Having background actors walk across screen adds unparalleled visual flourish to any scene. Walking background actors are best used in EXT. (outdoor) shots, or in indoor shots where we expect to see people milling about in the background (train stations, airports, etc.) To pull this off, we’ll use the same techniques we learned in Section 2.3 “Entering, Exiting and Spot Placement.”
Determine the Y-Axis and and scale for your walking background actor. In other words, how high up and how large will your background actor be when they walk across the screen?
Determine your character’s walking trajectory. Now that we’ve figured out our character’s scale and Y-Axis values, we need to figure out the X-value of his original spot position and the X-value of the spot that he’s walking to.
Spot direct your character into a position offscreen. Make sure you specify “at layer X” in your command. Remember that the layer of a background character must be lower than a character in the foreground.
Make the character walk from the off-screen position to a position off-screen on the other side of the screen using the command in Section 2.3. Make sure to use the ampersand (&) here in their walking command so that the character’s walking doesn’t “interrupt” other actions and animations.
Open the story “Advanced Directing Guide” and click button “3.4 Walking Background Actors” to see John walk behind Marie and Alison during a scene.
*To follow along in the script, open:
Then jump to “label threefour”