Thursday, March 12, 2009

Hollywood Dictionary: Volume 7

As it's Pilot Season (a term discussed in Hollywood Dictionary: Volume 4), it seemed like a good time to go over terms that you - the lowly assistant - might encounter frequently in the coming months. Learn it. Know it. Live it.

Meets -- In a town of people with every dietary restriction known and unknown, you might think "Meets" is some sort of Vegan equivalent of "Meats." But it's not. It's a term used to explain a TV or movie ideas to simpleminded Hollywood executive who can't understand a concept that isn't based on another concept. Most often heard in pitches like "It's Titanic meets World War 2" (Pearl Harbor), "Think Star Trek meets the Bible" (Battlefield Earth) or "Visualize Aladdin meets...errr...Shaquille O'Neal" (Kazaam).

Above the Line -- A term used to refer to actors/producers/directors as in the sentence, "If you're not working with Above the Line talent, you might as well work for a temp agency." The origin of the term is a nod to the Maginot Line, the line of concrete fortifications that the French conceived to keep out the Italians and the Germans after World War I. Much like the snooty French, snooty actors/producers/directors refuse to be on the same side of the line as those they deem lesser than them. The irony, of course, is the Germans engineered and the Italians built these fortifications. Or so I'm told.

Below the Line -- A term used to refer to people who work on sets as electricians/set designers/editors/anyone IATSE, as in the sentence, "CAA would never represent anyone Below the Line. That's for Paradigm to deal with." Below the Line people are never thanked in Emmy acceptance speeches.

Book a Pilot -- Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger rumored $2.5 million deal recounting US Air's Flight 1549 is a Pilot Book. Booking a Pilot, on the other hand, is when your client secures a role on a show that won't make it to air because NBC sees greater profit margins in shows like The Great American Road Trip.

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