When it comes to directing, the fine art of blocking and composition is a skill set that separates a good filmmaker from a great filmmaker.
Blocking is cinematic choreography. Simply, it’s the precise movement of an actor in relation to the camera.
Think about it – who decides where and how actors will move during a scene and when and how they will deliver each line of dialogue. Answer: The Director. And how the director answers these questions will significantly shape a movie.
Most aspiring (and even some seasoned) filmmakers overlook the power of good blocking and they do so at their own expense – as well as that of the audience.
This superb video essay from Dan Fox delves into this much overlooked and under appreciated directing skill, and how the clever staging of actors and camera movement can enhance a cinematic moment and reel your audience in.
If you’re a budding filmmaker that wants to direct think carefully about every scene in your film. Think about different ways to direct, ways that don’t just involve a shot/reverse shot formula. Seek inspiration from the films you love and don’t simply point the camera at ‘talking heads’. But above all – don’t be boring. Remember you’re telling a story and your direction is how you weave that story. If you’re asking people to spend their time and money – you better entertain them!
Watch. Enjoy and learn.