How to Block Actors On Set

Blocking actors is one of the main responsibilities of the director. The term blocking refers to the actors’ movements on set. We like to break blocking down into two stages – macroblocking and  microblocking. Macroblocking are the large movements an actor makes– where does he walk, where does he stop, where does he sit, when does he stand? Conversely, microblocking are small personal movements– opening of the newspaper, adjusting eyeglasses, taking a sip from the coffee mug. The balance is a dance between macro and microblocking is what creates a believable performance.

Of course the director is going to have an idea in his head how he thinks the actors are going to move with in the space, because he has been a part of the set design, where the furniture is placed, and that stuff. But I think it’s a good idea to put the characters in the space and see how they move in the space and how the tensions of the scene dictate their movements and where they move. Explore that a couple of times before you lock it in.

– Angela Nicholas – Actress, Deadwood

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