Remember being a kid (assuming you aren’t for all I know, some of you might be…in which case, where are your parents and why are they letting you read this? This blog contains foul language and disturbing imagery…and other migratory brain goblins that occasionally escape through the keyboard.)
Wait. Let’s start this again.
Remember being a kid and thinking adults had it all together and fully expecting that when you grew up you’d have it all together too? Remember sitting through graduation, and the old guy who used to tell you how much detention you had THIS week waved his hands and said “Prest-o Chang-o Congratulations, you’re an adult, and you’re on your own”?
Remember how you ran home and splashed cold water on your face, looked in the mirror and came to terms with the fact that you were going to be this dumb kid in a grown-up’s body for the rest of you life…and decided right then an there to start faking it so nobody else would know?
Well, I’m a fight choreographer for a small independent film group in the Twin Cities. We make movies. I usually say that we’re amateur film makers…except that a growing number of our cast and crew are pro and semi-pro…and the amateurs are getting REALLY good.
And I’m faking it, making it up as I go along.
I didn’t feel a lot of pressure the first movie I worked on as Fight Choreographer. Tony looked around the night of the shoot and said “Hey! I need a fight! Trees! Make me a fight! Heres a couple swords.”
So I made a fight, and lo, it was good. Never mind that it was using Chinese Broadsword techniques with Katana, (Before Kung Fu, the only sword forms I’d studied were Iado…which would have been appropriate with Katana…but not very pretty.) Tony liked it and I was doing something cool when I’d shown up to lug lights around and be a go-pher.
During the filming of the fight, I noticed one of the actor’s flexing a wrist as a sign of fatigue, which can lead to errors and injury and I recommended a break. Then, I became the safety coordinator.
I was the most educated on how to fall without breaking your butt…so I became stunt director.
I’m having the time of my life. I’m loving it! It’s fun, and the people are all gems and great and interesting people to know and have fun with…and the film we are working on now is going to be cool…I just know it.
But every so often there’s this moment that I remember that I’m faking it and really, truly, have no idea what I’m doing…and I worry I’m going to let them all down. Especially now, when the cast and crew are so experienced, and everything looks so shiney.
Still, all in all it’s a lot of fun, and Tony likes what I’m doing. Plus, if what I create for him isn’t quite what he wants, he just tells me and I do something else and keep trying things until he likes it…so there’s no guesswork there and boy is THAT a load off my mind. So I’m just going to keep doing it, and trust it will work out. I’m grateful for the opportunity, and I’m learning soooo much. I can’t shake the feeling that eventually, I won’t be able to keep up with the dramatic expansion in polish and professionalism of this group.
I guess that would be OK too. Before I got all these fancy-sounding credits, I was just showing up to carry stuff around and hold boom mikes and occasionally be part of a crowd. And that was fun and cool as well.
Here are the latest production photo’s from Tony’s blog (as of this writing).
More production pics if you are interested.
And then there’s the headaches of being a director from Tony’s perspective; The exhaustive pace and draining nature of the work, getting good sound when your actors can barely be heard over the traffic noise at the location, and the limitations of the equipment...just to name a few.
There’s a lot more info on Tony’s blog, but if you aren’t hooked in enough by these links to read the rest of his blog on your own…that’s up to you. J