This is by no means exhaustive, but below are some words and phrases that you will want to be familiar with as an actor:
- Given Circumstances.
- Through-Line of Action.
- Super-Objective – The overarching human need (“The need to find true love and security from a man because it was never felt during my childhood,” for example) that is pushing the character through the entire story.
- Objective – The most immediate goal or need (what the character is DOING) that will help achieve the super-objective.
- Tactic – Ways at which objectives are accomplished. For instance, to win the love of your scene partner (objective), you may need to flirt, cajole, tease, entertain, seduce, etc.
- Drive – What propels the character through the scene. Another way of thinking about objective.
- Motivation – The WHY behind the drive, objective, or super-objective.
- Obstacle – What is hindering the character from achieving his objective. Obstacles are often internal (fear of failure, etc.).
- Beat – A unit of the script or scene, determined by the actor, where one tactic starts then ends.
- Moment to Moment – To remain fully present, engaged and listening, to create the illusion that what is happening is happening for the first time and is completely spontaneous.
- Affective Memory/Emotional Recall – A an emotional preparation technique to reactivate the emotional/psychological experience of a past event you believe is experientially parallel to the emotional/psychological life of a character.
- Thought Pause – When the actor uses a pause to get to the next thought/line of dialogue.
- Moment Before – What has transpired before the scene being presented. Often, this “moment before energy/knowledge” is essential for the current scene.
- Transition – Something that will need to occur in order to get to the next character thought. Sometimes found between beats.
- Emphasis Pause – A pause used to emphasize a point.
- R.I.P.D. – Rate, Inflection, Pitch, Dynamics – A quick way to spice up any piece of dialogue when things are feeling stale (credit Tom Todoroff).
- Psychological Gesture.
- Blocking – The movement necessary for the scene.
- Marks – Exact places for the actor to be in (often marked by tape), so they can be in focus. As in, “hitting your marks.”
- “Picture is Up.” – Means that things on the camera side are getting close to filming.
- “Action” – When said by your director, this means that all is ready, and the scene can begin.
- “Back to One,” “Going Again,” Resetting.” – When said (typically the 1st AD) by the crew, it means you are to go back to where the scene started, and begin again.
- “Off-book” – You know the material so well, that you don’t need to look at the script. AKA, “memorized.”
- “Sides” – The portion of the script used in auditions.
- “Lines” – Your scripted dialogue.
- “Cue” – The stimulus which prompts your action or line.
- “Cue Line” – The line that another actor says before yours.
- “Pick up your cue” – Take out the air between the cue line (or cue stimulus) and your next line.
- “Improvise” To make up dialogue rooted in the circumstances.