Art of Combat

Fight Choreography & Tactical Training
 

Art of Combat
Video Galleries

Behind the Scenes, Demo Reels, & Training

The only thing better than freezing a moment in time with a photograph, is to bring it to life with music, edits, camera movements, and lighting. From the fundamental beginnings of rehearsals in behind the scenes footage, to training videos and demo reels, these videos are to educate and inspire.

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Behind The Scenes

A brief look into training for a scene

Many factors go into a professional fight scene for a film. When I create a fight, I look at the characters (actors) physique, their world (inside the film), the style (cinematography), and Subtext (the Undefined… the Story behind the scene).

In preparing for a fight, it can take days, to weeks, to months preparing an actor and even myself for a scene, based upon it’s complexity, number of characters/cameras being used, the risk factors, and understanding of what type of visual fx will be used (Practical or Visual).

Above all… Safety is key. To truly sell to the camera and suspend the audience belief, the fight has to be a close to reality as one can safely deliver, without compromising the safety of your talent, stunt actors, even equipment. Some attacks (usually to the body), actually land with the illusion of full contact, while others have to “miss, but still hit”. This is a delicate balance which must be respected. The time we take planning and rehearsing our fights, results in a fight the audience will remember and enjoy.

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Demo Reels

Selecting the Scenes to Sell Your Work

There is a saying… “You’re only as good as your last project”. When it comes to selling your talent to the industry, you get one chance to make an impression, and if you’re lucky, they’ll keep watching.

My Demo Reels/Directors Reels like any, are designed to demonstrate a variety of qualities my fight scenes possess. My goal is to demonstrate the quality, the safety, the illusion, and intensity of the fight, as well as how well I made it belong to the character, cinematography, and subtext of the story.

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Training Videos

Training is the Reality vs. the Fantasy

Films can make a fight feel larger than life. We add sound fx, dramatic lighting, fancy camera work, edits, costumes, and visual fx… all to sell an illusion.

The illusion can’t exist without the truth… there must be a foundation to the art in real life, if it’s going to sell in a film.

I take my training very seriously, and it is most precious to me, as it defines who I am. I’ve spent over 20 years training others, but now what I do, I do for myself. The videos I shoot while training are to critique me, to add a visual reference to what I feel as I train, Spar, or Discover. These videos are pure, with no illusion. They demonstrate the foundation.

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Interviews
Theatrical Trailers

It’s always enjoyable to reflect on what went into a scene, and to see it edited in it’s most dramatic form.

Through my career, I’ve had the pleasure of working with both extremely talented actors and stunt actors while creating a fight scene… as well as suffering through times when the person in front of the camera had no reason or quality what-so-ever to be involved in that scene. There are benefits and ways to working with both.

The benefit simply is to learn and gain experience, and to search for creative ways to make the scene work. So if the talent has no fighting skill or believable qualities, there in remains the challenge… the opportunity to overcome an obstacle.

When the talent brings a certain quality to the fight scene that is beyond your original expectations, then true cinematic magic happens. In my experience, the most enjoyable stunt actors to work with for fight scenes have been parkour and free-running exports.What they are able to bring to the scene both physically and mentally are undeniable, and worth their weight in gold.

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Interviews

Edited By Mike Jones
My fellow colleague Mike Jones edited some amazing interviews from our first film “Relentless”. It’s always great to go back with the cast and crew and relive some great memories, even the bad ones… like filming outdoor fight scenes during the hottest and longest drought in WI history. Relentless will eventually be revived as a series of “5 short films”, each with their own unique environments, characters, visual fx, and fighting styles.

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This is NOT Sparta

Superman Ain’t Saving $h17
Just a spoof edit of the actual scene. I wish someone could have rescued me from this film… If someone claims to be an actor, but can’t “sell” the character, let alone the fight, the entire film suffers. Some people despite their mamas words, don’t belong in front of the camera. A selfish ego will ruin a film and everyone’s experience. This fun little montage shows this scene for what it really was… a sad joke. We’ve all got that “Black Sheep” film we wish we never did, this was mine. Words of advice, choose your business partners wisely.

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Phoenix Rising (student film)

Dial: 1-800-ShuddaMadaBackUp
This came about last minute, when my original film (an entirely different project filmed over 3 days) was killed after the hard drive was dropped and hit the floor in one of those slow motion “NNNOOOOOOO” moments. I had less than 2 weeks to pull this together as a final project in film school. Some of my students came to the rescue and helped me create this. This short was never entirely finished, but was designed to look like a theatrical trailer for a full feature film.

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