Now an adventure into the cryptic world of language and we're going to need your help. Something got me thinking about words that are really specific to a particular line of work, you know, phrases that are kind of a secret code that nobody else would understand - but everyone in that world would know exactly what you're talking about. Well from that germ another occasional...


UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: All Things Considered Series.

BLOCK: Is born. We're calling it trade lingo. And we're going to kick it off today staying in the world of movies. A while back I was interviewing the actor and director Ben Stiller. And I asked him what filmmaking lingo might fit this bill - an insider's term from the movie set.

BEN STILLER: Do people use the term 10-100?

BLOCK: I have no idea what that means.

STILLER: Someone's gone 10-100, they've gone to the bathroom on a movie set.

BLOCK: Why is it 10-100?

STILLER: I have no idea.

BLOCK: Oh, come on. (Laughing).

STILLER: I honestly don't know. It's 10-100. It's like some sort of code. I thought it related to some military code or something. They go - you go, you know, where's Ben? He's 10-1. 10-1 is short for 10-100.

BLOCK: Oh. It's even shortened?

STILLER: Yeah. It's 10-1.

BLOCK: Well, we checked and we can now let Ben Stiller know that 10-100 actually comes from CB radio talk. You know, like 10-4 means OK. 10-100 is a bathroom stop. And then Stiller thought of another term of the trade.

STILLER: Here's something that relates to going to digital and digital filmmaking now. Where pretty much film is going away but at the end of a take, basically when you say, printed and we're moving on, the first assistant director will go check the gate. And check the gate means to look literally at the gate of the film camera where the film passes in front of the lens to make sure there aren't any hairs in there because if there's a hair or dust it would scratch the film. That's all become obsolete because now digital technology can clean all that up but still at the end of every take - once you said printed, moving on, they'll say check the gate.

BLOCK: They'll just say it even though nobody has to do it?

STILLER: No. Then the camera-man will do some version of checking it but basically it's saying that we're finished. And then that gets sometimes changed into chicken in the gate.


STILLER: Chicken in the gate.

BLOCK: OK. Now we want to know - what's your version of chicken in the gate from your line of work. Please send us your trade lingo on Twitter and Facebook were at NPR@ATC. More ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, coming up right after this.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from