stage combat

Emotion in Action Film Editing

As combat performers, we often get obsessed with the improvement of our physical performance. We often assume that the emotional aspect will happen by itself. But, it’s important for both choreographers and performers to incorporate the anger and fear and pain and exhaustion of battle into your rehearsal and practice. I’ve expounded on this before. […]

What Did You Call Me?

When we start to work on choreography, we don’t have specific scenes in mind. We don’t have a script to tell us our character’s motivations or what words to use. We often fall back on silly arguments to get our choreography started, and then we take the entire fight less seriously. What are some good, […]

What Are You Simulating?

In stage combat, we have three priorities: Safety: all movements must have built-in safety so the risk to actors is minimized. Simulation: every movement should look genuine and feature authentic-looking intent. Storytelling: the combination of movements should match each character’s personality, level of aggression, goals and further the plot of the story if possible. The […]

Theatrical Deaths with No Blood

Blood adds horror. That’s the single reason to add a blood effect to a death scene. So, the only creative question in whether to consider a blood effect is: does this scene need more horror? In Romeo and Juliet, for example, do we need Mercutio’s death to be horrific? I’d say yes. Do we need […]

Pause for Effect

Recently, the most effective tip I’ve been giving actors again and again is “take a moment”. It’s very easy to go to the next move in the fight choreography. However, there are important times to pause for effect. Laugh Lines You shouldn’t build a pause into your performance expecting that the audience will laugh. However, […]

Skill Retention Tips

Any skill you want to keep should be rehearsed weekly. Any skill you want to improve should be practiced daily. Spaced repetitions In the case of learning new vocabulary, or memorizing names, we have a lot of good data from psychological studies. It is well known that there is a certain frequency of reminders that […]

Infinite Things to Learn

Does the list of things to learn seem endless? It is. The more you think about the possible shows that require fight choreography and their potential needs, it can seem like an impossible task to be prepared for it all. One hand, two hands, look ma, no hands! When it comes down to it, you’ve […]