Exercise – Two People Communicating

For this exercise you’ll produce a short sequence in which two people communicate across an off-screen space. Don’t use a wide shot – create the impression of the off-screen space through the composition of the shots containing the individual subjects.

Read the script on the next page. Carefully plan a series of shots (each containing only one of the two characters).

Sketch out each frame. Think about how the size of the frame you choose and the space you place around the characters affects the perception of the off-screen space.

Record your sequence using actors or models. You can add an atmos. soundtrack if you wish.

Compare sequences, look at other students’ sequences and leave comments describing what you understand from them. Read the comments other students have left for you. Did they understand what you had hoped they would?

Look again at your own sequences, those of other students and any other films. Think about the meanings that the framing and composition in each shot can imply. Try to identify examples of the spatial composition contributing to:

• the mood or atmosphere of a shot
• your perception of the relationship between the characters
• your understanding of what is happening or what is going to happen
• your perception of how you as a viewer relate to the characters or action.

Take One 

Exercise – Two People communicating from ChloeClik on Vimeo.

Take Two 

Exercise- Two People Communicating – take two from ChloeClik on Vimeo.


Back to filming, I enjoy the research and reading but love to film.

I was given this script

SARAH is seated alone. She is holding some- thing (a book, mobile, or other item) that has her attention. She seems distracted, absorbed by what she holds.

DAN is standing [insert some distance] off across the [insert the location that separates them]. He notices Sarah but looks away.

SARAH looks up for a moment and notices Dan. She reacts with [insert emotion / reaction].

SARAH continues to look at Dan.
DAN becomes aware that Sarah is looking at him. He looks up at her.

SARAH smiles at Dan.
DAN begins to walk towards Sarah.

The story

 For this exercise I kept the drama down but did infuse a little mystery and creepiness into it. The story is of a girl who is in the garden on her phone when suddenly she gets a suspicious text “I know what you did”


I shot the scene at different parts of the garden though that wasn’t necessary I did so as the sound was marginally different on each side of the garden. On the side I was in, there was the sound of bird song and the fountain whereas on the other side were sounds of traffic. This created contrast between the two to highlight the distance between them.

I shot the scene with myself on a tripod and positioned myself so I was always looking to the right and my actor was looking to the left. This ensured the viewer didn’t get confused in the placing of each character and also showed they were looking directly at each other.

If I hadn’t been working off a script I would have included a shot before to show the man had sent the text or perhaps receive the text message in the third frame.


Take Two 

At the time I realised I should have changed the scene so the man didn’t continue texting after sending the text. It was picked up on by fellow student Ashley so I edited the shots. I feel it works much better now.

Other student work.

I am gathering together the videos from other students so will analyse that next.




4 thoughts on “Exercise – Two People Communicating

  1. Ashley says:

    Hi Chloe. It’s great that you getting into some of the more difficult parts of filmmaking and I think this is a difficult scene to do – I can’t wait to get there. I like the way you composed your frames. It was clear that your characters were in the same garden but not close to each other. It was also clear that this was not a comfortable encounter – which is a really creative approach to the script.

    I must admit that I needed to read the script to understand the boundaries you were working with. There were two things that were unclear to me when I watched. The first was the relationship between you and your actor; did you know each other, or was he a stranger? By your surprise/shock, I think he was a stranger. Maybe it is just that I know the relationship and that influences how I interpret what I see.

    The second thing that was unclear was why your actor continued to text after the ‘message’ had been sent and received by you – was he then sending additional information? If so, as a viewer, I was excluded from that information and wondered about its purpose. I tried to place myself in your actor’s position and if I had just sent a text like that (I hope I never do :-)), I would be watching intently to see the reaction of the recipient. If the recipient then looked at me, I would expect the rest of the communication to be face-to-face.

    I really liked the smile of your actor (as per the script) – it was so completely ambiguous that I could not work out if he was amused by what was happening or a seriously creepy guy! Consequently, the ending, when he started moving forward, left an intriguing question about what was going to happen next – was this going to be something they ended up laughing about or was it going to be a very scary encounter. If I had to decide – I think it wasn’t going to be pleasant. I’d be very curious to know what you imagined the end would be.

    Well done, I think you’ve done a great job with a very limiting script.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ChloeClik says:

      Hi Ashley, thanks so much for your comment, I really appreciate it. I’ve edited it slightly, do you think this works better? https://vimeo.com/168610826?utm_source=email&utm_medium=vimeo-cliptranscode-201504&utm_campaign=28749

      I definitely left the ending to be ambiguous but had in mind that it was not going to be a pleasant encounter. I almost finished it on a scream but deciding the neighbours might be a bit alarmed and also I wanted it to be a mystery and that would provide an answer.

      I want to explore as many film dramas as possible, so extra terrestrial sci fi is next 😀


      • Ashley says:

        Hi Chloe – I think the second one definitely works much better – in fact even the pacing is more appropriate. And still the ending is ambiguous – which I like.

        When you talk about going into sci-fi, all I imagine is lots of lights – I grew up on Close Encounters’ and É.T.’

        Liked by 1 person

    • ChloeClik says:

      Thanks Ashely 🙂 That’s great to hear, I agree with that, it was a lot snappier due to cutting some of the scenes.

      Haha me too, I love E.T, I don’t know how many times I’ve watched it but I love it every time:)

      I was reading your reviews on the movies you’ve watched, you write them so well!


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