On set with Usher and Stuntman Ladell Preston and Stunt Coordinator TJ White
Partizan Entertainment’s Director Phil Andelman and Producer Josh Goldstein brought in Stunt Coordinator TJ White and T-Minus Stunt Rigging Inc. to design wire rigs that would be able to hang platinum recording artist Usher in his newest music video “She Came To Give It To You” ft. Nicki Minaj and Pharrell Williams. Director Phil Andelman had a very specific concept to incorporate dance and abstract movements defining gravity at the same time. Working with a very athletic artist like Usher is always great and makes it easier when he is doing the stunt. Working with Wire can be very difficult on your body and it takes a lot of core strength. TJ brought in stuntman Ladell Preston, who has doubled Usher in the past, to rehearse and test the wire rig prior to Usher filming his scene. By testing and rehearsing prior to the talent getting rigged up allows for all safety to be checked off, and for any obstacles to be overcome to save production time and money.
Using a company like T-Minus Productions Stunt Department and T-Minus Stunt Rigging can help a production with all of their safety concerns and budget constraints. Wire work can be some of the most expensive type gags when it comes to stunts, but the final product on screen always makes the director and production happy that they budgeted for it. We highly recommend that production contact us in the creation process so we can consult with what various stunts will cost prior to the pitch so that a concept that is proposed isn’t out of their budget reach.
Usher hanging on Wires waiting for the shot
T Minus Stunt Rigging Inc. Rehearsing the Wire Rig
More and more production and insurance companies have contacted Qualified Stunt Coordinators to supervise all safety concerns for their show concepts. This is to ensure that the event they are putting their contestants through is deemed safe and secure for the insurance companies to sign off on. Successful shows like Fear Factor have brought on veteran Stunt Coordinators such as Perry Barndt, and President of Stunts Unlimited stunt group in Los Angeles Pat Ramano, to be Producers and Safety consultants for the show. These safety experts work with production from the beginning stages of concept. They design the stunts to make it exciting and far fetched but also safe for the contestants. When designing a particular stunt these coordinators and consultants use specific Stunt Rigging equipment and Stunt Rigging companies to set it up and test the stunt and/or action piece with qualified stunt performers. The Stuntmen and stuntwomen are trained professionals that have the knowledge and expertise to test a stunt or gag to rule out injury for a contestant or talent. Stunt Rigging Companies and Special Effects companies work together to fabricate and manufacture specific designs so that the it could be used in a safe manner.
Stunt Coordinators and Stunt Rigging Coordinators have been moving into a more Risk Assessment role in reality shows, games shows, and live events. This new position is more likely a Safety Producer, Supervising Producer, or Risk Management Producer versus just a straight Stunt Coordinator. With the bar being raised on having action on the screen, the safety precautions have to be increased on these live type shows. Bringing in a qualified safety expert can limit time and money from a production. To many productions it may seem like an added cost but in the end it is like everyone’s mother always said, “Its better to be safe than sorry.”
Stunt Driver Chris Nielsen Crashing through Plate Glass
When planning a car stunt, Directors, Producers, and Production Designers utilize the expertise of a Stunt Coordinator, Action director or 2nd Unit Director to guide them. Many people have seen the Ken Block drifting videos or the high octane stunt driving in Need for Speed or Fast and the Furious Franchises. But being able to have these cars perform like they do in those action scenes takes months of prep. Just like this Subaru car that has been modified before it came to the testing site at Willow Springs raceway to test. Even with the added modification from the owner of this vehicle, it took additional modification to make the car do what it needed to do for this particular commercial. You have to remember the cars used in the big drifting videos and films have hundreds of thousands of dollars in modification to perform these dynamic stunts.
Testing is a very important step for a Stunt team to prep a car. It comes down to the type of tires you use, the air pressure, the temperature of the environment, the horse power of the vehicle, and the breaking system. To have the vehicle dance around like a ballerina on the asphalt takes preparation, time, and experience. A Stunt driver must have the proper breaking system in the car. This breaking system has to be installed by qualified car prep riggers. During testing and even on the day of the shoot there are adjustments that are always made to tweak the car to be able to do the action the director requires. This is when you need your car prep to be savvy, efficient, and knowledgable. These systems can be well over $2500.00 for just one car.
When looking for a vehicle to use in these exciting action scenes contact a qualified Stunt Coordinator to assist you in prepping and choosing the right vehicle. This will save you time and money on the day of shoot. There is nothing worse then getting to set and not getting what the director wants while shooting. It also takes a qualified experienced Stunt Driver to perform the stunt driving.
For those of you that watch the highly successful AMC series MADMEN you can appreciate the art of advertising. AD men and women of today have the arduous job of not only capturing the perfect image, crafting the most memorable slogan, and pitching the most tantalizing moving image, but they have to go beyond that and make use of the new platforms that Don Draper did not have access to that have formed in the last few decades. These new frontiers as you know are the Internet, the surmounting amount of social media platforms, and alongside that is the smartphones and tablets. Advertising agencies are always trying to capture the largest audience for the least amount of money and with these new spaces to showcase their Ads they are also banking on the free advertising which lends a hand from the internet. This is the art of the Viral Video.
In Today’s market not everyone has a TV, instead they have the internet. They can stream videos on their smartphones, tablets, personal computer or laptops so advertising on the Television is becoming a rare feat. The new commonality is the internet so the advertising agencies call upon Hollywood production companies to produce commercials that they can then post on their brand’s Youtube, Vimeo, or Vevo pages. Using a platform like these enable the agency to view analytics of where their campaign is being viewed and in what market. Using these platforms allows the general public to share these videos on other platforms like Facebook, Tumbler, Twitter, Pintrest, or Instagram which is essentially free advertising for them. This sometimes takes a life of it’s own and makes the video go viral, which means its viewed by millions of people.
The gaming industry understands impressions and hits and is in on the “Hidden Camera” Viral Video craze. The popular Ubisoft game, “Watch Dogs”, has just done it again using Los Angeles based production company Lifeboat Productions to produce an Ashton Kutcher inspired Punk’d gag on the streets of Downtown LA. One element the creative and production team knew from the start was to get a great reaction from the “Mark”, you would have to do something over the top. Using Special Effects blowing up lights and transformers really get the Prankee invested in the scene. To take it over the top you have to really take them out of their comfort zone and shock them. This was done by making them believe they caused a car accident in the middle of a busy intersection Downtown LA.
LifeBoat Productions contacted Los Angeles based Stunt Design Company T-Minus Productions to oversee the action. Safety is always the first priority when doing a live stunt in front of unsuspecting participants. This increases the danger of the stunt. It takes precise timing and planning out every step to do this safe and make it look authentic. Using qualified and experienced Stunt Coordinators helps production achieve this seamlessly.
This particular video went viral within hours and has had over 12.1 million views on youtube in 2 weeks of it release. With the right creative content, excellent execution, and of course High Octane Live Action Stunts, you will get millions of views. See what all the fuss was about in the video below.
Action Director, Xavier Gens “Hitman” and the “Divide” brings action and comedy to this funny commercial for French cable company Numeri Cable. Director Xavier Gens used very stylized camera shots which was coordinated along with wire work. He brings the viewer inside the world of big action movies in this commercial. Using creative lighting and highly skilled Stunt performers and T Minus Stunt Rigging Inc. to wire the crew, the end results in a sharp, high-res, almost first person video game commercial.
Working on Reality Projects like “Bad Grandpa” or “Punked” takes a skilled crew to perform complicated pranks. On her latest video Katy Perry, Music Video Director Marc Klasfeld, Producer Dawn Rose, and EMI’s SVP of Video Production, designed the perfect prank. Katy Perry used SFX prosthetic’s, makeup, outlandish costumes, and colorful character backgrounds in order to transform her into the different roles. The pranks were pulled on various kid birthday parties, a bar mitzvah, and even on innocent residents of a retirement home.
HardRock Films Producer Dawn Rose contacted Stunt Coordinator TJ White to oversee the safety and choreograph the stunt in this top secret video. Using a SFX crew from Christopher Nolan’s latest Batman Films and local Stuntmen in LA, TJ was able to mix the stuntmen in with the regular party patrons not tipping off a single bystander. TJ’s Stunt Riggers prepped the Stunt Cars for Stunt Driver Terry James to run his vehicle into a parked car causing complete chaos amongst the party goers. While the innocent bystanders thought Katy triggered the accident it was all pre-planned out weeks before to insure that safety was taken care of as well as the element of surprise.
Many factors go into pranks and stunts. The unknown is simply what others who are not in on the gag will do. TJ Says, “I have to prep the crew and my stunt safety to manage the crowd so that if a bystander gets into the danger zone then my Stunt Safety can simply direct them somewhere else without blowing the stunt prank”. This isn’t the first time a prank has been pulled like this, and with the video already having 10.8 million views to date, it is likely this type of stunts won’t be going away. Take a look at the Pop Princess’s “Birthday” music video after the jump.
You don’t have to look far in this music video to see high octane drifting in the the desert salt flats near Las Vegas. Using a 2014 Dodge Challenger RT8 with tons of horse power makes it easy for Stunt Coordinator and Stunt Driver TJ White to slide sideways every degree possible. Creating effortless swerves and 360’s, TJ gives the Director and the DP usable shots that makes this video dream worthy for every future Dodge Challenger owner. Of course this particular Challenger is Stunt prepped for stunt driving which isn’t something you can normally just drive off the lot.
Barreling around the desert at dusk, this Challenger swooped up every piece of dirt possible coating this black beauty with a fine line of Death Valley’s greatest.
View ‘We Are The In Crowd’s’ video for “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)”.
Speeding through the canyons in Malibu using two vintage 1970’s Ferrari and Porsche two seaters can be exciting and also a dangerous. For their hit song, “We’ll Be Coming Back”, Calvin Harris and UK artist Element made the swirly roads a great backdrop for this high octane stunt racing story. Stunt Coordinator and Stunt Driver TJ White stood in for Element for the intense high speed driving, while Stunt Drivers Chris Nielsen and Mike Owen took the reigns on doubling for Calvin. The director used the Z-Crane Camera Car system to shoot the car-to-car action helping him achieve really low shots, much like in the “Fast and the Furious” films.
Take a peak at the action in the music video that has already been viewed 3.6 Million times.
DJ Calvin Harris and Stunt Drivers TJ White & Mike Owen
On the set with Stunt Drivers TJ White and Chris Nielsen
Skiing a car on two wheels is a very rare and skilled stunt to perform. The stunt performers that do this use specialized ramps and uniquely prepped vehicles in order to execute this gag. It’s such an astonishing thing to see a vehicle on only 2 wheels which is why we are called upon constantly by Ad agencies and marketing firms to integrate this type of stunt into their campaign.
Motocross has been around since the early 1900’s starting in the UK. Races were popping up all over the world with various countries pitting their team up for stardom. Finally making it to the US in the 1960’s the sport was vastly changing with new tweaks to the bikes suspension and frames. When the 90’s hit, sub categories for Motocross were being created such as supercross, arenacross, supermoto, and freestyle motocross. Many BMX riders turn Freestyle motocross or FMX riders. In 1993 Bob Kohl was the first FMX rider to perform successfully the “Holy Grail” of motocross stunts at that time, which was the infamous backflip. From there riders have been pushing the limits. But let’s step back a few decades, Freestyle Motocross arguably started back in
1963 when famed stuntman Bud Ekins doubled Steve McQueen in The Great Escape. At that time this type of stunt was mind blowing. Jumping a bike over a 6ft tall barbed wire fence hadn’t been done before. What made it even more challenging was Ekins had to do it on a Triumph TR6 Trophy 650cc motorcycle which is a hefty 400 pounds. This is quite the feat which makes it one of the most memorable motorcycle stunts in history and pushes Bud Ekins further into stunt fame. While men like Bob Kohl, Carey Hart, Travis Pastrana, Brian Deegan, Mike Metzger, Caleb Wyatt, and a flurry of others have all pushed the limits of their bikes and body, their inspiration may have very well been the work of Bud Ekins.
It is no wonder this sport has gained a worldwide mainstream audience. It is death defying, loud, extreme, and if the tricks are pulled off safely then the payoff is superbly glorious. Live stunt shows like the ones that Metal Mulisha puts on are packed with hundreds of thousands of people. The marketing and broadcasting of these events alone are entertaining for audiences and even more profitable for sponsors. Executives of corporate events, company grand openings, product launches, expos, and many more unlikely events are tracking down these motocross individuals to perform these shows for their clients. The increase of live stunt shows involving these talented motocross riders has exponentially jumped. Freestyle Stunt Companies come fully equipment with their dirt-bikes, ramps, and the personnel to run the show. This plug and play system allows for a fast set up and breakdown for a day event or even a week long event.
These highly skilled motocross riders sometimes start BMX riding, then move into supercross riding professionally for years before moving into their freestyle work. These riders are constantly evolving their tricks. The oohs and aahs of a crowd watching a stunt rider fly off a ramp doing their favorite tricks such a no footer, suicide can, hart attack, or even a Superman is enough that these motocross shows are one of the most requested events that Stunt Coordinators are asked to organize. FMX has been influencing entertainment from films like the Great Escape to the most recent Bourne Legacy, to TV shows like Nitro Circus, even music videos like P Diddy’s ‘Bad Boys For Life’ cameo’d motocross with many videos since then including the sport, to world wide events like the X games. This sport is enrapturing itself in entertainment like never before. These riders and machines are evolving like the industry making the stunts they perform unlike anything we’ve ever seen.