Variety speak: A users' guide
Monday 12 May 2008
Whodunit: a mystery film (or show); "The director's next project will be a whodunit for Warner Bros."
Tubthump: to promote or draw attention to; from the ancient showbusiness custom of actors wandering the streets banging on tubs to drum up business; "Disney is planning a big parade to tubthump the opening of its new release."
Praisery: public relations firm; "The studio is retaining an outside praisery to augment its p.r. chores on the film."
Turnaround: no longer active; a project put into "turnaround" has been abandoned by one studio and may be shopped to another.
Sprocket opera: film festival; "The actor plans to attend the annual Sundance sprocket opera next year."
Whammo: a sensation; "Men in Black has done whammo biz internationally." (See also boffo)
Hoofer: dancer; "Mary Tyler Moore was a hoofer before she got into acting."
Tentpole: movie expected by a studio to be its biggest grossing blockbuster of the season, usually summer. Often the pic is the start of, or an installment in, a franchise; "Armageddon was a successful tentpole in 1998."
One-hander: a play or movie with one character; "One-hander Ferris Bueller's Day Off is one of the defining films for children of the 1980s." (See also two-hander)
Sudser: soap opera; "Sudser star Susan Lucci was nominated for an Emmy again this year."
Shingle: a small business, often set up by an actor or established player at a larger company; "Tom Green has launched production shingle Bob Green Films."
Boff: (also boffo, boffola) – outstanding (usually refers to box office performance); "My Best Friend's Wedding has been boffo at the B.O." (See also whammo)
Nix: reject, say no to; as in the famous Variety headline "Sticks Nix Hick Pix", meaning that audiences in rural areas were not interested in attending films about rural life.
Two-hander: a play or movie with two characters; "Love Letters has been one of the most popular two-handers of the Nineties." (See also one-hander)
Chopsocky: a martial arts film; "Chopsocky star Chuck Norris will make a guest appearance on Seinfeld this season."
Ankle: a classic (and enduring) Variety term meaning to quit or be dismissed from a job, without necessarily specifying which; instead, it suggests walking; "Alan Smithee has ankled his post as production prexy at U."
Sleeper: a film or TV show that lacks pre-release buzz or critical praise, but turns into a success after it is released, usually due to good word-of-mouth; "Sixth Sense was the surprise sleeper of the summer of 1999."
Warbler: singer; "Under its new policy, the nitery has booked a string of warblers."
Gotham: New York City; "Film production in Gotham has been on the rise for the past several years."
Payola: bribery or under-the-table payments; "The proliferation of payola rocked the music industry in the 1950s."
Unspool: to screen a film; "More than 30 films are set to unspool at the upcoming festival."
Moppet: child, especially child actor; "Elizabeth Taylor is one of the few moppets who made the transition to adult star."
Dramedy: a TV show that could be labeled both a comedy and a drama, usually an hour long. Also, a film or theatre show that could be labeled as either – or perhaps fails at both; "Fox Family Channel series State of Grace, a dramedy about two 12-year-old girls growing up in Sixties North Carolina, targets the female tweens demographic with hope of generating a tag-along parental audience."
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
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