So I just spent the past two weeks rehearsing for a fight sequence in a film that shot all day Saturday, and while I’m worn out I wanted to chronicle the experience here.
Now, since I’m honestly not sure what I am or am not allowed to say about the film, I will simply call it ‘Working Title,’ as the title we were given was said to be the working title anyway.
I should start by saying that I have never before done stunt work or fight choreography, so I was the most new newbie there. However, I seemed to pick it up pretty well because not only did I get a LOT of face-time on camera, but I am in several contact lists for future projects where fighter/actors are needed.
We began rehearsal two weeks ago, where the lead and I (both total stunt/fight newbies) were taught the basics of safety and fight moves. Sit falls, forward falls, shoulder rolls, hits, kicks, basic (and I do mean basic) Samurai sword fight techniques, etc. Keep in mind these are all choreographed moves so there’s no ACTUAL hitting (at least not purposeful hits ;P). It’s all choreography and acting when it’s done right, and boy was it ever fun.
I had three separate fights choreographed for me, then scrapped and redone, scrapped and redone, until we hit on a fight with a good pace for the scene and the film. As only one of two female fighters, I got to come in and out attacking and getting knocked down by the lead twice before getting ‘killed’ on my third strike. I cannot even explain how much fun rehearsals were!
The fighters were called at 10am on Saturday to the location, which was a burned out warehouse that had glass, nails, rocks, spray-paint cans, loose pips, large pieces of wood, and all manner of horrid things all over the place. We were provided with bug spray, sunscreen, food, and drinks. Our costumes were mostly our choice, so due to he location we all wore stuff that we didn’t mind getting super dirty, and that would protect us as much as possible from cuts and scrapes that might occur on set during the fight.
The lead had a sharp katana, while most of us had fake weapons. I for instance had a pvc pipe that was painted to look like a rusty pipe I picked up somewhere on location.
First things first, we all stretched really good, then ran a rehearsal of the fight sequence once before I was called in for make-up and hair. Once the artist finished with that, I was called onto the set to attack the lead, and film my opening reaction shots. This is also something I have never done before, and I decided to jump head-first into it by making snap decisions and choices I had not previously thought about. (The info on the character I was playing had been a bit varied up till this point.)
It took me a bit to warm up, I’ll admit, but once I got going the director, fight choreographer, and assistant fight choreographers all said that I was amazing; especially for this being my very first attempt at any of this. And I have to admit that I have never had more fun attacking my friends, getting thrown in the dirt, running around in stickers and weeds and dirt, almost getting killed a few times, and bruising up my legs (those last two weren’t supposed to happen, really, but these things happen in full speed fight choreography apparently).
I ended up being the lead fighter in the charge that we filmed later, as well, for reasons beyond my understanding, but I am certainly not complaining. ;) All in all, it was the most amazing day of my acting life, thus far.
I was done shooting before any of my friends, but not by long. One of my closest friends, Damien, was the First Assistant Choreographer, so when he was finished with his shoot he had to watch all of the other fight sequences with the Fight Choreographer in case changes needed to be made. My other friend, Alfonso’s, fight was done shortly after Damien’s, and the three of us watched the other fights and ate for a long while.
Of course, we got bored with that, and, being tired and punchy as we were, we took some extra stunt blood to mess around with a spit-take (a take where someone gets hit in the face and spits out blood and/or teeth). The stunt blood tasted like mint fortunately, coz since it was spur of the moment choreography I had to do a lot of takes to get it right (I didn’t get it right till Alfonso’s camera was off, but that’s okay because I’ll have a better idea for next time ;) ).
The last bit of this was… a serious shower once we were all back at my friends’ house. Seriously. We’d been covered in make-up, palmade, dirt, bug spray, and scrapes for HOURS. The shower was BEYOND essential.
So that was my Saturday; totally worth giving up a week and two weekends for! And now that I’ve proven myself a hard worker and a quick learner, the fight choreographer will be bringing me in on more projects in the future. :) There will definitely be more films with my face in them, just wait and see!
11 months ago · 1 note