action (narrative) the events that contribute to the narrating of a story is action: story action. This is to indicate that there are actions which are essential to narrate to tell the story, and a story will lack unity of action, narrative coherence if it recounts inessential events that diffuse, confuse or disassemble.
action (film form) The action movie is a genre category, a film form where the narrative focuses on spectacular, dangerous and violent action. The widespread use of this term can lead to the assumption that story action means spectacular action, but in narrative theory, action refers to any type of action that develops a story: opening a letter is action, jumping off a cliff is action, in so far as both have significance and purpose in a narrative.
action (production) As part of procedures for filming dramatic fiction ‘action’ is called to signal that the actors, and their performances for the scene should begin. At this stage the camera and sound will be running to record the shot and all the elements for the scene will be in place, planned and ready: set dressing, lighting, costumes, hair and make-up, props, special FX, stunts. The conventional understanding is that the director of the film, who has the main authority on set, will call action as this is a crucial moment in the filmmaking process, and then the director will then call ‘cut’ to stop the filming when the performances are finished. This activity, the director calling action and then cut is well known, and emblematic for the role, but it actually offers little or no indication what the role of a director is apart from their authority on set. The skills of a director are based on their understanding of storytelling for drama and film, and their ability to direct, guide and support the production team and the performers during different stages of the production process: pre-production, production and post-production.
action (blocking) Background action is usually taken to refer to action that is secondary to the main action of the scene. The main action being related to the main characters in the narrative rather than peripheral background characters who are part of the setting of the scene to give the narration realism. Background action can also refer to where the action is placed in relation to the filming of the shot.
The blocking for a scene, the staging for camera and actors, can have planar staging or in depth staging. When staging in depth is used there can be foreground, middle ground and background action. Here the main characters can be placed on different planes of action. So, a main character can be placed in the background, middle ground or foreground.
Copyright: Eugene Doyen 2019