including Cast Insurance, Extra Expense, Props, Sets and Wardrobe, etc.
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Production Report:
A daily report recording the scenes scheduled and completed, the in and out times for each crew member and actor, the amount of film exposed (if shooting film) and any special circumstances, injuries, etc.
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Production Services Company:
A separate entity providing any number of services for a film or television project; including, but not limited to providing and paying labor, rentals, facilities, etc. Generally used when shooting in foreign countries so that payments can be in compliance with local statutes but may also be used domestically
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Professional Team:
Defined on this site as the key members of your business team: Attoreny, CPA/ Tax Professional and other specialists such as Insurance Broker, Tax Incentive Specialist, etc.
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Proprietary Credit:
Generally in feature films, the credit which reads, “A Film by”; this credit is usually accorded to the Director
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Any onscreen item that is handled by an actor; the responsibility for these items belongs to the Property Master, thus the term “Props”
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The generic term given to expendable items acquired for a production. Each department in a budget has a Purchases account for designated expendables.
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Purchase Order (PO):
An accounting document that, once signed and approved by the appropriate production personnel, authorizes a charge for goods or services against the production company; Generally, a P.O. is filled out by a Department Head, submitted to the UPM for approval and then to Accounting for recording and tracking against a Vendor invoice.
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Purchasing Service:
See “Procurement Company”
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Qualifications List:
A term used by the DGA to track the work status of individuals and their eligibility for employment in DGA covered positions.
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Qualified Spend:
With respect to incentives, this is the amount of spending by a production that qualifies under a specific jurisdiction’s program for a tax credit or rebate.
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Qualifying Productions:
With respect to incentives refers to the types of programming (features, television, news, talk shows, etc.) that qualify for a tax incentive in a given jurisdiction.
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Generally, a price or rate.
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