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Fight Choreography: The Art of Non-Verbal Dialogue

Book Description

All of us have seen films in which the story and acting might be great, but the film suffers because the action and fight sequences are not convincing enough, are terribly shot or edited, or do not integrate seamlessly into the story, causing them to be ineffective, gratuitous, or worst of all, unintentionally humorous. However, when done well, fight and action scenes support and heighten the story and expand the characters. Fight Choreography: The Art of Non-Verbal Dialogue helps filmmakers ensure that the fight scenes in their films add to the film's overall quality. Creating a stage fight with a high level of clarity and entertainment value is a very complicated endeavor and requires skills that acting classes and martial arts schools cannot teach. This book helps filmmakers make sense of this art form and how they can use it to create their own styles of fights for a variety of projects, whether they be feature-length films, shorts, or television shows. The book is instructional, informative, and entertaining, and focuses on every important element involved in fight choreography, from basic philosophies, initial concept, and planning, to filming, editing, adding special effects, and sound mixing the final product. The book is not only an indispensable resource for filmmakers, but will also interestfilm buffs who want to learn how great fight sequences are made so they can better appreciate the action.

Table of Contents

  1. Copyright
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. About the Author
  4. Introduction
  5. Basic History of Fight Choreography and Fighting on Film
    1. Basic Overview: The Evolution of Fight Choreography
    2. The Dawn and Influence of the Modern-Day Kung Fu Brawl
    3. East versus West
    4. Code of Ethics/Conduct
    5. What We Can Still Learn from Bruce Lee
    6. Watching Bruce Lee’s Movies
  6. The Differences between Sport, Art, and Self-Defense
    1. Three Major Approaches to Combat: Art, Sport, and Self-Defense
    2. The Root of Combative Sports
    3. Tournament/Point Fighting
    4. Pro Wrestling
  7. Definitions and Terminology
    1. Empty-Handed Fighting Distance/Range
    2. Different Types of Fighters
    3. Styles of Fighters
    4. Definitions of Fighting Terms
    5. Film Fighting and Stunt Terms
    6. The Pulse of a Fight Scene
  8. Primer
    1. Issues with Using a Real Martial Artist or Combative Athlete on Film
    2. What Is a Screen Fighter?
    3. The Importance of Rhythm in a Fight
    4. Working with and Training Actors, Stunt Players, and Stunt Doubles
    5. Differences between School Training and Film Training
    6. The Actor’s Role in the Film
    7. The Role of the Stuntman and Stunt Double
    8. The Script and What to Teach
    9. Collaboration with Other Creative Departments
    10. The Relationship between Trainer and Actor
    11. Possible Issues That Can Arise during Training
    12. Horror Stories
    13. What Is Strategy?
    14. The Difference between Violence and Action
    15. Justification for Actions Taken
  9. The Whole Structure
    1. Introduction to the Process of Putting Together a Fight Scene
    2. The Balancing Game
  10. The Source
    1. The Story
    2. The Characters
    3. The Buildup
    4. What Is a Form?
    5. The Script
    6. Questions
    7. Exercises
  11. Extracting the Essence
    1. Assembling the Character and Story Inventory
    2. Breaking Down the Script
    3. Creating Your Character Bible
    4. Creating the Fighter’s IQ
    5. Fight Chart and Stats
  12. The Narrative Structure and Elements of a Fight Scene
    1. Fight Scene Structure
  13. Physical Elements of the Fight Scene
    1. The Framework
    2. Physical Elements Defined
    3. What Exactly Is Martial Acting?
    4. Reactions
    5. Facial Expressions
    6. Exercises
  14. The Technical Elements of a Fight
    1. Cinematography
    2. Editing
    3. The Pulse of a Fight Scene
    4. Cinematography Exercises
    5. Editing Exercises
  15. Developing a Choreographer’s Eye
    1. Developing an Eye for Action
    2. Starting a Video Reference Library
  16. Recommended Reading, Viewing, and Other Resources
    1. Further Reading
    2. Suggested Viewing
    3. Periodicals
    4. The Major Studios
    5. Additional Resources
    6. DVD Distributors
    7. Independent DVD Dealers
    8. Organizations and Unions
    9. Stunt Organizations
    10. Film Conservatories and Institutes
    11. Women’s Film Organizations
    12. Critics Societies
    13. Award Shows
    14. Online Resources
    15. Conventions and Festivals
    16. Festivals
  17. Index