Glossary R-S

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.


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.



Rate Structure
Raw Files
Recoverable Asset
Refundable Tax Credit
Registering To Do Business
Regular Corporation
Report To
Reserved Rights
Resident Labor
Rest Period
Return on Investment (ROI)
Revenue Stream
Rights Granted
Roll camera
Roll sound
Room Tone
Rough Cut
Run of Show (ROS)



S Corp
Sample Reel
Schedule F
Scissor Lift
Screen Credits
Script Order Board
Script Read Through
Second Assistant Director
Second Meal
Second Sticks
Second Unit
Security Deposit
Set Decorator
Set Dressing
Shared Credit
Shooting Crew
Shooting Schedule
Shop Steward
Shot List
Show &Tells
Single purpose Company
Sizzle Reel
Soft Money
Soft Money Requirements
Sole Credit
Sole Credit Bonus
Sound Editor
Sound Mixer (Location)
Sound Mixer (Post production)
Spotting Session
Standby Carpenter
Standby Scenic
Start Form
Start of Shooting Date
Start Work (SW)
State Registrations
State Unemployment Insurance
Stock Footage
Strip Colors
Studio Funding
Subject to Negotiation (STN)
Supervising Sound Editor
Swing Gang
Synchronization & Performance License


Rate Structure:
Generally refers to the crew rate structure of Key- Second- Third with other rates being Subject to Negotiation (STN) which is defined as higher than the Key rate.
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Raw Files:
These are the original digital files recorded, they can be thought of as the “original negative” of your production
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In tax incentive terms, a cash payment back to the production once all reporting requirements are satisfied.
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In investment terms, the recovery of the original amount invested. Generally, this money is returned first before any other distribution of revenues. It is often accompanied by a premium; for example an investor might recoup 120% of their investment before other parties are paid
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Recoverable Asset:
Depending on the situation it may be cheaper for a production to buy an asset needed for filming- either on camera or behind the camera- than it is to rent it for an extended period of time. Such purchased items are used, then re-sold to cast or crew members or outside parties, generally for 50% of their initial value. These assets are known as Recoverable Assets and they are tracked in the accounting system.
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Refundable Tax Credit:
With respect to a tax credit, means that if the amount of tax credit exceeds the tax liability the difference will be refunded.
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Registering to Do Business:
Every company doing business in a state or hiring residents of that state as employees is required to register with that state.
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Regular Corporation:
Most common tax structure for a corporation, which is treated as a separate entity for tax purposes. See “C Corp”
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Generic term for items rented by production; each department in the budget has a Rentals account.
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Report To:
Describes a shooting location that is “in the zone” whereby crew and cast are required to report to work and are paid beginning with the time of that reporting.
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Reserved Rights:
These are rights that are specifically carved out or excepted from a sale of licensing of rights; for example, writers will typically reserve novelization rights to their screenplays.
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Resident Labor:
With respect to incentives, Labor that qualifies as a legal resident of the jurisdiction providiing the tax incentive benefit
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Rest Period:
Typically, the time from when a cast or crew member is dismissed on set to when they are called back; also known as Turnaround
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Return on Investment (ROI):
A measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. ROI is calculated by dividing , the benefit (return – cost)  by the cost of the investment; the result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio.
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Revenue Stream:
A term used to denote the specific sources of revenue from the sale of motion picture rights; for example, sales of DVDs represent a specific “revenue stream”
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Generally, the early preparation of a set for shooting done by Grip/ Electric in order to save time for the Shootin Crew
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Rights Granted:
Legal term referring to the type of rights being sold or licensed; relates to specific geogrpahic territories and market segments such as DVD, VOD, etc
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Roll camera:
Traditionally called after “Roll Sound” when a shooting take is beginning. Sound was called first because the sound recording device needed a moment to get to the proper speed. Sound tape was cheaper so film would not be rolled until sound was at “Speed”.
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Roll sound:
Traditionally called out to signify that a Take is in progress. Sound would be rolled and, once it reached the proper speed the camera would be rolled. See also, “Speed”
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Room Tone:
When work is completed on a given set, everyone is asked to stay in place to record at least one minute of silence. This Room Tone is used as a layer in doing any sound editing for scenes taking place on that set. For example, if a line of dialogue has to be re-recorded in post production, that recording will be matched with Room Tone to make the overall sound of the new recording match the other dialogue in the scene.
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Rough Cut:
A stage in the editing process of a show denoting a “work in progress”
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Run of Show (ROS):
A term used to denote that a particular service or rental is being provided for the entire production period; known as ROS
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S Corp
A tax designation for a corporation meaning that it is not taxed as a separate entity; all of the income and loss flow through to the shareholders
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Screen Actors Guild
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Sample Reel:
A short sample of a proposed work used to raise funds; also known as a “Sizzle Reel”
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Standard construction scaffolding, often rented to set up a lighting or camera position; handled by the Grip department
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A scene is a unit of a script or screenplay that can be defined by a change in time or geographic location. Scenes in a script are denoted by a Slugline which provides the Set Name, the time of day and whether the action takes place inside or outside.
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Schedule F:
With respect to the SAG contract, this is a Schedule that members work under whereby they receive a minimum guarantee for the Run of Show and the production gains certain advantages
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Generally, creating a Shooting Schedule for a show
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Scissor Lift:
A standard piece of construction equipment that raises a platform 10 – 20 feet in the air, used to work from and also for lighting and camera positions; generally operated by the Grip department
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The activity of looking for locations to shoot in
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Crew position that seeks out locations based on production’s guidlelines
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Screen Credits:
see “Credits”
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The written document of the story being told; formatted based on industry standards for the type of program
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Script Order Board:
The detailed shooting schedule information organized in the order presented in the script
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Script Read Through:
Generally a cast reading of the script done in pre-production once the major roles have been cast.
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With respect to the crew rate structure, this is the number two person in a department
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Second Assistant Director:
A crew position in the Production Staff department that reports to the First Assistant Director; duties include drafting Call Sheets, contacting actors with Call Times, and handling most of the production paperwork. If there are multiple Second Assistant Directors one will be designated as Key Second and supervise the others.
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Second Meal:
The second meal served in a shooting day to the cast and crew. Generally this will be a dinner but the nature of the meal depends on the time of day it is being served.
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Second Sticks:
Occurs when the slate is being clapped at the head of a scene and there is some sort of mix-up – the slate couldn’t been seen properly or the sound was not definitive – the slate will be clapped a second time.
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Second Unit:
A separate shooting unit picking up a variety of shots and/or scenes that the Main Unit doesn’t need to do; generally these shoots are done without main actors but with stunt doubles.
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Security Deposit:
Actual funds held in a reserve by a vendor to ensure proper payment of invoices; may also cover damages to property, etc.
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Crew or cast members who will be driving themselves to and from work, including the Set.
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Set Decorator:
The key creative crew member in charge of the Set Dressing department; reports to the Production Designer.
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Set Dressing:
The department that handles all matters dealing with the décor of the Set.
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Shared Credit:
Refers to a screen credit that is shared amongst two or more individuals; also known as Shared Card” since the names may appear on the same title card
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Legal owners of a corporation. See “Stockholders”
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Shooting Crew:
The main or first unit of photography consisting of the director, the main actors and the key crew members.
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Shooting Schedule:
The detailed plan for shooting every scene in a show; contains all of the major elements required; typically presented in the planned shooting order
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Shop Steward:
A crew member designated by the crew, generally by popular vote, to discuss issues regarding work conditions on set with the producer; standard practice to have one and is a union requirement
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Shot List:
A detailed list of each shot required for each scene; generally prepared by the Director in conjunction with the Director of Photography
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Show & Tells:
A term coined to describe department meetings with the Director and/or Actor and Producer to review and discuss specific elements to appear on camera; Prop Master may have a Show & Tell of all guns being used by each character.
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Generally these are letters that modify certain terms of an agreement; with respect to unions and guilds sideletters are used to provide modified terms to lower budgeted projects.
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Sides: Reduced sized copies of script pages that contain the specific scenes shooting each day.
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Single Purpose Company:
Generally a company formed for the sole purpose of producing a sinlge film or television show or a single season of shows. The reason is to isolate the other assets from any potential claims against the production.
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Sizzle Reel:
A show reel or sample reel of a work in progress generally used to raise additional funding.
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On set, the device used to provide on-camera identification of the scene and take being shot; also, the clapper portion of the slate is used to manually synchronize picture and sound
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The portion of a written screenplay which identifies the beginning of a scene. The Slugline contains a Set name, Time of Day and Interior/ Exterior; For example, Slugline would read: INT. HOUSE- DAY.
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Soft Money:
In finance, an indirect investment in a production; Soft Money generally does not require recoupment or a return; Tax Incentives are an example.
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Soft Money Requirements:
Generally, any requirement or benchmark that needs to be met in order to obtain Soft Money; for example, the application process in receiving a tax incentive would be considered a “Soft Money Requirement”
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Sole Credit:
Generally refers to having a single screen credit for a given position; with respect to screenwriting a Sole Credit usually comes with a bonus payment
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Sole Credit Bonus:
Additional compensation paid for receiving Sole Credit; common with respect to screenwriting agreements.
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Sound Editor:
In post production, the general name for an Editor devoted strictly to sound
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Sound Mixer (Location):
The crew position responsible for recording sound on location.
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Sound Mixer (Post production):
The person(s) responsible for mixing all of the edited sound tracks together into a single cohesive soundtrack; aka “Rerecording Engineer”
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Spotting Session:
In post production, general term for reviewing a cut of the film and “spotting” or labeling specific points to add sound or visual elements; for example, the Composer would do a Spotting Session with the Director and Editor to lay out the music needs of a show.
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A Background Actor who is used to stand in for the main actor for purposes of setting lighting and rehearsing camera moves.
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A general term used to indicate somehting or someone who is ready to work or be deployed as in a Standby Carpenter; also a phrase called out by the AD department on set to focus the crew’s attention
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Standby Carpenter:
Carpenter who is availabe on an as needed basis
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Standby Scenic:
Scenic Artist who is availabe on an as needed basis
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Start Form:
In hiring a crew or cast member, paperwork that must be filled out to begin working; generally includes tax forms such as W-4, immigration form I-9 and some form of Deal Memo
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Start of Shooting Date:
The first day of Principal Photography
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Start Work (SW):
A term used to denote a cast or crew members first day of paid work time; comes from the status indications on the SAG agreement, generally abbreviated as SW and used on a Day-Out-Of-Days
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State Registrations:
See “Registering to do Business”
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State Unemployment Insurance (SUI):
A payroll tax computed as a percentage of wages with a wage ceiling, funds are used to pay unemployment benefits.
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A camera stabiliztion device invented in the late 1970s and still used today
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See “Slate”
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Stock Footage:
Pre-existing visual footage used in another production, generally carries a license fee
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The legal owners of a corporation
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A frame by frame depiction of the action to be shot in a scene; closely resembles cartoon images
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Generally, to tear down or take apart either a set or a specific piece or pieces of equipment
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Strip Colors:
In scheduling, the colors of “Strips” (representing Scenes) based on the paramters of Interior or Exterior, Day or Night; standard colors are: Int Day = White; Ext Day = Yellow; Ext Night = Blue; Int Night = Green
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A visual representation of a Scene in a Schedule; the name derives from the time when movies were scheduled using a physical Board with multiple panels, each holding a color coded “Strip” which represented a Scene.
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The physical board that holds the individual strips (representing scenes). This has historically been the main tool used for scheduling. Software doing this function has adopted the same name.
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Studio Funding:
Funding from a studio or network
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Subject to Negotiation (STN):
In a union agreement, a crew rate that does not have a minimum scale listed but that must be above the Key Rate.
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Supervising Sound Editor:
Crew postion that is the lead sound designer
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General term used for crew and/ or equipment that is used in various open-ended ways; for example, a Grip/Electric Swing Truck would be used by those departments for whatever needs arise; may be used by shooting crew or pre-rig crew
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Swing Gang:
Generally the group of Set Dressers working in front of and behind the shooting crew and responsible for dressing and then restoring sets
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Synchronzation & Performance License:
A license for the right to Synchronize a piece of music to picture and to then use that in public performances.
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