Sunday, May 31, 2009

Safety Concerns When Doing Movie Fighting

Sorry for the lack of blogging recently. I've been away working in the woods on a movie set, doing martial arts special ability background work. I have the day off today so I'll tell you a little about that.

In the movie on which I am working, they have hired about 30 people to play warriors, all with their own special abilities, including fencing, archery, javelin throwing, horse handling, gymnastics, and martial arts of every description. It's been very interesting to meet all these people, each of which have a strong commitment to their individual arts. I've even set up training dates with a few of them for after we're done working on the movie.

One thing I'd like to emphasize in this post about movie fighting is safety. While the people playing warriors are all very skilled at what they do, they don't all have the same experience in all the arts represented in the movie. If you're ever working on a movie set and someone asks you to do something you don't know much about, either ask for assistance if possible, or give up the task to someone who knows what they're doing. Because people are very keen to get an active role in the movie, sometimes they take on risks they shouldn't.

The other day, one guy got stabbed in the eye with a wooden sword. The person holding the sword didn't have any experience with sword handling and when he got caught up in the action the sword ended up in a place it shouldn't have. This person would have been better off giving up his role to someone with more experience. Fortunately, they were only using wooden swords so the guy on the receiving end only ended up with a nasty black eye. If they had been using the aluminum prop swords he very well may have lost an eye.

When doing movie sword work, you never aim the sword for the person's body. It is easy to make the scene look realistic and still safe by aiming away from the body half a foot wide of the either hip or shoulder. Basically, you are aiming to the place where the other person is expected to block. It usually takes a lot of training to develop the control with the sword to do this at a speed that looks good for the camera while still being safe for those doing the action.

Well, that's my 2 cents. I'm away for another week or so on set so there won't be any new posts (unless my assistant instructor Chris finds the time to do one). Have a great week!

1 comment:

Elias said...

Wow, I can almost sense the non-disclosure agreement...

Don't forget to release details of the movie closer to the release date, so we can all watch it =D