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The Director’s Chair Issue #112 – Oct. 25, 2010 (Psychology of Movement)

Free Monthly Ezine for Film and Television Directors

October 25, 2010                Scene 11 – Take 9

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Website: http://actioncutprint.com
Blog: http://filmdirectingtips.com


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1. Introduction
2. Two Bonuses for Subscribing to The Director’s Chair
3. Special Events: WORLDEAF Cinema Festival 2010
4. Facebook – The Director’s Chair Fan Page
5. FEATURE ARTICLE: The Psychology of Movement & Blocking
6. Write an Article for The Director’s Chair
7. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
8. Filmmaking Workshops
9. Suggestions and Comments
10. Share this Ezine
11. Reprint this Ezine
12. Copyright Information

1. Introduction

Welcome to Issue #112 of The Director’s Chair Oct. 25 2010

1. 4759 Filmmakers in 103 Countries Subscribe to this Ezine:

NOTE: If your country is not represented here, please let me
know and I will add it to this ever growing list.

Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas,
Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Botswana, Brazil, Bhutan, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile,
China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic,
Denmark, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Egypt, Estonia,
Ethiopia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana,
Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran,
Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kenya,
Republic of Korea, Republic of Kosova, Kurdistan, Kuwait,
Lebanon, Liberia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Malawi, Malaysia,
Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Morocco, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands,
New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines,
Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Romania, Russian
Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Serbia and Montenegro,
Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden,
Swaziland, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand,
Trinidad and Tabago, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda, United Arab
Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela,
Vietnam, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zimbabwe

2. Feature Article – The feature article this month is called
“The Psychology of Movement and Blocking a Scene: The study of
movement psychology found that ‘movement’ is controlled by
deeper emotions. This means that ‘attitude and emotion can
change movement’ as well as ‘movement can change emotion and
attitude.’ In filmmaking terms, this translates into ‘a
character must be MOTIVATED before they will take action.’
MOTIVATED being the key word!” (Read article below.)

3. Film Directing Tips – Please take a look at the many
articles on my blog, http://FilmDirectingTips.com and make
some comments on the posts. Your feedback is important to me
because they will help me decide on the content of this blog.

4. Product Promotion And Film Workshops – From time to time, I
will contact you to inform you of film workshops, filmmaking
products or Online courses that I feel are beneficial to
filmmakers like yourself. Of course, you are under no
obligation to purchase anything – I only offer this
information as a service to subscribers of this free ezine.

5. Twitter – If you have a Twitter account, let’s follow each
other. You can follow me at http://twitter.com/bcfilmmaker.

6. To Subscribe or Unsubscribe to this Ezine, send a blank
email to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

7. To Change Your Email Address, send an email with your old
and new email address to mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

8. To Read Back Issues of The Director’s Chair, visit:


Peter D. Marshall

2. Two Bonuses For Subscribing To The Director’s Chair

Thank you very much for subscribing to this ezine.

BONUS #1 – Here is the link to download the first 28 pages of
“The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar.”

BONUS #2 – Here is the link to download the first 24 pages of
the “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course.”

3. Special Events: WORLDEAF Cinema Festival 2010

WORLDEAF Cinema Festival – The nominations are in for WORLDEAF
Cinema Festival’s (WDCF) filmmaker award competition taking
place Nov. 4 through 7 at Gallaudet University in Washington,
D.C.  Out of a staggering 173 submissions from 132 filmmakers
from 30 countries, the 11-member judging committee has
selected 17 films from seven countries.

Films were submitted in five professional categories,
including Best Narrative, Best Documentary, Best Short, Best
Mini-15 and Best Film about the Deaf Experience by a Hearing
Filmmaker. The selection reflects the wide variety of subject
matter and storylines created by deaf and hard-of-hearing
filmmakers as well as hearing filmmakers.

From works just nine minutes long to full-length narratives,
the nominated films depict fiction and non-fiction stories,
not just about deaf culture and topics, but the overall human

The chosen films will be shown during the conference’s daily
film screenings that are open to the public. Winners will be
announced at a special awards ceremony November 6.

Said Dr. Jane Norman, Chair and Director/Producer of WDCF,
“The films chosen are true examples of what deaf cinema has to
offer.  We wanted to bring the deaf experience to a mainstream
audience while also showcasing the talent of these filmmakers.
Their stories tell and show how powerful deaf cinema is and we
hope that people come and enjoy these extraordinary films.”

The nominees from the student film category will be announced
shortly. A schedule of what films will be shown when and the
ticket information for the daily screenings, which are now on
sale online, can be found on the WDCF website at
http://wdcf.gallaudet.edu/home/ticket.html. Additionally,
tickets can be purchased at the Gallaudet University Box

4. Facebook – The Director’s Chair Fan Page

The Director’s Chair has it’s own page on Facebook. If you
haven’t signed up to Facebook yet, I sincerely recommend you
think about doing it. Facebook is a fabulous place to meet
people who share your passions and it is one of the top Social
Networking sites on the Internet.

Here’s the Facebook home page: http://www.facebook.com Once
you are signed up, type in “The Directors Chair” and the page
should come up. Sign up as a fan and then start to join the
discussion forums, post photos, videos and write on the Walls.

If you are already a member of Facebook, here is the direct
link to the page: http://snipurl.com/923qh

5. FEATURE ARTICLE: The Psychology of Movement & Blocking

“The Psychology of Movement and Blocking a Scene”
by Peter D. Marshall

The study of movement psychology found that ‘movement’ is
controlled by deeper emotions. This means that ‘attitude and
emotion can change movement’ as well as ‘movement can change
emotion and attitude.’

This takes us back to Newton’s First Law of Motion: “Every
object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that
state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.”

In filmmaking terms, this translates into “a character must be
MOTIVATED before they will take action.” MOTIVATED being the
key word!

(1) There are two kinds of movement between characters:
‘toward or away’ and ‘moving or still’.

1. Toward or Away – when you change the space between
characters, you indicate a change in the relationship.

a. If a character walks toward another character, that could
indicate anger.

b. If a character walks away from another character, that
could indicate fear.

2. Moving or Still – character movement is also a way of
expressing opposition and resistance.

a. Moving characters create lots of energy. (Dynamic)

b. Still characters create less energy. (Peaceful)

(2) Basic Blocking and Staging Techniques

To help you begin, I suggest you start thinking of blocking as
the choreography of a dance or a ballet – all the elements on
the set (actors, extras, vehicles, crew, equipment) should
move in perfect harmony with each other.

1. What is Blocking?

a. Blocking is working out the details of the actor’s moves in
relation to the camera.

b. Blocking is the dramatic use of the camera to help find the
truth in a scene.

c. Where the camera is placed is determined by what is
important in the scene.

d. Blocking is like a puzzle – keep working at it until the
whole scene falls into place.

e. Reveal a character’s thoughts or emotions through actions.
Actions are more revealing of a character than dialogue.
(Doing not saying.)

2. Whenever you start blocking a scene, you must know these
five things:

a. When (and where) were the characters LAST SEEN? (EX: Before
Scene 7)

b. What is the LAST shot of the previous scene? (Scene 6)

c. What is the FIRST shot of the scene you are on? (Scene 7)

d. What is the LAST shot of the scene you are on? (Scene 7)

e. What is the FIRST shot of the next scene? (Scene 8)

3. Your blocking plan (or shot plan) is determined by:

a. Whose POV is being expressed at the time? (The writer’s,
the character or the director?)

b. What distance are you from the subject? (The size of shot –
are you close or far?)

c. What is your relationship to the subject? (The angle of
view – choice of lenses.)

4. The opening position of a character is where the characters
start in a scene and is a very important element of blocking

a. Use your knowledge of the characters to help you imagine
their opening positions.

b. Different character types tend to move to different places
in the room.

– Strong characters could move to the middle of room
– Weak characters could move to the side of room

5. Two ways to stage space

a. Staging across the frame

– Left to right
– Right to left

b. In-depth staging

– Foreground to background
– Background to foreground

6. Two methods for staging groups and individuals

a. Zone coverage – when you stage the coverage of groups in
the same location. (Like battle scenes/sports events/crowds.)

b. Man-to-man coverage – when you stage the coverage of
individual characters according to their movement in
relationship to others.

7. Four staging techniques

a. Static camera (The camera doesn’t move)

– Subjects can be still
– Subjects can be moving

b. Moving camera (The camera moves)

– Subjects can be still
– Subjects can be moving

c. Static subjects (The subject doesn’t move)

– Camera can be still
– Camera can be moving

d. Moving subjects (The subject does move)

– Camera can be still
– Camera can be moving

8. Four basic reasons to move the camera

a. Move for emphasis. (The camera moves into an actor.)

b. Move to emphasize a subject in a group. (Pan or dolly.)

c. Transfer attention from one subject to another. (Pan or

d. To connect movement from one space to another. (Pan from
the door to a desk or go from room to room.)

9. Subjective and objective camera angles

a. A subjective camera angle is a shot taken close to the 180
line. (You can see the face and eyes more clearly)

b. An objective camera angle is a shot taken perpendicular to
the 180 line. (It is wider – more profile to the actor)

10. The dramatic circle of action is determined by the size
and shape of the space that the action covers

a. Any space is divided into three parts:

– Foreground
– Middle ground
– Background

b. You can place the camera IN the action. (Action flows
around the camera.)

c. You can place the camera OUTSIDE the action. (Keep a
distance from the action.)

11. Camera height is used to show the physical relationships
(or status) between people.

In real life, there are two kinds of status relationships:

a. Equal to equal. (Good cop and bad guy. Doctor and doctor)

b. Superior to inferior. (Judge and defendant. Teacher and

(3) Director Questions for Blocking

1. Do I understand the writer’s intentions? (Story & themes.)

2. When was the last time the character’s were together? (How
many scenes ago?)

3. Reveal a character’s thoughts and emotions through actions
as much as possible.

4. What normal activities (business) would the character’s be
doing at this time?

5. What is the character’s emotional state at this time in the

6. Where is the focus of interest (main emphasis) at each
moment in the scene?

7. What is more important: business or dialogue? (Show or

8. What is the intention of the scene? (Create tension? For

9. What kind of coverage do I need?

10. How much time should I allow to shoot this scene?

(4) When you first start directing, blocking a scene can be
one of the hardest (and most embarrassing) parts of your job.
If you get it wrong here, you could waste valuable shooting
time trying to get out of the mess you created!

Like anything else in real life, blocking a scene with actors
and crew takes practice and the more times you do it, the more
comfortable you will become.

6. Do You Want To Write An Article For The Director’s Chair?

If you would like to contribute articles, tips, links of
interest, industry news, interviews, special event dates or
other resources to The Director’s Chair, please email me at:

7. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion (Free Advertising)

The Director’s Chair gives you an incredible opportunity to
get Free Advertising for your services and your films.

Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this

So if you want over 4700 filmmakers around the world to know
about you and your films, please send me your “shameless
self-promotion” to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com.

Please limit your promotion to 200 words. I reserve the right
to edit the promotion for length, spelling and formatting.

(1) Moviestorm (Matt Kelland) – We’re the creators of
Moviestorm, a virtual movie studio. In short, it’s a really
easy way to create 3D animated movies using typical home
computer equipment (PC or Mac).

It makes a great adjunct to a storyboard, and since it can
include dialogue, music, sound effects, lighting, camera moves
and edits, and special effects, it can offer much more than
the traditional image-style storyboards.

While Moviestorm is no substitute for live action or top-end
animation, it’s also a great tool for ultra-low budget
film-makers. You can shoot scenes that would be impractical
for many people – you can have as large a cast as you like,
you can have exotic locations, and you can have outrageous
action scenes. That also makes it a great training tool – you
can develop and practice your skills in a virtual movie
studio, and then when you come to shoot that big scene, you
can focus on getting the shots you know you want.

Matt Kelland
Founder, Moviestorm Ltd
tel: +44 (0)1223 911 227
cell (US): +1 407 965 6205
fax: +44 (0)870 458 4811
web: http://www.moviestorm.net
twitter: MattKelland
Head Office: 24 Cambridge Place,
Cambridge, CB2 1NS, UK

8. Filmmaking Workshops – Peter D. Marshall

I have worked in the Film and Television Industry for over
37 years – as a Film Director, Television Producer, First
Assistant Director and Series Creative Consultant. I’ve been
asked many times to share my Film and TV production
knowledge with others. As a result, I developed several
workshops that I have successfully presented over the past
15 years.

To find out more about these workshops, just click on the
link below. If you are interested in any of these four
workshops for yourself or your organization, please contact
me to discuss how we can bring these workshops to you.

9. Suggestions And Comments

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10. Share This Ezine

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11. Reprint This Ezine

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12. Copyright Information

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Peter D. Marshall
All Rights Reserved