Hollywood Acting Lingo – Break Some Face

This was one of the coolest pieces of folklore that I collected for this project (in my opinion). After writing up my piece on the real estate finance industry’s saying “if the shoe fits, wear it”, I decided to ask my friend Derek if he had any similar sayings from the movie industry. Derek interns at Paramount Pictures, and has been on the set with tons of actors. Therefore, he has had ample opportunity to pick up some of the lingo.

He told me a few other sayings that are commonly thrown around before he got to this one. Apparently, depending on who is working on the movie set, the staff and actors will say “Break Some Face” to one another before shooting a scene. I immediately thought of the traditional saying that everyone knows, “break a leg”. Derek explained that this was of similar meaning, in that it is a phrase of encouragement. However, it has a slightly different origin.

Apparently during auditions for movie roles, it is not uncommon for the judge not to say a single word to the candidate. It is the responsibility of the candidate to “break” this stone face. Naturally, if the audition goes well, the judge will smile and/or speak to the candidate. When this has occurred, they have successfully “broken some face”.