Definition of Block shooting :Filming
all the shots on a location pointing in one direction at one time, then all the
others pointing in the other direction, even though theyre from different scenes.
theyre block shooting scenes 41 and 43 in Leilas muffin shop. The morning set
ups all face the shop's front door. In the afternoon they'll turn toward the back door.
The idea is to minimize the amount of time spent resetting the lights, thusly enabling
more shots to be made today. And, as weve noted before, making shots is the name of
The problem with block shooting, usually, is that it necessitates changes in wardrobe,
makeup and props, and making these changes can sometimes take more time than resetting the
lights and camera. It can also sometimes be a problem for the actors to jump back and
forth in time in such short order. The decision to block shoot is only made after weighing
all the positives and negatives.
On Cherry these two scenes seem to lend themselves to block shooting. They
involve the same actors in the same clothes on the same location, and are separated in
time by just the amount of (movie) time it takes for Leila to get from her muffin shop to
Dr. Kirks waiting room, where scene 42 is set. Meaning both scenes take place in the
The challenge of block shooting, apart from the difficulties presented to the actors,
is to maintain continuity. For that reason during rehearsals for each shot on this day of
block shooting Janna will conduct a continuity check,
going through a checklist of items that are found in the scene and making sure that they
are consistently placed from the ending of each shot to the beginning of the next.
In her book she has a page for the scenes, and a listing of the key elements, along
with their status.
Whats in the checklist? For scene 41 there is
Sign: The sign in the muffin shops front window is supposed to read
"Closed," because the scene takes place at 6:30 AM and Darcy is just arriving.
Since were inside the shop, the back of the sign, which reads "Open,"
should be seen. Elementary perhaps, but throughout the morning the sign keeps changing
position. A prankster? Misguided help? An accident? No one is quite sure.
Jon says, "Am I crazy or does that sign keep
Heather Matarazzo says, "Youre crazy
alright, but its also changing position."
Coat Rack: No coats on rack.
Creamer and Muffins: None.
Table: Messy with drawings.
Which one's birth?
Poetry Book: Open. Coffee stained. Actually, as they set up the shot a change
was made. Instead of a book of someone elses published poetry, as was scripted, Jon
decided to make the book a journal of Menu Mans unpublished musings. Which meant
that the small, delicate book needed to be broken in. Dirt and coffee stains, applied by Joseph and Elizabeth,
quickly did the job.
Joseph ages the poetry book
Coffee: Almost empty.
Darcys Cigarette: Lit, halfway smoked.
Darcys Bag: She takes it off as she enters, and leaves it on a chair at
the front table.
Dotties Coat: What coat? When the scene starts Dottie is standing at the
front table in the shops front window. She isnt wearing her coat. But that
doesnt mean it is doesnt need to be accounted for.
Jon: "Where is your coat? Is it on this stool here?"
Heather: "No. Not on the stool."
Jon (leans his face slowly toward hers, until hes just inches away):
"I think that jacket might have been laid
Heather (pauses, then tremulously): "Right."
Jon (lays the coat across the stool): "I thought so."
Menu Man Coat: On banquette.
Leila Coat: Over banquette back.
And while the items seen on screen must be consistent from shot to shot, because
theyre what the audience sees, what keeps the shots looking consistent from take to
take are the markings made off screen: The marks denoting the height of the dolly, the
starting and stopping points on the track, others that remind the actors where to stand.
The camera dolly
When you think about it, its kind of amazing that any shots are actually ever
taken. When you think about it.