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Movie Speak: How To Talk Like You Belong On A Film Set

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by Leonard Maltin
November 28, 2009 11:55 AM
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by Tony Bill


There are dictionaries and encyclopedias that explain the jargon of filmmaking (best boy, key grip, etc.) but none has approached this task with the humor and brio of veteran producer, director and actor Tony Bill. He not only has such up-to-date terms as Lewinskys (kneepads used by stuntmen—“a recent addition to the argot”) but he infuses his definitions with observations gleaned from hard-earned experience.

After explaining that an “Abby Singer” is the next-to-last shot of the day, named for the legendary assistant director and unit production manager, he adds, “One caveat: a director can avoid embarrassment by making absolutely sure that the penultimate shot is indeed at hand before he confirms the Abby Singer, for if he reneges more than once or twice during a given production, it will be cause for behind-the-back mockery , if not open distrust. It is tantamount to lying to children or taking away their candy.” Another of this compact book’s assets is an array of witty illustrations by Katie and Peter Maratta. (Workman Publishing)

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