In a previous post we had a great explanation of clear staging in Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas’ book, The Illusion of Life:
“Staging” is the most general of the principles because it covers so many areas and goes back so far in the theatre. Its meaning, however, is very precise: it is the presentation of any idea so that it is completely and unmistakably clear. An action is staged so that it is understood, a personality so that it is recognizable, an expression so that it can be seen, a mood so that it will affect the audience. Each is communicating to the fullest extent with the viewers when it is properly staged.
At his blog Temple of the Seven Golden Camels, Mark Kennedy explains blocking:
The term “blocking” means the same thing whether you’re talking about film or theater. Basically, the term refers to how the characters move through the scene and how they interact with their environment, including props, furniture and whatever else can be helpful in telling the story.
When blocking is used well–especially in conjunction with good staging (and by staging I mean the placement of the camera)–it can make the difference between a series of events that are merely shown to the audience, or a powerful story that unfolds in an emotional and dramatic fashion.