Performance TermsOne sign of the super intelligent is their ability to utilize a variety of simple resources to their greatest potential. No one expects you to be MacGyver…but we all certainly stow away a secret desire to turn a paperclip into a honing device, don’t we?

I suppose the opposite could be said to be true: a sign of the not-so-bright might be ignoring perfectly good resources and floundering as a result. Well, if you haven’t recognized yourself in the latter more than once, you’re probably not paying attention. We’ve all ignored the obvious or failed to act to turn a situation around at one time or another. 20-20 hindsight typically kicks in, after the fact, offering the numerous ways we shoulda-woulda-coulda averted disaster.

Well, on a far less dramatic level…here we are during “Peace time”…before engaging in battle on session, shoot or gig…and in our continual attempt to aim for more and tap your greatest potential…I give you some of my favorite RESOURCES!

Your best friend: a PROPER dictionary!

Do yourself a favor. Check out ( and actually USE IT!

Don’t know the usage of the word and you honestly don’t know what the script is talking about? Look it up! Or how about: you’re not sure how to pronounce the word(s)? will even pronounce it for you! Granted it’s a bit of a ‘Southern Illinois meets just west of Nebraska’ flatter dialectical quality—but hey, you’ll get the idea and move on! Go ahead–pinch your nose and dive in!

Then write the word out phonetically on your script. (i.e. “onomatopoeia” is Ah-no-matta-pea’-uh) The world is hooked up to the Internet. This is true of any self-respecting recording studio. So, look it up and raise the intelligence of the entire studio! Even if you think you already know what the word means. Clearly there is more than one meaning to most words. Can you honestly say you know ALL of them? Well, Einstein, sometimes even you need to refresh the gray cells. I promise you NO ONE will think less of you. In fact, the irony of NOT looking it up is: everyone looks foolish because the session continues to flounder because no one knows what they’re talking about! SAVE yourself. Save the session. Be the hero for the day!

Besides that—derivations ultimately offer terrific insight into the full meaning that certainly increases your ability to play the meaning and the likelihood you’ll use the term correctly from here on out. (You, Brainiac, you. I knew there was something I liked about you. It’s the way you flex that major muscle between your ears.)

Another couple of toughies can be trying to decipher acronyms (words such as NATO or SAG or AFTRA, or even words such as FBI or CIA, formed from the first letter of each of the successive parts to create a new word) and idioms (an expression from which the meaning cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements, such as ‘Holy Cow’ or ‘no bed of roses’). This is important to note since scripts and direction are often FULL of them.

So, turn immediately to And guess what? You may find it becomes your BFF—ASAP! I mean, why play possum? If you haven’t the foggiest idea what it means—you have to do something!

Copyright © 2009 by Kate McClanaghan, Inc. All Rights Reserved