Movement In The Scene And The Use Of Props

Assuming that both you and your actors are comfortable and reasonably secure with your choices of needs, it is now time to get the actors up on their feet. Beware of too much time spent sitting around a table. Some actors like to stall and postpone the inevitable, particularly the less secure entry-level actors with whom film students often work, and find more and more things to talk about. Now it is time to insist sweetly but firmly that they get up on their feet.

Students always ask me when and how I advise blocking a scene, i.e., directing the physical movement or staging as it is often called in the theatre. The truth is that unless there is a very specific demand to satisfy either sight lines (theatre) or camera position and special effects demands (film), and in view of the fact that we want the physical movement to be arrived at organically by the actors in pursuit of their needs and actions, I don't even advise thinking of the physical movement as blocking, at least certainly not at this stage. Some directors seem to be under the misapprehension that their entire task in directing actors involves telling the actors where and when to sit, stand, enter, leave, etc. as per their preconceived storyboards or ideas, as well as how to utter a line in terms of speed and or volume to get a certain dynamic in a given scene. I cannot subscribe to this external and basically mechanical approach to the work. It seems to me to negate the whole idea of collaboration, turning the actors into something like robots and robbing the whole process of creativity and discovery. Although storyboarding is altogether necessary in the film director's preparation, I prefer that you wait until after a scene is rehearsed with actors to complete that task, even if it means working late into each night.

Before the actors can begin to move, however, they must have a clear idea of the geography of a given scene. The first order of business in this next stage of the work is to give the actors all the specific information they need about the location of the scene: doors, windows, placement of furniture, kind of furniture, props that might be present, etc. As for the use of hand props (books, magazines, a bowl, an objet d'art, kitchen implements, etc.), I advise introducing them as soon as possible or, at the very least, informing the actors as to what will be present for their use. Although it is difficult for the actors to handle props as they are struggling to deal with unfamiliar dialogue while holding scripts, I've found that the presence of or even just the awareness of the possibility of props often stimulates creativity and produces ideas for the behavior that accompanies pursuing actions through objects (i.e., caressing a lover's sweater in the lover's absence). Often in the course of rehearsal an actor will get an idea and request a specific prop that might not have been indicated in the script. It is usually a good idea to trust your actors' instincts and let them experiment with the ideas that might be suggested (assuming of course that you've chosen good actors!). Since it is the actor who is attempting to make what is on the page become a flesh and blood human being, it is advisable to give the actor every aid and as much leeway as possible.

And then there is the lucky accident. Something happens unexpectedly in a rehearsal or a take that wasn't planned. The accident is sometimes pure gold, helping to deepen the scene, or get the laugh, or fill in a visual gap. An apocryphal story about this kind of lucky accident is told about a scene between Marlon Brando and Eva Marie Saint in On the Waterfront. (Once again if you haven't seen this film, run to the nearest DVD or VHS rental store as it is an American classic.) It is a scene in which they are walking away from a disturbing meeting in the church. It seems cold and gray but there is a sexual tension that provides the heat between the two characters as they are getting to know one another. As the story goes, during a take Eva Marie accidentally dropped one of her gloves as she was putting them on. Marlon picked up the glove and, acting out of the instinct of the moment, studied it for a second and then attempted to put his hand inside it. Elia Kazan, brilliant director that he was, knew enough to keep the cameras rolling and printed the take. In his review, Roger Ebert, the well-known film critic, singled out this moment as having given the scene added "texture." Actually, that small accident gave us a clear visual snapshot of the character's subtextual need at that moment. Trust your actors and they may find you gold!

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100 Flirting Tips

100 Flirting Tips

Flirting is playful in nature, which is practiced by a person in order to express his or her interest in another individual, either romantically or sexually. There are ways to flirt subtlety and there are also ways of flirting that can be obvious at times. You can flirt with the use of your eyes, body language, touch, tone of your voice, or a combination of the mentioned behaviors.

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