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Questions tagged [terminology]

Terms, definitions of terms, and clarification of terms used in the film industry.

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Why are "blockbusters" called blockbusters?

I have just been reading Wiki on the term "Blockbuster" popularly used to describe a highly popular action movie. Here is an excerpt: "...a fast-paced exciting entertainment, almost a genre. ...
eYe's user avatar
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54 votes
5 answers
33k views

What is it called when a movie breaks the illusion of fantasy?

What is it called when a movie breaks the illusion of fantasy? For example, a character talks to the camera or otherwise breaks character so the movie violates the illusion of the fiction.
Tyler Durden's user avatar
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51 votes
4 answers
16k views

Are there any rules around when something can be described as "based on a true story"?

Are there any rules or regulations as to when the term "based on a true story" or "real events" and so on can be used? Does anything in the movie has to be somehow based on the real world, or is this ...
TK-421's user avatar
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49 votes
2 answers
5k views

Why are trailers called "trailers"?

Why are trailers called "trailers"? Considering the verb "to trail" means "to follow behind", why would something that is shown before the main movie be called a trailer?
BCdotWEB's user avatar
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48 votes
3 answers
91k views

Director's Cut, Editor's Cut, Theatrical Cut. What do these mean?

What do the following terms mean in movie business? Director's Cut Editor's Cut Theatrical Cut What are the differences between them? Are there any other cut s?
Mehper C. Palavuzlar's user avatar
46 votes
6 answers
23k views

What is a "soap"?

I have read that "Dallas" is a soap, I know that it is a genre, but what are key elements of a soap? Is it just anything schmaltzy? Wikipedia does not help me a lot: A soap opera is an ongoing ...
Martin Thoma's user avatar
39 votes
2 answers
6k views

Is there a given name for "fake documentaries" posing as educational programming?

In recent years, networks such as The Discovery Channel have been airing so-called documentaries that have people believing that what they are seeing is not only educational, but that the events ...
steelersquirrel's user avatar
37 votes
2 answers
8k views

Is there a word or phrase for when the movie tricks you for a moment like this?

I know I've noticed this effect many times but I can only think of the most recent example: At the end of a scene, someone (bad) is locked out via mechanical door, and is pressuring the people inside ...
J.Todd's user avatar
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37 votes
1 answer
14k views

How did the word "Bollywood" originate?

As we know, American film industry is referred as Hollywood. The American film industry is called so because the film industry emerged at the place called Hollywood, Los Angeles, CA(Correct me if I am ...
Nog Shine's user avatar
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34 votes
5 answers
18k views

What makes an actor an A-lister?

In this thread, someone mentioned that Vin Diesel is not an A-list actor because he is: .... a niche actor, he's not got the breadth of roles I would expect an A lister to have. With the exception of ...
David Seek's user avatar
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34 votes
5 answers
118k views

Why is the first episode of a TV show called 'Pilot'?

What is the meaning of the word 'Pilot', as used for the first episode of a TV-show, implied here? Does it have anything to do with a smooth take-off?
Kshitij Bhandari's user avatar
30 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is there a term referring to the transgression that often begins a horror film?

This question refers to the horror genre, however the desired term might well be applicable to other films or narratives. I'm looking for a term that refers to the transgression that often begins a ...
professor_feather's user avatar
30 votes
1 answer
14k views

Why are porn films called blue films?

Adult films — i.e. porn films — are also called blue films. But why are they called that?
Robinho Parreira's user avatar
29 votes
1 answer
6k views

Shots where the characters are small in relation to a still background: do these have a name?

I'm wondering if these shots have a name: shots where the character(s) is sitting or otherwise still and takes up only a small part of the screen, which is also still, i.e. the rest is pretty much a ...
zmike's user avatar
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26 votes
1 answer
932 views

Is there a name for this storytelling technique?

In the Studio Ghibli film The Cat Returns, I saw a very noticeable example of a storytelling technique that I've seen in other Studio Ghibli productions. When in the Cat palace, the King of Cats has ...
SQB's user avatar
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23 votes
1 answer
8k views

What is the difference between a historical drama and a period drama?

I've been under the impression that a historical drama is non-fiction whereas a period drama is fiction.
Aron Que Marr's user avatar
23 votes
1 answer
4k views

Is "Runner" A Movie Industry Term?

I was reading this Telegraph article about what is real and isn't real in The Revenant, and the author mentions that "several runners had to be eaten" in the process of making the film. What does she ...
Asman Kei's user avatar
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21 votes
1 answer
4k views

Looking for the name of an animation technique (1930's–50's) which uses a rotating wheel to create a parallax effect

I saw a documentary back in the 90's about animation in the 1930's, particularly Disney, Warner, and Fleischer Studio. The bit I'm trying to identify is a background technique. The documentary showed ...
JohnHunt's user avatar
  • 448
17 votes
1 answer
6k views

What do abbreviations in movie scripts stand for?

What do abbreviations in movie scripts stand for? For example, EXT., INT., (O.S.), (V.O.), ...
Green's user avatar
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16 votes
1 answer
30k views

What's the meaning of abbreviations in credits? (ASC, PGA, ...)

In several credits, some names (usually among the first ones) have an abbreviation after their name like: A.C.E. A.S.C. ... Where does it come from? Do they mean something specific about their job?
3isenHeim's user avatar
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16 votes
2 answers
25k views

What is the difference between a movie's soundtrack, and its score?

The title says it all: What is the difference between a movie's soundtrack, and its score?
CGCampbell's user avatar
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15 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is the technique called when series of events in a film are played in reverse order?

For example, Memento (2000) is presented as two different sequences of scenes: a series in black-and-white that are shown chronologically, and a series of color sequences shown in reverse order. ...
Mehper C. Palavuzlar's user avatar
14 votes
8 answers
6k views

How do you refer to key objects like the Death Star from Star Wars?

Is the Death Star from Star Wars a "prop" or a "character" or something entirely different? I would tend to think that something as iconic as the Death Star or the Millennium ...
Slavic's user avatar
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14 votes
2 answers
8k views

Why do so many cinema industries have "wood" in their name? [duplicate]

A lot of cinema industry names end with "wood". For example, Kollywood, Bollywood, Tollywood, Hollywood, etc. Is there any reason for this?
Nagaraj Juro's user avatar
14 votes
5 answers
2k views

What do you call the required parts of a TV episode?

Each episode of Star Trek includes the captain's log. Each episode of Bones ends with a sweet moment between Booth and Brennan. Most episodes of Criminal Minds are bookended with quotes that are ...
miltonaut's user avatar
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14 votes
3 answers
65k views

In 'The Hateful Eight', Why is Minnie's Haberdashery's called that?

Not being American nor British, I had never heard the word 'Haberdashery' used before watching The Hateful Eight. Now, Haberdashery is a Haberdasher's store, and a Haberdasher is according to ...
einpoklum's user avatar
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13 votes
2 answers
6k views

Is there a name for a trope where protagonist's family members are kidnapped in the climax of the movie?

We often see in films that the villain kidnaps the protagonist's family members (or girlfriend) and threatens to come to him. Otherwise, they will be killed. This usually happens in the climax of the ...
Nog Shine's user avatar
  • 11k
13 votes
4 answers
2k views

What would be the opposite of a MacGuffin?

A MacGuffin is a plot device that motivates the story's characters, but whose specific nature is unimportant to the overall plot. But is there a term for a plot device that is a primary motivator for ...
Chris Noe's user avatar
  • 555
12 votes
2 answers
1k views

Is there a name for when a creator plays a long-term character in their own motion picture?

I just noticed that David Lynch plays one of the major characters in his own show Twin Peaks and it got me wondering about other instances like how Stan Lee appeared in his superhero movies, but only ...
John Joe's user avatar
  • 223
12 votes
1 answer
2k views

Is Justice League 2021 a cut or a remake?

Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021) is widely referred to as "the Snyder cut." Zack Snyder directed the 2017 Justice League, which has a similar plot and the same lead actors. But I can't ...
feetwet's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
816 views

What are the 'quadrants' in TV testing?

When talking of the upcoming S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, ABC Entertainment Group President Paul Lee said: “We don’t normally talk about testing, but [Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.] tested so well in ...
user avatar
11 votes
1 answer
5k views

Is there a specific term or name for Tim Burton's Gothic dark comedic style?

Tim Burton has a unique style to his work, his characters (majorly protagonist) look gothic and always have dark humor to them even in serious scenarios. Is there any specific term (even fan made) for ...
Ankit Sharma's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
276 views

Is there an over-arcing term for this style of movie?

I am wondering if there is a label or term for the particular style of movie that provides just enough plot upon which to hang some specialty focused features. The three top examples would be: ...
Blaze's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
4k views

Term for movies taking place during the main events of its predecessor?

If a movie follows up after the events of its previous movie, it is called sequel. If it follows up before the events of its predecessor, it is called prequel. However, what do you call a movie ...
A J's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why are soap operas called as such?

Why are soap operas called as such? Do they have anything to do with soap at all or is it something metaphorical?
Shevliaskovic's user avatar
9 votes
6 answers
12k views

Is there any term for this when a movie doesn't end as its plot suggests?

I recently watched Saw 7 that had the ending totally different from what I thought as expected from its story line which I really didn't like. Is there a term for such an ending where it doesn't ...
A J's user avatar
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9 votes
2 answers
14k views

What are the meanings of the terms "Passed" and "Approved" with regards to a movie title?

On IMDb there are various movies which bear the words "Passed" or "Approved" next to their title, as e.g. seen on this page. or this one. In addition, at least one movie's page features neither of ...
Digger's user avatar
  • 221
9 votes
2 answers
4k views

Are there any other films which are constructed in a "Photomontage with narration" style similarly to La Jetée?

La Jetée is a short, French sci-fi film of about 30 minutes. The whole film is just one long sequence of beautiful black and white photographs, except for a single short sequence where the photographs ...
TheIronKnuckle's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
564 views

What does "vrit' mean with reference to documentaries?

Over on EL&U, we are mystified by a usage of an unknown word: vrit ...as in The Interventionists is a half-hour vrit documentary that follows the days and nights of a unique mental-health ...
Cascabel_StandWithUkraine_'s user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
3k views

When is an actor's appearence considered a cameo?

What are the "guide lines" to define an actor appearence as a cameo? Are there some specs to define it? For example, max time on screen, max scene, max lines...
MikeKeepsOnShine's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
3k views

What do we call a person who designs the architecture or armors of a medieval fantasy film?

I heard character designer, mechanical designer so I am wondering if the term used for someone who designs architecture would be called an environment designer and a person who design armors a costume ...
Sayaman's user avatar
  • 219
8 votes
2 answers
2k views

Is there a term for the opposite of the Chuck Cunningham Syndrome?

Chuck Cunningham Syndrome refers to when a character simply disappears with no explanation and is treated in later episodes as if they never existed. I was wondering if there was a term, maybe "...
Kevin's user avatar
  • 1,639
8 votes
4 answers
559 views

What characteristics tie anime styles together?

Anime seems to be a broad subject, but it also tends to be fairly easy to identify something as anime, even if it is dubbed very well. The only exception that I can personally think of where it's ...
DForck42's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
18k views

What is the difference between 'sponsored by' and 'presented by'?

I saw this both of these things on a TV program logo: one is written on at the top, the other at the bottom. I'm aware that "sponsored by" and "presented by" are a commercial thing, but what do they ...
Murray Silva's user avatar
7 votes
6 answers
909 views

Have there ever been other TV shows or Films that told a similar story to the new 90210 show?

In the new 90210 series, the actors are now playing themselves and their former characters were just TV show characters. This comes in the beginning of the episode, and when I watched it I thought it ...
King of NES's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
642 views

Is there a name for characters who are not exactly part of the movie but affect the incidents in the movie?

In some of the movies I have watched, there are some characters whose screen presence is less and has a minor role in the movie. But their role play an important role in causing a twist in the movie. ...
Nog Shine's user avatar
  • 11k
7 votes
1 answer
2k views

What's the proper term for individual TV episodes that feature multiple episodic storylines?

I was watching an episode of Bob's Burgers where the characters recite stories that are largely unrelated to the actual plot of the episode, while the stories themselves are the actual content of the ...
PausePause's user avatar
7 votes
4 answers
1k views

What is it called when an actor plays themselves in a movie?

In Oceans 13 - Julian Roberts plays a character doing an impression of Julia Roberts. There is a Nicolas Cage movie that seems to employ a similar narrative choice. I'm trying to work out the word or ...
hawkeye's user avatar
  • 917
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

What is the term for colour screen theme in movies?

The Matrix movie has a dark green tint in the whole series. Just like Matrix, every movie has a screen colour theme, like the Underworld movie was all a dark gothic blue theme. My question is, what is ...
KRISHNA SAXENA's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
18k views

What is the second part of a movie title called?

For a movie like "Captain America: The First Avenger", what is the term for the phrase after the colon, i.e. "The First Avenger"? Is that called a "subtitle" or something else?
Brandon's user avatar
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