Hello, everyone! Time for our FIRST blog post about our FIRST short film of 2015: BRAWL.
BRAWL is a very simple script; it's only 6 pages. But the idea behind this film is for us to attempt to create a visceral experience for the viewer. It's meant to be very gritty, dark, and uncomfortable at times. To roughly quote the amazing John Petrucci, "Dark material is just more interesting."
The idea behind the fighting is that there are two people forced to fight, but they are not fighters. These guys are not trained, and every move they make is made out of desperation due to their situation.
This is PERFECT, because Zach and I are not fighters! We have 100% no training, and make everything up ourselves.
There are some important things to keep in mind when writing fight choreography:
- SAFETY: Safety is #1, always. Yes, it's important for the look of your film to have your actors sell each move, but not at the expense of anyone's safety. No film (especially at this level) is worth anyone getting hurt. Speaking of getting hurt...
- TRUST: It is important for the actors in the fight to trust each other. To trust the each punch/kick will get close enough to look believable, but will NOT LAND. Trust is something that should be developed between the actors while they rehearse. If they do not trust each other, either the fighting will not look believable, or some will get hurt. Zach and I trust that we won't completely kick the other in the face, but it's always a little unsettling having someone's foot/fist come at you full speed. You have to know that the other person knows their limits and range with their body motions, which leads me to my next point;
- BODY AWARENESS: This is important for the look of the fight. Though it might sound weird, some people are not aware of their bodies. So controlling their movements with any kind of precision is very difficult for them. In a fight scene, sometimes in order for it to look believable, things need to look out of control, and not choreographed. Those out of control scenes take the most control and choreography! It takes a lot of work to make something look messy and dangerous and still keep it safe, and keep everyone on the same page. So, in order to make it look like a dangerous brawl, your actors need to have control over their movements, and to know that they won't punch you in the face.
- GIVE IT 100%: It seems obvious to say. Selling your hits is essential to the look of your fight. You actors need to give it 100% or more when it comes to physical scenes. Giving it 100% might feel silly for some actors to get comfortable with, which is understandable, especially for new actors. But in all reality, if you give anything less than 100%, it will look a LOT more silly in the final result. Watching someone faking their way through a performance is painful for the viewer. So giving it 100% might feel silly, but will look fantastic.
- SELLING THE HITS: The person throwing the punch, kick, etc. needs to throw it like they are really going to hit someone, hard. They need all the energy and emotion behind each hit as well, in order to fully round out its believability. Using camera angles will hide the face that those hits aren't actually landing, hopefully giving the actor more room to swing harder.
- SELLING GETTING HIT: This is just as, it not MORE important than throwing a good punch. If the actor really gives it their all when they get hit, it will make it look that much more violent and aggressive. This is where body control is very important. It's not easy to snap into a movement quickly. What that means is, when you are punched, kicked, shoved, etc., an outside force is moving you, usually very hard. But in a choreographed fight, those punches aren't actually landing, so you have to make your moves sharp, fast, and exaggerated in order to look like someone else made it happen. The more exaggerated the movement, the more violent the hit.
Hopefully this post helps out anyone looking to choreograph their own fights. Like I said before, we are not trained fighters. These are all tips we've learned on our own. But hopefully this post can be used as a jumping-off point for those not sure how to get started with fight choreography. You won't know unless you jump in and give it a shot!
Thank you for taking a look at our post. Be sure to like it if you found it helpful, or share if you found it interesting. Stay tuned for more blog posts very soon!