Choreographing a fight for film requires attention to detail and thoughtful execution. Even a skilled fighter will need to be coached on how to fight in front of a camera. There are some steps you can take to ensure that your fight scenes are convincing and authentic. Here are a few tips on how to direct a fight scene.
In order for your fight scene choreography to be relevant and impactful, it must make sense in the context of your setting. In a real-life fight, your adversaries would not stand still in their environment to fight one another. They would move about the space and they would use elements of the environment to their advantage whether that means rocks, walls, chairs or anything else that’s present. Start by taking inventory of your setting and deciding which direction the fight will flow as the characters move about.
A choreographed fight is much like a choreographed dance. The cadence of the fight needs to reflect the mood and the background of the event. This means that there will be a few small moves followed by a high visibility move that makes a big impact. Then you will start over with some small filler movements and another big impact move. You will also need to use your whole space effectively, which means including kicks, spins, ground moves, jumping moves and more. A real fight is much more complex than a bunch of punches thrown in quick succession – it’s dynamic and spans a wide range of movements.
If weapons will be used during the fight scene, take some time to swing and move them on the stage. You need to be sure that all of your actors can move safely through the environment without hitting anything or hurting themselves. If you notice a part of the setting is particularly slippery or difficult to move on, address it in advance. If your actors will be climbing on furniture or crates stacked in the background, or be thrown into a wall, make sure that all of those things are reinforced to handle the weight of the event. Mark any spots that your actors need to be aware of so they can hit their mark.
These are just three important tips for filming a great fight scene. As you plan your fight scene choreography, engage with the set and props to ensure that each movement will fit within the setting logically and safely. Make good use of your entire set, and don’t limit your actors to a small space. Finally, double check that your set has been built to withstand the demands of your fight.
Stunt performers are involved in the performance of stunts for television, film and other productions. They study scripts, plans and other detailed documents to work out the best way to undertake a stunt, rehearse stunts with safety gear, and perform stunts in front of cameras or audiences. They may take the place of actors in dangerous filming situations, or scenes that require specialised skills such as fighting, falling or jumping. They liaise with stunt co-ordinators and attend training to learn how to perform new stunts, and work with directors, producers and other film crew to ensure that their stunts are performed and recorded according to the requirements of the script and to strict safety standards.
A stunt performer needs:
- physical fitness, strength and stamina
- quick reflexes, strong eyesight and flexibility
- dedication to safety
- good communication skills
- the ability to follow instructions well
- a willingness to put themselves in dangerous situations
Martial Arts styles;
- Wing Chun
- Krav Maga
- Muay Thai
- Kick Boxing
- Knife – Single Blade
- Knife – Double Blade
- Knife – Karambit
- Kali – Single Stick
- Kali – Double Sticks
- Sword – Long (Kumdo/Kendo)