Choreographing a fight for film requires attention to detail and thoughtful execution. Even a skilled fighter will need to be coached on how to fight in front of a camera. There are some steps you can take to ensure that your fight scenes are convincing and authentic. Here are a few tips on how to direct a fight scene.
Walk Your Stage
In order for your fight scene choreography to be relevant and impactful, it must make sense in the context of your setting. In a real-life fight, your adversaries would not stand still in their environment to fight one another. They would move about the space and they would use elements of the environment to their advantage whether that means rocks, walls, chairs or anything else that’s present. Start by taking inventory of your setting and deciding which direction the fight will flow as the characters move about.
Mix and Match Moves
A choreographed fight is much like a choreographed dance. The cadence of the fight needs to reflect the mood and the background of the event. This means that there will be a few small moves followed by a high visibility move that makes a big impact. Then you will start over with some small filler movements and another big impact move. You will also need to use your whole space effectively, which means including kicks, spins, ground moves, jumping moves and more. A real fight is much more complex than a bunch of punches thrown in quick succession – it’s dynamic and spans a wide range of movements.
Plan for Weapons
If weapons will be used during the fight scene, take some time to swing and move them on the stage. You need to be sure that all of your actors can move safely through the environment without hitting anything or hurting themselves. If you notice a part of the setting is particularly slippery or difficult to move on, address it in advance. If your actors will be climbing on furniture or crates stacked in the background, or be thrown into a wall, make sure that all of those things are reinforced to handle the weight of the event. Mark any spots that your actors need to be aware of so they can hit their mark.
These are just three important tips for filming a great fight scene. As you plan your fight scene choreography, engage with the set and props to ensure that each movement will fit within the setting logically and safely. Make good use of your entire set, and don’t limit your actors to a small space. Finally, double check that your set has been built to withstand the demands of your fight.
To learn more about fight scene choreography, contact Colorado, Ohio, Illinois and Miami Media Schools today and register for one of our classes. We will teach you the basics of great choreography and videography so you can nail your next action sequence.