Watch: Explore the Wonderful World of Stunts with a Pro Stunt Coordinator
If you don't know much about stunts, here's your chance to get nice and educated.
Shooting a film that contains stunts can be complicated, potentially dangerous, and nerve-racking. If your dream project includes a ton of stunts but you're feeling like you'd rather avoid all of the trouble that comes with them, then you might want to take a look at this video from Film Riot. In it, host Ryan Connolly sits down with professional stunt coordinator and performer Josh Tessier (Argo, 300: Rise of an Empire, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra) to ask him what filmmakers should know about doing stunts in their own films.
There is certainly a lot to think about before you decide to include a stunt in your movie. Do you have the budget for stunts? Can you ensure that the stunt performers, cast, and crew will be safe? Do you have someone on board that knows how to choreograph stunts and can make them look realistic and awesome?
But I think one of the most important factors that goes into using stunts in your film (other than safety) is how well it communicates who the characters are. This is something Tessier talks about in the interview and I'm glad he did, because so many stunts are just action-packed explosions of chaos that don't make a ton of sense. The stunts that we remember are the ones that, sure, are kind of out there and heart-pumping, but they're also representative of the strengths and weaknesses of the characters involved.
Jackie Chan's stunt scenes, namely fight/combat scenes, are a perfect example of this, because yes, he's incredibly talented at doing crazy stuff with his body, but he's also flawed and gets hurt a lot.
That makes a fight scene with him in it so much more entertaining to watch, because it's not just some superhuman fighter throttling a bunch of twerps, it's a skillful fighter whose human limitations turn fight scenes into moments bursting with tension and excitement.