15 April 2021 - 10:42 BY Louw
Blocking A Scene: Tool To Help You Hit Your Mark
Making a film is a team sport. Every crew member has their own part to play to help the team win – execute every scene to the best of their ability.
For an actor, it can become stressful on the day of shooting. The Assistant Director keeps pushing for time as you hear him rush all the crew members. You feel the pressure. Now, when you get to set you might get the feeling “do this quickly and get it right.” The thing is, if you are prepared and know how to dance between the creativity of your preparation and the technical necessities… you’ll dominate that scene.
During the blocking of a scene (where the director will tell the actors where she wants them to sit, stand, pick up a glass, walk across the room etc.), the gaffer will mark the spots on the floor where you need to stop for camera and lighting to find you. Well, technically, you need to find them, which is what adds to the pressure.
I have found a trick that helped me a lot with hitting my marks when the camera is rolling without overthinking it while I should be “in-the-moment.”
Trick to try:
- Blocking: notice exactly where your marks have been placed. If unsure, feel free to ask.
- While the director and crew discuss lighting or camera movements: start from the beginning of the scene and walk it through with the blocking in mind.
- When you have to move from one spot to the next: count your steps from where you sit to where you have to walk.
- Walk it back and forth, counting the steps… 1…2…3…4 Boom! On your mark. Then back… 1…2…3…4 back to sitting position.
- Walk it three to five times and get into a physical rhythm.
- During the scene that steps is within your fibre and you can focus on being present and “in-the-moment.”
It sounds so simple but works really well. It helps me to not focus on the blocking but on my co-actor instead.
I find that each job that I do, the thing that gets me there is when I’m not smarter than it, when I don’t know instantly how that thing is made. Because if I do, then it’s boring. Or it would be simple.
How did you find the technique/tool/advice? Did it work for you? What was different this time? Share with the tribe and let’s keep on creating beautiful, honest and memorable performances. Let’s execute our best selves!
Edwin van der Walt