“The Fall Guy”, Bob Brown visits AISFM

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Bob Brown was at the AISFM Campus addressing the students and sharing his experiences about the time he was working as a stunt man and later a stunt coordinator in a numerous set of Hollywood projects, including both film and television. Bob is also a World Champion professional high diver.

A stunt coordinator is usually an experienced stunt performer hired by a TV, film or theatre director or production company for stunt casting (i.e.) to arrange the casting (stunt players and stunt doubles) and performance of stunts for a film, TV or a live audience. He has been nicknamed “The Fall Guy” as he is known for his high falling stunts.

With a vast number of films, from 1985 to 2017, Bob is one of the most experienced professionals in the business having an experience of over 30 years. He has had a successful transition from being a stuntman, to a stunt coordinator to a second unit director and then a director/producer of his first feature film called “Urban Games”, but he enjoys doing stunts the most.

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Bob started off with an introduction about his field of work and engaged in a Q/A session with the students, speaking about his process as a stunt coordinator, while having different experiences on different films. As he has been in the industry for quite a bit, he follows his set of methods and techniques to get the output required by the director.

Filmmaking being a collaborative process, Bob and his team play a vital part in the sequencing of stunts, ensuring the actor’s safety and delivering the product as per the vision of the director. On the job, he ensures enough rehearsals are done to make the shot seem realistic.

Bob has constantly been experiementing on the move, travelling to different parts of the world and contributing to the process of filmmaking, in a global way. As the job requires a passion for the risk and threat, Bob was always, from his childhood interested in watching action movies and found the movies really fascinating.

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He draws his inspiration for stunt ideas and moves from Jackie Chan. Inspired by video games, playing them gives him a lot of ideas on thinking of a new stunt. With a technical point of view, he does prefer long takes and is also a fan of a scene with multiple cuts, if executed perfectly. As he is also well versed with editing, he endures the added advantage of knowing what he wants, right in his head.

He also spoke about the other side of the industry where a few stunt coordinators can offer a lot but with the risk of safety. Bob has the right mindset for choreographing stunts realistically and safely with the use of the “right” equipment. He also spoke about VFX and it’s relevance in the idea of any stunt. He feels the need of a healthy working relationship with the DoP and the director to be very essential for creating something great on screen.

Sets of videos of his sequences were shown to the students throughout the interaction. You could see the versatility, in his body of work as each sequence had an extra edge to it; from integrating an animal in an action sequence, or blowing up cars, or the kick-punch sequences with an accurate sense of choreography. Speaking about the difference in TV and film, he says, “After a TV sequence, I don’t get that feeling of ‘Oh! I did it!’” He enjoys doing film sequences better as the scale of it is much larger in size, he said.

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Bob believes a stunt is as good as the preparation put behind it. He is also a fan of shooting on film over digital as film is richer and has more texture. Emphasizing on the rehearsals is a key to his success as a coordinator, he said. He was also a stunt double for Jim Carrey and encourages the idea of safety and professionalism.

Talking about his journey on how it was when he started out he shared instances where he donating blood from time to time for a few dollars. With 150$ in his pocket and the willingness to go behind his dream he moved his way up slowly and steadily getting noticed by all the studio heads. His recent body of work includes movies like XXX: The Return of Xander Cage, Pixels, San Andreas, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Lone Ranger, Modern Family, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief and many more.

The students were very interactive and discussed many topics with him and had a witty exchange of opinions. As Bob started out with having no film background and made his way up with sheer passion, he says, “Education always prepares you for what you are up against. It’s great that students can get an education in Film and Media prior to their work, as it makes them ready for it. Like being on a set, and knowing the functionality of it.”

Lights, Camera, Stunts!!!

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Bahubali is a movie that caught the nation’s attention like never before and people all over are awaiting the concluding part of this epic movie that has been narrated through spectacular visuals and amazing special effects. Bahubali, with its epic dimensions in nearly every aspect of filmmaking has been lauded for its exceptional stunts and special effects and its grandeur of scale especially in its stunts and battle sequences are truly spectacular.

Stunt coordinator of this blockbuster film King Solomon Raju visited AISFM for a stunt and action workshop for Bachelors and Masters students who will be graduating next semester. The outdoor shoot with our students was conducted on our campus by the man himself. Students got a hands-on experience on how stunts are supposed to be acted out and shot.

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Speaking to us during a break in the workshop, Solomon said about youngsters nowadays joining film schools to learn the finer nuances of various aspects of film-making, “It is imperative that today’s generation gets the right training and for that learning in a film school is very important. Just like how you cannot go from Grade 1 to Grade 10 in school, here you cannot just join the film industry and become known. By learning in a film school, they always have an added advantage. More and more people are joining the film industry now than earlier and it is a great thing.”

Talking about his favourite movie Bahubali, he said that it is one of the best things that has happened to him and rates the stunts and the movie as the best. When we are talking about the iconic movie how can we not ask the proverbial question on everyone’s lips, ‘Why did Kattappa kill Bahubali?’ To this, he smiled and said, “Even, I don’t know!” “Stunts have come a long way from the initial days of the film industry and have improved greatly. With the aid of computer graphics, various stunts can be tried in films,” he said and added that Bahubali has raised the standards for stunts too.

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Before getting back to the workshop, he left a word of advice for the youngsters who want to pursue film-making, “Follow your dream, work hard with passion and don’t give up.”

One of the AISFM students’ who attended the workshop, shared her thoughts on it. Isha Thota, said “The stunt workshop was quite an interesting experience. It made me aware of the intricacies that went in to the production of a “professional” stunt scene and also the need of a stunt coordinator even for low budget films. We learnt about other aspects we may use in a film that we may not have previously thought would need a coordinator for i.e. something as small and insignificant as a scene where a character falls onto the floor is in need of an awareness, about stunts.”

“One main aspect that was spoken about, that is of grave importance is that of safety. Mr. Solomon and his team were very prudent, and took various safety measures with the use of body harnesses and crash mats. We were also informed about the importance of using our own safety equipment in order to ensure that the quality has not deteriorated or any problems that come with wear and tear come up during a shoot. Apart from the basic need for safety, the film production and insurance is also at a risk if appropriate steps are not taken.”

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“We were also made aware of the steps taken in the production of a stunt sequence, from interacting with the director who informs the coordinator of the mood of the scene and the events leading up to the stunt sequence, and of course the setting and to the actual rehearsal of the stunt  sequence itself. During the shoot Mr. Solomon also did a mock pre vis using a camera phone to check different angles, after which the sequence was practiced, safety measures were taken and then we were onto actual production. We were told about various different “cheat” angles and movements we can use so as to insure actual impact isn’t needed, especially since we were shooting without VFX.”

“The day long shot was very engaging, the students were quite involved often doing the camera work themselves and the workshop was a educational first step to a more in-depth awareness of what goes on during a stunt sequence.”

Mission: Impossible, ‘Cruise’ing its way into our hearts since 20 years!

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This May marked the 20th Anniversary of Tom Cruise’s first major franchise, Mission: Impossible. The series, with its action filled plot lines and over-the-top stunts (we’re looking at the Burj Al-Arab scene here), captivated its audience, every time a new addition to the series released. Your mission – should you choose to accept it – is to check out these 20 facts about the film, to commemorate its 20th Anniversary.

Mission: Impossible

  1. Cruise was originally not a fan of the helicopter flying into the tunnel after the train. De Palma insisted that they needed to go big for the film’s climatic set piece, so Cruise relented.
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  2. Before hiring Brian De Palma to direct, Cruise worked on the film’s story with legendary director Sydney Pollack, who’s uncredited in the final release
  3. The film was originally going to open with a scene that established a love triangle between Hunt, Phelps, and Phelps’s wife. De Palma scrapped that scene because it didn’t fit with the rest of the film.
  4. De Palma designed many of the film’s action sequences before the story connecting them was complete, forcing screenwriters to construct narratives around them.

Mission: Impossible II

  1. When developing the 2nd film of the series, director John Woo was inspired by Hitchcock’s “Notorious.” The classic thriller centers on a love triangle involving spies, and Woo wanted to bring a similar dynamic to the relationship between Ethan Hunt, the villain, Ambrose (Dougray Scott) and the love interest they both share, Nyah Nordoff-Hall (Thandie Newton).
  2. The opening scene, where Cruise climbs and leaps from a 2,000-foot cliff, was the scariest and most challenging of Woo’s career. Cruise did the aforementioned stunt himself, with no safety net on the ground (naturally) but with a safety harness, which was digitally-removed later.
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  3. Ambrose’s house on the water in Sydney wasn’t real. Instead, it was built of polystyrene and demolished after shooting.
  4. The famous shot of a dove flying through the fire, a Woo trademark, was computer-animated.

Mission: Impossible III

  1. Cruise became convinced that J.J. Abrams should direct the film after watching an episode of Alias at 2 a.m. one morning.
  2. Tom Cruise was holding cue cards for Crudup in the scene in which Musgrave reveals that he’s a villain. The scene was only written that morning and Crudup didn’t have time to learn his lines.
  3. Maggie Q, who plays Zhen Lei, hadn’t driven before shooting the film, a fact that became clear when she accidentally drove her character’s Lamborghini into another car during shooting in Italy.
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  4. The idea of providing mission information via a disposable camera came from Steven Spielberg.

Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

  1. The opening scene in Budapest was to have depicted Ethan Hunt leaping off the building and getting assassinated. When it was decided to keep Hunt (and Cruise) around, the scene was changed to involve the character of Hanaway, played by “Lost’s” Josh Holloway.
  2. The code Ethan punches into a pay phone to get his mission is 07362, the date of Cruise’s birthday.
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  3. Actor Dermot Mulroney plays cello on the film’s soundtrack; he also provided music for M:I 3.
  4. Bird included a common Easter egg that he often drops in his films: the code “A113.” It’s the number of an animation classroom at the California Institute of the Arts where he and John Lasseter studied and it appears in Ghost Protocol on Hanaway’s (Josh Holloway) class ring.
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Mission: Impossible – Rouge Nation

  1. “Rogue Nation” continued the tradition of Cruise sporting long hair for the even-numbered installments, and short hair for the odd-numbered films.
  2. The airplane stunt that Tom Cruise performed himself, without any stunt double or special effects, had him suspended on the aircraft 5000 feet in the air at times!
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  3. All the good guys in the movie drive BMW cars. The bad guys drive an Audi or a Mercedes!
  4. Tom Cruise and Ving Rhames are the only actors to appear in all five films in the franchise.
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Have wheels, will chase: The greatest film car chases

With Need for Speed rocking the box office, Shaun Munro at What Culture takes a look at some of the most awe-inspiring, hair-raising car chase scenes ever. Buckle up! [Read more…]