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  • Writer's pictureJanett Salas

Weird Film Lingo You Should Know

Here's a list of some of the weirdest film verbiage I've heard from film school and film sets. If you don't know what they actually mean, it might be an awkward day on set...

1. Apple box

Apple Boxes

Apple boxes are wood boxes of different heights used on set for a number of reasons. I've seen them used to make an actor/actress taller, or for a camera man to sit on during a long take. They're pretty versatile if you think about it.

A pancake is the thinest apple box!


2. Brick

To the left is an actual brick, hopefully you know that. To the right is a walkie brick, which is a battery of the walkie talkie. So when someone asks if you have an extra brick on you, hopefully you don't bring them one from outside and bring them a battery pack instead.


3. C47

So when I looked up "C47" on Google, all I got where military planes... So there's that!

On a film set, it's not that exciting. A C47 is a clothes pin.


4. Martini

Don't get too excited! No one's drinking just yet. A martini, or martini shot, is the last shot of the day.


5. Hot Set

A hot set doesn't mean you got some attractive people on set, it just means everything is set up and ready to go for filming, so don't touch it, or the art department will add you to their shit list!

Car Dogs Set

This is a photo of a feature film I worked on in the art department, all hot and stuff!


6. Kill That/It (and Striking/going dark)

Don't go killing anyone or anything just yet! Kill that or kill it refers to turning off a light or taking something off set. While we're on the topic of lights, if someone asks you to kill a light, make sure to yell out "going dark!" right before you turn it off to alert everyone that the room is getting darker. On the other end, you yell out "striking" if you're turning on a light, so no one is staring in that direction and gets temporarily blinded by the light.


7. Baby

Hopefully there aren't any babies on set, that just sounds like a nightmare. Babies are great and all, but they can be divas. When someone mentions a baby, they might be referring to a 750w light. It's one of the smallest lights a gaffer might carry.


8. Stinger

A stinger is a fancy way of saying extension cord. They come in a few different lengths, so if you're asked to fetch one, make sure you know how long they want it.


9. Sticks

For some reason, there are two things "sticks" can mean on a film set. Why the've done this, I don't know. But in case someone says it, it can mean 1 of 2 things:

They might be calling for the slate, if someone calls for 2nd sticks, it means they need to re-slate because it was done incorrectly the first time.

Or they might be referring to a tripod for the camera


10. Dead Cat

Fingers crossed there are no dead animals on your set! If someone is talking about a dead cat, they're most likely referring to one of these fluffy microphone covers. They work to block out wind when recording sound and apparently look like a dead cat.


11. Barn Doors

So it's not these..

These! Barn doors go on a light to manipulate the direction and intensity of the light. When you open and close them, they simulate barn doors!


12. Crossing

Yelling out "crossing" is set etiquette, yelling it out when your crossing in front of the frame of the camera.


13. Hot Points

Safety is a big thing on set if you didn't already know. One safety measure is shouting "hot points" whenever you're carrying warm lights to alert people around you. Additionally, you can yell out "points," whenever you're carrying sharp items around others, like carrying a C-Stand (this is a C-Stand).


14. Platypus

This is pretty specific, and you may only hear this if you're working in G&E (Grip and Electric). A platypus is a specific clamp, also known as a Quacker or Duckbill, because it kind of looks like a bill of a platypus.


15. Spike That

Spiking something... well, that has some negative connotations to it, but on set, when someone asks you to "spike that" they mean to mark the spot where an actor/actress will stand or where set dressing is set. This is usually done during blocking and rehearsals, and normally you "spike" it with gaff tape.

Hoped that was helpful. Have you heard of any other weird phrases on set? Let me know in the comments!

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