Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Making it Big with Little


I got a phone call from a production company. They were shooting a new crime drama TV show. Most of the work had been already done but they still had one action scene to do. They offered the fight coordinator's job for me. Before I said yes, I had some questions

Q: When are the action scenes shot?
A: After two weeks.
--> Tight schedule

Q: Who are the actors
A: 2 male actors.
--> Guys are more eager for action but because of that, there's more risks for injuries

Q: Do they have time to train the choreography before hand?
A: Unfortunately, not.
--> Demands a lot from everyone in order to get good quality

Q: Is the scene outdoor or indoor scene?
A: Outdoor
--> In the middle of the winter it'll be cold


With these answers I got the picture that 

  1. the scene is important,
  2. most of the choreography work has to be done beforehand and 
  3. I have to develop alternative solutions just in case as no one knew exactly what kind location we had for the shooting.


As the shootings we're going on nearly every day getting in touch with the director was difficult. When we were able to discuss about the action scene I had to get clear answers in a fairly short time in order for me to get the information of what was expected.

I was fortunate to have a talented assistant Jesse to help me with the choreography. We had couple of challenging moves that we needed to practice together before we could teach it to the actors, so that they could perform it in a safe manner. I could've managed to plan and teach the choreography to the actors all by myself. But with the two of us we were able to show the choreography as many time as needed to the actors, director and to the director of photography. This saved lots of time, and everybody had a better image of what's to come.

The actors had a long and cold morning shooting outdoors. Before the fight scene they had lunch. Their energy levels were very low. Again, it was good that me and Jesse were there to help the actors memorize the choreography. Some amount of repetitions were necessary but if they forgot something either me or Jesse could tell them the next move instantly.


Even though the scene was physically tough to perform due to the coldness and tiredness, the actors performed well. Huge respect to them for that. They were thankful for the help we stunt guys could provide. Director of photography saved some time by planning ahead what kind of pictures he would shoot (lens, shooting angle etc.). The director could focus mainly in directing the actors, instead of focusing in how the action should look.


Big can be made with little amount of resources (time, money, people etc.). In my opinion the less resources there is, the more planning work needs to be done. The higher quality the planning is, the better the end result can be. Though, even if the plan is awesome there's tons of work required from everyone. Pressure keeps you going ;)

Another example of Making it Big with Little is my new born nephew. Everybody starts small but we all have huge potential!

'Perfection with Passion'


  1. And what is the title of that drama show? I'm a little bit curious.

  2. It was this one: