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  • --Thank you Roosevelt, here's a song coming your way right now.

  • "Nowhere to Run" by Martha and the Vandellas

  • Yes, you know what I mean.

  • Hi my name is Tony and this is Every Frame a Painting.

  • Today I’m going to honor the incomparable Robin Williams.

  • There have been a lot of moving tributes over the last month,

  • but I’d like to sidestep what others have said

  • and focus on something else: how he moved in a scene.

  • --You do an eclectic celebration of a dance. You do Fosse, Fosse, Fosse

  • You do, Martha Graham, Martha Graham, Martha Graham!

  • Blocking is the choreography of the actors and the camera.

  • To put it bluntly, the actors move. How they move tells us something

  • about the characters, the scene and the story.

  • --but you keep it all inside.

  • Good blocking is good storytelling. If you’d like to see this for yourself,

  • pick a scene and watch how the actors move.

  • --We're all gonna sit down and we're gonna finish it.

  • Three minutes later, this is how he makes her sit.

  • --Anybody up for iced tea? I'm gonna make some tea.

  • You could watch this film with the sound off and still understand

  • most of the story. That's good blocking. Everything you need to know about

  • the characters, their relationship and how it changes

  • is presented to you through physical movement. Blocking is a collaboration

  • between actor and director. Even though the director approves it, the actors are

  • ultimately the ones who have to perform it.

  • And that's why Robin Williams work is so dynamic

  • --You move with it!

  • --Lead with something!

  • Few actors could express themselves as well through motion

  • Whether that motion was big

  • or small

  • Even when he was doing the same movement in two different scenes

  • you could see the subtle variations he brought to the arc of the character.

  • Sometimes he would move and the camera would be still.

  • Other times... --You're just a kid.

  • he would be still and the camera would move. This shot lasts

  • 2 minutes and 45 seconds and is the first time these two characters connect

  • which Gus Van Sant shows by having the camera literally bring them together.

  • --You don't know about real loss because that only occurs when you love something

  • --more than you love yourself.

  • And in other films, he moved with the camera, creating an elaborate dance

  • --And all the time he's mumbling. --What's he mumbling?

  • --Mumbling truth.

  • Or a less elaborate one.

  • To watch his work is to see the subtle things an actor can do with his hands.

  • his mouth

  • his right leg

  • and his facepalm.

  • Robin Williams' work is an encyclopedia

  • of ways that an actor can express himself through movement and he was

  • fortunate to work with filmmakers who used his talents to their fullest.

  • --I want you to find your own walk right now, your own way of

  • striding, pacing, any direction, anything you want, whether it's

  • whether it's proud or silly. Anything.

  • I can't talk about how he pulled off so many different characters

  • because I have no idea.

  • But I can talk about a few things that directors did to help his performances.

  • Here are five.

  • #1: They let him play it straight through. Movie acting is weird because

  • it’s hours of preparation to shoot one angle.

  • And sometimes the actors only get a few seconds to really act.

  • --My God, the children.

  • Many directors here have a history of shooting scenes in 1 or 2 set-ups

  • which helps the actors keep their rhythm

  • Some preferred elaborate camera moves. Others liked it very simple

  • But no matter what, they shared a common desire to let all the actors perform

  • uninterrupted, as much as possible.

  • --It's me, Alan, mom and dad! I'm home! I'm back!

  • #2: They gave him something physical to do.

  • Open the window. Pick up the apple. Put the cans back in the right spot.

  • --I said, well, you know what I'm dealing with here?

  • These gestures sometimes repeated later in the film

  • giving us a nice before-and-after portrait of the character.

  • --Eleanor? --Yes?

  • Other times they were just one-off moments.

  • As an editor, I can testify that when I’m looking at 12 takes of a scene,

  • these little gestures make all the difference.

  • #3: They used blocking to tell the story visually. Human beings are wired

  • to respond to subtle changes in body language.

  • We often derive more understanding from a person’s movements and tone

  • than from the actual words they say.

  • --You forget the girl.

  • One of the great things about good blocking

  • is that it’s universal and doesn’t need to be translated or explained.

  • --you playing Dear Abby --I know, because she's my sister!

  • Even if you can't speak English, you understand exactly what's happening here

  • --Come on! --I don't like you, sir.

  • --Why not? I got a great personality, you ask anybody.

  • #4: They let him listen. --That started with Peter Weir

  • where he said, if you just listen there's a great power in that.

  • A good percentage what you think of as acting in a movie is actually listening.

  • Sometimes that’s what happened in the moment. Other times,

  • we editors find those moments and move them around in the edit.

  • As they say, acting is reacting.

  • And lastly: They didn’t let perfection get in the way of inspiration.

  • There’s a real desire sometimes to film it exactly the way it was in your head

  • or on the page, but working with Robin Williams was about opening yourself up

  • to sudden bursts of inspiration.

  • --She used to fart in her sleep. One night it was so loud, it woke the dog up

  • So be open. This man improvised many of his most iconic moments.

  • Maybe he was onto something.

  • --There's great moments that obviously people have rehearsed and gone over

  • and gone over and gone over, but literally when the stuff really hits you

  • it's usually something that happened and it happened then

  • and that is what film is about: capturing a moment.

  • Farewell, Robin Williams.

  • --He is an editor's nightmare though, editors see him and they go "AGH!"

  • because he shows up, you cut on him all the time, you can't cut on half a phrase

  • --Like it's hard to get a two-shot right now right?

  • --Dammit I can't hold it! Dammit Jim, the camera's too wide! Bones, go wide!

  • --I'll be back. --We love you.

  • Subtitles by the Amara.org community

--Thank you Roosevelt, here's a song coming your way right now.

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Robin Williams - In Motion

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    浚祺蘇 posted on 2017/06/22
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