13 Showbiz Words Talent Buyers Should Know

Don't let entertainers scare you with big technical sounding words.  Here's a cheat sheet to keep you savvy!  Have any to add to the list?  Feel free to post a comment.

1. Tech Rider - A document outlining the technical needs of an entertainer (i.e. sound, lighting, etc.)  

2. Backline - This word is used broadly so be sure to ask the band / performer to clarify what they mean by "Backline," and ask them to itemize their expectations.  This could include sound, gear, large instruments such as drums or grand piano, etc.

3. Stage Plot - A diagram outlining the stage set-up and placement of instruments and props.

4. Lighting Plot - A detailed description of the lighting needs for the show, cues, fixture types, gels, etc.

5. Gobo - A small circular piece of glass or metal that fits into a lighting fixture and projects a logo or graphic onto the stage, set, floor, grand drape, etc.

6. Marley - A rubber type of dance floor surface usually secured by Gaff Tape. Usually used by ballet and jazz dancers, not to be confused with the typical wood parquet squares used for weddings and events. 

7. Gaff Tape - Special tape (usually black) that doesn't leave residue on cables and is safe on most floor surfaces.

8. Cyc - Short for Cyclorama - a type of backdrop that is usually white to reflect lighting.

9. Green Room - A place for entertainers to prep, rest, keep personal effects, etc.

10. Upstage / Downstage - In the old days, stages used to be slanted instead of the audience.  The part of the stage nearest the audience is called downstage, the farthest part is called upstage.

11. Stage Left / Stage Right - This always refers to the performer's left and right (when they are standing onstage facing the audience).

12. House - The part of the venue where the audience sits

13. Stage Manager - This is a broad term and people vary in their expectations, however, in a nutshell this person usually wears a Clear Com headset and calls every cue in the show.  They are the clearing house of all communication during the show from the sound booth, light booth, orchestra pit, crew, and cast.

So there's a baker's dozen of common showbiz terms.  Don't let entertainers intimidate you - a professional should make your job easier and alleviate stress.