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!



Stunt School Day 9 – Guns

The searing heat wave in NYC continues.  It’s supposed to hit 100 today.  We went over mid falls again, and did a short fight scene on the bridge, ending with a header fall.  Then also practiced the other falls.  Filming really helps you to see what you’re doing wrong and correct it.  I have to make sure I don’t stop flailing too soon on the falls.

Then Kofi and I cleaned up the martial arts fight scene that we worked on yesterday.  With a day’s rest (and being not quite as exhausted), we were a lot sharper and smoother.  We learned that getting the moves very clean and defined is more important than pure speed – they often speed up the cameras anyway, but sloppy moves would still be sloppy.  After a few takes (including one where we forgot to reset the props, and we had to improvise), we got a good, clean take that we were all pretty happy with.

Then we started with the guns – pistols today.  We took the prop guns, and practiced walking with the pistol pointing forward.  Then we did shoulder rolls with the pistol, coming back up with ready.  We finished up with a 3-person fight scene, incorporating the pistols.  We had a couple of sloppy takes, we’ll take it up again tomorrow morning.


Stunt School Day 8 – Martial Arts Fight

We picked up where we left off yesterday – with a fight up on the bridge, ending in a header fall.  We’re getting smoother now with more practice.  It’s HOT up there on the bridge – hot air rises, plus we’re away from the fans.

Since we had a little time before lunch, we did a short session on trampoline.  We started with basics such as controlling your jump, half turns and full turns, seat drops, and table drops.  I hadn’t really done table drops before – took some practice and adjusting, so that I’m not landing face first or legs first – everything should land flat at the same time.

After lunch, we did some independent practice – I worked on kips.  It’s still a little inconsistent, but at least I can get up now.

Then we set up the mats, for a fight scene heavy on the martial arts.  Kofi and I worked out the fight scene (with Aaron critiquing and adding his suggestions), and started running through it.  We learned how to a throw into a wall, and also used some props such as a foam barrel, and a foam rock.

We went through it a few times, and started to film it, but we were just so dead tired (it’s HOT and HUMID this week).  So we’ll start with this tomorrow and hopefully get a few good takes.