Movie Terminology Glossary: W


A minor role, usually without speaking lines.


AKA: Rhubarb
Background conversation. Historically, when a script called for "crowd unrest" or "murmuring", the extras would be required to mumble the word "rhubarb", as this produced the required effect.

Wardrobe Department

The section of a production's crew concerned with costumes. Individual job titles include: costume designer, costumer, and costume supervisor.

Wardrobe Supervisor

The head of the wardrobe department.


AKA: Oater, Oat Opera
A movie set in the "Wild West" of the late 19th-century United States.

On the web: List of Westerns at the IMDb.

Whip Pan

AKA: Whip-pan
An extremely fast pan, incorporating much motion blur. The term refers to the "whipping" action that the camera operator uses to move the camera.


A movie which has an aspect ratio which is greater than academy ratio when projected.

Wild Sound

AKA: Wild Track, Wild Sound, MOS, Mit Out Sound
Scenes that are filmed without the sound being recorded at the same time. Dialog and/or sound effects may be dubbed in later.

Wilhelm Scream

Originally recorded as a sound effect for the film Distant Drums in 1951 and named after the character who yelped it out, this distinctive scream was archived in the Warner Brothers sound effects library, and was subsequently used in countless films, first simply as a generic stock scream, and later because sound supervisors and directors used it in their films (including Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Toy Story and Pirates of the Caribbean) as a sort of touchstone or homage to earlier films. Though no specific documentation lists the identity of the screamer, sound designer Ben Burtt's research of Warner Brother's recording logs indicates that singer/actor Sheb Wooley is likely the source, as he was one of the bit actors contracted to record sound effects for Distant Drums, and had been known to specialize in yells, laughs, and screams.

On the web: Hollywood Lost And Found's History Of The Wilhelm Scream


An editing technique in which images from one shot are fully replaced by the images of another, delimited by a definite border that moves across or around the frame.


Moviegoers can't help warning their friends to avoid or not miss the movie they saw recently. After an opening weekend there's often enough feedback circulating from such warnings that it has a significant effect on how many more people go to see the movie. Negative word-of-mouth is often attributed to highly publicised movies doing poorly after the opening weekend, while positive word-of-mouth can provide a poor opener with legs.

Working Title

The name by which a movie is known while it is being made. This is sometimes different from the title with which it is released.


AKA: Animal handler, vehicle wrangler
A person who is responsible for the care and control of entities used on a set that can't be spoken with. This person is typically a professional, certainly with expertise in handling the item, often with expertise in handling the item on a movie set.

On the web: Unusual Wrangler #1, Unusual Wrangler #2, Unusual Wrangler #3, Unusual Wrangler #4


AKA: Windup, Wind, Wind Roll and Print
To finish shooting, either for the day or the entire production.

Fictional Movie(s): Get Shorty (1995)


A general term for someone who creates a written work, be it a novel, script, screenplay, or teleplay. See also Writers Guild of America.

Writers Guild of America

The Writers Guild of America is the sole collective bargaining representative for writers in the motion picture, broadcast, cable, interactive and new media industries. It has numerous affiliation agreements with other U.S. and international writing organizations and is in the forefront of the debates concerning economic and creative rights for writers.

On the web: Official Home Page