May 17, 2008

Doing Nothing

It's an old acting trick. Tell a student to get on stage, don't give him any direction just have him stand there. If you watch him, he won't know what to do. He'll fidget, and look around at the other students for support. His body will be a quiver because he's trying to figure out what to do. Now give him some direction, any direction. Tell him to look into the distance like he sees a bird. Now watch his whole body transform. All that fidgeting and nervous energy vanishes, now he has something to do.

We've all been assigned the shot where a character does nothing. He stands in the background and watches the main character do something. Even the main character stops and does nothing once in a while. It's one of the toughest assignments to get. But the easiest way to tackle it is to give that character something to do. Preferably something that fits in with the scene or story.

This is a clever video that Pixelsurgeon made, he calls it the day without news. He made it by editing together photage of BBC news anchors waiting for their cue start talking.

It's clever and funny, but that's not what interests me. These news reporters know this acting trick and they're using it. They're trying to give themselves something active to do so that they look good on camera. It's really interesting to watch, there's a lot of life in the way that they wait. It's worth watching a few times to see how good these people are at doing nothing.


rebby said...

pretty insightful!

Anonymous said...

That is just excellent to watch.