If you are new to the world of filmmaking, it is possible to be overwhelmed by the wave of production terminology and industry lingo that you are expected to know. One such term is the Abby Singer shot. You may hear the phrase called out by the 1st AD or another production member, and today, we’re going to break down what it means, why it’s called the Abby Singer shot, and why it matters.
Let’s define the Abby Singer shot
Abby Singer is not truly a technical term, but it is a widely used nickname for a particular type of shot that you can hear echoed on sets all around the world. The more insider terminology you understand before stepping onto your first film set, the better.
To learn more important film terms, take a look at our Ultimate Glossary For Filmmakers
Abby Singer shot DEFINITION
What is an Abby Singer Shot?
An Abby Singer shot is the penultimate shot of a day of shooting, and, at the end of a production. The Abby Singer label can also be applied to the penultimate setup, rather than precisely the penultimate shot if a production plans to capture multiple shots from the same camera and lighting setup. The Abby Singer shot will traditionally be followed by what is known as the Martini shot, which is the final shot of a day’s worth of shooting.
If all goes according to plan, you can figure out what your Abby Singer shot will be before you ever step foot on set. StudioBinder’s shooting schedule software is a great way to plan your days for maximum efficiency on set.
Abby Singer film
Why is it called an Abby Singer shot?
The term ‘Abby Singer shot’ is, as you might guess, named after a film professional named Abby Singer, also credited as Abner E. Singer if you feel like perusing his filmography. Abby Singer never referred to the penultimate shot of a film after himself but rather those that he worked with began to call the second-to-last shot the Abby Singer shot. This was due to the importance and emphasis that he placed on that particular shot.
Abby Singer himself explains how the term came to be
“This and one more,” was the phrase Abby would repeat on film and television sets that led to the creation of the now-iconic phrase. When the term first came into existence it was used to signify the penultimate shot of a day, of a location, or of a particular setup. These days the term is almost exclusively used in relation to the penultimate shot of an entire shooting day, or of the overall film.
What began as somewhat of an in-joke amongst Abby’s co-workers managed to blossom into a full-fledged industry-standard term used around the world. That is quite a legacy to leave behind.
Abby Singer film
The value of the Abby Singer shot
Certain production terms such as the Abby Singer shot or martini shot are deeply ingrained traditions in the filmmaking world. But there is also an added utility to these terms as well. Announcing the penultimate shot can serve a number of useful functions.
Hearing the 1st AD announce the Singer shot can be a welcome relief for a tired cast and crew. This announcement also allows for forward-thinking and provides a chance to gauge the efficacy of the day’s work; are we behind schedule? Ahead of schedule?
Time is a precious commodity on set. The phrase “time is money” applies to no business more than filmmaking. Announcing the Singer shot began as both a heads-up to the crew and a time-saving measure. Crew members not needed for the shot can begin striking or breaking down the set, second team can be on the move, and transpo can be called in. And a number of small proactive measures can be taken to save precious minutes when everyone knows the day’s finish line is within sight.
Terms Every Filmmaker Should Know
Now that you know all about Abby Singer, continue your terminology research with our guide to cinematography and film terms that every working filmmaker should know. A great deal of industry-specific terminology and lingo gets through around on film sets. Get ahead of the curve by familiarizing yourself with these terms and phrases in advance.
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What's up with using "penultimate" every other word?
It's such a great word that doesn't get enough airtime 🙂