Does the idea of watching two people having a conversation sound exciting? Probably not. You probably wouldn't pay money to see that. And yet you do. All the time. Because, ultimately, that's what every movie and TV show boils down to. Over and over again. Two people having a conversation. How have so many filmmakers managed to make those conversations exciting? Well, one big way is with "blocking."
Blocking is the precise staging of actors in a performance. In terms of cinema, it's where you place your actors in the frame. There are three visual elements a filmmaker should think about when blocking a scene. Space. Shapes. Lines. By considering these components, you'll be able to block a scene between any subjects in a visually dynamic way that is loaded with subtext.
First up, space. This scene opens with a boy playing in the snow. The camera pulls out to reveal a tense conversation between adults. The stakes of the scene are the boy—Charlie, who's framed carefully through the window for the duration of the scene. On one side of him, his father, standing in protest, but dwarfed in size due to his distance from the camera. On the other side, his mother, framed closer to the lens, looming larger, more imposing. Charles' the smallest of all. Take note of the way visual contrast is created in the space to portray tension and importance.
Next up is shapes. There are three basic shapes—circles, squares, and triangles. Everything around us can be turned into one of these basic shapes—even an actor's face. Circle. Triangle. Square. The basic shapes come with certain emotional qualities and assumptions. Circles feel safer and inclusive. Squares create limited space, boxing someone in. Triangles are sharp. They feel aggressive, but it also has an apex.
Let's watch this scene from Guardians of the Galaxy. James Gunn carefully framed his subjects to form a triangle pointing to Groot. The moment is played for a joke. The conversation happens while important action is staged behind it.
讓我們一起看看這個《星際異攻隊》中的場景。James Gunn 小心翼翼地讓腳色框架出一個三角形，指向 Groot。這個時刻是為了幽默安排的。這場對話發生的時候，後面正上演重要的動作。
You definitely need to get that last.
When you're looking through your frame, identify the basic shapes, and bear in mind the emotional connotations of each and where they direct the viewer's eye. We've covered shapes, and shapes are formed by lines.
Be aware of the lines created in every shot and the effect they have on the viewer. Take a look at this scene from The Godfather Part II. It's a simple dialogue scene. It plays out between a standing Michael—a vertical line. And Fredo—nearly a horizontal line. Fredo could have been standing for the scene. If he did, the power dynamics would have been potentially equal, but he was slung so low in the seat that he was practically horizontal.
注意每個鏡頭創造出的線條，以及它們對觀眾的效果。看一下這個《教父 2》中出現的場景。這是一個很簡單的對話場景。場景發生在兩人身上，站立的 Michael－－一條垂直的線。還有 Fredo－－幾乎是水平線。Fredo 在這個場景中本來可以站著。如果他站著的話，整個權力變化可能會變得對等，但他在位置上躺得太低，所以他基本上是水平的。
This blocking creates visual tension between the two, especially when cutting. It also emphasizes who holds all the cards. During Fredo's outbursts, he flounders into an almost diagonal line, literally attempting to change his shape—an attempt to stand up to Michael. When the outburst is over, the order of things remain the same. Fredo goes back to his horizontal position, and Michael delivers his final judgment.
這個走位創造了兩人間的視覺張力，特別是場景切換的時候。這場景也強調了誰佔有優勢。在 Fredo 情感爆發的過程中，他掙扎起身，幾乎呈現斜線，真正地試圖改變他的形狀－－試圖起身面對 Michael。當情感爆發結束，一切事情的秩序又回到原本的樣子。Fredo 回到原本水平的位置，然後 Michael 給出了最終判決。
You're nothing to me now. You're not a brother. You're not a friend. I don't wanna know you or what you do.
Happy trails, Fredo.
So, we've covered how shapes, lines, and space can be used when blocking a scene. The thing is, on their own, they're not going to make those dialogue scenes that profound unless you do it with this in mind. Subtext. Or contrast. By contrasting, you're blocking with what's being said or done, you create an underlying meaning.
It's also a personal statement about the band itself. Hey, Paul!
You can start to reveal the real story, and it's not only for viewers. Communicating subtext through blocking, guide your actors, your DP, and the art director towards your vision. Blocking tells us what the characters are really up to, what they really mean, what's really going on. That's what makes blocking so important to a story.
A good way to plan your blocking is with a storyboard. Think about what the characters are saying in the script, and then incorporate that into your blocking with storyboard software, like Studio Binder. And the next time you're having a conversation in real life, pay attention to the way you stand, or sit, or move, or lie down like Fredo. You might be surprised. See you in the next video.
設計走位的一個好方法是使用分鏡腳本。想一下腳色們在劇本中說了什麼，然後用分鏡腳本軟體，像是 Studio Binder，把它們融入你的走位計畫中。然後下次如果你在現實生活中有跟人對話的話，注意一下你是怎麼站、怎麼坐，或是像 Fredo 一樣用躺的。你可能會覺得很訝異。下支影片見。
- 「歸結於、歸根結底」- boil down to
Because, ultimately, that's what every movie and TV show boils down to.
- 「就...來說」- in terms of
In terms of cinema, it's where you place your actors in the frame.
- 「含有大量的、包含、充滿」- be loaded with
By considering these components, you'll be able to block a scene between any subjects in a visually dynamic way that is loaded with subtext.
- 「留意、注意」- take note of
Take note of the way visual contrast is created in the space to portray tension and importance.
- 「佔有優勢、掌控局面」- hold all the cards
It also emphasizes who holds all the cards.