Actors don’t drift aimlessly around the set like lost souls. Each time an actor moves to a different area on-set they are hitting their marks.
Marks can either be strips of gaffa tape laid on the floor as toe marks for both feet, or they can be physical marks such as pieces of furniture. For example, the actor moves from the table to the chair by the window on their fourth line.
Actors never looks directly at their marks, they use their peripheral vision so it is not obvious that they are hitting marks. The focus of the lens is pre set to the different marked positions throughout the scene, so it is vital that the actors hit their marks accurately.
When working on location you will also be given precise marks. Again it could be strips of gaffa tape or points of reference within the landscape.
Learning how to hit marks accurately and seamlessly is a vital component of good technique and something all actors must master.
At the Screen Actors Workshop we train our students to hit their marks until they can do it without breaking the flow of their performance and without alerting the audience to the fact that they are actually working with marks. This is vital training for technical film and television performance.