10 Acronyms Every Actor Should Know

10 Acronyms Every Actor Should Know

Like any other businesses, the acting industry has a specific language and a set of terminologies that only entertainment professionals can understand. The more well-versed you are in the language, the easier it will be to move around and mingle with other professionals. So in case you are planning to get into the business, make sure you are familiar with at least some of these terms.

Here are some of the most common terms you need to know to get you started.


assistant director, common acting acronyms, AD

The assistant director or AD is common in almost all areas of the entertainment industry. However, the role varies greatly depending on the medium.

In theater, the assistant director lends his or her hand to the director during the development stage and the rehearsals. He or she may work during practices or continue running the production when the director decides to move on to another project.

For television productions, the role of the assistant director is somehow different. Here, actors have more chances of interacting with the AD than the director himself because he plots the schedule, coordinates the blocking rehearsals, works with the department heads, and relays important information to people on set.

Television and film actors also understand that the AD is always second in command on set as he is the one in charge of handling all the talents and putting them where they have to be the entire day, like during wardrobe fitting, fixing hair and makeup, or during breaks.


acting acronym, ADR

The automated dialogue replacement or the ADR sessions are often attended by TV and film actors after the project is completed and the actual audio is unusable. In every session, actors are asked to record a new audio that will match the visual of their actual performance. Normally, these are held on a sound stage or in an audio booth since the original clip will have to be played on a screen.

According to music editor Tony Lewis, American actress Meryl Streep loves ADR sessions. He said, “She is one of those actors who can see exactly what it’s for and understands what it can do for her performance. She doesn’t make a meal out of it and just gets on with it rather, than as some others do, go on about why sound person hasn’t done his job properly.”


acting acronyms, AEA

The Actors Equity Association or the AEA is the union that represents stage managers and theater actors all across the United States. As of 2010, the group represented more than 49,000 artists and managers.


acting acronyms, CD

The CD or the casting director is the person who deals with managers, agents, and actors in every film, television, and theater production. The casting director may work in pre-production or be employed by a certain studio. He can also work for an agency or find jobs on his own. But then again, his task revolves around the casting process.

As the job title suggests, he is in charge of casting talents to fill in various roles. He assembles the cast, negotiates with the agents, and manages all the contracts once an actor has signed.


ECC, acting acronyms

The Equity Chorus Call, or simply ECC, are the auditions that chorus dancers and singers are required to attend. Although on each notice, you are told what you need to bring, it would be safe to always have your dance clothes and music book ready. This is because the casting directors might ask for this unexpectedly.


acting acronyms, EMC

The EMC or the Equity Membership Candidate is a program that allows stage managers and actors to accumulate points to become official members of the AEA. For every week of work, members under the program earns one point. Once they reach 50 points, they become officially eligible to join the AEA.


EPA, acting acronyms

EPAs or Equity Principal Auditions are the open calls that must be attended by AEA members. By attending these, they get the chance to be seen in various equity projects, but on a first-come-first-served basis.


acting acronyms, PA

The production assistant or PA is the person responsible for different aspects of a production. His or her job greatly varies depending on the requirements of the production and the budget.

Production assistants in feature films and television projects are often sorted into different categories: set PA, office PA, extra PA, and the location PA.

While the office PAs spend most of their time in the production office taking calls, picking up lunch, and delivering script copies, the set PAs are tasked on the actual location of the production. Their tasks include echoing “cuts” and “rolls,” relaying information to certain departments, dealing with background talents, and distributing paperworks.

In addition, set PAs often work the longest hours. They are the first to arrive, and they are also the last person to leave. Most of the time, they work 12 to 16 hours per day.


SAG-AFTRA, acting acronyms

The SAG-AFTRA is a collaboration of two prominent American labor unions—the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. This group represents about 160,000 broadcast journalists, dancers, news writers, news editors, announcers, actors, DJs, singers, voice over talents, and other media professionals.

This union aims to give its members everything they deserve. They negotiate the wages. They make sure everybody receives health and pension benefits. They also protect their members against the unauthorized use of their works.


acting acronyms, SM

The stage manager or the SM has a somehow similar role with the assistant director in theatrical productions. He or she helps with blocking, plots rehearsal schedules, and leads the transition from studio to stage productions.

Aside from that, the SM assists in running the daily operations such as running the shows and checking whether all design elements and the actors’ performances are in line with the vision of the director.

Even if you familiarize all acronyms and terms related to the entertainment industry, this doesn’t guarantee you a sure spot in the business. Of course, you need to work hard for everything. Always remember that lots of individuals are always vying for one job. So if you just stand there and wait for an opportunity to come knocking at you door, then nothing will happen.

10 Acronyms Every Actor Should Know by

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