Stunt School Day 13 – Over the Handlebars

Today we started on the bridge – practicing our mid-falls.  We’ll be using them a lot later, so Anthony wanted to make sure we can really hone them here.  We’re falling onto the comfy blue mat, so the fall is cushioned a bit more.  After doing a few runs of the headers, suicides, and back falls, I practiced the face-off for a long stretch.  I’m still angled too far up, and not waiting long enough before turning.  Towards the end, I started to get it a little cleaner.

Then we moved onto bike falls.  This was definitely kinda scary.  Basically you’re supposed to do what you’ve always been taught not to do – lock up your front brakes, so that you go over the handlebars and fall.  The idea is that you go with it, and use the momentum of the bike rising behind you to do a shoulder roll over the handle bars, getting out of the way of the bike.

I started off very slow, trying to get a handle on the bike, how it handles, how much front brake I need to get the rear wheel off the ground.  More speed definitely helps.  The first few times,  I was too slow, and thwacked my legs against the frame.  Good thing I was padded up.  Then eventually, I did a clean take – locked up the front brake, went up and over the handlebars, did a forward roll over onto the mats.  I flubbed the next run-through, of course.  I was glad to finish this segment without really falling and hurting myself.

We finished up with high falls onto the airbag.  It really is massive, so from the first platform (which is 16′ high), we’re only falling about 5′ before reaching the mat.  I ran through all the falls.  Most of them were fine, but I’m still angled on the face-off, then hitting with my feet first, then my shoulders and head.  I’m not consistent with the face-offs, so I probably won’t do them at a higher height.


Stunt School Day 12 – Flying through the Air, Falling Down the Stairs

We started on the trampoline – practicing falling positions for headers and suicides.  Then we tried some back tucks.  I could do them, but I still have my bad habit of throwing myself back (instead of setting straight up, then tucking).  Ah well – need more practice.  Will be heading back to gymnastics after I recover from stunt school.

Then we tried some wire work.  First, some back tucks using wires.  It’s as much for the person on the wires (figuring out how the harness changes how you move), as for the safety team (figuring how to take the weight and go with the movements of the guy on the wires).  Then we took turns jumping from a ladder while harnessed, swooping through the air like Superman… until we awkwardly land, or swing back and forth until the safety team let us down.  Bob asked me to do the swoop, then do a front tuck at the end.  But turns out that since there’s nothing to push against once you’re in the air, it’s really hard to change your body position and do a tuck.  I suggested maybe if you do the front tuck first, then the swoop (but made it clear that the ladder shouldn’t be so rickety).

We did a quick review/overview of bulldogging – tackles, cross-body, etc.  But then it’s onto the main event – stair falls.

Oh boy. We were not looking forward to this.  Everybody has told us that stair falls suck.  And they do. We padded up as much as we can – arms, legs, elbows, knees, back protection, helmet.  It still is falling down the stairs – bumping and hitting along the way.  You try to keep as close to the stairs as possible, so that you’re not falling as far down with each roll.  But it’s miraculous how you still hit wherever your pads aren’t.

Like everyone else, I started a few steps up, and then worked my way up to the top of the stairs – about 10 or 11 steps.  It felt ok, for the most part, except that I tended to extend a bit too much, risking getting my feet or head caught by the railings.  I did it a bunch of times – was just glad to finish without getting banged up too much.




Stunt School Day 11 – Through the Plastic Window

The heat wave is finally over… for now.  It still supposed to heat up towards the end of the week, but for now, we can enjoy the cooler weather.

Anthony is teaching us this week.  A couple of new people joined us this week – for their 1-week intensive class.  Two others were supposed to join as well, but one had a schedule conflict, and another person got bit by a dog, and had to back out.  Just goes to show – no matter how dangerous you think stunt work is – you can just as easily get hurt going about your daily lives.

With the new people, we started off with the basis that we went through in Week 1 – rolls, shoulder rolls, backward shoulder rolls.  We didn’t spend nearly as much time on those as we did, but I’m glad that we got the practice in.

Then we brought out the mini-tramp, and went through the falls – header, suicide, face-off.  The new addition is a big wooden frame – to simulate a window break.  Bob put some plastic sheeting to stand in for the glass.  Just having the obstacle there plays mental games with you.  Some falls such as suicides are nerve-wracking, because you have to tuck pretty tight, and you worry about either hitting your head up top, or whacking your legs on the bottom.  I felt most comfortable with the header through the window – you have a small cross-section as you pass through the window frame, and then you can flip and land on your back as normal.

We moved up to the bridge – for some mid falls.  Bob brought out a thicker blue mat to put on top, and that made it easier – that mat is pretty comfy.  I worked on the face-off, which I still have problems with.  The other falls were fine.

We finished up on the trampoline, working specifically on falling correctly – the back falls, and the face-off.  I think towards the end, I started to get the face-off fall a little better.

When we finished up, I got Bob and Anthony to check my burn clothes for Friday.  Bob said that the jean jacket is perfect – nice and thick, good for burning.  Apparently we’ll start off with an arm burn, and if that goes okay, then they’ll light up the back.  I’d love to get some video of the burn!


Stunt School Day 10 – Bottle Over The Head

We were all ready to pass out from the heat, and it’s only the morning.  We started out with a few run-throughs of the 3-person fight scene with pistols from yesterday.  After cleaning it up, we filmed a few times.

Then some basic intro into how to handle rifles – from prone crawling, to advancing and turning.

Bob brought out a revolver designed to shoot blanks.  He explained the safety rules, and then let each of us fire a blank.  As expected, it’s LOUD.

We then worked on a fight scene that will incorporate a breakaway bottle at the end.  So we put together a bar fight.  The breakaway bottles are very fragile, and shatter easily – but the pieces can still be sharp, so we have to be careful.  We used a few different kinds – a green beer bottle, a brown beer bottle, and even a coke bottle!  All shattered into a million different pieces that takes a while to clean up.

And that’s the end of Week 2. Bob told us to get some all-cotton clothing over the weekend – jean jacket, jeans, and long-sleeved shirt.  We’ll be doing some burning next week!