Television Acting Definitions
By AM Staff
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13 Television-Acting Definitions You Should Know

Are you an amateur or an acting pro? The pros know what’s going on, while amateurs are constantly asking, “What is that?” Look like a pro. Before you audition for the commercial or television show, make sure you’re up on some of the more important lingo.

CALL TIME
A call time is the time that the actor or model is to have arrived and be prepared for work.

CASTING
Casting refers to the process of selecting an actor for a particular role or assignment

CASTING NOTICE
A casting notice refers to the list of characteristics the actor should likely have to fulfill the role

DAY RATE
Refers to the about of money the actor receives for a day of work

DEMO REEL
Refers to a video clip containing samples of work the actor has performed

FRAME
The frame refers to the entire area the camera’s lens will focus on. For example, if your frame (focal area) comes to your shoulders, it is not necessary to for the actor to move his or her hands, as only his head and shoulders will be captured on film.

OFF-camera
When an actor is “off-camera”, he or she is not on film and is away from the camera.

PRINCIPAL
The principal is the person in a commercial or show who dominates the action. The principal could also be referred to as the “lead”, as in lead actor.

PROPS
The props are the articles that are used to assist in the role or action, such as chairs, cups, balls and virtually any object on the set

RESIDUAL
A residual is the money paid to the actor each time their commercial is run, unless there is a separate agreement not to issue residuals.

AFTRA
The largest union for television, commercial and radio actors. It stands for the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

SLATE
When the actor stands in front of the camera and states his or her name and the agency they represent prior to auditioning in front of a camera.

TELEPROMPTER
A monitor that scrolls down the actor’s lines as the actor is performing. This is similar to the monitors used by news and anchor people. It helps actors with their lines.

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