Movie Guide Glossary

If you are a movie lover, but do not know the terminology used within the movie and film industries, below you will find basic terms and definitions to give you a better understanding of the world of movies. 

  • Acting - Any time you watch a movie, film, television, or theatrical event, you are watching people act. Good acting is what really makes a movie. Actors and actresses gain recognition for outstanding acting performances. Most actors and actresses go to schools and workshops to hone their skills and make important connections in the world of movies. 
  • Directing - The director of a set is the creative force behind a production. The director conveys to the actors and the rest of the staff just how he would like scenes in a film or television show to play out. The director works closely with the rest of the staff in all creative outlets, from script writing, production, casting, etc.
  • Filming - Filming is the process of actually shooting the movie production. Filming depends on not only the actresses and actors, but topics such as lighting, sound, set creation, locations, props, and editing.
  • Awards - Films and the actresses and actors in the movie and television industry can win a number of different awards from respectable organizations. Among the most recognizable awards are the Oscars, the Academy Awards, Golden Globe awards, Cannes Film Festival awards, and so many more. Large television networks, such as MTV and Nickelodeon, offer public voted awards like the MTV movie awards, and Nickelodeon's Kid Choice awards which honors movies, actors and musicians alike. 
  • Festivals - Like award ceremonies, there are many movie and film festivals that celebrate the world of film. These festivals are held in major cities all over the world, and often showcase movie premiers. Actors, actresses, directors, and other movie industry big-wigs attend these events. Sometimes, the general public are given the opportunity to purchase passes to movie screenings and parties. Some of the most notorious movie festivals include the Cannes Film Festival, the Sundance Film Festival, the SXSW Film Festival, the International Film Festival Summit Europe, and the Japan Film Festival. 
  • Credits - Movie credits give thanks and recognition to everyone and everything that had something to do with the making of the movie. Credits include the entire staff, sponsors, and companies that helped the movie happen. Movie credits are shown in entirety at the end of the movie. 
  • Film Censor - Film censorship is the suppression of inappropriate materials for certain types of movies. Movies and films are classified and rated according to industry standards and guidelines. Film ratings must fall within the categories of G, PG, PG-13, R, and NC-17. The amount of film censorship depends on what category the film is rated.
  • Film Production - Film production is the processing of making the film. There are different stages of a film production. The most common are the development (where the idea for a movie and script are conceived), pre-production (casting is done), production (the film is shot), post production (the film is edited), and sales and distribution (the film is marketed to the general public.) 

  • Movie Memorabilia - Consist of anything related to cinema that one considers valuable, whether sentimentally or financially. Items may include original autographs, original movie posters used to advertise the film, film props, photo stills, original costumes, original film scripts and presskits, and more.
  • Lighting - Lighting in movies is critical to not only the physical filming of the movie, but for setting the scenes in a film. Many times, what appears to be outdoor or daytime scenes in a film, actually take place within a pre-fabricated studio. Lighting is an essential element of film production.
  • Motion Picture Production Companies - Motion picture production companies are the organizations that manufacture, distribute and market films. There are many motion picture production companies - some are large corporations that produce the blockbuster hits, and others are independent companies that specialize in smaller budget films. Some of the major motion picture production companies are MGM, Warner Bros., and Universal.
  • Film Editing and Processing - Film editing and processing takes place in the last stages of film production. After the movie is shot, film editors go through the film frame by frame, and cut and paste pieces of the film together to suit their likings. 
  • Animation - Film animation is the process of putting together animated films. There are many different kinds of film animation including 3-D animation, stop-motion animation, clay-mation, and digital animation.  In recent years, production companies such as Pixar, have paved the way for animation technology. 
  • Film Related Organizations
    • MPAA - The Motion Picture Association of America was created in 1922 an serves as the voice and advocate of movies and films in America.
    • MPA - The Motion Picture Association is the international organization for movie and film industry
    • BBFC - The British Board of Film Classification is the UK's counterpart to the MPAA.