Block, Light, Rehearse, Tweak, Shoot. Have you heard this before?
One thing I’ve noticed in my time in the film industry is that on many smaller sets the basic way things should run is completely thrown out the window!
I admit that on some sets doing a complete crew blocking is not always necessary, but even when a Blocking isn’t completely needed, it can be a huge help to your crew. At the end of the day, everyone needs to know what is happening in the scene and the best way to achieve that is to just do a blocking for everyone.
Also, don’t you think it would just make sense to get into the habits of the pros?
Block, Light, Rehearse, Tweak, Shoot:
Sometimes a Director will need to Block the scene with the actors in private before being ready to share the scene with the crew. When a private blocking is happening, the crew should stay away from the area and try to do some quite work. Grips and Electrics can take this time to build staging area, prep lights or lay cable.
Crew blocking is when the scene is acted out for the key crew members. Department heads watch and have an opportunity to ask questions and/or resolve potential issues before they arise. Departments like Grip and Lighting can get a better understanding of necessary tasks based on what is happening. It also aids communication between the Cinematographer and his Grip and Lighting team. When finished actors can go to makeup or do whatever they need while the rest of the crew moves on. Art department can finish any necessary work as well.
After the blocking the Cinematographer gets a chance to discuss the lighting plan with the gaffer and key grip, they go to work as camera team sets up the shot and the rest of the crew does whatever they need to prepare for the shot. The Assistant Director department times everything out so actors can be ready at the same time as the rest of the crew.
When everyone is ready rehearsals should begin. Many productions roll on the rehearsal, especially in the Digital world. This is fine, but generally you rehearse before you roll so you can work out any kinks or make final tweaks before you commit to a take.
If necessary, the Cinematographer or Director can make tweaks to the scene based on issues that came up during rehearsals. This can involve adding lights, changing camera positions or height, changing the set, props, wardrobe, makeup or even changing up the blocking. Really it’s just a fail safe to make sure you are getting every detail right.
Shoot. Shoot. Shoot. Move on. Start over. Block, Light, Rehearse, Tweak, Shoot!
Block, Light, Rehearse, Tweak, Shoot
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