How to Perform Stage Combat For Slow Motion

Stage combat is a skill that all actors and filmmakers should familiarize themselves with. When the actors and filmmaker know what they're doing, they can safely shoot fight scenes that look real. When they don't know what they're doing, the final product is either going to look very fake and lame, or someone could get hurt during the filming. Stage combat is difficult enough to properly pull off for shooting at regular and high speed, but it's even more difficult to properly do at slow motion because the audience has a longer time to look and critique your work. So how do you properly perform it?

Step 1: Hire Experienced Actors

Stage combat is something that is usually taught in an acting class. You don't want to have actors that are totally clueless performing this for your movie. You need to hire someone with experience. Even if it is just a couple of acting classes, you will notice the difference. An inexperienced actor is not going to come off as not very convincing because they will lack confidence. Or even worse, they might hurt themselves or others. If it is necessary to cast someone for the role who doesn't have the experience, then you should consider sending them to some kind of training with a professional before the shoot.

Step 2: Coordinate between the Actors

It's very easy for someone to get hurt when performing stage combat. That's why it is essential that the actors are in constant and clear communication with each other. They need to slowly develop a step by step plan that they will follow. If one actor is going to throw a punch with his right hand, then he needs to say that he is using his right hand as opposed to just saying he will throw a punch. There is no room for error with stage combat. Remember, safety first.

Step 3: Create Marks

Once the moves have been decided, the next part in your plan should be to make marks for where the action will take place. Doing this before the rehearsal will ensure that communication is clear between everyone. And who knows? Some great ideas might come out of this process to make the "fight" even better.

Step 4: Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

Once a clear plan has been developed that every party knows, it is time to start rehearsing. You want the rehearsal to begin by practicing the moves in slow motion over and over again. Once the actors begin to get the moves down, you can build up the speed. The rehearsing should be done to death so that everyone knows what will happen. Doing it once or twice before shooting is usually a recipe for disaster. Take the time and do the job right.

Step 5: Shoot It

Once everyone is confident in the rehearsals, it is time to shoot. Because the fight is in slow motion, it is very important to have your actors performing their combat at a normal or fast speed. Doing the fighting at a slow speed will look very fake.