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0781 Filming a TV Show or Movie

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Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 781: Filming a TV Show or Movie.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 781. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. Go there, become a member, download a Learning Guide, improve your life and your English.

This episode is about making a television show or movie. Sounds exciting! Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Martin: Okay, quiet on the set! What are the extras doing over there? They’re not in the scene.

Stephanie: Sorry, I’ll get them off the set. Is this the lighting you wanted for this scene? If not, I can tell the lighting crew.

Martin: The lighting is fine, but this staging is all wrong. And can somebody turn off those sound effects? We’re not using them in this scene.

Stephanie: I’ll get right on that.

Martin: Where is the cast?

Stephanie: They’re on break because they thought we wouldn’t resume shooting until 2:00.

Martin: That’s great! I have no cast, the sets are all wrong, I have extras milling around where they shouldn’t be, and where is my script?

Stephanie: It’s right here on your chair. Are you sure you don’t want to call it a day and start again in the morning?

Martin: I wish I had that luxury. Time is money and we’re already way over budget. I’ll be lucky if I still have the shirt on my back when this production is over!

[end of dialogue]

Our dialogue begins with Martin saying, “Okay, quiet on the set!” The “set” (set) is the area where you are making a video or a film or a television show; it’s the area where the actors are standing, what you’re actually filming. “Quiet on the set” is a common expression the “director” of the film or the TV show, the person who is in charge of actually making it, says so that everyone is quiet when they start filming so that you don’t hear other people talking when you’re not supposed to.

Martin says, “What are the extras doing over there?” An “extra” (extra) is a person who appears in a movie or a TV show, but doesn’t say anything usually, doesn’t have any what we would call “speaking parts.” They don’t actually say anything; they’re just there perhaps as part of a crowd of people. Here in Los Angeles, there are lots of companies that have extras, and you can sign up and work as an extra in a movie. It’s very boring work, I’ve been told, and it doesn’t pay very well. I know a few people who have done that because they needed the money. Well, a lot of actors try to get their “start,” their beginning in acting, by being an extra, one of these people that just appear on the screen – that is, in the movie or in the TV show – even though they don’t say anything and you don’t even know who they are.

Martin says that the extras are not in the scene. The “scene” (scene) is the part of the movie – it could also be talking about a play – that shows action in a single place. So, a movie usually has several different scenes – several different places that you see the actors and the actresses. There are a few movies that don’t have more than one or two scenes. There was a famous movie several years ago called My Dinner with Andre, where the whole movie was just basically two people talking in a restaurant. Well, most movies have several scenes.

Stephanie says, “Sorry, I’ll get them (I’ll get the extras) off the set,” meaning so that they are no longer where the cameras are filming. She says, “Is this the lighting you wanted for this scene? If not, I can tell the lighting crew.” The “lighting” is the arrangement of the lights on a stage or on a set that allows you, of course, to see the actors. Especially if you are inside, you need to be able to have lighting so that you can see what’s going on. The word “crew” (crew) is a general term for a group of people who are working together, usually doing some sort of physical work. In a movie or a TV show, a “crew” is a group of people who do all of the technical things, not the actors, not the director, but the people who do the lighting, who actually operate the cameras, and so forth. This is the crew.

Martin says, “The lighting is fine, but this staging is all wrong.” “Staging” (staging) is the plan for where the actors are going to stand, how they should move around in a particular scene. By the way, I should mention the word “crew,” which we just talked about, has some additional meanings as well; those can be found in our Learning Guide. Martin says, “can someone turn off those sound effects?” “Sound effects” are recorded sounds that are added so that you don’t actually have to have a certain thing there. For example, when we record one of our podcasts and you hear a telephone ringing at the beginning of the dialogue, that’s a sound effect. I don’t actually have a telephone here that I make ring; I have a recording of a telephone and I use that. That’s a sound effect. Martin says that they’re not using sound effects in this scene – in this part of the movie.

Stephanie says, “I’ll get right on that.” “To get right on (something)” means to do it immediately, to do it right away. Martin then says, “Where is the cast?” The “cast” (cast) is the group of actors in the movie, everyone who is supposed to be in the movie or in the television show. They are the people who are the main actors, not the extras. Typically, we talk about the cast, we’re talking about the people who are actually speaking in the movies. Unless, of course, it’s a silent movie!

Stephanie says the cast is “on break,” they’re taking some time to relax, “because they thought we wouldn’t resume shooting until 2:00.” “To shoot” (shoot) here means to use a camera to record images, to record something with a camera, usually a movie camera. Sometimes we’ll talk about a shoot related to taking photographs, especially, for example, for a magazine. If they are models, we might have a shoot. But here, we’re talking about filming the TV show or the movie.

Martin says, “That’s great!” But he is not happy when he says, “That’s great,” he’s being sarcastic; he’s saying one thing and meaning another. He says, “I have no cast, the sets are all wrong, I have extras milling around where they shouldn’t be, and where is my script?” Martin says he has extras milling around. “To mill (mill) around” is a two-word phrasal verb meaning to sort of walk around slowly in an area without any reason or without any particular purpose. You’re just waiting for something so you’re sort of standing, we might say “standing around,” milling around, moving back and forth because you don’t have anything else to do. Martin asks where his script is. The “script” (script) is the written plan for the play, the TV show, or the movie that tells you what all the actors say and what they do.

Stephanie says, “It’s right here on your chair. Are you sure you don’t want to call it a day and start again in the morning?” “To call it a day” means to stop doing something, to stop working for that day and not to work again until the next day. So maybe you’ve been working very hard in your office, and at 4:00 in the afternoon you say, “I’m going to call it a day.” I’m going to stop working now and resume or continue working tomorrow.

Martin says, “I wish I had that luxury,” the luxury to call it a day. “Luxury” (luxury) here means something very nice, something pleasant, something good and pleasurable. But Martin says he does not have that luxury; he cannot afford – he doesn’t have the ability to just stop working for the day. He says, “Time is money.” This is an old expression. “Time is money” means that you can’t waste your time. We have to be productive, if we sit around and do nothing we’ll be losing money because we’re not taking advantage of the time we have.

“Time is money,” Martin says, “and we’re already way over budget.” “To be way over” means to have spent too much money, or to be more than something. In this case, they are over budget. “Budget” (budget) is the plan for the amount of money you are going to spend on something. If you are “over budget,” you’re spending more than you planned. If you are “under budget,” you are spending less than you planned.

Martin says, “I’ll be lucky if I still have the shirt on my back when this production is over!” The expression “the shirt on my back” doesn’t mean the actual shirt you are wearing. It’s a phrase referring to the most that you can lose, the maximum amount of money that you might lose. Of course if you lose all of your money, you may actually lose your clothes; you may have to sell your clothes to pay the money that you owe someone else. That’s kind of what Martin is saying. A “production” (production) is usually the word we use to describe the entire action of making a movie, a play, or a television show. The whole activity – the whole thing is called a “production.”

Now let’s listen to the dialogue, this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Martin: Okay, quiet on the set! What are the extras doing over there? They’re not in this scene.

Stephanie: Sorry, I’ll get them off the set. Is this the lighting you wanted for this scene? If not, I can tell the lighting crew.

Martin: The lighting is fine, but this staging is all wrong. And can somebody turn off those sound effects? We’re not using them in this scene.

Stephanie: I’ll get right on that.

Martin: Where is the cast?

Stephanie: They’re on break because they thought we wouldn’t resume shooting until 2:00.

Martin: That’s great! I have no cast, the sets are all wrong, I have extras milling around where they shouldn’t be, and where’s my script?

Stephanie: It’s right here on your chair. Are you sure you don’t want to call it a day and start again in the morning?

Martin: I wish I had that luxury. Time is money and we’re already way over budget. I’ll be lucky if I still have the shirt on my back when this production is over!

[end of dialogue]

She’s not an extra; she’s not part of the crew. She’s the person who writes our scripts, the wonderful Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2012 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
set – the area that is filmed by video cameras when producing a movie or TV show

* This TV show looks like it was filmed in an apartment, but it was actually filmed in a specially constructed set.

extra – a person who appears in a film or movie, but does not have any role and does not say anything, often just sitting in a room or walking by the main actors

* Aunt Harriet was an extra in a movie last week, and now she’s acting like she’s a Hollywood celebrity.

scene – one part of a play or movie showing action in a single place

* Were you nervous when you had to kiss the actress in that scene at the end of the play?

lighting – the arrangement of powerful lights on a stage or set, used to shine light on the actors and other objects being filmed or shown

* The dialogue between the actors would be much more dramatic with dark blue lighting.

crew – a group of people who work together as a team for a particular purpose, especially when that work involves manual (physical) labor

* The construction crew starts hammering at 5:30 a.m. each weekday.

staging – a plan for where actors should stand, how they should move, and when in a particular scene

* We need to change the staging so that everyone can see Eli when he starts singing.


sound effect – a recorded or artificial sound used to add emphasis or drama to a film or stage scene

* This play uses doorbells, telephone rings, and similar sound effects.

to get right on (something) – to do something right away, without waiting or delaying

* The boss asked us to write up that report right away. He needs it for his 3:00 meeting.

cast – all the actors who are hired to act in particular movie, scene, or play

* The cast includes some famous Hollywood stars and a few lesser-known actors.


to shoot – to record images with a camera, either a video camera or a photographic camera

* The director wants to shoot the scene right when the sun is setting.


to mill around – to slowly walk around an area without any particular purpose, usually waiting for something to happen

* Between classes, the high school students mill around the hallways and talk to their friends.

script – the written plan for a play, movie, or TV show, including everything the actors say

* How long would it take a professional actor to memorize the dialogue in a 100-page script?

to call it a day – to stop doing something and not do it again for the rest of the day, planning to start again the next business day

* We’re both too tired to figure out what’s wrong with these accounts. Let’s call it a day and try again tomorrow after a good night’s sleep.

luxury – something that is very nice, pleasant, and desirable, but that is expensive and/or difficult to get and is not necessary

* Samar dreams of having the luxury of paying someone else to clean her home each week.

time is money – a phrase used to show that time should not be wasted, because it represents an opportunity to be productive and be paid for one’s work, often used when one wants another person to work harder or more seriously

* I can’t believe I was on the phone with the electric company for 25 minutes to update my payment information. Don’t they know that time is money?

budget – a plan showing how much money one will spend for a particular purpose, and where that money will come from

* More than 50% of the researcher’s budget is for travel and lodging.

the shirt on my back – a phrase referring to the maximum contribution one can make, or the maximum amount of money someone can lose

* Doctor, I’ll give you the shirt on my back if you can save that little girl’s life.

production – the effort and coordination needed to make a movie, play, or TV show

* Laura is going to audition for a local production of Shakespeare’s Othello.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why is Martin upset?
a) Because there are too many people in the room.
b) Because there are too many lights for the cameras.
c) Because the extras are making too much noise.

2. According to Stephanie, what did the actors think would happen at 2:00?
a) They thought they’d need to practice shooting guns.
b) They thought they’d come back from their lunch break then.
c) They thought they’d need to perform in front of the cameras.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
crew

The word “crew,” in this podcast, means a group of people who work together as a team for a particular purpose, especially when that work involves manual (physical) labor: “A film crew is going to come into our office tomorrow to make a promotional video, so please dress nicely and make sure your desk is clean.” Or, “The flight crew is almost done loading fuel onto the plane.” The phrase “crew cut” refers to a very short hairstyle for men: “Jake doesn’t want to become a soldier, because he doesn’t want to lose his long hair when they give him a crew cut.” Finally, a “crew neck” describes a simple, round neckline close to the neck on a shirt or sweater: “That sweater would look better if you wore a crew neck underneath it.”

production

In this podcast, the word “production” means the effort and coordination needed to make a movie, play, or TV show: “That Broadway show was the best production I’ve ever seen of The Phantom of the Opera.” The phrase “to make a big production” means to exaggerate the amount of effort needed to do something and draw attention to one’s actions: “I wish I hadn’t asked Jenna to help with the presentation, because she’s making a big production about how important she is and how I couldn’t do it without her.” Finally, the word “production” refers to manufacturing or growing: “These cows are for milk production, not for meat.” The word “production” can also refer to how much of something is manufactured or grown: “If you give the chickens better food, egg production will increase.”

Culture Note
Filming Locations

Many American movies and TV shows are filmed in Hollywood, but there are a lot of “sites” (locations; places) across the country that are famous because they were used as filming locations in popular movies.

For example, Grand Central Station in New York City is a large “subway” (network of underground tunnels that trains travel through for public transportation) station where there are always many people “commuting” (traveling between home and work). Grand Central Station has been used as a filming location for many movies, including Superman and Armageddon.

Times Square is a very busy intersection in New York City with a lot of electronic “billboards,” large signs used for advertising. Times Square has been a filming location for many movies that need to “depict” (show) a busy city, including Spiderman and Last Action Hero.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art in Pennsylvania is well known as the filming location for Rocky and its “sequels” (movies made later to continue the story in the original movie). In those movies, Rocky the “boxer” (someone who participates in boxing, which is a sport that involves hitting people very hard with special gloves) runs up the stairs at the entrance in the front of the building while he is training for an important “match” (a competition in wrestling or boxing).

Natural areas can also serve as filming locations. The desert scenes in Star Wars were filmed in Death Valley National Park in California. And Field of Dreams was filmed on a “baseball field” (the outdoor area where a baseball game is played) in Dyersville, Iowa.

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - c