How to Film in Nigeria and still be human by Niyi Akinmolayan

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THE ART OF BLOCKING – OLUYOMI OSOSANYA

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When you look at a scene in a film what do you see ? In any well shot scene there are a few things ; Composition, Framing, Lighting, Art Direction, Actors and Blocking.

So what is blocking and why are we talking about it? I have made a video essay on the topic which you will find below but let me explain a few things.

First of all (go down low) , lol. Ok, seriously. Blocking is a term borrowed from theatre that refers to the positioning and movement of the actors in the stage. When it was brought to film the camera and the lights became a part of the equation. Part of blocking is deciding where they actors will be in each part of the scene, the lines they would deliver, and most importantly, WHY.

As a Director, blocking is something you will always have to do in interpreting the script, revealing character and telling a story. You have to figure out why a character is where they are at any point in time on screen in relation to their story and character. While also deciding where the camera is placed and how the scene is lit, if you are going to move the camera and/or the characters . 

 

How you introduce a character visually, how we see them for the first time tell us how to feel about them and how to perceive them

How you introduce a character visually, how we see them for the first time tell us how to feel about them and how to perceive them

Blocking can tell us about the relationship between characters, how close they may be, how comfortable they are with each other.

Blocking can tell us about the relationship between characters, how close they may be, how comfortable they are with each other.

 

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In this scene from short film, THE ENCOUNTER( Dir Tolu Ajayi ) we see a conversation which is mostly dialogue be blocked beautifully and show the change of the relationship between these two men slowly transform from soldiers acknowledging each other’s rant to old friends reminiscing to executioner and his prisoner within a few minutes. Watch a more detailed Video essay i made of the film

If you haven’t seen the movie, you may want to watch it first then come back to the video. Below is the movie Encounter:

 

olu yomiOlu Yomi Ososanya (Oludascribe) is a FilmMaker/Writer/Creative/Film Nerd Graduate of London Metropolitan University(Creative&Cultural Industries) and SAE Institute (Digital FilmMaking) and School of DVD Directors commentary Directed and Written films that have been at Cannes,AFRIFF and Fastnet Film other film festivals Written for and worked on TV shows for Mnet, Ebony Life and terrestrial television.

Check out his cool blog on oludascribe.com

 

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Comments

  • Posted: January 14, 2017 00:04

    kelvin

    Nice and extremely informative....Kudos.
  • Posted: January 14, 2017 12:57

    Abosi Ogba

    I had watched 'The Encounter' a long time ago, but I didn't really take note of these details. I didn't realize this seemingly little physical movements had its own story to tell, and helped tell the general story in the film. Do you think a writer can block in his scripts too, making it easier for interpretation, or do you think it would be an unnecessary interference to the director's work?
    • Posted: January 15, 2017 12:32

      Danny Nwauzorma

      Abosi, i think blocking scripts would be an interference, its best left to the directors discretion to choose when to block, he may have better ideas. Unless its a shooting script where camera angles and positions are specified.
  • Posted: January 16, 2017 18:32

    Oludascribe

    Abosi. Directing on the page is a No No. However, if you tell the story as visually as possible and allow the reader, in this case, the Director, to see the film on the page, it can help . But the Director will decide if it works on the scene when he/she sees what is available. It can remain just as described, but it can be enhanced because of subtext or something else they want to explore in the scene to bring it to life.
  • Posted: January 18, 2017 12:45

    awe SAMUEL

    BLOCKING THE SCRIPT IS GOOD. DIRECTOR USUALLY MAKE CHANGES WHEN THE SCRIPT CANT GO AS PLANNED WITH THE NEW SITUATIONS ON GROUND. A DIRECTOR TAKES A SCRIPT BECAUSE HE LOVES WHAT SEES. AND THAT INCLUDES BLOCKING.
  • Posted: February 8, 2017 18:27

    Bernie Wills

    Interesting. The Encounter is beautiful. With this lessons, I watched it in details. I never knew a simple cigarette dropped can tell a story in itself. Thanks for this revelation.