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Film Industry Terms - D

Film Industry Terms – D

Film Industry Terms – D

In this article, we bust common film and stage terms that begin with D. As an actor and extra, knowing these terms are beneficial because you’ll have a better understanding of what is being asked of you and the process you are involved in.


Also known as rushes, these are the end of the day scenes that the director will watch back to see how the film is progressing. Checks are made for things like continuity and whether the sound is right and so on. If something isn’t right, the director may decide to re-shoot.


This refers to a film that is a surprise hit. It is not just a cinematic term but when it comes to films, it can be hard to predict if the audience will love a film or not. Like other forms of art, films and actors come with expectations from the audience and so films like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle was not expected to be the hit that it was. Funny in all the right places, the casting was superb too.

Day-for-night shoot

If you are asked to be part of a day to night shoot then you will be filming a night scene although it is the middle of the day!


If you like your humour like you like your sherry – dry – then deadpan humour is what you are looking for. There are many different examples of this throughout movie history including films like Malcolm in the Middle.

Deleted scenes

As you can guess, this refers to filmed scenes that don’t make it into the final edit of the film. They do tend to resurface though, usually in a director’s cut of the film. Filmed in 1979, Alien had deleted scenes restored in the director’s cut in 2013.

Deus ex Machina

This translates as a device of a god – Deus – arriving on stage or in the film by a piece of equipment – Machina- which resolves the characters’ problems. In other words, this event would be considered so unlikely it is almost too far fetched but it could happen. It could be something like a multi-million-pound inheritance that sees a character instantly lifted out of poverty, for example. It usually happens towards the end of the film leaving the audience with a feel-good factor.


This means ‘realistic or logically existing’ but is used to create an emotional response in the viewer. Music is often a diegetic element, along with amplified sounds. For example, footsteps walking across a floor to a locked door signifies danger or, in another situation, can come across as menacing or dangerous.


This is another actor or stunt person who stands in the main actor in a shot.


This is the opposite of utopia and so is a dark, violent, sad place where society has descended due to a breakdown in the social order. A Clockwork Orange (1971) is based on Anthony Burgess’s most famous novel and is considered a masterpiece, if somewhat hard to stomach…

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