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What's the Good Word?

February 29, 1996|IRENE LACHER

Jargon.

It's the stuff that separates the animals from the first-timers, the knockoff artists from the hogwagons.

Over the years, outside forces have attempted to ban the paper hangers and the SACs and other jargonese, but private-speak has survived and thrived.

Last week jargon was attacked once more when Eugene Hickok, the Pennsylvania education secretary said enough already! "Any bureaucrat who slips an acronym in, uses a noun as a verb or submits a garbled memo must put a dollar into the Jargon Jar," he said clearly--the proceeds to be donated to buy CD-ROM dictionaries for schools.

If Mr. Hickok had a dollar for some of the jargon we found at the Department of Water and Power (hogwagon), the FBI (SACs), the Postal Service (animals) as well as in the worlds of movies (first-timers), law (paper hangers) and fashion (knockoff artists), every kid in Pennsylvania would have a CD-ROM dictionary.

Read on. We promise you'll never look at a mule or a pig the same way again.

Film-Speak

T * Star baggage: a huge chunk of money budgeted to provide perks for top talent.

* Pasadena: to pass on a script.

* Hyphenate: someone who plays multiple roles, such as director-producer.

* First-timer: first-time director.

* Page oner: a script that needs to be entirely rewritten, starting with Page 1.

* Pay or play: a contract provision that says a director or actor gets paid whether or not the picture gets made.

* Cover set: an alternate shooting location in case of rain.

* Vanity project: project put in development to make a star happy.

* Green light: to OK a picture for production.

* Flashing green light: almost there.

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