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Learn, Teach, Share Experience

Stagehand Lingo

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

Are you new to event production? Have you been listening in on stagehand conversations and feel like you're on the outside of some inside joke? Well, here's a short list of some of the colloquial terms and phrases we often use, their meanings, and their actual meaning.

"Best Gig Ever!"

"Worst gig ever!"

"We only want to do this 'twice' once!"

"First we do it the Producer's way, then we'll do it the right way."

Work (Setup) Blacks

Black pants, black t-shirt or polo, black shoes (the entire right side of a stagehand's closet)

Show Blacks

Black slacks, black button-up shirt, black shoes (the other side of a stagehand's closet).

Dress Blacks

Black slacks, black coat, black tie, comfortable black dress shoes (usually balled-up in the stagehand's trunk or on the floor of their closet.


Oversized-size road case filled with every tool ever used, every adapters for any connection ever invented, every custom contraption ever imagined, food menus from every city ever visited. The workbox is a 500-pound security blanket on wheels.

Gack Box

A smaller road case filled with random crap we couldn't fit in the Workbox.


The only tool you won't find in the workbox (but you will find it in every lighting tech's pocket.

Left-handed or Metric C-Wrench

See "Flux Capacitor"


Also known as electrical tape, which is a pressure-sensitive, non-conductive insulating tape useful for binding looms, cable stress-reliefs, identifying microphones, minor first aid, marking bad gear, fixing loose latches, dressing speaker stands, resealing lunch containers and holding open crash doors. Sometimes also us

ed for insulating cable.

Gaff Tape

A heavy cotton tape with strong adhesive and tensile properties, used for everything else.

Flux Capacitor

A fictitious piece of gear that veteran stagehands will send novice stagehands in search of. Other such goose-chases involve the Cable Stretcher, the Left-handed C Wrench, the Metric C Wrench and The Skyhook [Editorial note: There is now such a thing as a Sky Hook.


"I'm done listening to you."

"Copy that"

"I'm really done listening to you now."


"Now I'm done talking to you too."


"Aww Shiiiiiit!" [duck & cover]

Wash Up

Smoke break before lunch

Lunch [break]

Smoke break and nap time.

Coffee [break]

Smoke break and a snack cuz we slept through lunch

Bio [break]

Last chance to sneak out for a smoke during show.

"Make it safe"

"Drop what you're doing, we're outta here!"

Hollywood Half

30-min lunch period [on-the-clock] and a client-provided meal - commonly used to bribe or coerce a stagehand into staying on-site (since very few lay faith in a stagehand returning from a walk-away meal on-time).

Working Lunch

Some sort of sandwich, unidentifiable wrap, a slice of pizza or similar meal that may be consumed with one-hand - perfect for talent rehearsals, late-running shows, poorly planned load-ins, production schedule overruns - one of many solutions designed to avoid the fearsome 'Lunch Penalty.'

Lunch Penalty

A mythological monster that mommy & daddy producers tell baby producers to frighten them into eating their vegetables, making their beds and finishing their production schedules. Few stagehands claim to have ever seen one.

Paper Tech

A production run-thru meeting that hardly anyone pays attention to.


A production rehearsal where it becomes evident that no one paid attention during the Paper Tech.


Somebody did something wrong.

"Stand by to stand by"

Nobody has a clue what to do next.

"Lift moving"

Watch your toes & fingers because the lift gate is coming down.

"Wheels To The Sky"

Upstacking a roadcase inverted because it doesn't fit property on it's wheels - and probably shouldn't be moved upside down.

"Show Crew To Headset"

"Wake up"

"Client On Comm"

"Client is listening, so pretend that's how it's supposed to look."

Well that's a wrap for today (meaning we're done). But stay tuned for Stagehand Glossary Vol 2.

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1 Comment

Oct 26, 2022

This was so comical, yet true! 🤣💯


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