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A (Completely Subjective) Dictionary of Production

Opinion and Insight 229 Add to collection
Pull the Trigger executive producer Max Brady shares her brutally honest personal A to Z of commercial filmmaking
A (Completely Subjective) Dictionary of Production

Award

Also known as a greenlight on a production, except when it isn’t or when it is kind of awarded, then a week after it has loosely been awarded, and you’re looking at start up costs,  it goes to another production company. 

Often used in the description of the job by the creative team to describe how great their idea is: award winning.


Budget

Can be the working, the estimated and the awarded, (see A). Can be fixed, can be cost plus, is rarely enough, and will often start out significantly more at the bid stage and then is rapidly picked at until the cost controller is happy. 


Collated (AKA Consolidated)

Collated or consolidated feedback. Many different voices from many different sources speaking as one, but all of which are contradictory.


Director

The person who insists that they will do ANYTHING to get the job in, and then throws their toys out of the pram when the producer says no to the additional lights/camera/six days production design that was taken out at bid stage. They are also the person who wants to know where their designer underwear can be bought and who is picking it up for them (you know who you are!).


Edit 

Also known as picture lock. Edited for grade and online. Until it isn’t. 


Feature

A featured visual artist only gets one usage fee right?  And it’s about 500 quid… and they’re happy to be associated with the brand right? Good exposure and all of that.  


Grade

Colour correction on the picture locked edit (that will change when you’ve graded all the shots), that you have provided references for, gotten approval for, but then someone says it’s too dark/bright/dull/dreary/doesn’t look like my current favourite TV programme (delete as applicable).


Hi Speed

Formerly known as slow motion. Cause of endless debate on set to explain that hi speed needs more light, and therefore more budget and that we’re only shooting it at 1,000 frames per second so that we can get the definition of the product bubbles when we bring it back to normal at the edit, which is going to change after we’ve picture locked and graded it anyway (we know that the shot is less than a second in the edit… we’re not planning to use all five seconds of the take). 


Ireland

We’re Irish, we’re fun, we’re great! Come shoot here. That is all.  


Juggling

What most producers do daily. Juggle… budgets against creative demands, against trying to make the job at least break even.   


Knowledge 

The knowledge of the production and agency teams’ combined experience of 100 years of filmmaking is irrelevant. “My son could have shot this on his phone.”


Location

The place where we plan to shoot the film, and which you will dress to look like your own living room or wonder why it isn’t 24/7 sunshine because that’s what was ‘paid’ for, and where one will turn up inappropriately dressed for Irish/British changeable weather.


Miscellaneous

The little things that we put into budgets for cover, that the cost controller wants actualised before you’ve been awarded the budget, see A, and B.  


Negative

Used to refer to the film stock that came out of the camera, that sadly we can’t shoot on anymore due to ever decreasing schedules and budgets. 


Offline

See E for edit.


Post Production

The last part of the process of filmmaking, where everything is changed at the last minute because someone showed the cleaner, and because someone is second guessing themselves (see also E, edit). But crucially this is when there is no understanding of the CGI process, rendering, grading, and it isn’t just a matter of pushing a button, like one can do on one’s computer.  


Quote

The quote for the filming/post production that then needs to be reduced by 50% to make up for the difference in budget awarded (see A and B).


Runner

The person employed by production to ‘run’ for the various departments, ends up running for posh barista coffees, ice creams and snacks not covered in the catering budget.
  

SFX

Special effects. A technical department to create weather (except for sunshine), smoke, fire, rigs. Not to be confused with VFX.   


Tech Recce

The process by which the director, having accepted their fate of less budget, works out technically how to shoot the film. NOT the day to discuss performance/set dressing.   


Under Insured

What we can sometimes be when under agency or client AdWrap.

 

VFX

Used in post production houses to create scenes we can’t afford in the construction budget. Not to be confused with SFX.  


Wifi

When will the wifi be turned on? The question as you sit on top of a cliff in a location that doesn’t even have a phone network. Cuba? 

Also Weather. The weather is for production to ‘fix’ (see L, location).  

The weather from a recent shoot where Storm Ciara stayed longer than was forecast….


X-Ray

Dreaded by all, avoid at all costs when transporting your negative/drive… learn from the horror stories of a bygone era!


Yes

The answer you are expecting. The answer we will give if we can make it happen in the time/available light window/weather window/budget and labour resources. Otherwise… it’s a negative.  


Zen 

What producers try to maintain throughout the process.


Photo credit: Joel Muniz
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Pull The Trigger, Mon, 24 Feb 2020 12:29:12 GMT