Fight Choreography Project and Lessons Learned

Besides Westerns, I’ve got a love for old school kung fu movies. You know, the ones with bad dubbing, and really quick focus changes. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to create a film with awesome fight choreography.

Another reason was watching this scene from Iron Fist:

I won’t go into the show or how horrible I thought this fight scene was. I will, however, try to understand hard it was to make a fight scene interesting to watch. It seems 50 cuts in 30 seconds is not the way to go.

It was quite an adventure learning. Definitely check out Jared Kirby’s stage combat / fight choreography class at NYC Combat

1. Practice

The entire fight was pretty simple. Just 10 steps. Practiced for 3 hours. Shot it in 3 hours. I think more practice was needed. Just to get it to the point where neither actor was thinking.

2. Divide and Conquer

Fights can be broken down into beats, just like a script. Someone’s winning, then losing, change of tactics. Etc etc. It makes shooting much easier, plus it saves the actors’ energy.

3. Angles Have Their Limits

Mastering the exploitation of camera angles with look great combined with the actors selling the hits. But at some point, it helps just to show someone getting hit and make the audience feel something. Next fight, I want to show more hits. No one got hurt this time. That final kick was pretty cool. It was barely a tap but Yasmin sold it, plus the slow motion falling totally made it look cooler than it actually was.

4. Fight Choreography is Hard

Duh-doy. It was quite the workout doing the same sequence over and over and over for 4 different angles. I recommend a ton of coffee, plenty of rest, and deodorant. It gets dangerous when the mind wanders in the middle of fight choreography.

Final Scene:

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