Perspectives: Choreographing the Action Sequences for Frame 137

» Posted by on Dec 24, 2012 in Mainframe, Perspectives | 0 comments

It was a pleasure to receive a phone call from Judd saying he is back in the country to make a short film and that he would like me to choreograph the fight scenes. I am a martial arts fanatic who loves the film industry, not only that but I love James O’Barr’s creations believing they are great stories with amazing potential for film as ‘The Crow’ has proven.

Rightio, let’s invent some fight scenes. I say invent because it would be nice to have something that’s never been seen before. First of all let’s make them of a calibre that you would expect to see in a dark futuristic world like the one James O’Barr created in the comic strip Frame 137. Second thing to consider is that we are using a ten-year-old as the star. Can’t remember seeing that done before, we’re already off to a good start. Our little star, ‘Jonny Z’ played by Sam Ransom happens to be a national champion in gymnastics, fantastic because there will be wire work involved, also Sam will be fighting a number of ‘Bad Guys and Girls’, using chains, blades, guns and flames, even a sickle is plunged up into the jaw of a certain ‘Baddie’.

When I mention flames, it was my intent to set one of the attacker’s face on fire! Not a problem, not when we had the support of some fantastic stunt men and women who were most happy to be involved. In fact I will always remember the laughter I created on set while walking around with my godson who was five at the time. I was called on to set as the ‘face burning’ scene was coming up, so I put my godson down and said, “Ok buddie, I will have to get you to wait here, I just have to go set my friends face on fire ok?”. After hearing the crowd outside burst into laughter I turned back to see what was going on when my friend Richie replied, “Only you would say something like, ‘setting my friends face on fire’ as though it was the normal thing to do.” Well it definitely wasn’t the normal thing to do but we definitely did it, with the help of Jimmy Christensen, our stunt performer and a lot of fire gel through his hair and covering his face, the stunt was not just pulled off safely but it looked fantastic!

Gulliver Page was also set alight to delight our audience. Other evil characters were played by some guys who are actually 7 foot tall absolutely towering over our hero. Then we had some great stunt women, Renee Bowen and Nicole Downes played great knife fighters with knifes even adorning their ponytails which were used in the fight scene. The two girls fought in unison making some great action alongside their ‘blade pimp’ Mark Chelman who was wielding his own samurai sword and being the sword specialist he is also made for some well wicked action. We had a bunch of other stunties taking wrecks for us ever so gracefully. We even had Mark and Mike Duncan, a pair of twin stunties from Sydney adding their flavour, and copping knifes to the forehead for their troubles. To fill in any other future freaky characters that are the norm in the world of Frame 137 I even remember pulling people of the street one night when I was out, one guy Jack Zee, I saw at two different locations and he caught my eye, he had the weirdest contacts I’ve ever seen, great tatts and his hair shaved to a straight little tuft beside each ear which made him look bird like, I couldn’t resist going up and saying, “mate, I’ve been looking at pictures all day of all these tweaky characters given to me by this director who’s making a film, you’re the kinda guy he’s looking for, wanna be in a movie?” And he said yes!! He was a great find and you can see him in the film.

Seriously though, many praises can be sung for everyone who worked so hard on this film. They were a massive three days on set, the commitment, the joy and the love for this industry present in everyone there, however a big hand of applause should go out to our little star making his film debu, Samuel Schukin. He powered through every scene, learning so fast for someone’s first time on a film set, let alone having the lead role. His stamina, focus and dedication was amazing proving great potential for this industry.

Always a pleasure to work with Judd Tilyard.  Judd is always calm and productive on set, clear on what he wants and is well planned. He has done well to make this film a reality, knowing that it was very dear to his heart made it all the more special. Frame 137 is an absolutely fantastic concept, one that I was very proud to be a part of at this level of production and sincerely hope this project evolves to entertain the mass audiences around the world that I believe it has the potential to do.

Robert Reitano

Fight Choreographer

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