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Easy, not-too-dangerous Stunts for teenagers


 
     

Re: Easy, not-too-dangerous Stunts for teenagers

by Jenni Noordhoek on Sat May 08, 2010 9:03am

As mentioned in my thread in General Discussion, there is a possibility of my youth group making a short film.

I am writing a possible script.

DISCLAIMER: haven’t got the official go-ahead, this is all up in the air.

So as I’m writing here, I’m wondering what kinds of action pieces I could put in.

AFAIK, there is no one there who has experience with film stunts. (possibly theatre, but I don’t know what they put into school plays nowadays—I haven’t asked anyone) We have a lot of athletic teens, kids who are in track, basketball, volleyball, football, etc.

What kinds of stunts would be easy to pull off for a group of teenagers (between 14 and 20 is my guess)—and not just easy, but safe? I don’t want to be explaining to anyone’s parents why their child ended up in the hospital because of a stunt gone wrong…

If it helps, the genre is light steampunk. All characters are teenagers. We have villains chasing after good guys with at least ray guns, maybe other steampunk weapons if I can think of them (and if they’re buildable cheaply). The MC has crutches for most of the short film.

Thanks for your help!

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Re: Easy, not-too-dangerous Stunts for teenagers

by Dallas Lammiman on Sat May 08, 2010 9:31am

What kind of action are you thinking might need stunts? For the most part stunts are common sense (unless you are getting REALY fancy) and thinking through everything to make sure it is 100% safe and then building in a few fail safes.

I am not a professional stunt man, but I have done a good bit of stunt work on stage so I might be able to give you some tips on specifics if you can give any specifics.

And here are 2 quick tips:

Knowing how to fall safely is a key component in a lot of simple stunts.

The “victim” is always in full control. For example when I grab someone by the hair and pull them to their feet, I am actually doing very little, in-fact, I am not really even holding any hair, I couldn’t make them do anything if I tried. The stunt is really in the hands of the person whose hair I am “grabbing”.

[ Edited: Sat May 08, 2010 9:34am by Dallas Lammiman ]
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Re: Easy, not-too-dangerous Stunts for teenagers

by Nick Crawford on Sat May 08, 2010 10:45am

Again, I don’t know anything about this on a half-pro level, but I have attempted a few very mild stunts for a medieval action movie I’m planning to do with my brother… and I’m not real athletic, so if I can do ‘em anybody can.  cheese

Something that can be impressive (in a practical way), easy to incorporate into chase sequences and particularly easy to pull off for anyone who’s a bit athletic, is simply vaulting or jumping something. If you’re around concrete and whatnot then you probably don’t want to totally lose grip and go bounding 8 feet, but if the ground is soft around (grass, dirt), you can jump a long ways without hurting yourself. And it’s fairly easy to make look halfway impressive… Like this over dramatized version of a jump that I put together for showing off the difference effects, timing and music can make on a simple video: http://www.youtube.com/user/CCCinematics#p/u/15/leamzfgkR5E


Some other stuff that’s really safe; getting up from the ground without using your arms (as in, character gets knocked onto the ground landing on his back and simply reverses momentum and jumps back up again). It feels harder than it sounds and looks more impressive than it feels.  wink  And then there’s always the trusty shoulder roll for attempting to dodge those ray gun blasts.  cheese

These sort of things aren’t going to make someone say “wow look what that guy can do” but they will keep an action sequence from becoming boring.

I think the biggest thing for shooting any stunt is really putting your all into it, because really, if you’re being chased by a lot of bad guys, you’re not going to just casually jump over that ditch or casually roll out of the way of gunfire, you’re going look desperate.  grin

Anyway, another half a cent from me.  wink

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Re: Easy, not-too-dangerous Stunts for teenagers

by Jordan Smith on Sat May 08, 2010 11:50am

Jenni, this is gonna sound awfully familiar… See if you can get your hands on a copy of Combat Mime. It’s a little expensive, but it’s a great book on all sorts of stunts and how to do them safely.

To give you a little taste (which may be what you have to settle for if you’re on a budget), here’s a link to my blog, where I did a series of four videos showing a few of the techniques from the book. (Disclaimer: I’m pretty sure I didn’t do them all correctly. The point was to get you interested in the book. Don’t pay attention to my ham acting, either. cheese )

And don’t underestimate the old trick of throwing a dummy out the window. wink See Nuts and Bolts Filmmaking or Google for how to make one… I just looked and if you search for “dummy” on the look inside on Nuts and Bolts Filmmaking, you can actually see the diagram for the dummy construction.


Jordan

[ Edited: Sat May 08, 2010 11:53am by Jordan Smith ]
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Re: Easy, not-too-dangerous Stunts for teenagers

by Jenni Noordhoek on Sat May 08, 2010 12:50pm

Dallas Lammiman wrote:

What kind of action are you thinking might need stunts? For the most part stunts are common sense (unless you are getting REALY fancy) and thinking through everything to make sure it is 100% safe and then building in a few fail safes.
I am not a professional stunt man, but I have done a good bit of stunt work on stage so I might be able to give you some tips on specifics if you can give any specifics.

Thanks!

Right now we have some chase sequences for certain. I am building the action sequences around what is safe and practical. Basically, I’m writing the script sans stunts for the first draft because the individual stunts are not essential to the storytelling—all this draft needs is to know that we’re getting away from the evil villains. I can add stunts as I find out what I can ask my actors to do - which is where this thread comes in. smile

This is the sequence of events in the script (the line of PLOT bubbles over to the right) Pardon the mess, this is my development bubbl document for everything.

The MC has to fight his way to the Spring of Estel, which looks right now to be a outdoor location in a county park out in the country a few miles away. There’s a real spring, there’s a metal container around there - really rustic, I thought it’d make the perfect steampunk spring, particularly with some colorgrading.

The Main Evil Bad Guy (Vincent) faces off with him at the spring. He needs to somehow knock MC (Tenniel) into the spring. I don’t know how. Vincent has a ray gun, and I don’t know what any other steampunk weapons are.

There’s a grate about 18-24” down, just deep enough that my uncle can reach the bottom and pick pennies up off the grate,but too deep for me when I was 10-12 to reach the bottom myself without getting my shirt wet. smile I was thinking that Tenniel could touch the grate and push himself back up onto his crutch using the grate for some momentum.

I don’t really have anything else. Just general “he must fight his way to the spring” and some places where we could stick some stunts if they make sense.

I was already planning on posting the script in Screenwriting once I get a draft done anyway

My goal is to make this fun for a group of energetic teenagers. smile

And here are 2 quick tips:

Knowing how to fall safely is a key component in a lot of simple stunts.

The “victim” is always in full control. For example when I grab someone by the hair and pull them to their feet, I am actually doing very little, in-fact, I am not really even holding any hair, I couldn’t make them do anything if I tried. The stunt is really in the hands of the person whose hair I am “grabbing”.

How do I put the ‘victim’ in full control?

I have got one shot written already that I cannot get around in which the MC is knocked over by his sister, who gets hit by a blaster bolt intended for him. Her fall is not onscreen (I am unsure how to tell someone to pretend that she got hit by something that we’ll add in post), but his is. I didn’t think of it until just now as being something to be concerned about, but now that I think about it, hitting a dirt or gravel alleyway could hurt.

How do I keep people from getting hurt?

Thanks!


And thanks to everyone else who posted while I was writing this, I’ll keep your advice in mind too. smile

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Re: Easy, not-too-dangerous Stunts for teenagers

by Nick Crawford on Sat May 08, 2010 1:22pm

Jenni Noordhoek wrote:

I have got one shot written already that I cannot get around in which the MC is knocked over by his sister, who gets hit by a blaster bolt intended for him. Her fall is not onscreen (I am unsure how to tell someone to pretend that she got hit by something that we’ll add in post), but his is. I didn’t think of it until just now as being something to be concerned about, but now that I think about it, hitting a dirt or gravel alleyway could hurt.

How do I keep people from getting hurt?

In my opinion… a controlled fall can be performed with quite a bit of believability and without getting hurt, even on hard surfaces. Making someone totally lose control and get thrown to the ground would be much more difficult to do though. If you had a large green mattress, you could have him fall onto that, and then overlay that video onto another video taken of the same place from the same angle (both filmed with the camera on a tripod), chroma key the green, and effectively make it look like he fell on the ground… works in theory anyway.

In the short video below, my original plan was to totally lose it and fly backwards, but I abandon that plan because 1: it wouldn’t fit the comedy western spoof as well, and 2: that sounds like it could be very painful on rocky terrain. This fall isn’t super believable, but it was easy to pull off without worrying about killing myself.  wink  (don’t worry, it’s not a violent video)  cheese

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAQ3_4MsYvo

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Re: Easy, not-too-dangerous Stunts for teenagers

by Dallas Lammiman on Sat May 08, 2010 6:18pm

Jenni Noordhoek wrote:

How do I keep people from getting hurt?

The #1 rule is that everything is totally controlled and everyone is in control of themselves at all times. When one is out of control, they an easily loose control, and then is when accidents and injuries happen.

If I am acting that I just got shot in the chest and fall in a heap to the floor I have lots of choices of how to do that.

If I fall in an uncontrolled way I wont really think of my self as being out of control. But if during that fall at the last minute realize my had will hit a rock if I don’t stop and I try and pull out of the fall I then will quickly realize that I have lost control. If I can stop the fall it will be in an un-controlled manner that will likely cause injury to my wrists.

If I fall in a controlled manner and I see that same rock I can easily stop spot the fall, at any point. It might look face if I am just running throng the technical motions of the fall, but I can add embellishments that can really sell it wile keeping it safe.

Jenni Noordhoek wrote:

How do I put the ‘victim’ in full control?

Haw that means is, that if I am being struck my another actor in a scene, and I realize that something is wrong or am uncomfortable, I am the one who has the power to stop it. The simplest way is that if I am the one getting “struck by a fist” I am the one who makes it happen, if I do nothing, nothing happens. The guy swings and I don’t move, he doest hit me, he just looks silly.

In my example of garbing some ones hair and violently yanking them to their feet the victim is in full control because if I pull up and she doesn’t want to come, she wont come. In fact I cant even guide her, I am more or less under her control. If she wants to do left and I want o go right, but I don’t want to look foolish I must follow her left or “let go”.

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Re: Easy, not-too-dangerous Stunts for teenagers

by Dallas Lammiman on Sat May 08, 2010 6:25pm

When you are working with your cast, look for these people and ask for tips.

Karate students. They often know how to fall safely.

Gymnasts. They will now some simple tumbles that can be easily learned and executed safely (knowing how to do simple roles can help in recovering from an out of control fall as well).

Dancers. Most fight choreographers like to work with dancers. Most multi person stunts are more like dancing then actually fighting. So dancers might be able to provide some useful tips as well.

Also if you can at all find a stage fight or stunt director they can really be an asset and show you some simple tricks very quickly.

[ Edited: Sat May 08, 2010 6:30pm by Dallas Lammiman ]
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Re: Easy, not-too-dangerous Stunts for teenagers

by Dallas Lammiman on Sat May 08, 2010 6:44pm

Also, Jordan I think your videos capture the idea of how stunts work fairly well. Not how if in Jordan’s videos if the “victim” doesn’t feel save it it would be very easy to escape, or if they don’t event do anything, they will remain totally safe.

Oh, and Nick, nice shot, but next time, put the camera in the ditch looking up! OR better yet, take it twice and place the looking up shot in the middle where the slowmo was! (I wish I had a ditch in my back yard now!)

[ Edited: Sat May 08, 2010 6:56pm by Dallas Lammiman ]
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Re: Easy, not-too-dangerous Stunts for teenagers

by Jeffrey Griffith on Sun May 09, 2010 6:21pm

In essence any stunt can be ether dangerous of safe, it all has to do with location, location, location( get the drift wink  ). I know that just about everyone else mentioned this but its really the key.

Since its super hard just to ramdonly name off easy stunts, I’ll name off some safety ideas.

One: watch out for peoples ankles!
One of the biggest things I come accross is getting twisted or hurt ankles because the landing is to hard. Most people are willing to jump off of something 5 feet high as long as you can get some padding to land on, and its really easy to to just keep the camera angle so as not to show the ground. Bed mattress for instance or even just a lot of old blankets.

Two: Make sure anyone doing anything(dangerous) feels totaly comfortable with what their doing.
Confidence is key for not getting hurt. If you don’t think you can do it you most likely can’t.

 

[ Edited: Wed May 12, 2010 11:12pm by Jeffrey Griffith ]
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Re: Easy, not-too-dangerous Stunts for teenagers

by Rick Shaw on Mon May 24, 2010 7:56am

Send me the scene descriptions involving the stunt or action sequences and I will advise how to handle and set up safety.  If you have teenagers that are very good dancers then in most cases they are the ones that can put together a good fight scene, its 1,2,3, cut.  You can be the best martial arts expert but if you don’t know how to block and stage a fight in front of a camera then the expert can hurt a non-fighting actor.

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