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When someone uses words you don’t understand…

The first time I heard the phrase, “What’s your 20?” on comms, was my first day on a reality TV set…and it was directed at me. I had NO IDEA what the runner on the other end of the comms was talking about. After asking them to repeat the question twice already, my agonisingly awkward silence over the channel was luckily diffused when I bumped into the person looking for me, at that moment.

So in the interests of helping you avoid the awkwardness I once experienced, I’ve put together a cheat sheet of terms and phrases you’ll be hearing and using on set:

20: Location…usually used over comms, as in, “What’s your 20?”

Call sheet: The document which has all the information about the shoot including, crew contact list, shoot location, schedule and other important information needed for the day

Call time: The time you are required to start work

Chookas: Phrase meaning good luck, used on the first shoot day before cameras start rolling 

Comms: Radio used to communicate on-set

Comms check: Phrase used to test whether your comms set is working

Good check: The response over comms to someone doing a comms check when you can hear them clearly

GV:  General shots that are usually used for establishing a scene or location

OTF: Stands for “on the fly” and is a casual style of interview used to get reactions in the moment (can also be referred to as a voxy)

 IV: Short for interview 

Keyed on: Holding down the button that allows you to talk on comms – sometimes people will be “keyed on” and not know that their conversations are being transmitted to the entire crew

Pick-up: A retake of a scene or a line shot after the main scene has been filmed, usually used to correct mistakes, cover missed content or provide alternative options for post-production to use in the edit

POV: Stands for “point of view” and refers to camera angles shot from the perspective of the on-screen talent/contributor

Recce: Visiting a location to determine whether it’s suitable for filming 

Repo: To reposition cameras for the next scene

Rushes: The rawfootage from a shoot 

Slate: Used to sync-up cameras and audio and mark the start of a scene

Stand-in:  Substituting for talent or contributors on set before filming so that crew can set up the cameras and lighting accordingly

TX:  Transmission – the date that a show goes to air

Video village: The place where monitors are set up for the EP, Director and other key crew to watch the shots on location

Voxy: Casual style of interview, used to get immediate reactions in the moment (can also be referred to as an OTF)

Wrap: The end of a filming day or production

The list could go on and on but this should give you a head start for when you’re on set so that you’re not going WTF when someone says OTF.

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To find out how to maximise your down-time while you’re between contracts check out my blog post 10 Productive Ways To Spend Your Time While You’re Chasing Your Reality TV Dream.