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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Fire Stunts in Music Videos

Musical Artist Tank running away from an Explosion

Creating an action scene takes quite a few components to get the right look. The ability of just the body of a stuntman or stunt woman can add weight to jumps, flips, and crashes. Add in one of the most dangerous elements to work with, fire, and you have a complete recipe for a thrilling, jaw dropping, and action boosting scene that will ignite your audience. In order to design these fire scenes a Stunt Coordinator and a Special Effects Supervisor will coordinate with the director to make sure that not only will it look believable but that the stunt is safe for the talent and crew on set. Usually the Stunt Coordinator will hire the Fire Specialist themselves so that they can supervise them and give them specific direction on how to achieve the look the director is envisioning.

There are various looks when doing fire stunts. By using a mixture or substance like an accelerate will change the outcome of the fire stunt you are trying to produce. With the fire specialist on hand, they can create a small developing flame to an explosive blast that you can feel the heat from just feet away. Specialized stunt performers are trained to perform these incredible fire stunts in a number of ways. Depending on the look they can either do a partial burn which may be a limb or two in flames. Or they can be completely engulfed in a blaze to add that “Wow” factor. These professionals are specifically trained for these stunts and know what types of special treated cloths and protective gels to use in order to keep the temperature down while covered in fire.

Fire intensifies the look of the stunt to a degree that must be handled properly by a highly specialized group of Stunt Coordinators and Specialists. It is important that all caution is taken when preparing and producing these particular sequences. Whether you’re looking to bring the heat with a man on fire to a full on firestorm, fire will elevate your stunt to that next level.

Stuntman Rocky Capella on fire for Velvet Revolver Music Video









Watch Some of the Fire Stunts from

Velvet Revolver’s Music Video “She Builds Fast Machines”

Directed by Dean Karr,  Stunt Coordinated and 2nd Unit Directed by TJ White, and Special Effects Coordinator Steve Riley.

The Art of Fight Choreography in Film

Stuntman Tanoai Reed, Stunt Coordinator TJ White and MMA Fighter Tito Ortiz

A Fight Choreographer or a Fight Coordinator is a very technical job and usually assist a Stunt Coordinator with fight scenes.  there background usually are expo fighters, trainers, black-belts in various disciplines. These highly train people have years of training spending thousands and hours and dollars on there given profession. They usually train the actors, stunt performers months before a shoot so that they can get the choreography down.  During pre-production they film various choreography of the scene so that the director can get view it and get a feel of what the scene will look like.

Pictured in the photos in this blog are Stunt Coordinator TJ White and Fight Choreographer Kelly Carter putting together a MMA fight scene for Director Dean Karr and his music video “Truth” for the band Seether.

Kelly Carter also has a back ground in AIS and Strength and Conditioning training, and MMA.  TJ felt he was the right choice to not only over see the choreography but to stretch the talent and athletes before, during and after the fight scene.  Do the time constraints of filming a music video, TJ and Kelly spent most of the early part of the day rehearsing scenes.  The had three different fights, one with two girls, one with a little person and guy playing Santa, and the 3rd being to 230+ pound MMA fighters.


Kelly Carter Fight Coordinating for Photo Shoot at Big John McCarthey’s Gym

TJ White and Kelly Carter Talking Choreography for the Scene

What do you look for in a Stunt Rigging Company? Price? Or Safety ?

Stunt Rigging Company “NoWay Corp” Equipment Trailer

There are many stunt rigging companies out there in the film industry. Some of them have large resumes and spotless safety records and some don’t.  To add there is also companies that have the most up to date technology and equipment and with that there is the same amount  that are not up to par with stunt rigger standards. In this case it is best to have a qualified Stunt Coordinator pick which stunt rigging company to use. A reputable coordinator will know exactly what equipment will fit your needs and which stunt riggers will give you peace of mind.

It is always important to choose the right stunt coordinator to find your rigging company  because some stunt riggers are better for certain action sequences than others.  This also allows the stunt coordinator to work within the producers budget. Most of the time when it comes to stunt rigging and stunt equipment you have to fabricate one of a kind items for a specific shot. Stunt equipment companies are always testing and designing new equipment that they can create new and exciting ways to make stunts look amazing on film. In this case the stunt coordinator’s experience and knowledge in efficiency will keep the budget in check as a result of the equipment now only being limited to this specialized stunt that was created to fit the producer or director’s vision.

Interior of Stunt Trailer

Following the lifeline of a stunt rigger would start off like many other stunt professions and that is as an intern to qualified Stunt Coordinators and Stunt Supervising Riggers. Here they will gain the experience they will need to one day become a qualified stunt rigger on set. It takes a lot of sweat, tears, and years for that rigger to even be compensated as a professional stunt rigger. This is just like any upcoming stuntman or stuntwoman that has to pay their dues in training for stunt driving, fights, or falls. These specialized stunt professionals take there jobs very serious. Essentially the responsibility of safety lies on the stunt riggers who are liable for the livelihoods of actors and musicians who literally hang from the Rigger’s life lines to get the right shot.

So to answer the question of, What do you look for in a Stunt Rigging Company? Is it price or safety? You have to do the research on who is going to get the job done safely for the best price. Just because the price is lower than other companies out there does not mean that that company is the safest to use. There is something to be said that you can’t put a price on life, but what you can do is find a qualified coordinator to do the leg work for you and deliver you the best product.





Rob Dyrdek (Pro Skater / TV Personality) Jumps Chevy Sonic on Fantasy Factory in MTV

2011 Chevy Sonic Stunt Test Car


Mike Ryan, Stunt Coordinator and owner of Picture Vehicles Unlimited is proud to announce that skate board champ and TV show host of Fantasy Factory, Rob Dyrdek will complete the first spiral jump seen in public since the mid 1970’s.

Stuntman and friend James Smith and I studied the history and met with some of the folks that invented and performed the jumps in the ’70’s, including the one in the 1973 James Bond movie, “The man with the Golden Gun”. Rob wanted to do it and he let Elia at Jem Special Effects know about it. Elia told me and then Rob got Chevy involved.

Elia Popov and his crew at Jem Special Effects prepped the hero and test car, provided by sponsor and host, Chevrolet. The Picture Vehicles Unlimited stunt fabrication crew built the ramps and together, James Smith and I have completed 8 jumps into boxes and James landed one onto the catch ramp last


Chris Brown and Justin Bieber Creating Big Stunts for Riveting Entertainment


Justin Bieber Tweets this picture after doing a stunt


It has been a busy year for Riveting Entertainment , producing some of the most dynamic award winning videos of the year.  CEO and  Executive Producer

Stunt woman Tammie Baird does car hit for Chris Brown Ft. Justin Bieber Music Video

Andrew Listermann has teamed with Director Colin Tilley to create high concept music videos.   With the ever changing economics of the music industry and the budget crunches for music videos.  It takes creative directors, producers and production companies to acheive high concept videos on limited budgets now.   Taking this into consideration Artist, Labels, and Management companies understand that Music videos are one of the best ways to get exposure for their music.  So you see more than ever an abundance of music videos being filmed currently for the internet.

With such a big concept and dangerous stunts, Riveting Entertainment called T Minus Productions and Stunt Coordinator TJ White to assist in designing and over seeing all of the action for Chris Brown Featuring Justin Beiber’s music video “Next to You”.   TJ stated, “This was a very big concept with dangerous stunts,  Working with Andrew and Colin, I knew i had to get the very best stunt crew to pull off these gags. ”

TJ White has worked with some of the biggest artist in the business, Justin Timberlake, 50 Cent, P-Diddy, Foo Fighters, JLo and Britney Spears to name a few.  TJ, a 2nd Generation stunt coordinator, brought in his stunt driving dad Terry James and Tammie Baird to stunt double Shannon Elizabeth for the car hit and Chris Carnel for Stunt safety.  TJ stated,  “Car hits are one of the most dangerous stunts out there right now in the business. One misstep, slip, miss timing, or not using an experienced stunt driver could be catastrophic.”

T Minus Productions has worked with Riveting Entertainment many times and continues to build a stong relationship as both companies expand their creative expertise in the industry.


T Minus Teams up with the Z-Crane for filming action scenes

TJ White and Ross Jordon stand next to the Z-Crane

TJ White from T – Minus Productions teams up with Ross Jordon and Jim Zahnd from Z-Crane to bring high octane filming to the screen.  2nd Unit Director TJ White did a camera test with the Z-Crane to see if it was the equipment he will need to direct his upcoming project.

The Z-Crane is a high speed,  gyro-stabilized, remote controlled camera crane that is attached to a Mercedes ML55 that can film 360 degrees around the vehicle at a high rates of speed.  This is used in everything from high speed car chases to  details  beauty shots in commercials.

Z Crane Stabilization Reel

Z – Crane Stunt driver Ross Jordon has worked on films like Miami Vice, Deja Vu, Live Free or Die Hard and Wanted. Stunt Driver Jim Zahnd has worked on commercials for Cadillac, Nissan,Lady Gaga “Judas”, Acura and Mercedes.


Z Crane in the Desert on a Car Shoot


Z Crane Camera Car

Director Shane Drake with Z Crane on Daughtry music video

T-Minus Rocks JLo’s ‘Papi’ Video & Fiat Commercial

Tim James, Stunt Coordinator TJ White, Stunt Driver Mike Ryan and Stunt driver Terry James discuss a precision armored truck crash on the set of JLo’s ‘Papi’ video

T-Minus Productions wrapped an energetic, stunt filled weekend in Downtown LA for JLo’s ‘Papi’ video and Fiat Commercial directed by Paul Hunter and produced by Jil Hardin and Pretty Bird Productions.

Congrats to the stunt team who: repelled down a 10-story building, landed a hang-glider on 4th & Spring, jumped a dirt-bike over a flaming overturned car, stunt drove a Fiat down crowded sidewalks, jumped through glass windows, had skate boarders ollie 15 stairs, performed countless fights, jumps, high falls and tackles. What did this stunt team not do for this video?

Stunt Driver Mike Ryan (“Size Matters“) even wrecked an armored truck into a fruit stand! Phew… what a weekend!

JLo’s music videos are always large and packed with awe dropping visuals. The video ‘Papi’ along with the Fiat commercial are just another reason why JLo always comes out on top.

Check out all the action below in JLo’s Papi video  and  Fiat commercial

JLo’s Music Video “Papi”


Fiat 500 Commercial Feature Jlo

Ne-Yo “Beautiful Monster” Video with Stunt Fighting and Wire Flying in Los Angeles


Fresh from an experience riding Velocity Stunts’ high-speed winches as a performer, Stunt Coordinator TJ White hired Velocity Stunts to assist him in realizing Director Wayne Isham’s vision for a fight sequence in Neyo’s latest music video “Beautiful Monster”.
TJ, a veteran of music videos could see that the simplicity of Velocity’s computer performer flying system was perfectly matched to add big value to the stunts on the Neyo video and asked Dave Lane of Velocity to join him on his latest project.
Wayne’s fight sequence had an ambitious component of performer flying calling for three performers to be flown in 2D. Two of the performers were flown simultaneously and in total there were seven separate wire stunts in the fight covering distances of up to 100 feet.
 A compressed production schedule required a one day turnaround start to finish! TJ and Dave developed a plan with three main components: organization, people and equipment. Velocity provided the latest in computer controlled high-speed winches along with a support stunt rigging package, cranes were provided by Monster Picture cranes. The stunt rigging crew was comprised of a talented, experienced and diverse group: from Velocity.

With scheduling help from First Assistant Director Todd Burrows, the plan came together and the team quickly and efficiently installed two 2D vector performer flying rigs, programmed and choreographed the seven flight paths, bag tested and completed rehearsals just in time for shooting.

The shooting included two cast/dancers performing their own stunts and stunt performer Sammy Valdivia performing the more aggressive sequences. Wayne Isham was very happy with how well the performer flying dovetailed with the fight choreography. Wayne, Todd, and TJ kept a fast shooting pace with Dave and the Velocity wire team seamlessly keeping pace.
Twenty four hours after starting the shift, the shooting was done and a hyper fast strike of the rig was completed to wrap the set.

Britney Spears, Music Videos, Stunts and T Minus Productions

I Wanna go Music Video

Britney Spears does it again with a stylistic music video directed by  Chris Piliero and produced by Michelle Larkin with Hello and Company.  Using the energy of the music and the vibriant colors of  Britneys Make-up, cloths and Universal Studio’s back-lot. The director made the most of this high concept video allow Spears to poke fun at the business.

T Minus Productions and Stunt Coordinator , TJ White Set up the action for this recent Britney Spears Video.  This is the first time TJ worked with Ms. Spears, but enjoyed the experience.  TJ stated “I have worked with a lot of talent in my years in music videos, but I have never seen someone like Britney turn on so much emotion infront of the camera.  I think the film industry is missing out by not seeing her more on the big screen.

This was a one day shoot for TJ White and his stunt guys.  TJ stated ” I met with the Director, Chris the first day of filming and he told me the look he was looking for and exactly the action he wanted.  It is nice when a director knows what he wants and I can just add a suggestion or two to make the action look more dynamic.  So I went through my rolodex and found 4 qualified stuntmen that fit the directors specifications.   Having worked for so many MTV award winning directors, and working with producer Michelle Larkin on multiple videos in the past,  TJ felt comfortable with working with Chris on this Project.  Please click to see the whole video Britney Spears “I wanna Go”and enjoy what over 75 million other viewers have enjoyed on you tube.

Britney Spears Smashing Stuntman Chris Nielsen's Camera for Music Video "I Wanna Go"

T Minus Productions

Marketing Dept.

Feature Film “Huff” calls T Minus Productions to Direct Action Scenes

T Minus Productions ended 2011 with a bang!

Indy thriller Huff (starring Charlie O’Connell and Clint Howard) called in T-Minus    Productions’ TJ White to Co-Produce, Stunt Coordinator, and Direct 2nd Unit and Action Sequences. TJ paired up with his old pals from Filth to Ashes – director Paul Morrell and producer Terry James.

Principal photography wrapped before the holidays. The film is now in post-production.

Check out the Huff site for more info: www.HUFFmovie.com


HUFF PLOT: In this dark, allegorical adaptation of The Three Little Pigs, Virgil “Huff” Huffington (Charlie O’Connell) is an abusive stepfather to three teenage girls. On the verge of making a big score and running away with his sexy mistress (Natasha Alam), Huff’s wife gives his stash of money to her daughters and sends them away to seek better lives. What follows is a violent and bloody pursuit as Huff attempts to find the girls and recover his money