Words Matter

Every stage of filmmaking employs its own rich set of jargon. These 500+ terms cover the bare bones of the language screenwriters will run into along their writing journey. This list doesn’t include every camera angle, just the few you might need in your scripts. Nor does it drill down into every nuanced subgenre. It does attempt to mention the terms you might run into in a screenwriting forum or while self-studying via various blogs. Once you become familiar with these expressions, you’ll find both your reading and conversations about screenwriting run smoother, and you’ll be more confident hopping onto online groups with better-informed questions.

We began assembling this list when a newbie screenwriter posted in a popular screenwriting group what seemed at the time to be a laughable question: She asked: “Can someone please explain me what is a Plot?”

That led to a several-month quest to observe and listen to the lingo. We did a deep dive into the world of words used by this community and culled from several online glossaries, none of which focused on screenwriters. We also included terms that cropped up in online groups and plucked a few from more obscure sources. e.g. ‘Loop Group’ and a couple of others came from casual listens to NPR interviews that had nothing to do with film or screenwriting.

If you’re interested in learning more terms from the production side of filmmaking, like camera angles and post-production terminology, try these lexicons from StudioBinder and Screenwriters Workshop.

Did we miss anything obvious? Get one wrong? Let us know: info@badassbeatboards.com

Glossary of Screenwriting Terms