The Adventures of a First Time Director: Blocking

Practice

What to say about blocking?!  It’s a lot harder than I would have thought, doesn’t always turn out the way you want, and sometimes looks like a crazy mess.   When I started to thinking about blocking Miracle on 34th Street: The Play, my mind would wonder onto something else and avoid it as much as possible.  Every time I thought about doing it, I would get nervous and scared.

“What if I no good at it?”  “What if I turn into on of “those directors” that only follows the blocking that was written in the scripts already and makes their whole cast fend from themselves?”

Finally when I actually sat down to get my blocking down, it just started to flow out of me.  It was amazing how it just came to me and wasn’t as hard as I had imaged it would be.  Though keeping stage left and right straight took and still does a lot of work, since it’s the opposite of how I’m looking at the stage.  Once I was done with blocking my part of the show, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders.  It was amazing how accomplished I felt till a new fear took over, “What if it doesn’t work or just looks horrible?”

Each day before practice , I would go over the section we were blocking for that night and double check that it made since.  I would make changes that I noticed needed to be made and get excited and nervous all over again for that night’s practice.  Going over it earlier in the day helped me to know what I would be doing for that night so I could give the blocking to my actors with confidence even if I was shaking in my Toms.

When the night finally came that I was to start giving our actors the first pages of blocking, I stepped up to the plate and just went for it.  After the first night was done, it made the next couple nights of blocking a little easier and less nerve racking with having now giving blocking before. Once I was done giving each section, we would run through it so we could see how the blocking was working on stage and not just in my head.  It was exciting to get to see my vision starting to come alive and not just on paper.  Now yes there were some problems that we noticed as the actors were going through each section but hey that’s what practice is for, right?!

A bonus, that I think helped combat some of my nerves and worries about blocking, is that I’m co-directing this show with one of my besties, Emily.  What we did was to split up the blocking.  I took Act I and she took  Act II.   It was nice that I could just sit back and help her as needed once I was done giving my blocking and didn’t have to worry that the whole show was on my shoulders for my first time in the directing chair.

Thankfully everything ran pretty smoothly without to much confusion and chaos.  Now that we have completed our blocking, we can really start to get to working with our cast and start to bring our vision to life..  I can’t wait let our cast go and see what they can really do!

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