Here’s the link to the press release:
Here’s the link to the press release:
DISCLAIMER: We do not recommend you perform stunts without the supervision of a trained professional. This is given here solely for the purposes of education, and we are not responsible if you or your cast and crew injure themselves, if you try this, you do so at your own risk. Film stunts often deal with dangerous situations, and although the idea is to do them safely so you can do several takes without hurting yourself, accidents do happen. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PRODUCTION INSURANCE TO COVER YOURSELF AND YOUR PEOPLE, AND A SET MEDIC.
Glass, the final frontier… just kidding. But this is indeed an important topic, especially if you can’t afford breakaway glass.
Back in the day, breakaway glass, aka candy glass, was made of spun sugar. You could turn into objects like cups or bottles, or make it into window panes, etc.
Nowadays, breakaway glass is made of resin, and isn’t as fragile and spun sugar, nor as hard to manufacture, but still brittle.
For example, let’s take a quick scene of somebody throwing a glass at somebody, let’s assume he ducks out of the way, and the glass smashes against the wall, but then he steps into the broken shards on the floor, and he’s barefoot.
If you have breakaway glass, it’s a lot safer, and you just need someone with good aim – maybe get them to throw some plastic cups first to make sure the mark’s getting hit consistently.
You can then shoot a medium closeup and see the glass smash against the wall, maybe from the side, so you can see the glass travel across frame, and on a longer lens you can stack the glass and the actor up, and make it seem like it just missed him, even though it may have been a foot or two away.
You can then do another take of an insert on the glass shattering against the wall. In this take, you could fill up the new glass with shards from the previous impact, so when the new glass breaks, more particles will come out, and it will look bigger and better.
Stepping on the glass, with breakaway glass, is a simple matter of a closeup on the feet on well-placed shards. You can make a little pile for the guy to step on and add some wild sound of crunching glass to make the audience cringe and drive the point home.
Then, take some of the bigger pieces and with fake blood and spirit gum, make them protrude from the bottom of the guy’s foot, and you’ve got some impact. Ouch!
WITH REAL GLASS, HOWEVER, SAFETY IS A BIG ISSUE – AND WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS WITHOUT THE SUPERVISION OF A TRAINED PROFESSIONAL
What you’ll have to do, is isolate your actor shots from the real glass shots.
So, you can still do the medium closeup, but throw a plastic glass instead. If thrown fast enough people won’t be able to tell, so long as the glasses are fairly similarly shaped.
Also, make sure you get glasses with THIN bottoms, they’ll create smaller pieces, and if anyone steps on those, it’s not as bad as stepping on big thick sharp edges. They’ll break easier too.
So, throw the plastic cup on the medium closeup with reaction from the actor. Shoot a tight insert of the real glass hitting the wall – again practice with plastic cups until aim is right – and for stepping on the glass, spread the pieces around then clean a foot-size oval and have your actor put his foot in that area alone. Make sure it doesn’t look too obvious, but a quick in and out and they won’t have time to realize what happened. You can then do a closeup on upright pieces of glass with some blood on it, and then shoot from the waist up on the actor going to sit down with a bloody foot. Some pieces of clear plastic and spirit gum to the bottom of the foot with lots of blood and you’ve got your shot with no one injured.
Make sure you shoot no higher than 1 foot off the ground, and shot down on the glass/foot. In the back part of your oval, place some bigger pieces pointing up – it will look like the foot is stepping on those raised pieces.
You can also dress the foot ahead of time with spirit gum, pieces of fake glass, and/or blood for good effect.
Just a quick note to thank the 75-100 people who showed up to our panel yesterday.
Thanks for showing up, for all the questions, and for your kind words.
We look forward to another panel next year.
If you use any of the information you shared, we’d love to hear about it. And if you have questions too.
We’ll post up some pictures as soon as we get them!
Good luck on your projects, and I hope our voices continue to make the indie market stronger and more viable.
Val + Bobby
NB: If you don’t think you can safely do something more than once, then don’t do it
NB: USE AVAILABLE TOOLS AND PERSONNEL
Fire and explosions are spectacular on the screen, and create immense production value when properly done.
If you want to maximize the effect, shoot them at night or in a dark location to get the best bang for your buck. The lighter the location the more it diminishes the impact of the effect. Remember in the dark of night you can see someone strike a match from over 300 yards away. It’s not just the actual ball of fire or explosion but the way it lights up the area and creates a visual concussion. It’s kind of like going to the trouble and expense to hire a great actor and immediately putting them in a monster suit which will greatly hinder their effectiveness.
It’s not that you can’t shoot during the day, but just keep in mind that it will compromise the effect. If you must shoot it in daylight try to create a dark background or be very near other objects, buildings, shaded areas etc. In a lighted area you want to at least achieve contrast. Frame you’re A-camera from ground level or low and tilt up with the subject matter low in the frame so it will catch the entire explosion and immediate aftereffect and rising ball of fire and smoke to totally fill the frame. The most important thing to achieve is Safety.
NOTE: Make sure you have a certified and licensed pyrotechnic technician if you’re planning on doing explosions. You can usually get cooperation from the local fire department and in some cases an EMS crews standing by when people are included. For body burns you should definitely have an experienced Stunt Coordinator and at least 4 to 5 others in the safety crew that focus on each individual task and assignment. (Don’t trust fire extinguishers as your only source of fire control especially on body burns; have something like wet blankets or other backup).
Producer, Writer, Director, 2nd Unit Director, Stunt Coordinator, Stunt Performer
If you’re somehow involved in the film industry, or want to be, you’ll want to not only read about Section 181 of the IRS Code as created in the JOBS Act of 2004, you’ll want to contact your elected representatives to get it passed again this year — it sunsets at the end of every year, and has not been renewed for 2014.
In broad strokes, Section 181 is the government’s smart way of keeping film production and film production dollars in the US by giving 100% tax write-off for any money invested in a film, in the year of investment.
Here is the bird’s eye view:
And that’s why you need to act! You need to contact your elected officials and ask them to renew Section 181 for 2014, regardless of whether you’re in the Major Studio or Independent worlds, but especially if you’re independent. Did you know that the independent film world spends at least $3 billion per year on productions? A recent article on Cultural Weekly, they come up with that estimate based on the number of films submitted to the Sundance Film Festival. They even posit the question, are independent filmmakers the 8th studio?
We are the ones offering the choices that the Major Studios won’t risk. And the audiences are growing tired of the constant flops from the Hollywood recycled garbage.
If you’re an investor, this is an unprecedented tax write-off with no questions asked. Need a tax write-off? Then find yourself a production company with a project with guaranteed distribution, and couple that with State incentives and not only have you reduced your tax liability to the Federal government, you have also increased your chances of getting a return on your investment.
If you’re a filmmaker, this is the icing on the financing cake. How many other options are there for tax write-offs of this magnitude?
Every moment of this year that Obama refuses to renew this legislation is hurting all of us in the film world – full-time, part-time, Major Studio, network, independent… all of us. How many more projects would be financed if 181 were active again?
If you don’t know who your elected officials are, you can find out on this website: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml
Tell everybody you want Section 181 renewed this year (2014) and every year. More investors in film means a greater chance of getting paid work in the film world.
As Bobby says “Let’s make some noise!”
Bobby + Val
Fire! Explosions! Those things look great on screen.
But if you want to maximize the effect, shoot them at night or in the dark – that way your explosion/fire won’t be competing with that great big ball of burning gas we call the Sun.
It’s not that you can’t shoot during the day, but just keep in mind that it’ll be more impressive at night/in the dark (more contrast).
Also, remember that fire goes up, and you want to make sure you capture that.
NOTE: Make sure you have a certified technician (like our friend Moe) if you’re planning on doing explosions, and make sure you have plenty of safety measures. Safety above all.
Also, read our more in-depth article on shooting fire and explosions.
Got other questions? Shoot us an e-mail to info _at_ txstarentertainment _dot_ com
As you may know, Bobby and I are going to be doing a presentation at SXSW this coming Saturday March 8th at 3:30pm in room 13AB at ACC.
We are going to be talking about How to Shoot Stunts and Action on a Budget.
If you would like us to cover something specific, we will be having some Q&A at the end, and we’ll be around after the seminar if you want to chat with us.
In the meantime, if there’s something you want us to cover, go ahead and tweet about it using hash tag #goodaction, and we’ll try to cover as much as possible during our talk or during Q&A.
After the seminar we will have our presentation notes up on our website www.TXSTARentertainment.com, so keep an eye out for that.
Hope to see you at the seminar, or afterwards.
Val Gameiro + Bobby Sargent
Amnesia is a psychological horror-thriller which TXSTAR Entertainment Inc. helped to produce. Bobby Sargent directed second unit on most of the action scenes, and he coordinated all of them. Val Gameiro, the director and Bobby’s business partner, also spent 2 years learning how to shoot action from Bobby.
The film is still in post-production, but here is the trailer with fantastic music from Carl Dante.