Film-making is a bewildering universe full of obscure slang and confusing jargon. In an effort to help the novice writer understand the world they’re desperate to gain entry to, I thought I’d compile a brief list of some of the terms you may come across and what they mean from a writer’s point of view. This is by no means an exhaustive list, so please feel free to add to it.
WRITER: person with lots of friends, all imaginary.
PRODUCER: person with lots of friends, all rich.
DIRECTOR: person with lots of friends, all fake.
ACTOR: person with lots of friends, all really, really fucking annoying.
PITCHING (writer): off the cuff lies told to a producer whilst trying to guess what story he will give you money to write.
PITCHING (producer): listening (im)politely to a writer who clearly has no idea what story you want to hear.
SCRIPTWRITING: process involving Twitter, Facebook, tea, Twitter, chocolate, Facebook, pornography, Twitter and frustration.
DEVELOPMENT: process of removing fun, sense and spectacle from a script.
PRE-PRODUCTION: the last filter to remove all joy from a project.
BUDGETING: crossing out all the action descriptions because people standing still is cheap.
MALE CASTING: complicated process revolving around finding the biggest cock. (Not as in “who has the …”; but rather “who is the …” )
FEMALE CASTING: complicated process revolving around who’s got the biggest tits and the most flexible attitude towards nudity/sleeping with the producer.
THE SHOOT: process whereby actors make up their own words, directors point the camera at the wrong things and producers discover spending most of the budget on a spiffy new briefcase hasn’t really helped.
ACTING: process where several people with massive egos make up sentences which bear little relation to the plot whilst trying to ruin every take except their own close up so they can get the most screen time.
WRAP PARTY: your last chance to pretend you like the hateful people you were forced to live with for four weeks in the vain hope they’ll hire you again.
POST-PRODUCTION: vain attempt to hide all the framing, acting, dialogue and boom-mic mistakes with lens-flares.
EDITING: last ditch attempt to make the random pile of words and images interesting whilst complaining there’s not enough wide shots.
MARKETING: lies told to trick people into watching a film they don’t want to see and will regret doing so for the rest of their life.
A FILM FROM THE PRODUCER OF … : against all odds, this film is quite good and I want to take the credit.
A FILM BY THE DIRECTOR OF … : this film is fucking awful, let’s blame the director.
A FILM BY THE WRITER OF … : you’re dreaming, wake up. Wake the fuck up! This never happens!
AWARD CEREMONIES: token gifts for film-makers who fail the least.
THE AUDIENCE: bunch of thieving bastards who would rather download than pay for a film which they’ll find boring, stilted and nonsensical with too many close ups, no wide shots, actors who stand still rather than move about, looks cheap and is covered with lens flares. Still, at least the actors get their kit off occasionally, so it’s not all bad.