The Comprehensive Extra’s A-Z

Posted by Indiana - 11 Aug 2022
The Comprehensive Extra's A-Z | Film Glossary :: Uni-versal Extras

If you’re new to working with UVE, you may come across some language when stepping onto a film set that seems a little unfamiliar.

But never fear; we’ve compiled a thorough list of all the film terminology that you will need to know in order to behave just like a seasoned pro on any film set! An Extra’s A-Z, if you will. Sound good?

Let’s take it away…


ActionThe cue given by the director – this signals the principal actor(s) to start performing. 
ADThis stands for ‘Assistant Director’. There are often multiple ADs on set – but the first AD is the director’s right hand.
Artist SupportA special UVE department whose aim it is to help you with all your profile, activation and listing requirements. 


B-rollThe term used for additional footage that is shot to be spliced in between the principal footage. This might include shots of the scenery around the main action; buildings, roads, wilderness, etc.  You may also hear B-roll footage referred to as ‘Cutaways’, or ‘Establishing Shots’.
Background ActionThis is your cue as one of the Background Artistes to start performing.    
BookedAt UVE, this is confirmation that production has confirmed that they want you as one of their Background Artistes. Congratulations!
BuyoutTypical in TV and Commercial work, a flat-fee offered for the work you do with a production. You may also hear this referred to as a ‘usage fee’.


Call DetailsThe information you will need for your day on set. This will be provided by the casting team any time before 7pm the day before filming.
Casting CallThe industry’s version of a job advert. A casting call will express certain criteria when looking to fill a role that a production is currently casting.
Check-inThe prompt time and place you are meant to be present on set.   
ChitA digital or hard copy document document that breaks down your pay for the day.
Clapperboard [pictured below]Those handy devices that are synonymous with filmsets! Also called the slate, clapperboards are usually wooden or slate boards marked with the scene, roll and take number. It helps the editor synchronise sound and vision.   
CommissionA percentage of your pay that is retained by the agency. For example, UVE’s Artiste commission is 16% – subject to VAT as instructed by HMRC.   
ContinuityWhen shooting a sequence from different angles, it’s important that nothing changes between shots that could interrupt the flow of the sequence. Continuity is the practice (and the department) in charge of monitoring this and making sure it looks as though everything is happening in real time on-screen.
Costume FittingThis may be one of the non-performance dates that we book you in for. It is when a production’s costume department ensures all your costumes fit properly before filming begins.
CutThe statement called out by the director after a scene has played out, and filming has stopped.  
Crowd DirectorThe person on set in charge of looking after Artistes participating in crowd scenes: they will tell you where you need to be and when. Listen to them carefully and ask them to repeat anything you do not understand.   
Crowd BaseOn a big production, this is often where you will initially be asked to go to. It serves a similar purpose to a holding room, or green room.


Digi-FitA digital fitting used in place of a costume fitting. Artistes are sent out a wardrobe brief, and then asked to pass on images of themselves wearing various appropriate wardrobe options. Production are then able to view these, and select the ensemble they deem most fitting for the scene they are casting.
Dining BusThe on-set location where you will eat on your break – and sometimes where you wait until you are called to set by an AD.
DirectorThe big boss of the whole production! Directors are in charge of all creative decisions on set., and usually work with their ADs or runners to communicate information to Background Artistes.
DoubleAn Artiste who has similar dimensions and/or features as one of the main actors. This Artiste acts as a replacement for an actor when they are not available – usually in an extreme close-up or from a long distance.   


EquityThe official name for Equity is British Actors’ Equity Association and is the trade union for actors in the performing arts and entertainment industries. This union helps protect your pay, benefits and rights as an Artiste in the industry. 
ExtraAlso referred to as a ‘Background Artiste’, ‘Supporting Artiste’ or ‘SA’ for short. This is a performer who helps build atmosphere and authenticity on-screen by appearing in the background of the director’s shots.


FAAA union payrate that you may receive when working as an Extra – and you can always find the most up-to-date rates on our Money page! FAA stands for Film Artistes Association, which is a part of BECTU – the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union.
Featured RoleA standout role for a background Artiste. This often means you will receive significantly more screen time, and may be asked to perform an action, or even deliver a small line of dialogue.
From the TopWhat is called out on set when the director wishes to re-film from a specific point in the scene.
Final ChecksWhen the production’s hair and makeup department make their final touch-ups to the Artistes’ appearance. 


Green Screen
[pictured above]
Also called Chroma Key or a Blue Screen. This is a single-colour background used during filming to make actors or objects appear digitally as if in a different environment. In post-production, this background is replaced by another image or piece of footage. 


Hold the RedWhat is said when the filming crew are going for another take of the scene.  
Holding AreaWhere the production team will place you before it is your time to go on set. Sometimes it is where you can eat, which can also be called the ‘dining bus’.  


Listing FeeThe annual fee associated with becoming an Extra at UVE.  
LookbookA collection of Artiste head and body photographs that are submitted to production in order for them to make their casting selections.


Nightshoot [pictured above]At UVE, this means your call time could be as early as 1pm and finish as late as 6am the following morning.   


PACT EquityA union payrate you may receive when working as an Extra. You can always find the most up-to-date union rates on our Money page!
PenciledA provisional booking meaning we have confirmed your availability and your details are now with production. At this stage, we are waiting for a production’s confirmation on who they would like to work with. 
Pick-upsThe term for production’s transport service to the filming location – usually by shuttle bus from a train station or city centre.  
PropAn object that you will hold/wear/use during the shoot. If you are in charge of a prop on set, it is important that you return this to the production team after every shoot in the same condition you received it. 


Red LightThis signals that filming is about to begin and is usually complimented with sound of a bell. Additionally, a red light and the ring of two bells indicates filming has stopped.
RemittanceThis is your pay. Shortly before a payment has been made to you,  a remittance slip will become available from your profile’s Documents section. This will provide all the information about your pay, and can be accessed via the UVE Artiste App.
ResetThe film crew are moving the camera to a different position. During these moments, it’s important for continuity that you don’t move unless instructed by an AD.
Rolling/’Roll Camera’This means the camera has started filming. Commands on set vary but generally you will hear: “Quiet on set”, “Sound?- Set”, “Camera?- Set”,  “Roll sound”, “Roll camera”, *Clapper board*, “Scene X, Roll X, Take X”, “Action”.
RTWThis stands for Right To Work – an important document that is required to prove you are recognised as able to work in the UK and Ireland. This is uploaded to your profile via the UVE Artiste App.
RunnerThe people on set who are tasked with following instructions from both the director and/or the ADs. Not to be confused with a ‘Showrunner‘ who is instead the leading producer on a TV series!
RushesThe initial look/collection of footage that was filmed on a particular day.


Signing OffOnce an AD has signed your chit/voucher, you are officially done for the day and free to leave.  
Sound of a BellThis usually indicates that filming is about to begin, so be quiet when you hear this, unless told otherwise. Two sounds of a bell signal that filming has finished.   
SPACTAn acronym for Special Action Performer. You may see this in Casting Calls. If you have special skills as an Artiste then you should notify us on your profile. 
Split DayThis means it is a shoot that lasts over the day and night. The shoot usually begins in the late morning and finishes around midnight.  
Stand ByThis is called out on set to indicate that filming is about to begin. 
SurveyA special, UVE questionnaire designed to find suitable Extras for a particular role. You can read up in more detail about surveys here.


a TakeA version of a particular shot.  There will be many takes of each scene, and each one is marked by drop of the clapperboard.
Tracking Shot (a.ka.) a ‘Dolly shot’ [pictured below]A shot where the camera follows an actor, group of actors, or particular action for better visibility or creative flair.  


Walk-OnA Background Artiste that could be recognised in the final product and may even have a few lines.
Wild TrackAn audio recording of the natural sounds found in the filming environment – the sound team will use this in post-production to help build atmosphere and a realistic soundscape.
WranglerAn on-set specialist tasked with overseeing, handling or managing a particular group – animals, vehicles, young actors etc.  
WrapThis is called out on set to indicate that filming has concluded for the day. It’s an old acronym for ‘Wind, Reel and Print’.


1st PositionsYour starting position before filming begins.  
1st ADThe 1st AD can be mistaken for the director as they are often found also giving out direction. 1st ADs are the director’s right hand assistance.
2nd ADOften abbreviated to ‘2nd’, the 2nd AD is the 1st AD’s right hand. They are also often the one that organises the Cast and Crew’s whereabouts.
3rd ADOften abbreviated to ‘3rd’, the 3rd AD is often the person managing the Background Artistes so it’s hyper important that you listen to their instructions carefully. They will likely be the one directing you to where you should be on-set!

And that’s that. You’re now all clued-up for your first day on set!

Read up on more about being at Extra by heading back to the UVE Blog now!