So you consider yourself a movie buff– but do you know what actually goes on behind the scenes?
Take our movie lingo quiz, learn some cool film-making terms and feel like the ultimate Hollywood insider next time you want to impress your friends!
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Which is the term for a technical assistant who runs lights and routes power cables on a movie set?
It’s the best boy, and the term actually comes from sailors who used to handle the rigging on whaling ships. It can refer to a man or a woman.
The best boys supervisor is the guy in charge of the electrical department, and he’s known as a:
The gaffer designs and carries out the films lighting plan. The term referred to pieces of cloth that were tied to poles to block out the sun on early movie shoots– they were called gaffs.
What’s the term for the coming attractions that play before the film begins?
Usually around two minutes in length, trailers are short promotional clips used to tease an upcoming film. They used to follow (or trail) the featured movie, but studios found that audiences wouldn’t stay to watch them, so they now appear before the movie instead.
When you’re talking about a movie you’ve seen, a spoiler is:
People will go to great lengths to avoid giving away spoilers– a secret that could spoil the film for someone who hasn’t seen it yet.
If a film is in the can, it is:
In the can means that a movie’s ready for audiences to enjoy. The term refers to the can that holds completed film reels.
On the set, a grip is in charge of:
A grip’s typical duties include moving cameras, adjusting lights and maintaining mechanical equipment.
A pitch is:
In order to get a movie made or financed, a writer or producer will pitch it to a studio.
When the camera smoothly moves towards– or walks along with an actor– it is called a _____ shot.
Also known as a tracking shot, the camera is often mounted on an electrical device (called a truck or a dolly) and glides along with or rolls in towards an actor.
Which letter typically describes a second-rate movie that has low-grade production values?
A B-movie is a low-budget (and usually cheesy) film that has unknown actors. The name comes from the time when such movies played as the second half of a double feature (after the A-movie).
Which of the following names has been used as a professional alias by dozens of directors?
When a director feels that a studio has ruined his film (by editing against his/her wishes, for example), he put this pseudonym in the credits to hide his identity. The name that’s traditionally been used is Alan Smithee.
A low-budget western made in the 60s was sometimes called a:
These movies got their nicknames from their Italian directors. Shot on location in Italy (or sometimes Mexico), the films were usually characterized by low budgets and sparse dialogue.
A film noir is usually:
Meaning “black film” in French, a film noir is a dark, moody film that typically features detectives or a murder mystery.
What is a MacGuffin?
Popularized by Alfred Hitchcock, a MacGuffin is an item in the story that at first appears vital to the plot, but is later revealed to be insignificant. Its primary purpose is to further the plot. A classic example is the stolen money in Psycho; recent examples are the rings in Charlie’s Angels 2: Full Throttle and the deadly virus in Mission: Impossible 2.
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