Stunts, Scenes and Safety – Introduction to Movie Stunts is an ebook you can read on your smartphone, tablet or PC. It was written with young audiences in mind. The mission was to create a book which inspires readers to be active, stretch their limits and to create something new. The book is packed with tips, photos and videos for learning to shoot action scenes.
When I started writing, I set myself three key objectives: interaction with readers, contact with movie making process and real stunts (instead of computer animations).
Interaction with readers
I wanted to create the book in interaction with its main audience – younger generations where the stuntmen of the future are already growing. Social media is no substitute for live interaction.
All the projects and examples in the book are tested and proven in real life situations at a gym or on a filming location. I wanted the content of the book to be influenced by those people who I was writing to. I also wanted to get immediate, unfiltered feedback on what works and what doesn’t.
All kinds of things can go wrong in a project like this. I wanted to be sure that everything in the book is tested and also works in practice.
View the book trailer:
Close contact with movie making process
For me, it was very important to be as much as possible behind the camera or in front of a camera during the writing process. It is pretty easy to come up with fancy ideas, but there is no substitute for the first-hand experience. It was also the main reason why I didn’t explain the process using old stunt movie clips as examples.
To be able to work in film productions was a bit of a challenge because it’s not always easy to get on a pro movie set in Finland. In the end, it worked out pretty well and I got to work as a stuntman, coordinator and even had couple of lines to act.
Physical stunts are important
I wanted to emphasize basic physical stunts in the book. I chose stunts that I found relatively safe for the future stuntmen to start with.
The same basic principles also apply to tougher and sometimes more dangerous stunts. After all, adventure-style physical activities, like playing “cops and robbers”, climbing trees, running, chasing, and being creative with parkour or skating tricks come naturally to kids. Adding a camera to the experience can be fun, even artistic dimension.
Of course, in an adventure game or movie, you have to have some kind of a battle element. I chose the king of combat scenes: sword fight.
The emphasis was on attentional concentration and having a good time on each filming location. I wanted to minimize violence, accidents and injuries, even though they are often present in stunt scenes of big budget movies.
To find the right mood for writing, I watched Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin pretty often. The energy of those guys probably had an influence on me as well.
The book is not oriented towards grand spectacles, or filled with CGI (Computer Generated Images) – it’s pretty “old school”. I believe it offers a good balance to today’s fast-paced life.
Written by H-P Virkki. Check out his profile on Stage 32.