The new film Acts of Violence, released to theaters on January 12, 2018 from Lionsgate, is an action-packed wild ride from start to finish. Starring longtime action-movie veterans Bruce Willis and Cole Hauser and directed by Brett Donowho, the film is about three ex-military brothers who join forces with a police officer to save a kidnapped family member from a sinister human trafficking scheme.
Most of the time, moviegoers probably don’t stop to think about how those action sequences came about. But the reality is, a talented team of people is required to plan everything down to the last detail. It’s a process that takes months of planning and designing before the actors can even carry out the sequences.
In this case, the man behind the action scenes was TJ White, Stunt Coordinator and 2nd Unit Director. TJ and his team at T Minus Productions designed every action sequence in the movie. Stunt coordinators have to create action scenes that are visually stunning, fit within the budget, time constraints and location constraints, and that are safe for the actors at the same time. It’s a big job, designing action sequences for an actor like Bruce Willis—but it’s a job that TJ White was happy to take on.
“Working with the actors is great, but one of the best parts of this project was that the movie was filmed in Cleveland, Ohio. I grew up in Ohio, so it was great to see my home state represented. Filming in Cleveland offered the perfect gritty backdrop for the film. –TJ White
White is also responsible for casting local Cleveland resident and UFC champion Stipe Miocic to fight Bruce Willis in the film. Miocic is a professional mixed martial artist who is the reigning champion in the UFC heavyweight division. He’s also a former Cleveland Golden Gloves boxing champion and a fantastic all-around athlete. If anyone is worthy of fighting Bruce Willis, it’s definitely this guy.
Another great Cleveland resident who assisted the film is Ivan Schwarz. Schwartz runs the Greater Cleveland Film Commission, a private non-profit that works to bring film industry jobs to Ohio. Working with the Greater Cleveland Film Commission allowed the film to make a positive impact on NE Ohio.
Those weren’t the only big advantages to working in White’s home state of Ohio. The state also offers a Motion Picture Tax Credit that gives a refundable, transferable tax credit of up to 30% on production cast and crew wages along with in-state expenditures. Designed to bring more Hollywood films to Ohio, this program has been very successful in creating jobs and helping the Ohio economy.
So if you’re looking for an action flick, you can now head to your local theater to watch it on the big screen. You can also purchase it on-demand. And while you’re watching, take a minute to think about the intense planning that went into designing action sequences, and the team of people who made them possible.
Stunt Coordinator TJ WHite warthog Bruce Willis, Tim James and Schyler White
Director Brett Donowho, UFC Campion Stipe Miocic and Stunt Coordinator TJ White
Chuck Hank and the San Diego Twins was a labor of love for indie film company Coatwolf. Coatwolf got a lot of attention years ago with “Bellflower” at Sundance. This is their follow up film written, directed, and produced by the company. Using a very gritty and unconventional filming techniques these filmmakers do what ever takes to bring there creation to life. Early on in there development of the project Director / Producer / Actor Jonathan Keevil and Producer / Actor Evan Glodell knew they needed someone that could help them with the action. So they contacted TJ White at T Minus Productions to help with with there film. When meeting and developing the action scenes they all decided that it would be best for TJ and T Minus Productions to come on and produce the action scenes with them. Lead my T Minus ProductionsLauren Pacheco to associate produce the film and help facilite high budget film action on a modest budget indie film.
Lauren and TJ’s first order of business was to get the actors into shape and train them to be fighters. They didn’t want to use Stunt doubles for the fight scenes so they would have to train to be able to do the moves that would be needed for these fight scenes. After weeks of training the actors they went into pre-vis with TJ’s stunt team to design the fight scenes that fit there script. After all the pre-vis and training the team sat down with there Director of PhotographyJoel Hodge and storyboarded the action scenes . This was a very detailed process planning out all the action so that every moment on set would be taken advantage of. Take a look at the first official trainer below.
Cast and Stunt Crew for a scene on Chuck Hank and San Diego Twins
Director Jonathan Keevil with Stunt Coordinator TJ White and Fight Trainer Kelly Carter
Stunt Riggers Hank Kingi and Mike Li on an NBC TV Show Promo
Stunt Design and Stunt Rigging is one of the most important jobs in Safety and Stunts that no one talks about or even knows about. Years ago the Grips would rig an actor to a wall or fly them in the air. As safety precautions have increased by OSHA regulations so has the cost of equipment and fabrication. Stunt Coordinators spend sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars testing and designing equipment to be able to us it today. Some of them even have an Oscar for the technical achievement they have made in film making. One of the more famous stuntmen has been Kenny Bates “Transformers, Pearl Harbor, Con Air” and his design of custom stunt equipment you have scene being used in any Micheal Bay film. Kenny has been with Micheal Bay from the beginning of his transition from music video and commercials to full length feature films. It is that loyalty that a director gives a stunt coordinator to be creative and design the equipment it would take to make these great action films.
Other Action Designers like Stunt Coordinator – 2nd Unit Director Dan Bradley and Special Effects Supervisor Elia P. Popov when they designed the Go-Mobile for the Bourne Identity Trilogy enabling the SFX and Stunt Department to cable on a car to a high speed moving platform with actors in the car delivering there dialogue while driving at a high rate of speed.
Using qualified Stunt Design and Stunt Rigging companies helps you get your safest and most dynamic action scenes.
Stunt Riggers Terry James and Shawn Robinson on LG Nitro Commercial
Stunt Riggers Fly a full Size Air Balloon basket for FoxSports Nascar Commercial
Justin Bieber tweeted this Picture of him on a Ledge at Universal Studios Back Lot
Flying Wire Rig on Set
Enrique Iglesias on the Bridge for a Music Video
Chris Brown Tweeted this Picture of Models Levitating
Stunt Drivers take years of experience to get in the car and drive a car. There are many terms used for a Stunt Driver. Precision Drivers, Performance Drivers, Stunt Drivers just to name a few.
They are also background drivers and these specific drivers do not have the training or skill set to drive in front of camera as a principle. These are drivers that drive in the background of a shot on driving scenes. These drivers are extra or background drivers or even called extra precision drivers. They drive everyday vehicles to fill a frame. These drivers should never be upgraded to be a precision driver unless a qualified stunt coordinator or Driving coordinator is on-set to supervise and has OK’d the driver and their ability. These are not stunt drivers nor are they precision drivers.
Working with Sevyn Streeter ft. Chris Brown “Don’t Kill The Fun” we were driving expensive cars like Ferrari and Lamborghini at high rates of speed in a tight area. This can make a director and producer very nervous. This is when experience takes over and hiring the right experienced stunt coordinator and stunt drivers for the job is a producers best option for a safe and exciting shoot. It could take 5-10 years of stunt driving for a stuntman or stunt women to get a chance to drive on screen. Stunt Coordinators do not let inexperienced people get behind the wheel. There is a lot to learn about cars and the technology that drives them.
Stunt Drivers rely heavily on the transportation department of a project to prep the car for them to drive. The right tire pressure, tires, breaking system, engine torque and suspension of a car will help the driver perform the stunt that the director wants.
When using very expensive fast cars, a lot goes into the prep of the car. Usually the stunt coordinator is in total communication with the manufacture of the cars. These cars are like fast computers on wheels. What you must realize is that new and luxurious cars don’t come off the lot being able to do 360’s, power slides, and drifting around corners. They must be De-programmed to shut off various traction controls, and safety parameters that are normally put in place for the daily driver. But if you want high speed action and stimulating stunt driving?, then you’ll need the proper mechanic that knows the specific vehicle. Car prep is vital and sometimes overlooked on the production side. Our Stunt coordinators work closely with car prep companies in order to tailor the vehicle to match the shots wanted by the director and producers. Safety is always top priority, and while stunt driving is one of the gags often requested, make sure your production hires the right stunt coordinator so then he or she can hire the best qualified stunt drivers. Your insurance will thank you and you’ll minimize your risk.
Stunt Driver Alyma Dorsey on set of Sevyn Streeter ft. Chris Brown “Don’t Kill The Fun”
TJ White Stunt Coordinator on set of Riveting Entertainment Music Video
Stunt Driver Chris Nielsen Testing a 2013 Hot-wheels Ford Mustang from Galpin Motor Sports for a Justin Bieber “Boyfriend’ Music Video
The term comes from a block-leveling bomb, but has taken on more meaning in the film business. But what exactly makes a movie a blockbuster? Is it the cast, theme, budget, or time of year? Typically a modern blockbuster requires A-list cast, director who has credibility, and a budget that makes the National Debt look like a layaway plan. Recently the market and industry has seen a shift in what is actually considered a Blockbuster. A film’s marketability, branding, franchising, and now the ability to produce more than one film into a series, increases the overall strategy of the studio’s investment.
The biggest value of all blockbusters have one common denominator.. Stunts and Action. It takes a talented stunt coordinator like TJ White and a trusted talented stunt team to create the amazing action seen in each year’s Blockbusters. This year is no different with the overload of action packed releases. Spiderman, Avengers, Battleship, Bourne, Dark Knight, and even the new comer, Hunger Games.
Not all succeed, such as Prometheus, Battleship, John Carter, Men in Black III. They all succeeded in their own realms of viewership, but as studios count the pennies spent to the ones earned, it becomes a completely different equation. The year of the animation domination has shown how the Blockbuster is changing. Movies such as Madagascar 3, Ice Age, and Brave have brought more money to the Blockbuster bottom line per screen than ever before. Oddly enough, even animated films require the expertise of a stunt coordinator to correctly create the emotion and complexity involved in teaching how to illustrate how to properly show the excitement in a fight or fall.
So, the Blockbuster is revealed and anticipated by all each season. And there are many more to look forward to, such as Expendables 2, Superman, Total Recall, G.I. Joe2, SkyFall, The Hobbit, and hopefully Die Hard 6… But always remember, it takes talented stunt coordinators and performers to make all of these Blockbusters look amazing and safe.
Movies, commercials, T.V. shows, music videos, and live action shows all have a common thread, Rigging. To the viewer, it looks like people are flying, floating, falling uncontrollably, or even made to be string puppets. The skilled Stunt Coordinator can envision such spectacular and visually stimulating stunts by knowing how to rig the set to accomplish the unbelievable.
The use of rigging in music videos for such entertainers like N’Sync and Chris Brown, allows the artists to transform into the vision of the director’s imagination. Stunt Coordinators incorporate cranes, truss systems, wires, and countless other techniques to get just the right effect. The importance of SAFETY is of the upmost concern when utilizing these elements. The equipment used, such as wires and ropes are made of the highest quality grade materials. Truss and securing devices are rated for load and stability to ensure safety at all times. Attention to these details is what makes TJ White one of the most sought after Stunt Coordinators in the business.
Rigging requires skill and sophistication that can only be achieved with years of experience. TJ White has been in the industry for decades and has an amazing resume of projects completed. Trust is a key factor in a Stunt Coordinator’s mind when choosing the crew. The typical team required to successfully rig a stunt needs to be able to work independently. As a unit they create the structures, ramps, or setting up wires needed for the stunt. Only the best technology is used for stunts requiring pulleys, harnesses, sheaves, and all equipment used to design the needed effect.
Hollywood Stunt Coordinator takes great pride and steps to ensure the SAFETY of all productions. Our team of talented stunt professionals has created many amazing effects with the use of rigging. Movies such as Spiderman and Batman would not be able to make characters fly into scenes out of the sky, hang upside down, or jump between buildings without the talents of rigging.
Check out some of the videos we have been able to use the same effects to allow Chris Brown to float, Justin Timberlake hang like a puppet, or even have two people fly 100ft in the air for Ne-Yo.
Film Tax Incentives are the new backbone of film financing equations. Tradable tax credits, refundable tax credits, film tax rebates, and reductions in state taxes all figure into the equity investors exit strategy… and make green lighting films more attractive.
To deal with Runaway Productions taking their cash flow overseas, state and federal governments created tax based incentive programs to keep the jobs at home. The theory is, if Producers find it more beneficial to film in a particular state economically, they will. And they were right.
California’s film tax credit program gave taxpayers a bang for their buck. The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. reported that the state’s tax credit program pumped $3.8 billion into the California economy and created more than 20,000 jobs in a two year span.
Michigan, Louisiana, Georgia, Ohio, New Mexico and several other states have reported positive economic contributions from similar programs.
The best water movies are films that involve water as a major thematic element. Typically set on a major body of water, such as an ocean, river, lake, pond or creek, these compelling and entertaining stories that just happen to take place or involve water.
Water Stunts are probably one of the most difficult to coordinate and control. To the average viewer, they have no idea of the highest concept of complexity involved in stunts requiring any aquatic motorized vehicle. First and most important, there are NO brakes. So the individual that is piloting the vessel must understand completely the speed, angle, and ability of the craft.
Movies such as Face-Off, Speed 2, and Miami Vice all used very talented stunt professionals to captain all the watercraft needed to give the excitement needed in each scene. Water World used an enormous variety of vessels and had a very successful safety record during the entire filming. It requires a very talented Stunt Coordinator and team to achieve the high quality action and precision desired by directors and producers.
Every year we look forward to the Award Season, as to be able to admire those in the industry of entertainment for their accomplishments in acting, directing, lighting, and even wardrobe. But rarely do the people who create the action and excitement get acknowledged. That is why we are so proud of the group of people that show gratitude towards the hardest working professionals in the entertainment industry. The Taurus™ World Stunt Awards honor the movie industry’s unsung heroes, the world’s best stunt professionals. They risk their lives to perform the most daring stunts that bring action and excitement to the movie-going public.
This is the Oscars for the Stunt men and women that make every summer blockbuster to commercial rememberable.
It is amazing to attend any award event, but The Taurus World Stunt Awards is by far much more rewarding. It allows those who stood in harms’ way to make the actor shine or allow the audience to believe he/she is performing an unbelievable act that brings the character to life, to be recognized for their accomplishments. The Stunt community is a very humble, tight-knit group of individuals that pride themselves on athleticism, safety, and a no-fear attitude.
The Taurus™ World Stunt Awards were envisioned by Red Bull Energy Drink CEO Dietrich Mateschitz and benefits the Taurus™ World Stunt Awards Foundation. They recognize everything from Best Fight to Best Coordination and everything in between. We at HollywoodStuntCoordinator.com appreciate all that the men and women have accomplish this past year and look forward to another successful and SAFE year of entertaining and excitement.
Creating a “Blockbuster” always begins with a dream to accomplish the unbelievable or tell a story beyond expectations of the viewers. Every year, the “Blockbuster” is usually action packed or a dramatically emotional draining adventure. But both bring an element of breath taking moments, either by words or visual stimulation.
The term “Blockbuster” started in the 1950’s. It has several meanings, but the first is “A bomb that could level a city block” but was adapted by the film Industry to describe how well a film does, thus, “A stunning new and unexpected event or object that generates enormous sales or revenues”. Ironic, that one has nothing to do with the other, but both create attention. Even though, before the event of the use in film, it was only used to describe an athlete. In the 1950’s, Grace Kelly was the first to be acclimated as a “Blockbuster”.
Since then we associate the term with Summer Movies, such as this year’s highly anticipated “Avengers” and the soon to be release “Batman”. These high-budget movies make or break the studios and production companies. But the common denominator is usually “ACTION”. From Indian Jones, Star Wars, Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings, and every other movie that draws viewers into the theaters, people want to feel and visualize things they will never encounter themselves.
The use of Stunts, explosions, weapons, and even flying, give the viewer an experience that they dream of. As stunt professionals we are able to create that illusion and belief that it is possible to live your dream. But, and we do stress, the effects and stunts are completely thought out, designed for SAFETY, and to exceed the imagination of the possible. Every stunt in the “BlockBuster” is carefully thought out, down to the last “I” being dotted and “T” being crossed.
Talented stunt coordinators, like TJ White, ensure that productions are expertly controlled and deliver the best product needed. More and more productions require the best action and heart stopping entertainment that stunt professionals offer. Blockbusters wouldn’t be where they are without the excitement we provide.
You DREAM it, we create it…….