Updated 6/20/2007
Styleguide: A-C | D-G| H-L| M-R | S-Z | REVIEWS | PEOPLE, PICS AND MORE

To suggest corrections, additions or changes, email gary.north@variety.com

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If not listed below, consult the following references in the following order:

AP Stylebook; Webster’s II New College Dictionary; www.m-w.com; www.dictionary.com

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hand — backhanded, evenhanded, firsthand, handheld, handmade, handpicked, handcrafted, offhanded, secondhand; BUT: empty-handed, farm hand, hand-wringing, heavy-handed, left-handed, light-handed, right-handed, right-hand man, single-handed

handicam — generic term; Handycam — trademark of Sony

handicapped – see handicapped entry in AP Stylebook.


hardline (adj), hardliner (n)

hardtop – indoor movie theater; ozoner is a drive-in

Hays Code, Hays Office

headend – cable term; it’s the control center where signals are received from satellite and sent out to channels

headlines — We are admonished that we cannot reduce headline sizes by more than three points (36pt can’t be smaller than 33) unless instructions allow otherwise or you get special permission; also see ABBREVIATIONS, above.

head start

health care (n), health-care (adj) — per AP

Here Films – not: here! Films, despite press releases; but Here! TV

heart(ed) — bighearted, coldhearted, fainthearted, goodhearted, halfheart, hardhearted, heartbroken, heartfelt, heartwarming, kindhearted, lighthearted, openhearted, softheared, tenderhearted, warmhearted — but: heart-rending, heart-stopping, heart-wrenching

heavy-hitters (per EG 2/8/02)

Hezbollah (part of God) – preferred to Hiz bollah

Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst – second reference for this investment firm: Hicks Muse — not Hicks, Muse – this is a change from our previous style

high-definition TV (n & adj), hi-def (n & adj), high-def (n & adj), high-definition (n), HDTV, HD DVD (format that competes with Sony’s Blu-ray version)

high-rise (n & adj)

high-water mark

hijinx – slanguage for “highjinks”

hip-hop (n & adj)

hitman – one word as of 6/19/07 per TG

hoard (n & v) – gathering, stash; compare with “horde”

holder (as a suffix) – no hyphen: titleholder, stockholder


holdup (n. & adj.)

Hollywood & Highland Center — use ampersand instead of plus sign (+)

Hollywood Radio & Television Society — HRTS




homepage — of a Web site


homevideo, homevid

horde (n) – group as in “the invading Mongol hordes”; compare with “hoard”



hot spot

HQ – headquarters

hourlong — no hyphen, contrary to AP style, in line with weeklong, yearlong, etc.

HRTS – Hollywood Radio & Television Society

HUT — homes using television (a Nielsen/ratings term)



• Hyphenate compound modifiers only when it is absolutely visually necessary for readability. This is subjective, but not hard to distinguish: If the two words form commonly used expressions, no hyphen is necessary.

Example: top 10 movie. But: top-notch production.

• Hyphens and numbers are frequently joined incorrectly. It’s a 26-year-old chair, but a chair that is 26 years old. It’s 18- to 34-year-olds advertisers want. A film will shoot for 10 to 12 weeks, or for 10-12 weeks, but NOT for 10-to-12 weeks. And no hyphens when using “millions” or “billions” and a numeral: it’s a $12 million film, 30 million viewers watched, costs were in the $25 million range. Also: multimillion-dollar deal.

• Ranges: Hyphens can be used to indicate “to” in adjectival applications (the $10,000-$20,000 transaction; note repetition of $) but otherwise: The deal was worth from $10,000 to $20,000 or between $10,000 and $20,000. Also note that no zeroes should be dropped in these comparisons. Additionally, the word million or billion should not be dropped in the first figure of such a range. $20 million-$30 million deal, a deal worth $20 million to $30 million.

• In percentage ranges, use two signs: from 30% to 50%; a 30%-50% stake.


IATSE — Intl. Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees; IA acceptable on later references

ICM — stands for International Creative Management; don’t abbreviate the first word to Intl. — see “international” entry below.

ID, ID’d — for “identity,” “identified” — no periods

iFilm (lc i except at beginning of a sentence or hed)

IFP — In response to IFP/L.A.’s relaunch as Film Independent, or Find, IFP/New York has announced it will drop the location-specific tag from its title and be known henceforth only as IFP, the org’s original name. The other five existing, independently operated Independent Feature Project chapters will keep their current titles. See also Spirit Awards.

IFTA — Trade association AFMA changed its name to the Independent Film & Television Alliance, or IFTA, in mid-2004, complete with a logo redesign. A few years ago, AFMA stood for the American Film Marketing Assn., but AFMA principals discouraged any reference to its full name because it did a poor job of describing the organization and its activities. That left AFMA as an acronym without meaning. So now it’s IFTA or Independent Film & Television Alliance.

Imagine Films Entertainment — The independent film company headed by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, based at Universal; TV division Imagine TV has a deal at Disney

Imax — not all caps; “Imax” and “large-format” are not interchangable adjectives. Imax is a company; large-format or giant-screen films are generic desciptions. There are several companies that produce giant-screen films that can be screen in Imax-owned theaters.

Inc. — usually should be dropped; should not be used after Corp., Co., Prods., other corporate abbreviations: Lazard Freres & Co. (no Inc.); please elimi-nate ALL “incorporation” abbreviations from text, including INC, GMBH, SA, SPA, NV, etc.

In Demand — VOD company; not iN Demand, despite press releases

India: Change Bombay to Mumbai; change Madras to Chennai; change Calcutta to Kolkata; an Indian is from India; a Native American is from North America — see “ethnic” entry.

indie — avoid using this and “independent” as in independent filmmaker, TV stations, producers, distributors, etc.; the only word that makes sense to use is the opposite of “indie” – which is “a major,” and until something changes, the ONLY Hollywood majors are the seven MPA companies: Sony (Col), Viacom (Par), Fox, Warners, Universal, Disney (Miramax is a mini-major linked to it) and MGM (UA is its arthouse arm). If a producer or distributor has a deal on a lot, say so.(EG 8/22/2000, abridged by gn)

InDigEnt – digital film prod’n company; note caps/l.c.

“in final negotiations…,” “in talks…” – try to avoid such phrases on stories about talent deals. Preferable is: ‘Joe Blow will star in “Big Picture,” pending his approval of the director.’ If it’s early, and it’s only an offer, let’s say that. There is an implied hedge in the use of “in talks” and similar phrases, but we don’t need it. If a deal falls apart, we’ll write that. (– From daily L.A. budget for Aug. 1, 2001)

Infinitum Nihil – Johnny Depp’s shingle

infopike — Variety’s own term for the information superhighway. Don’t use infobahn.

inhouse — one word (see arthouse), but in-home (adj)

ink — Slanguage for “sign” as in “he inked the contract”

“in talks…” — avoid; see “in final negotiations…”

international – Intl. in text as part of a proper name, but: International Creative Management. Also, do not abbreviate as adjective in text: He handles in-ternational sales. In heads, it’s int’l (no period).

international briefs – in dailies: no city dateline; all caps countries in reverse SPEC bar; wkly – both city dateline AND country SPEC bar


Internet – cap, one word; see also dot.com stuff, Net and Web

— dot-com

— Net, Netizen, Netco, Netcasting, etc. – be sure sentence clearly indicates reference is to the Internet and not broadcast nets

— CAPITALIZE the name of a COMPANY: Broadcast.com bought more dot-coms;

— CAPITALIZE the name of a SITE: Big Entertainment owns the Web site Hollywood.com; but Lower-case the ADDRESS of the site: Big Entertainment’s Web site at http://www.hollywood.com is popular.

— Lower-case Internet companies and interactive company names that start with the letters e (for electronic) and i (for interactive or Internet): eBay, iFilm but capitalize inital caps of compound names: ArtistDirect, CreativePlanet.com, etc.; exceptions include ONdigital.


into – he tuned into his favorite show, he’s tuned into his emotions, he’s into sports; contrast with onto vs. on to

INTV – acronym only, for the Assn. of Independent Television Stations

Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre – it’s now Verizon Wireless Amphitheater for the next few years (also note the change in spelling to Amphitheater)

IP – intellectual property (try to avoid especially if story is jargony or also involves ISPs and/or IPOs)

IPO – initial public offering; spell out on first reference

Island Def Jam – no slash between Island and Def for this record company

ISO – internet service provider (usually refers to consumer’s retailer porthole not Web hosting)

Italo – slanguage for Italian (adj.)

ITC, ITV – acronym only. ITC is the U.K.’s Independent TV Commission, the U.K. regulator that issues TV licenses. ITV, also known as Channel 3, is the main commercial network made up of 15 regional broadcast licensees plus one Breakfastime licensee. In London, Carlton TV broadcasts on Channel 3 during the week; London Weekend Television (surprise!) does the weekend programming.

“It’s Like, You Know . . .” – caps/lc, space, Alt 0-1-3-3 leader dots (not three periods). ABC’s Web site and press releases interchangeably use the above cap style and “It’s like, you know. . .” so you might see it both ways; for now, cap/lc as per the above.

Itsy Bitsy Entertainment Co. – not itsy bitsy, despite the firm’s press releases. Company head’s first name has two n’s: Kenn Viselman.

the Juilliard School

“Jeopardy!” – Use exclamation point in first reference only.

JM Morgan Stanley — note no periods; JM, not JP; and Morgan is a separate word; a joint venture of JM Financial (one of India’s domestic investment banks) and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter (a global financial firm).

JPMorgan Chase — note no periods and JPMorgan is one word; — a bank, part of JPMorgan (a group)

Jujamcyn Theatres

jumpstart – one word

kick-ass – but badass

kickstart — one word

Kirch Group — two words (aka KirchGruppe, but avoid this); components of this defunct conglom include Kirch Media (two words; Kirch stands separate from other words (Kirch Group, Kirch Media, Kirch Pay TV, etc.) despite what some Mip TV stories might say

Kids’ WB — a block of TV shows

kidvid, kidshow – children’s television

Kiss (the rock group)

Kiwi – New Zealander


Kodak Theater — even in cutlines, though photos of its facade may show it spelled “Theatre.”

kudo — OK as alternative to “award”; note we use it as a singular and kudos as plural, despite purists’ utterances about its origin. . .

kudocast — televised awards show

L.A. — with periods

Labor Party — the British political party (not Labour)

laffer (n) — a comedy

lagging — (doesn’t require “behind” after it)

land mine — but minefield

large-format film — also: giant-screen film; not synonymous with Imax

laserdisc — one word, lowercase

Latam — verboten as of 6/16/2000 by PB; spell out Latin America

latenight — one word

“Late Show With David Letterman”

Lazard Freres & Co. – investment banker

lead-in, lead-out, lead-off (exception to Merriam-Webster) – as in, “My Two Dads” failed to hold on to the strong ratings for lead-in “Roseanne.”

League of American Theaters and Producers – even though official name spells it Theatres

legit – live theater

lense (v)

likable (AP)


lingo, lingos – verboten at this time


Lionsgate – new name as of 12/15/2005; formerly Lions Gate Entertainment

lip-sync, lip-syncing

live action/ live-action film

LMA — local marketing agreement; plural abbreviation is LMAs. Refers to one TV broadcaster managing another company’s station in the same market. Lower case spelled-out term on first reference as per Todd C. 4/99

loath – reluctant (adj): I’m loath to do this; loathe – hateful, hostile (v): He loathes her; but: loathsome (no “e”)

Location News — bullets before each item; bold face, justified; CAPs first line of each segment.

Loews Cineplex Theater chain; please refrain from using Cineplex to refer in a generic way to multiplex or megaplex cinemas.


long (suffix) — hourlong, daylong, weeklong, monthlong, yearlong, decadelong; but: years-long, weeks-long

longform – telefilms and miniseries

long shot


long-term (adj.)

longtime (AP) (adj.); but one-time (AP)


Looney Tunes

lord — as in warlord, but drug lord, gang lord

LORT — League of Regional Theatres

Los Angeles — L.A. OK as abbreviation, but NEVER Tinseltown, or La-La Land or other condescending designations.


LP (vinyl album) — LP is not acceptable as synonym for CD.

L.P. — limited partnership; Brit version of Inc. May be dropped.


LWT — stands for London Weekend Television, but the company is officially called LWT. It’s an ITV station that is owned by Granada (2-94).