How a director stages a scene dramatically affects the story – in this experiment at YouTube Space LA, we take a boilerplate police detective script and shoot it five ways with five different types of blocking to demonstrate how direction and acting can really change the feel of a scene.

This experiment will take the exact same script shooting the scene using standard over the shoulder back and forth – advanced over the shoulder with business, a One Take shot, a Romantic comedy blocking and a Zucker Brothers style comedy.

Very recently we shared a video on how Hitchcock blocks a scene where I took some reservations about ascribing too much forethought into a Hitchcock directed scene. Much of my experience in this and previous filmmaking experience has shown that blocking dialogue scenes does require a great deal more collaboration than just storyboarding precise movements. I hope this demonstrative experiments shows a lot of what can happen on set.


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Alexander Keller

Great lesson! Thanks so much.
Is the script for the scene available somewhere? I’d like to show the sequence to my students, but with the script it would become even more of a learning experience – I’d say.


Erik Stenbakken

Without a doubt the best short film course I’ve seen in years. There’s something in here for everyone from beginner to finer points and details for the advanced. Stellar. Now I want more! (but I’ll begin by searching for past work that I may have missed).

So many great points. But I’ll corroborate one in particular: brushless gimbal. I’ve had to “fire” ours on set the last two times we tried to use it. Just too much fooling around with it while everyone is waiting only to have it *still* go from level to listing 10 degrees during a take. GRRR. Multiple points of failure for sure.

Keep the great stuff coming!


Excellent presentation and lesson John. Thank you so much!


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